My love for AI

One of the weirdest things a human can do is look back in their life at the things they loved. A person, a TV show and even an athlete, we go through ebbs and flows with our obsessions, with some staying with us forever and some fading with time.

I grew up without a team to call my own. In East Texas I had the dominant Cowboys as a kid but I could never relate to the insanity of that team, and the Dallas Mavericks were a joke for most of my childhood (and sorry, Stars, but we just weren’t a hockey household). 

My fandom branched out across the country, with most of my younger days spent collecting Penny Hardaway cards and shoes, loving the way he played the game when he came in the league and being mildly obsessed with the 1 cent symbol that Penny made famous.

But the guy I respected the most was a man as far from my life as possible.

Allen Iverson was a kid born in Virgina without a dad, the opposite of my two parent family that I wouldn’t trade for the world. This was a guy that got up in the morning just hoping to make it back to that pillow by nightfall, a little different than my “leave all the doors unlocked” home that couldn’t spell the word CRIME with a full Scrabble set.

But one thing that Iverson and I had in common, and the thing I respected the most about him, was that he was extremely undersized for the game he was playing.

My family is full of late growth spurts, a family that remains short well into the later years of high school, and when you’re a kid with an obsession with sports, especially basketball, it isn’t the easiest of things to overcome.

When Iverson was drafted, and came into the league, I remember spending hours out on our slab of concrete trying to perfect my crossover. I’d watch him do it and then go out in hopes that this would be my move to help give me enough room to get my shot off. 

I was barely 5 feet tall when I got to high school, but the coaches wanted me to give basketball a shot because I could dribble fairly well and had a good set of eyes that tended to scan the court instead of looking at the ball, and that was my life; try to get everything I could out of a frame that was more “A Tale of Two Cities” than NBA Jam. 

When Reebok put this video out, I spent weeks in my backyard trying to get it just perfect enough to look like something AI would be proud of, and even attempted to us it in a game (spoiler alert: it didn’t work). 

Still, Iverson was the guy I admired, because if you look past all his roughness and antics off the court, you see a guy that simply wanted to overcome all the things that were stacked up against him. 

Today, Iverson officially retires, even though he’s been retired for years. Iverson is 38 now, and the speed he once had isn’t nearly good enough to compete in a guard-heavy league that sees the likes of Derrick Rose, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook move up and down the court at Bolt-like speed. 

The incredible thing about Iverson, however, is for years to come, the conversation will be bated around about the toughest guy to ever play in the NBA. Charles Oakley will be mentioned, as will Dennis Rodman and even Kobe Bryant, but in my eyes nobody has ever been able to withstand all the hardship that Iverson did in his prime.

A league MVP, a Rookie of the Year and a man that simply never stopped when that ball went in the air, Iverson will forever be one of my favorite athletes not because of who he was, but what he stood for. 

I’ll turn 30 in a couple of weeks, but I still hit the court three times a week and I still toss out that Iverson crossover (well, a weak attempt at the Iverson crossover) a few times a game, because I learned it from the best and always wanted to be the best. 

Allen Iverson was my basketball coach, my basketball mentor and a guy that truly played the game of basketball with no regrets in a way that few really do. 

He might be done with basketball, but that intensity he brought to the game of basketball is something that will stay with me for as long as I watch guys battle on the hardwood. 

29 and thanks.

Today is my birthday. I’m 29. People think 29 is still “young,” but that’s a long ass time on this earth, so I decided I’d like to thank a few people for keeping me around for almost 30 years. 

To my mom — You’re the nicest and most caring person I know. Each morning I wake up and hope I can be 1/8th of the person you are. If I ever reach that goal my life will be a success. Thanks for everything you’ve ever done for me and will do for me.

To my dad — I’ve always looked up to you. You’re determined, hard working and loving more than you probably ever know. I’m so proud to be your son.

To my sister — It’s incredible the family I was blessed with, and I can’t believe the coolest person I know is also my older sis. Our jokes are my favorite thing in the world, and I’m also glad you’re around so that my “Friends” addiction doesn’t look as strange.

