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Oh, It's That Time Again! [May. 23rd, 2005|04:45 pm]
[Special Music |Pistons Old School Introduction Theme.]

From Dan Le Ba(s)tard, Miami Herald:


DAN LE BATARD: Detroit is the real pit of the universe

May 23, 2005

It has been voted America's worst city for sleeping and dating. It is pocked with bad roads, abandoned buildings and the Detroit Lions. It is responsible for foisting upon us Ted Nugent, Tom Selleck and John Salley. It is dark and dirty and cold and sad and dangerous.

Other than that, and the murders, Detroit is swell.

But at least the basketball fans never throw things at opposing players or get into fights with them.

If the team can't beat you, its fans will try.

Mitch, like its city, Detroit's basketball style is ugly and depressing, too. The Pistons drag the ballet into the sewage. If rules allowed it, Detroit would play against Dwyane Wade with machetes. The uglier, the better. Playing the Pistons is like setting your face on fire with a blowtorch and then putting out the flames with a screwdriver. Seventy-five points will beat them. This isn't basketball; it's soccer.

If this were the circus, Shaquille O'Neal would be the tuxedoed ringleader and Wade would be the acrobat and the Pistons would be the elephants going to the bathroom all over the court.

Their offense needs a calendar, not a shot clock. Fast break? That's what the Pistons do out of town the moment the season is over. Even Detroit's coach, vagabond Larry Brown, has spent the season talking about not particularly wanting to be there anymore. Imagine how eager he'd be to leave if he hadn't won his first pro championship there last year.

Ah, yes, the championship. That's what they'll flash in our faces today.

That one ring from last season. Come on, Mitch. You know Detroit didn't steal that ring from Shaq as much as Kobe did. Motivated and skinny Shaq has three of those things. He is about to show you and your starless team how he got them. Big, bad Ben Wallace looks like something that Shaq wears on his key chains. Shaq dropped 36 and 34 on his Afro last season even while having to pry the ball out of Kobe's cold, dead fingers to do it.

Never mind Shaq's motivation to silence Kobe Bryant, Jerry Buss and MVP voters. The greatest motivation for the Heat to beat the Pistons quickly is so that the players don't have to return to the eighth ring of hell for Game 6.

"That's not fair," Satan said when reached exclusively by the Miami Herald. "I don't have anything down here as bad as Detroit."

Detroit would have to add Miami's beaches, weather and nightlife, New York's culture and restaurants and L.A.'s entertainment to upgrade to being merely awful. The fans burn things to celebrate victories, so about the only positive thing you can say about the city is that arson is never a problem around the Lions.

In the history of man, has anyone ever gone to Detroit to vacation? The next tourist to arrive in Detroit for pleasure will be the first, and will have to be there only because all the vacation packages to Iraq were booked.

It's a shame that crime and poverty won't allow people there to sleep.

There's not much else to do in Apocalyptic Detroit, except maybe fight with basketball players. Mitchigan Albom over there will argue that the people are nice. And maybe they are, when they aren't killing each other. It is hard for Miami to mock any city when it comes to violence, but Detroit makes Miami look like Pleasantville.

Come on, Mitch. How can you be proud of a place that grades on a curve and calls its dump of a basketball arena the Palace? And is replete with fans like those frumpy dorks who ran on the court during the famous Indiana melee ... guys who wear their baseball caps backward because the things don't come with instructions?

Detroit counters Wade, one of People magazine's 50 most beautiful people, with Rasheed Wallace, one of People magazine's 50 angriest people. Wallace always leads the league in screaming at refs. And when he was in Portland, he blazed a lot more than trails.

They deserve each other, Wallace and Detroit.

They are both technically foul.

DAN LE BATARD is a columnist for the Miami Herald, which, like the Free Press, is owned by Knight Ridder. Contact him at dlebatard@herald.com

Of course, what wouldn't more flames be worth from Detroit's King Columnist, Mitch Albom.


MITCH ALBOM: Miami is all sunburns and alligators

May 23, 2005

Oh, Danny Boy, the hype, the hype is calling you.

You're not actually drinking that Kool-Aid, are you? The red, gooey stuff that says your Miami Heat, barely a playoff team last year, is now suddenly championship material?

Hey. Dan. I know it's nice to live by the ocean, but don't swallow the seawater. It makes you delirious.

Look at my arms. See how far apart they are? That's the distance between the Pistons and New Jersey. Now look at my arms. See how far apart they are? That's the distance between the Pistons and Washington.

So please don't talk about the Heat's eight straight victories. That's not the playoffs. That's a bobsled run. Honestly, Dan, when you put your best player in street clothes and you still thump the other guys, it's not exactly the Jets versus the Sharks, is it? More like the Sharks versus the Guppies.

