By Marc Bednarczyk
Well, well, well, it’s that time of the year again, with the NBA Playoffs for the Eastern Conference Finals. It’s all about matchups, NOT only ON but also OFF the court.
Here are the matchups: Detroit vs. Miami, the Sequel: “GOODBYE HEAT”
WEATHER: NO Beach vs. South Beach. Advantage: Miami
MUSIC: Madonna vs. Gloria Estefan. The “Queen of Pop” against the conga. Advantage: Detroit
BEST SONG ABOUT CITY: Kiss’s “Detroit Rock City” vs. Will Smith’s “Miami.” The Fresh Prince has as much “street credibility” as the Backstreet Boys. Besides, Gene Simmons has slept with more women than Wilt Chamberlain.
RAPPER: Eminem vs. Pitbull. I don’t care for Eminem, but to paraphrase Stuttering John on Pitbull: “WHO are you and what do you do that makes you famous???” Advantage: Detroit
RESTAURANT: Carl’s Chop House vs. Joe’s Stone Crab. Carl’s is good, but Joe’s is the BEST. Advantage: Miami
WRESTLER: Rob Van Dam vs. “The ROCK.” The Rock is retired from the ring, but my good friend, “Mr. Pay-Per-View”/“The Whole F---en. Show” RVD, is the greatest athlete in wrestling. Don’t believe me? Ask Rasheed Wallace. Advantage: Detroit
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PROGRAMS: U of M. vs. THE “U.” In the last 25 years, Michigan has won a single National Championship and produced the Most Clutch Quarterback in the NFL, by the name of Tom Brady. However, the NFL should be known as the University of Miami Alumni Association, and THE “U.” has won FIVE (count them: 5) National Championships (should be seven. SEE FLAWED 2000 BCS System and 2003 National Championship Fiesta Bowl for the “Worst Call in Sports History”). Advantage: Miami
COLLEGE FOOTBALL COACHES: Lloyd Carr vs. Larry Choker (Ooops, I meant Coker) This is College Football’s version of Rich Kotite vs. Ray Handley.
FAMOUS ALUMNI: Selma Blair & Dr. Jack Kevorkian vs. Michael Irvin & The “ROCK”. The “Playmaker” & The “ROCK” lay the Smackdown on all their Candy Asses. Advantage: Miami
WOMEN: Initially, this seems like a monumental mismatch. In terms of quantity, it’s a “NO CONTEST,” but we’re talking “quality” here. Miami/Ft. Lauderdale girls are FAKER than the silicone in their breasts. Motor City girls are HOT, but more importantly, they’re REAL. Advantage: Detroit
SPORTS FANS: This is a bigger mismatch than Microsoft vs. Enron. Detroit sports fans have suffered through years of futility with the Lions (still are) and Tigers, yet unconditionally support their teams through thick and thin. There were NO Heat fans before Wade and Shaq came to town…Alonz-“HO” Mourning is the epitome of a sell-out…the ’Canes CAN’T sell out the Orange Bowl unless they play Florida State or Virginia Tech…and despite winning TWO World Series Championships in the franchise’s first 11 years, the Marlins are now on the brink of contraction. Not a bad idea. While they’re at it, please contract all the “fair weather” fans too. Hands down, Miami is the “BANDWAGON FAN”/“WORST SPORTS TOWN IN AMERICA”!