To my uncle Doug — I literally don’t know how I’d be able to live a regular life without you in the same city. If I can be half the uncle to my nephews that you were for me, then those boys are going to be very lucky men. It’s incredible how you lived your life so selflessly and how it just seems natural to you. 

To my aunt Diane and uncle Bennett — I don’t know what my grandparents were eating when they created their three kids, but I WANT some of it. Diane, you could make a hungry baby smile, and Bennett, well, you know you’re awesome in just about every way so I just wanted to say screw off for always beating me in fantasy football. Jerk. 

To my grandmother — You know those people that know everyone in town and nobody has ever spoken a bad word about? Yeah, that’s my Wawa. She took me water rafting and to Las Vegas before I was old enough to even spell “slots” and is always asking, “what can I do for you” as opposed to “could you do this for me?” Also, I’m pretty sure that “Oh the Places You’ll Go” book was written about her, but I’m not totally sure. 

To my four nephews — Each of you are so completely different but share a simple quality that is extremely important - you are sweet, sweet boys that make every ounce of my being smile.

To my buddy Josh — We talk about 40 times a day, but I probably never tell you how happy I am to call you a best friend. If I had to be stranded on an island for the rest of my life and Mila Kunis wasn’t available, I’d probably pick you. I’ve never met a person that doesn’t like you, and I probably never will (strippers in line at Fat Burger don’t count). 

To my buddy Andrew — It makes me look better being friends with you. Despite the chin stubble, I will always thank London for introducing me to the best guy I’ve ever met.

To my buddy Chris — You are the funniest and most thoughtful guy out there, and it physically makes me mad that I don’t get to see you more often. You light up every room you’ve ever entered, you are a caring man that thinks of others first (even if you don’t want to admit it), and I love you despite the fact that you still wear those horrible Nike shoes that smell like rotten coyotes. Seriously, throw those away, please.

To my buddy Rusty — Because I never had a brother and you’re the closest thing I’ll ever have to that, despite what “science” says about it. If I make it to 70, I still hope we spend at least one night a year driving around Marshall looking at Christmas lights, drinking skunky beer and just chatting. It’s literally one of my favorite days of every year.

To Chris Berman — You are really funny man! Keep up the schtick!! 

To my buddy Justin — You’re a loyal, smart, kind dude and I figured if I didn’t put you on this list I wouldn’t get any more rides to and from the airport. Also, washers. 

To Mike Stoops — Nope, never mind, you probably took years OFF my life, but hey, thanks for giving that head coaching gig the ‘ol college try. 

To Will and Skylar — I think of college and think of you two exclusively. You make me smile where the sun don’t shine (and also where the sun does shine (hint: my face)).

To my buddy Chuck — You’re really great as long as you’re standing very far away from any moveable grills. Also, this video

To my buddy Richard — Because I haven’t put any black people on this list yet and I didn’t want to come off as racist. Also, your good side? Really fucking good.

To my buddy Kevin — If someone had listed the characteristics that you’d bring to the table before college started, I would have laughed at that list, and then poured Natural Light on it. Thankfully people aren’t book covers, and that dude that drove the horrible yellow Mustang has become one of the greatest guys in my life. And also, can I get a table next week at SUPPER CLUB for, like, 8 people? Thanks! 

To Everyone on the Gateway Tour — Thanks for letting me know I wasn’t nearly good enough to be a pro golfer. Tough lesson but I appreciate it. Oh, and also, don’t be such assholes. 

To my sweet, sweet Nikki — You are my mom, just 30 years after her. You once told me in an e-mail that if you ever needed to just smell the ocean I’d be the friend that drove you there and I say the exact same thing about you. I can’t go to Bisonwitches without you in tow (and frankly don’t want to).

To my prom date Maegan — Hey, remember when we said, “If we’re single when we’re 30 we will just marry each other?” God we were dumb. 

To Jake, Nick, Daren, Andy, Matt, Matt, Andrew, Ashdon — Never been a better group of idiots. You men are incredible, and also, fucking Jake. 