Shaquille O'Neal had better wear the short pants tonight. You won't get a game off Detroit without him in the lineup -- and Shaq knows it better than anyone else. He watched the Pistons blow up his old franchise last June. When the Lakers started that series, they were tight as a violin string and cocky as a rooster.

Five games later, they were plucked and chucked.

Heck. Shaq came to Miami only because his La-La life was over. And the Pistons ended it. I don't imagine O'Neal has many nightmares, but when he does, the creatures wear Detroit uniforms.

Now, let's address the city part of this rivalry. We both know Detroit cannot compete with Miami in numerous categories that make a town popular, such as nightlife, restaurants and drug trafficking. We have much less sand. Our people do not smell of cocoa butter.

We do not boogie the night away. We do not wrestle alligators. We leased Anna Kournikova; you own her. And we are not the winter home of rock stars, movie stars, golf stars and international arms dealers.

But we do know a few things in the frigid Rust Belt, and one is what happens when the rubber hits the road. The Heat, all bouncy and new, is the rubber. The Pistons, hard and tested, are the road. And that screeching sound you hear is Miami's spring cruise coming to an end.

Also, we don't eat dinner at 3 in the afternoon.

News flash: Detroit plays defense. Wait, Dan. I'll spell it. D-e-f-e-n-s-e. That's what they call it when a guy from the other side actually gets in your way, instead of acting like an open tollbooth. Dwyane Wade, I'm sure, has read about defense. But he hasn't seen any practiced since the playoffs began.

He will now. See that lanky fellow over there? The one with the wingspan of a pterodactyl? That's Tayshaun Prince. He is known by an adjective. "Long." Go ask Kobe Bryant what that means. It means a hand in every shot. It means a body draping you like a midday shadow.

And when Prince isn't there, Chauncey Billups is. And when Chauncey isn't, Rip Hamilton -- the human water bug -- is. And if Wade gets past them, well, as another famous Floridian named Scarface once said, "Say hello to my little friend."

Ben Wallace.

OK, so we lied about the "little" part.

The Pistons have the best starting five in basketball. The Heat has two stars that we've heard of, and, near as we can tell, the rest of the team is named Jones.

Also, you have the Van Gundy whom people don't recognize.

No offense, Danny, but the samba line stops here. Or the conga line? Who cares? In Detroit, we use drum sets. And we know the beat. Just as the Pistons beat the best of them last year, they have beaten Philly and Indy this year, and plan on beating The Heat -- and The Humidity.

So while I like and respect you as a colleague on ESPN's "The Sports Reporters" -- and by the way, you left a hairbrush in my chair a few weeks ago -- and while I remember fondly my days as a south Florida columnist (back then you could drive from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale without having to camp overnight due to traffic), if I have to take a side, I'll take the boring, rusty, alligator-free side of this series.

After all, you can buy a tan in a bottle. Rings, you have to earn.

Contact MITCH ALBOM at 313-223-4581 or albom@freepress.com. Catch "The Mitch Albom Show" 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WJR-AM (760).

My Response:

I love a good verbal fight. It doesn't get better than dueling columnists from the same media conglomerate.

Jimmy Kimmel last year . . . relative outsider, compared to this in-house love.

Everybody thinks Detroit are the "Bad Boys."

For all those who might have difficulty understanding the differences, here's a little lesson.

The Bad Boys.
These are the "Bad Boys" of 1990.


Check your local listings to watch a true "Bad Boy."

Here's a closer look.

Dennis Rodman.
This is a man who had an epiphany . . .
Watching Demolition Man.

Of course, there are cheap wanna-be knock-offs of a "Bad Boy."

They're bad as they wish they could be.

How did Shaq lose the 2004 NBA Finals, anyway?


[User Picture]From: mizcrank
2005-05-23 09:55 pm (UTC)
i read that! but did you see the interview Alozo Mourning did on ESPN.com?

To quote:

"They're defending champions but they can be beat," Mourning said in the New York Post. "They've shown their vulnerabilities. They're not invincible. They're not the Chicago Bulls. They can be beat. "

We must kick some arse!

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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2005-05-23 10:07 pm (UTC)
Alonzo's a little anxious to play.

I don't see how Jones x2 and Haslem are going to score like they have, post-season-to-date.

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2005-05-23 10:25 pm (UTC)

BTW . . .

That "Beyond the Glory" of Dennis Rodman . . . fantastic.

I doubt if he'll return to the NBA, but with the off-season approaching . . . some NBA team, even the Pistons, could use a 12th man.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)