Friday, February 27, 2009

The Steve Nash Connection

Everyone who reads my blog knows I have a slight man-crush on Steve Nash. And if you didn't quite catch that from the pics, videos, and hearts scribbled around his name in my diary... I mean, uh... look, a bromance can be a healthy part of a single man's life.

Well, I finally found it. The connection of my world to his. And no, I'm not talking about having the same hairstyle, ballin' shoes, or game time mannerisms. Nor am I talking about ballin' with him when I dream, doing his off-season work out, or studying his game film. What I am talking about is a real life, actual connection... in my mind.

Try and keep up... I'm from Wyoming. My mom's two brothers live there. One of them owns a smoothie shop called RubyJuice. I worked there for a few summers. A girl named Kelley also worked there. Kelley's mom, Caren, was best friends growing up with Alvin Gentry. Who is Alvin Gentry? Alvin Gentry is the Phoenix Suns head coach, after being an assistant coach since 2004. Gentry is the coach of Steve Nash!

Someday, I'll find it. The Steve Nash Connection: B-ball and Steve Nash and me.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Love's Letter

Dear Bart,

This is a love letter to yourself from myself. Not that I am overly infatuated with me, which I very well could be, but after a historic look at my previous V-day experiences, and most likely this one, I figure it’s time to prepare to not spend one alone. (Man, I miss elementary school.)

Elementary school was easy. You get a milk carton, cut it in half, throw some glue and red paper on it, and you have your V-day basket. It’s primed and ready to be filled with all sorts of pre-made love notes. (My real friends gave me the White Power Ranger.) Mom bakes some cookies with pink frosting and then makes sure you have enough Ninja Turtle Valentines for EVERYONE in your class. Yes, even Stinky Bruce Anderson.

(You know you have just enough for your friends, but when it comes time to pass them out, you just can’t seem to find the one for Stinky Bruce anywhere.)

Now, you didn’t know much about relationships, in fact, you didn’t know much about girls. (And judging by your present circumstance, you haven’t learned much since 2nd grade.) You also didn’t know that your 2nd grade Valentine’s Day was going turn your world upside-down.

What you did know was that girls were dumb, smelt funny, looked funny, and had koodies. And now, on Valentine’s Day you were supposed to like at least one of them for an entire day. You didn’t like that you knew this... you didn't like it one bit. You just wanted to go to recess.

Jennifer Perkins was the most popular girl in class. She came up to you and your friend, Aaron Roybal, and said she was going to choose her Valentine at the end of the day. You weren’t really sure what that meant, you just wanted to go to recess, but you figured she’d choose you… you had a history together…

In kindergarten, you won at bingo during a school open house. You had never won anything in your life and were really excited, only to get up to the front of the room to be given a pink, sparkly, girly teddy bear. You were embarrassed and nearly started crying. When Jen offered to trade you the baseball bear she had won earlier for the girly bear. You instantly made a friend, translation: you wouldn’t make AS MUCH fun of her for being a girl. (Disclaimer: I’m pretty sure it was Jen, it could have been some other girl, it was a long time ago. But for the sake of the story…)

In second grade, your class had a story writing contest. You wrote about a turtle that fell in a lake, couldn’t swim, learned to swim, didn’t give up, and made it out of the water alive. Jen wrote a story with a rose on the cover. You still don’t know what it was about. But it was good. She won for ‘Best Illustrations’.

You rode the bus together and threw snowballs at each other. And I think you liked the fact that she had green boogers. Like neon, bright, grass-green boogers. (What? I was eight and I liked boogers.)

Throughout the day, and on into the class party, you see Jennifer and her friends looking at you and Aaron and whispering to each other. You just really want to go to recess. On the bus at the end of the day, Jennifer walks over to you and gives you a tiny piece of paper. You open it and written in pencil are the words ‘I love you’. You look up at her and smile (I’m sure you were blushing for the first time in your life) and she says… “I choose you.” Your first crush. Your first Valentine. (Then Aaron gets the rest of the guys to start the dreaded chant: Bart and Jennifer sittin' in a tree... you slug him in the arm. Take that.)

That was a long time ago. You’ve had many Valentine’s Days and many crushes since then. You’ve pulled off some pretty impressive moves trying to capture the one that will put the sparkle in your eye. And you’ve been surprised at how resilient a re-broken heart can be. But you learned a life lesson that day: girls have complete and total power, and control, over everything in the entire universe… times infinity.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Some of the Bart...

For all you non-facebook users and my madre... 25 random things... careful... it'll rip your face off.