To Candice, Austen, Derek, Blaine, Chris, DJ and Andrew — Because, well, you guys know.

To my buddy Ryan Wilson — You landed me my first pay-per-post job on the internet, and because of you, I’m writing for a living about a sport I love. You, my friend, deserve a lifetime of Zimas.

To teachers like Mrs. Degn and Mrs. Lewis — We grow up with teachers and TEACHERS, and you guys are the latter. A lot of people think they can do what you do, but the two of you proved early on that there are amateurs and there are professionals at this teaching thing and I thank you for pushing me to a place I didn’t know existed.

To Steve Jobs — This iPhone thing is really badass. Thanks for that. 

dangerguerrero:

LATEST SATELLITE IMAGE OF SANDY HOLY CRAP YOU GUYS.

dangerguerrero:

LATEST SATELLITE IMAGE OF SANDY HOLY CRAP YOU GUYS.

best drinks to have during a hurricane

If you’re in the path of Sandy, you’re probably thinking either A.) I should probably get drunk or B.) I should probably get drunker. Here are the most Hurricane appropriate drinks for this Monday.

Hurricane — 1 oz. vodka, 1/4 oz grenadine, 1 oz gin, 1 oz light rum, 1/2 oz 151, 1 oz amaretto, 1 oz triple sec, pineapple and grapefruit juice. Shake. 

Dark and Stormy — 2 oz. Gosling’s Black Seal rum, 8 oz Ginger beer, lime. Pour over ice.

The Perfect Storm — 2 oz. Kraken Spiced rum, 6 oz. Ginger beer. Pour over ice.

Black and Tan — 1 part Guiness, 1 part Bass

Wicked Sandy — 1 oz. limoncello lemon liqueur, 1/2 oz. amaretto, 1/2 oz. Bailey’s, 1 tsp white tequila, 1 tsp Cointreau orange liqueur. Serve straight up. 

Whiskey — Because, well, why not? 

Just a quick reminder of the last time we handed the Lakers a ring before the season started. 

Just a quick reminder of the last time we handed the Lakers a ring before the season started. 

Posting this because I really, really, really want this to happen, but wondering if I’m the only one that would benefit from it. 

Posting this because I really, really, really want this to happen, but wondering if I’m the only one that would benefit from it. 

Beardown.

Back in 2002, when I was a young high school kid with a squeaky Texas accent and no real direction on colleges, I resulted to the sports fan deep within; I picked my college because of the basketball team. 

Yes, the dart I threw at the wall landed in Tucson, Ariz. mainly because I knew their basketball team was going to be great that year. They were on the cover of Sports Illustrated and ESPN The Magazine (back when people even looked at what was on the cover of ESPN The Magazine), and they had two preseason All-Americans that were both seniors and inspired. 

So I packed my SUV, my dad packed his Dodge Truck, and off we went to southern Arizona. The funny (And slightly ironic) part of all this was that the other college that didn’t get the rose turned out to win the National Championship that year in basketball and my class was the first to ever go through all four years under Lute Olson without a trip to the Final Four (if you remember, I was in Tucson when the infamous Arizona-Illinois game occurred, so it wasn’t for lack of talent, more for lack of luck). 

And really, Arizona has never been great at anything since I’ve officially been a Wildcat. The football team has always been a wreck. The basketball team has had some good runs but are still searching for that first Final Four appearance since I cursed the campus. (And yes, I was proud of the softball team in ‘06 and ‘07, but for some reason it didn’t get the fire in my belly going like one of the big three sports. Call me whatever pig name you want, it wouldn’t be the first time.) 

So Monday night was extra special. It was special because I was actually rooting for that team that everyone that didn’t go to South Carolina was rooting for. It was fun because the team was on a historic run in a year they didn’t seem to have the right formula. And it was fun because this is the only team I honestly care about. Sadly, my love for the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos has faded as I’ve gotten older. I love watching the NBA but I find myself rooting against teams a lot more than I find myself rooting for someone. And major league baseball has been lost on me since I gave up my Kangaroo leather Nokona glove for my Winn grips. 

