Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lodo Grdzak's Status Report (Chauncey Billups, Jeremy Lin, Race and the Blues):

It feels good to have finished Buttons and Jules and to know I can write a longer post. Now I’m wondering if I should go back and finish Streams From My Russian Intermission. I think of it whenever I see Vladimir Putin, which seems to be a lot these days.

Course it took me over 2 months to write about Buttons and Jules; and theirs was only a 5 day visit, so how long is it gonna take me to write about 14 days in Russia and all the crazy shit that happened there?

Come to think of it, my carpal tunnel and herniated discs might need a break.

Speaking of injuries--like my favorite NBA baller Chauncey Billups, I’ve torn my achilles tendon. I’ve had the injury for months, though its gotten progressively worse. Unlike world champion Chauncey (who probably got his MRI performed and diagnosed within half an hour), I had to wait 3 months before my insurance company gave me authorization--then wait an additional 3 weeks to actually get the MRI done. All that time I just worked and ran around like my only problem was getting old and soft. Don’t punk out Lodo. Even my doctor initially doubted it was torn.

“Usually you know right away when you do it. The fact you can’t say for sure, tells me its probably just inflamed.”

But then we got the results back and he was like “Damn, you’ve got a 16 mm tear.” (That was just how he said it).

So now I wear the boot you see here (above). Or I’m supposed to. Except its hard to walk any real distance in it since the lopsided, imbalanced gait created by the boot really messes-up my hips and back. Christ fuck. Moral of the story--don’t get freaking old!

On a related matter, if you wanna buy a genuine Lodo Grdzak-owned Xootr scooter (as seen below), I’ll start the bidding at $45 dollars (plus shipping and handling).

But getting back to that NBA, I suppose Chauncey Billups and I wont live out our final years of high-level performance in New York. That was one of my biggest disappointments (aside from the strike-shortened season itself). The fact that the Knicks traded Chauncey. He’s played in all my cities--Detroit; Denver; New York and always elevated those teams to another level.

Then the trade.

Then the injury.

Yet its funny how life works. The Monday after The Giants won The Superbowl I had (2) appointments scheduled in Manhattan. I was smart enough to schedule them for late afternoon, but both still cancelled. The first guy didn’t even try to make an excuse,

“Oh wow Mr. Grdzak, wasn’t that incredible last night? God, my wife and I almost cried. And I’m so hungover! Can we re-schedule for tomorrow or maybe later in the week? We didn’t get to bed 'til after 3:00. Great, go Giants right?!!!!


My 2nd appointment wasn’t much different, but I only bring it up ‘cause now I was in Manhattan with nothing to do. With this sudden intermission I decided to walk to the The Garden to investigate the cost of a Knick ticket. Knick star Amare Stoudemire wasn’t playing that night (his brother had just died in a car accident); and a lot of commuters had played hooky from work. Couple all that with an unpopular Utah Jazz opponent, and I was able to buy a scalped ticket for $15 dollars cash-money at game time.

That was Monday, February 6th.

Try to get that deal today.

Whether its scripted or real, I have to say I love the Jeremy Lin story. I do think its a little serendipitous the way his unexpected rise from nowhere coincided with the visit of China’s new President Xi Jinping; but that said, I think he’s a real deal player. He’s strong. Exciting. Different.

Course once you get race involved things get sticky (we know that!). In fairness to Floyd Mayweather Jr., I do think there’s a certain section of America that relishes the idea of the black ballplayers being bested at “their game.” These people will quickly embrace a white or (in this case) Asian player, but don’t have the capacity or willingness to root for a black player. Its true Floyd, I agree.

But that said, you can’t just dismiss Lin’s game. His numbers have been off the chart these past 3 weeks--particularly his scoring (the ref’s can’t put the ball in the basket for you). For a 24 year old who’s never been a starter, he’s got great leadership skills. And from what I’ve seen he’s handled the pressure of New York better than A-Rod, Rex Ryan, or a whole host of so-called stars. Hell, he single-handedly saved coach Mike D’Antoni’s job--at least for this season; and if coach gets an extension I’d say he owes Lin some money.

So Floyd, while I say this with great respect for your ability to kick the shit out my ass; please drop the racial bullshit.

And yet there’s another brand of racism out there that hasn’t been discussed. I know ‘cause I’ve seen it first-hand at The Garden. It’s the Asian racists, though exactly who their racist against is an open question. These fans seem to attribute Lin’s success to his Harvard education and because he’s “so smart.”

“Very intelligent,” these Asians will say to me as they tap their index finger against their temple. “He knows.”

Knows what reader? How to put the ball in the basket? How to find an open man? I’m not sure what’s being implied. Jeremy Lin’s no smarter on the court than Chris Paul, or Derron Williams, or Rajon Rondo, or Jason Kidd, or Derrick Fisher--or probably a whole host of others. Lin’s 6’ 2” tall, over 200 pounds. Deceptively quick and very driven. By his own admission he’s been studying Steve Nash since he was a kid and has been playing organized basketball for over half his life. He didn’t just walk on to the court after Geometry class. So I’m not sure where these Chinese and Taiwanese fans are coming from. The guy’s a seriously gifted athlete, end of story.

But the politics gets sticky on this stuff.

Anyway, on that final subject of politics, let me ask you a fairly easy question reader. You think Mitt Romney would have invited Jeff Beck or Mick Jagger to perform at The White House? How bout Newt Gingrich? Think Buddy Guy or Keb Mo are on Newt’s radar? How ‘bout Rick Santor--oh please, forget it!

Watch Red White and Blues on PBS. See more from In Performance at The White House.

Watch Brush with the Blues on PBS. See more from In Performance at The White House.

See you in a few days y’all.

* NOTE: All pics stolen off Google Images except for those in which I appear. All rights reserved on my stuff.