1. I was really shy growing up… I still am in certain situations. I just fake that I’m not.

2. I use wittiness as a defense mechanism to thwart all attackers from breaching the outer wall of ME.

3. I wish I was still a kid. School was easy, I dominated at sports, girls liked me, all my meals were homemade, I saved my money to buy baseball cards.

4. My beverages of choice are: Whole milk, Gatorade, and Dr. Pepper.

5. I don’t understand a single thing about Chemistry.

6. I hardly ever remember my dreams. Really, I’m lucky if I can recall one dream per month. My most recent remembrance: I was on the Phoenix Suns playing with Steve Nash against the Dallas Mavericks and I hit the game winner over Dirk. Any surprise there?

7. I hate winter. It might be because I am the size of Nastia Luken, or because I grew up in the tundra-ed wilderness of Wyoming. The real reason? I am a normal minded person. Who in their right mind likes being cold? This hatred has driven me to several months of social hibernation.

8. I’ve been skydiving and recommend it often. I would love to go again… next time I’ll be sure to wear a helmet.

9. I already have 3 names picked out for 3 kids… now I’m just working on the twins’ names…

10. I WILL have a golden retriever, and a chocolate/yellow/black lab.

11. I hate shopping… mostly because I never have enough money to go shopping. (food/clothing/whatever) And when I do have money… I hate the fact that I have to use it to go shopping. Then, when I’m done shopping, I hate that I no longer have that money because I just used it to shop.

12. I’ve never had braces.

13. My favorite place in the world is Mallorca: an island in the Mediterranean just off the coast of Spain. I lived there for 6 months and would love to have a summer house on the coast!

14. The most I have ever weighed is 167 lbs… the least… 2 lbs 2oz…

15. My favorite band of all time is Five Iron Frenzy. They’re a ska band. I hate ska.

16. I have a gnarly scar across my left shoulder blade that extends down to the side of my ribcage. My grandparents took me on an African safari and we got a little too close to the lion cubs… just kidding… really, I was working one summer in Orange County and was learning to surf with some buddies, a shark came out of no where… no, not really… we went up into the Wyoming wilderness for Scouts and we were collecting wood to take home for the fireplace, I scaled a tree with a small hatchet while my older brother worked on a tree nearby… he chopped it down, it swung in my direction and knocked me out of my tree… I fell at least twenty feet and landed on the hatchet… yeah… that’s not true either. Do you want the real story?

17. I once pelted a girl on a bicycle with a water balloon, from at least 50 yards away, with a homemade water balloon launcher. She fell off. (Thank you Jordan) One of the greatest days of my life.

18. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

19. I went through a roller hockey phase in 6th/7th grade. Two-on-two roller hockey. I hated being goalie. I also went through a WCW wrestling phase that included choke-slamming my little brother on the trampoline and on couches. That’s not safe. Should I mention the Backstreet Boys phase? No? What about Hannah Montana?

20. I hate writing with pencils!! If I do, it HAS to be mechanical. I also HATE the feeling of cotton balls and the little squeaking sound!!! It drives me nuts!

21. I’ve always wanted to learn how to do a backflip. The one time I tried was on the beach in California and I ended up with a face full of sand.

22. I loooooove going to baseball games! Sunflower seeds, peanuts, Big League Chew, Dr. Pepper, Hot Dogs and Nachos! I can’t wait for Spring!

23. I once coached a 5th grade girls basketball team… also a women’s college basketball team… you’d think there’d be a difference in the level of talent… haha jk

24. I went to high school with a bazillion of my cousins… I wish we could hang out all the time!

25. I grew up on a Wyoming ranch!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Steve!

From one baller... ________ to another...

Happy 35th, Steve Nash

This is an article I found on

Happy 35th, Steve Nash
By Marc

Friday marked the one-year anniversary of the Phoenix Suns' trade for Shaquille O'Neal.

Saturday is Steve Nash's 35th birthday.

You can safely assume that the celebrations for both occasions were on the humble side.

There simply isn't a lot of happiness in the desert these days. Not with the Suns following the Arizona Cardinals' Super Bowl heartbreak by fading anew into chaos, prompting Suns management to explore the team's options for multiple changes before the Feb. 19 trading deadline, all of which is happening with much of the NBA world soon to descend upon Phoenix for All-Star Weekend.

Nash didn't even make the West All-Stars for the first time since he went back to the team that drafted him, which only adds to the Suns' public suffering, but he did consent to discussing several pertinent topics in a chat with that originally was intended to commemorate his birthday milestone.