And it was special because for some reason, sports fans really do believe they have some influence on things. People wear the same shirts during winning streaks and always sit in the same seats because they’re scared a move will jinx something. It is why I really believe I’ll never make a hole-in-one because of some stupid thing I coined “The Bacon Curse,” a theory that is derived simply because my uncle, my dad and myself have as many hole-in-ones as my 5-year-old nephew (that would be, zilch). 

We sports fans have some strange mental theory that holds the team back, when deep down we know it doesn’t matter. It’s what gets us so involved, and why people fly across the country and spend thousands of dollars in hope that their team finally succeeds, and spends days in the dumps when they don’t. 

But the Arizona baseball team winning the College World Series was a bigger deal to me than I ever thought it would. It had nothing to do with the sport itself, and more to do with the kids that make up Coconino and AZ-SO. They get to feel something I never got. They get to celebrate a true championship with their fellow students that will be splashed across the Arizona Daily Wildcat like “Dewey Defeats Truman”. It’s a community after all, and there is nothing better than when someone from your community succeeds. 

Bear Down indeed. 

i left a perfect game early and that’s just fine

There is a great scene in “Good Will Hunting” where the soon-to-be Academy Award winning Robin Williams explains the first time he met his wife. He knew the actual date. The bar. What she was wearing. 

With his grizzly beard he explains the moment intensely to Matt Damon’s character, who can’t believe that Williams would leave one of the most epic baseball games in the history of the sport to have a drink with his future wife. 

"Wow… Woulda been nice to catch that game, though. 

I didn’t know Pudge was gonna hit a homer.”


Enter Wednesday night. TaylorMade, a golf company that is having the golf equivalent of the iPod boom right now for Apple, hosted some journalists at AT&T Park for a pre-game golf event where a six-time PGA Tour winner hit drivers over right field into the bay and members of both teams oohed and awed as his balls consistently traveled over 330 yards. It was really impressive and fun to watch, and after, we got wined and dined. We were at the ballpark at 4:00 PM. The game started at 7:15 PM. I had already spent a few hours at AT&T Park the night before, and to be honest, I fucking hate baseball. 

It isn’t anything about the game. I think baseball is beautiful and strategic and wonderful. But I just don’t care about it anymore. I don’t watch games on TV. I go to a few Diamondabacks games each year because one of my best friends can get us tickets and I enjoy that friend immensely. But I … I just don’t really like watching the game (and this is really something going from a golf writer).

But you know the rest of the story. Matt Cain took a perfect game into the fifth, and then into the seventh, and then into the ninth. I was on a bus back to my hotel when he retired the Astros in the eighth, and I sprinted out of the bus about six blocks from my hotel so I could catch the last inning. 

See, that’s the thing. I will never let myself live down the fact that I left a perfect game, but in the same sense, I still got to see it. I watched the last inning in a bar with a ton of baseball fans, and while the energy level was a glass of tap water compared to the 64 oz. Monster that was AT&T Park, I still got to see history. Yes, it is a watered-down version, but history is history. 

Never for a moment did I hope he wouldn’t do it. I’ve heard from some others that left early that they were rooting for a hit because they didn’t want to have to deal with missing such a monumental achievement. I never did. That isn’t me. 

Why didn’t I? Because baseball fans that really, really love the game deserved to see that in person. There were 30,000 people at that park that will relish in that moment for months to come. They’ll frame the ticket. They’ll tell their kids about where they were doing this inning or how high they jumped when Gregor Blanco made that improbable catch. It’ll be a moment most will never forget.

And for me? I’ll have my little “Good Will Hunting” story. Anytime someone takes a perfect game into the seventh, and I’m frosting my top lip with an IPA, I can tell the stranger next to me about my brainless decision years ago about how I broke the cardinal fucking rule of baseball viewing; “don’t leave a game until a pitcher gives up his first hit.”

There is really only one way to put this in baseball terms that make sense. On Wednesday, I was scored as E-10. 

dangerguerrero:

Good morning. I made you this helpful chart.

dangerguerrero:

Good morning. I made you this helpful chart.

Holy hell this is talent at its best.