The Downbeat #891 -- The "Being Big is good and you can do good when you're big" Edition

Photos: Russ Isabella - US Presswire; Photoshop: AllThatAmar

Today's downbeat has just a little bit more in it . . .

Depending on how crazy much of a great Utah Jazz fan you are -- you may or may not have heard about the Olden Polynice news. No, he wasn't road raging someone and flashing his badge around. Olden is more than just a guy with anger management issues though. You may also know Olden from his time actually playing basketball (he of 179 total regular season and playoff games in a Jazz uni, 3,798 total minutes, 21.34 mpg, 5.40 ppg, 5.15 rpg, 0.96 bpg, 32.3 FT%), or his work popularizing, donating, and working towards rebuilding Haiti after their recent national tragedies. Or breaking down on Dr. Phil after he was reunited with his dad, after thinking they were missing for good. Weeellll, Olden was just honored by his homeland of Haiti to be a goodwill ambassador. According to the Caribbean Journal staff (November, 2012), this news was "revealed at a ceremony at the National Palace on Thursday." First of all, props to Olden for doing this, he's a big man with a big heart. And second, props for coming from, and returning to (as a hero) a place that actually HAS a National Palace. (Swagg Alert #1)

The President of Haiti, Michel Martelly, said "The appointment of our friend and compatriot, Olden Polynice, as goodwill ambassador of Haiti, is a way to thank him and give him the opportunity to contribute to the struggle of our government to provide a better like to the [Hatian] people by inviting investors to come and invest in Haiti." You may know President Martelly from his previous life as the keyboard player in a bunch of Haitian pop bands, his stage name was "Sweet Micky." (Swagg Alert Part Deux)

Olden tweeted his thanks, and the Consul General of Haiti, Francois Guillaume II, also RT'd him.

Db_891_-_olden_polynice_tweet_medium

You may know Francois Guillaume II, or Junior, from his active campaign to set up "a small consulate at the edge of Miami's downtown. And then to renovate it." (Defend.ht, March 2012) (Swagg Alert #3) I'm sorry he doesn't have a stage name or anything cool like Sweet Micky; but if you are interested you can hit him up on Linkedin. This entire story was getting kinda out of hand, and I was about to download some immigration forms to move to their Island Paradise.

Holden Polynice (his actual name, btw, but people in America couldn't get that the French speaking Haiti doesn't pronounce the letter H at the beginning of words) will be replacing Maria Bello as a goodwill ambassador. You may know her from "A history of Violence", and a bunch of movies people did not like. This move gives Polynice a Bacon Number of 3. Also, if instead you are interested in more insanity, we can also link him to Felicia Day. Polynice -> Bello (Haitian ambassadorship) -> Viggo (History of Violence) -> Ian McKellen (Lord of the Rings) -> Patrick Stewart (X-Men) -> Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation) -> Felicia Day (The Guild). I guess my Haiti Number is 2, as my older brother did free medical work there a few years back.

Anyway, a big part of attracting business partners and making money is to be a celebrity. Here O.P.'s large stature and legit credentials will surely help. God bless him. Check out all of this news in English at the Caribbean Journal; and in French at Haiti Libre. And yes, this is apparently how my mind works at 3 am on a Saturday.

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The good people at NOC TV are a different kind of crazy than I am. Peep this funny video that mocks all 30 teams' fanbases after three weeks of the season are in the books.

Which ones were your favorites? I felt like the Atlantic Division gets totally ripped, hilarious!

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I actually got the Olden story from Clint's twitter feed (@Clintonite33). There's some big news coming up his way that I think will be pretty awesome. I don't know if he has publicly announced it yet -- so I'll let you all fill the world in on the details. What I do know, and what I think is public record now, is that he's going to work hard to bring more voices to the Utah Jazz online fanbase. I think this is a great opportunity for some talented writers and die-hard Jazz fans out there. It's also great for our fanbase as a whole. There's plenty of space online for all Jazz opinions, and I'd love to have another blog (or two or three) to add when I finally update my blogroll.