SPORTS TALK HOSTS: From what I have been told, it is NOT a prerequisite for prospective talent to have played for the Lions in order to have their own talk show. They actually have to be talented and entertaining broadcasters. Imagine that? What a novel idea! Advantage: Detroit
NFL TEAMS: Lions: NO Super Bowls; Dolphins: TWO Nick Saban could be the “next Bill Belichick” and Matt Millen is the “Isiah Thomas of NFL Front Offices.” Advantage: Miami
POINT GUARD: Chauncey “Mr. Big Shot” Billups (2004 NBA Finals MVP) vs. Jason “White Chocolate” Williams. This is about comparable to asking “What’s a better movie: THE GODFATHER or GIGLI?” Advantage: Detroit
SHOOTING GUARD: “RIP” Hamilton vs. Dwyane Wade. For non-NBA followers, it seems like a no-brainer, but this is a lot closer than it seems. By the way, who held D. Wade scoreless in the fourth quarter of Game Seven – 2005 Eastern Conference Finals? RIP, that’s who. However, this “Flash” most definitely has substance. Advantage: Miami
SMALL FORWARD: Tayshaun Prince vs. Antoine Walker. The battle of the Kentucky Wildcats. Celtic fans must be laughing, as Danny Ainge couldn’t wait until An-twahn Walk-ah (Boston accent) left town. He couldn’t play Defense if Tony Soprano held a gun to his head. Plus, Tayshaun is “Straight Outta Compton,” like Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and Suge Knight. Advantage: Detroit
POWER FORWARD: Rasheed Wallace vs. Udonis Haslem. Haslem gets exploited like “Martha Stewart on Wall Street” or “Ashlee Simpson on Saturday Night Live” whenever these two face each other. ’Sheed is the best outside shooter 6’8” and above since a guy by the name of Bird. After a couple more championships, he will be headed to my hometown of Springfield, to the Basketball Hall of Fame. Perhaps ’Sheed is the “James Worthy of the 21st Century.” Advantage: Detroit
CENTER: Ben Wallace (four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year) vs. Shaquille O’Neal (three-time World Champion). Aside from a couple of playoff games, Shaq looks like a shadow of his former dominant self in this post-season. Shaq gets the edge, but “BIG BEN” will give him all he can handle. By the way, who was the center who beat Shaq when he was with the Lakers in ’04 and the Heat in ’05? Now, that guy goes for the hat trick. Advantage: Miami
COACHES: Flip Saunders vs. Pat Riley. Despite the fact that “Riles” hasn’t won anything since Whitney Houston and George Michael were atop the Billboard Charts in 1988, Flip only made it past the first round once in his career before he got to Detroit. Riley is a sure-fire Hall of Fame coach, from looking at his “pre-Miami” résumé. Conversely, check out his “post-New York” résumé; he’d have trouble getting into the WNBA Hall of Fame (See ’98, ’99, 2000 Home Court Season Ending Playoff losses to the Knicks; first round Playoff loss to the then Charlotte Hornets in ’01; draft lottery in ’02 & ’03). Aside from (figuratively) stabbing his best friend, Stan Van Gundy, in the back, he’s probably a nice guy.
FRONT OFFICES: Joe Dumars vs. Pat Riley. Hands down, Joe Dumars is the best executive in the NBA (SEE lopsided trades: Grant Hill for Ben Wallace & Chucky Atkins; Jerry Stackhouse for Richard Hamilton—you might call this a “RIP” OFF… PUN Intended). Joe D. may not be perfect, passing on D. Wade, Chris Bosh and Carmelo in the 2003 Draft for Darko, but he’s pretty d**n close.
Riley should know “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” His team was a minute and a half away from the NBA Finals a year ago, so what did he do? Got rid of the team’s best three-point shooter, Damon Jones, legit point guard Keyon Dooling, underrated Rasual Butler, and best Defender, Eddie Jones, for “White Chocolate,” James “POSER,” and two “way past their prime” egomaniacs—Walker & Payton. But, most of all, he FIRED his protégé, Stan Van Gundy, to appease his own ego. Advantage: Detroit
PREDICTION: To quote my new friend, Frank Vincent, a.k.a. Billy Batts from “GOODFELLAS” and Phil Leotardo from “The Sopranos”: “MIAMI…GO HOME AND GET YOUR F---IN’ SHINEBOX!” Mickey Arison might sign the paychecks, but the PISTONS OWN the Heat!
DETROIT ROLLS IN FIVE GAMES. GUARAN-“SHEED”! Don’t forget to listen to “The Sports Edge” with yours truly, a.k.a. “The REAL American Idol,” Marc Bednarczyk, & “The GREAT” Jim Grieshaber, every day on Sirius Satellite Radio (Channel 122) from 4-7 P.M. EASTERN.
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