NBA edition of Mike Tyson’s Punchout

While watching a Miami Heat game it’s hard to not focus on Joel Anthony’s enormous forehead and while Mike of did so he envisioned Soda Popinski, the character from the NES hit Mike Tyson’s Punchout.

That got him thinking and resulted in one of the most hilarious lists of the season.

“If we were going to cast a live action version of Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, which basketball players and coaches would make the cut? As it turns out, there are some pretty great choices for all of the roles. Also, as it turns out, Mike Tyson’s Punchout was one gigantic racist stereotype party. That definitely did not register with me in first grade. Well,  I put together a list of NBA characters who I think were born to play these roles. Here is who I propose:

Glass Joe/Chase Budinger

Von Kaiser/Italian Vintage Mike D’Antoni

Piston Honda/Yao Ming

Don Flamenco/Manu Ginobili

King Hippo/Eddy Curry

Great Tiger/Hamed Haddadi

Bald Bull/Matt Geiger

Soda Popinski/Joel Anthony



Mr. Sandman/ Sofoklis Schortsanitis (aka Greek Shaq)

Super Macho Man/Pat Riley

Li’l Mac and Doc/JJ Redick and Mike Woodson

And of course, based more on behavior than appearance, the logical and topical choice to play Mike Tyson, Ron Artest.

Mario/Stan Van Gundy

Wherefore art thou, Coach? Parting thoughts on Stan Van Gundy

There I saw it, the sound of inevitability.  Stan Van Gundy and Otis Smith had both been dismissed from their positions with the Orlando Magic.  Operation Clean Sweep.

Their dismissals, or at least Van Gundy’s, was only a matter of time, his desk probably cleaned out long before the news arrived.  Otis Smith had bought the groceries, but the cupboard had gone bare.

Ultimately, Stan became a man fighting a lost cause.  Like it or not, the NBA is a superstar’s league.  Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets.  Regardless of whether Dwight Howard is the short-term solution, long-term solution, both or neither for the Orlando Magic, he is still their center, their best scorer, their best defender, their best rebounder, their best player and certainly their most marketable. Read more here…

Stan Van Gundy fired: Is he headed to the Lakers?

Stan Van GundyThe Los Angeles Lakers trail the Oklahoma City Thunder three games to one in the NBA Western Conference semifinals.  If the Lakers lose tonight on the road at Oklahoma City the team is likely headed for a major shakeup.  Rumors are already swirling as to the futures of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in a Lakers uniform but what if both are kept?  What if instead the Lakers bring in a new coach, an Xs and Os guy, someone who can bring this team together and make L.A. great again, someone like Stan Van Gundy.

According to Van Gundy and general manager Otis Smith have been fired from the Orlando Magic.  In five seasons with the Magic Van Gundy went 259-135 with a Finals appearance in 2009.

Van Gundy has gotten the most out his teams wherever he has coached but because he and Magic Center Dwight Howard have publicized differences, Van Gundy’s firing was inevitable.

The question becomes where does he land?  If Van Gundy wants to coach next season the Lakers need to fire Mike Brown and bring this guy in.  Any team with Kobe Bryant, Gasol and Bynum should reasonably be expected to have more success than the Lakers have had under Brown this season.

If for no other reason the Lakers should hire Van Gundy to keep him from going to the Los Angeles Clippers.  With all the young stars the Clippers have, they are only a solid coach away from being an elite NBA team and Van Gundy would be a perfect fit there as well.

We’ll see how the dominos will fall after the Lakers are eliminated from the playoffs.  Let the Stan Van Gundy to L.A. watch begin.

Follow Aaron on Twitter @Da_Bear_Truth

Magic’s Howard out for season: Is it just what he wanted?

Dwight Howard

Dwight HowardOn Thursday the news broke that Orlando Magic Center, Dwight Howard, requires season ending back surgery that will keep him out the of the remainder of the NBA season to include the playoffs and the 2012 Olympics  this Summer in London.  Was this the perfect scenario for Howard to fall into?

All season long up until the NBA trade deadline the talk of the Association was where would Dwight Howard be traded to?  Howard had made his desire to be shipped out of small market Orlando public so most NBA fans knew it was just a matter of time before he was dealt.  The Magic front office had their backs up against the wall as if they didn’t trade Howard he would become an unrestricted free agent following the season and the team would lose him while getting nothing in return.  As the trade deadline approached more and more speculation arose as to Howard’s destination but for one reason or another, the rumors never materialized in deals.  Then, like a desperate magician with one trick left in his hat, the Magic offered Howard an unprecedented amount of control over the team.  If he committed to the Magic beyond this season Howard would have the ability to fire the coach.