Here's Nash on:

How he feels his body is holding up at 35:

"I feel great. I'm definitely more 'experienced.' But mentally and physically, I don't feel like I've changed that much. I feel just as capable as ever.

"And I think there are some positive changes as you get older. I'm a more accurate shooter. I'm better going both ways. I probably have more skills than I did five years ago.

"… I'm still planning to play three more years. Maybe in a few years, if I'm not playing at a high level, I'll have to re-evaluate that, but hopefully I can keep playing 'til I'm 38."

His current frustration level with the Suns' plight:

"It's been the toughest year of my career. By far.

"I went through some things early in my career in Dallas that were tough personally, but no one was really expecting us to do anything back then. The expectations weren't great like they are here in Phoenix, so this has been a lot tougher. … We've just been talking and talking and talking, and we can't seem to find the answers for how to make it work."

Whether he now sees major changes, such as the exit of Amare Stoudemire, as inevitable before the Feb. 19 trading deadline:

"We'll see. If we don't turn the corner soon, this franchise has every right to go in another direction.

"I can see why people say that [it's time to start rebuilding]. We have an older team, so if there are moves to be made that are better for the long term, I can totally understand why they would go in that direction.

"I still want things to improve for this mix of players, but, like I said, I haven't been able to find the answers."

His statistical drop this season from 16.9 points and 11.1 assists per game to 14.0 points and 9.6 assists:

"With our group of guys, everybody needs the ball. So I think part of it is that I've tried to accommodate all of our scorers.

"It kind of reminds me of my last year in Dallas. I was kind of over-accommodating at the beginning because we [traded for Antawn] Jamison and [Antoine] Walker.

"But I also think it's pretty obvious that if you're only taking nine, 10 shots a game, you're not going to score as much as you used to. I don't want to sound super defensive, but I think I've tried to sacrifice for the good of the team."

Charges that the numbers that helped him win two MVP awards wouldn't have been possible if he hadn't been playing in Mike D'Antoni's free-wheeling offense:

"There might be some validity to that. There are more possessions in his games, [there is] more spacing, more opportunities for guys who are skilled and smart. Having a chance to play for him took my career to another level.

"But I also feel like I should be able to adapt to any system. I played in a few All-Star Games before I played for Mike. I think my scoring numbers would be the same [as in previous seasons] if I was taking a few more shots."

The one-year anniversary of the trade for Shaq and where the Suns are now:

"I felt it was a gamble we had to take. With Shawn [Marion], as good as he was physically, we were just way too small as a team. The Lakers would just throw the ball up on the rim with [Lamar] Odom, [Pau] Gasol, [Andrew] Bynum, and it was like volleyball [for them]. "

"The challenge for us is that we still haven't found that balance on offense between going in to Shaq and finding that spacing and movement that everyone else needs."

Whether he ever second-guesses the decision to leave Dallas and best friend Dirk Nowitzki to return to the Suns when he was 30 and Nowitzki was 26:

"I think it would have been great. I know it would have been great, but how much time can you spend looking back? We've already played two-thirds of the time [apart] that we played together."

The theory that he and Nowitzki needed to go their separate ways to reach their full potential:

"I think we [got better in the years apart], but I don't think it's because we split up. Maybe a little bit, but I feel like I've improved almost every year of my career.

"Maybe people looked at that last year in Dallas and said, 'He's done, he's slowing down, he's going to break down.' But I went into that summer [of 2004] after losing in the first round extremely motivated to overcome that.

"I worked my tail off and made big improvements to my game and my [conditioning]. Those improvements were going to come whether I played for Phoenix or Dallas."

The possibility of reuniting with D'Antoni in New York or going home to Canada with Toronto as a 2010 free agent:

"Like I always say, my first priority is finishing my career here in Phoenix. If it came to the point that they break up our team or it's time to look elsewhere, obviously there would be worse places to go than Toronto or New York. I have connections to both places, on and off the floor.

Whether he'll consider the Suns' offer to sign an extension this summer to keep him from reaching free agency:

"All I can say right now is that I look forward to that conversation."

The prospect of retiring with those MVP awards but no championships:

"I would still look back on a great career. Not everybody can win it all, and not everybody can win as many games as I've been fortunate enough to win in my career.

"I feel like I've given it a hell of an effort. If it turns out that I wasn't good enough to win a championship or the teams I was on weren't good enough … if people want me to hold up my hand and say that's my bad, my responsibility, that's no problem. I'm giving it everything I have, so I can't really worry too much about what other people think.

"My No. 1 goal in basketball is to win a championship. No. 2 is to have fun and improve every year and enjoy my teammates."

Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for To e-mail him, click here.