According to an April 6th article by the  as well as multiple other sources, Howard indeed asked management to fire current Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy at the end of the season.  That says that Howard had no faith in his team’s chances this NBA postseason.  If the so-called star of your team doesn’t believe in what the team is doing then why the hell even play.  Because of his disbelief in the direction under Van Gundy the Magic were nothing but superficial contenders going into the playoffs with Howard despite having a 2-2 record this season against the Miami Heat, one of the NBA’s Eastern Conference elite teams.

Now, with Howard out for the playoffs the Magic don’t stand a chance.  The trickle effect will be that his  absence will likely result in an early playoff exit for Orlando that will in-turn justify the firing of Van Gundy in a distorted sort a way.  Additionally, the Orlando Magic organization will truly get to see Dwight’s value as the team will likely appear discombobulated in his absence.  This will drive his value up not only in Orlando but across the NBA as he potentially faces another opportunity to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2013 season if the Magic can’t sign him long-term.

Make no mistake about it.  In no way am I insinuating that Howard is glad to be sitting out for the rest of the season or was somehow hoping for this sort of scenario.  Nevertheless, he could greatly benefit from his injury.

With that said, Dwight Howard should be careful for what he asks for.  The number of NBA coaches currently in the league who are better that Stan Van Gundy can be counted on three fingers.  One coaches the Boston Celtics, another the Chicago Bulls, and the third the San Antonio Spurs.  Not to bust Howard’s bubble but Orlando isn’t getting any of those guys.

As of now it may appear that Howard is having his cake and eating it too, but in the end he may very well be eating a slice of humble pie.

Follow Aaron on Twitter @Da_Bear_Truth

Is Stan Van Gundy heading to the Lakers? (Video)

Stan Van Gundy

If the Los Angeles Lakers want to return to prominence in the NBA as Kobe Bryant enters the twilight of his career then Stan Van Gundy could very well be the answer.

The future of Van Gundy with his current team, the Orlando Magic, seems to be in serious jeopardy after word leaked from within the organization that Magic Center Dwight Howard wants Van Gundy fired.

During a recent pregame shoot around, Van Gundy spoke to the media about the speculation that Howard wanted him out.  Like a scene from the WWE, the interview was interrupted by Howard who tried to smooth the tension over by putting his arm around his coach.  That led to this awkward moment.

As the video clearly shows something isn’t right between Van Gundy and Howard in Orlando.  With Dwight’s recent committal to the Magic for next season the path as to how this will play out has already been set.  Stan Van Gundy will be dismissed as Orlando’s coach sometime prior to next season.  Could he land in L.A.?

Under current head coach Mike Brown, the Lakers are 35-20, just 5.5 games behind the first place Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference standings.   No one can deny Brown’s ability to get a team through the regular season and into the playoffs.  On multiple occasions with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Brown’s teams had the best record going in to the playoffs.  But if the playoffs are where you make your money then Mike Brown is almost broke.  Outside of the 2007 postseason that saw LeBron James carry an overachieving Cavs roster to the Finals where they were swept, Brown’s teams have not been able to get over the hump despite the fact they were the best in the league.

With history as our guide, look for the Lakers to exit early in the 2012 playoffs; first round scare and Western Conference Semi’s exit. This would be unacceptable in L.A.

An early exit coupled with the fact that Brown recently benched Kobe Bryant in the 4th quarter of a close game and the writing will be on the wall; Brown will not be around for another season.

Now when you start looking at championship caliber coaches who could replace Brown, Stan Van Gundy has got to be at the top of the list.  No, he doesn’t have the swagger of a Phil Jackson or Pat Riley, two former championship coaches for Los Angeles.  Nor does he have a championship pedigree; one Finals appearance with a loss, just like Brown.  But he is an excellent X’s and O’s guy; exactly what the Lakers need given their current roster.

If Van Gundy is indeed fired in Orlando look for the coaching domino effect to take place.  Van Gundy’s availability would make Lakers General Manager, Mitch Kupchak’s, possible decision to remove Mike Brown after one season all the more easier.

If the Lakers want rings, then they’re going to need a coach who can get them there and Mike Brown is not the answer; Stan Van Gundy is.

Follow Aaron on Twitter @Da_Bear_Truth