There's also plenty of room here, like I tried to get out there in this plea. We have a lot of great talent here and I need to do a better job in promoting it. Here's one such post by marvin_is_joe (... you may know him from twitter as @marvin_is_joe) that dropped on Thursday. It's all about the whole Deron Williams / Jerry Sloan / Utah Jazz fiasco. (I think fiasco is probably the best word to use now)

Here's a quote:

"Deron was traded for the farm and as Jazz Nation we still know very little about what happened. I am very happy the deal happened because we never were sure Deron would have stayed in Utah because he signed that 3 year deal and not the max. We know have Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Alec Burks and you could even say Marvin Williams and Mo Williams because of that one trade.

So it all started back in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics on Team USA. Deron got to talk to other stars, one being Dwight Howard, about playing in Salt Lake City. Lets just say that Deron Williams wasnt enough star power to attract another big name player. Thats (sic) why last night with Al Jefferson saying he wants to be a "Utah Jazz" is so nice to hear. Kevin O'Connor (KOC) heard about these talks Deron was having and that planted the seed and that same summer DWill signed a 3 year deal, not max, which left us all wondering why. It later came out that DWill told KOC that he "would wait and see" after year 3. Not like Kevin Durant saying he was there to stay or anything that sounded remotely promising.

So last night I heard David Locke say he believed the actual "beginning of the end" happened 3 seasons ago in Boston. Here is the Boxscore from the Jazz at Celtics game back in 2010-11 where Locke believes Deron actually gave up on Jerry Sloan and the Jazz system. If you look at the stats Deron only has 5 points and his +/- rating is -12 which is horrible. He plays less minutes than backup Earl Watson. He had 5 turnovers and the Jazz lost by 24 points. Williams had a 25% shooting percentage." -- marvin_is_joe

It is, literally, better than anything I've written this month.

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Another SLC Dunk reader / participant, Kenn (@KennChapman17) tweeted me a great piece on ESPN by Kevin Arnovitz (@kevinarnovitz ) who is one of my fav national writers. You may also know Arnovitz as the one guy on ESPN who wasn't writing "the refs need to give Melo more free throws" pieces back during that most recent Nuggets / Jazz playoff series where Kyrylo Fesenko was a difference maker. I think I told him that years ago on twitter and Kevin replied back. It made my day. Well . . . Arnotivz' piece talks about our vaunted "Big" lineup where we play Paul Millsap at the three, flanked by Al Jefferson and Derrick Favors. I think more and more we're being converted to this way of thinking -- especially since they played 15+ minutes together in a row in those overtimes in Toronto the other night. They have been doing work on the glass and in the paint for longer though. When we made our playoff push last season it was with these three guys on the floor together.

Of course, you can't use this lineup all game long, nor can you use them against every team. (Sometimes we may have to use Marvin Williams at the 4 depending on who else is out there! And we HAVE so far this season!) But I am a supporter. Arnovitz talks about how they are faring so far this season, and why it works in this smallball world. Check it all out here.

Here's a quote:

"Two weeks after the NBA Finals, players, coaches, execs and scouts were touting the end of traditional positions in the NBA as the grand lesson of last season. For most, that meant that it was time to go small, spread the floor with shooters, irrespective of their size.

But wait a minute. Why does the end of traditional positions have to always mean "going smaller"? What if there's an equally reasonable argument that going the other way, leveraging size against stretch, is also a revolutionary idea?


We present to you the Utah Jazz, a team that has played three big men -- Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors -- together for 30 minutes over their past two games.


As a smallball enthusiast, I've been somewhat skeptical of Jazz coach Ty Corbin's experiment, but the numbers show that it's working for Utah, at least on the offensive end of the floor. Granted, we're dealing with a small sample size, but during the 38 minutes Jefferson, Millsap and Favors have shared the floor with two perimeter players this season, the Jazz have outscored their opponents 95-79. The Utah Supersize lineup has posted an eye-popping offensive efficiency rating of 137.0 points per 100 possessions." -
Kevin Arnovitz, ESPN

Check out the full article (which has stats in it) at ESPN; and yeah, I really agree with this. The addition of Randy Foye (not mentioned in the quote, but in the article) really allows for this lineup to work because this lineup does nothing BUT create mismatches which require defensive help. And Foye is really only good when he's super duper open as a result of defensive help leaving him unguarded. This is specifically an indication of Tyrone Corbin putting guys in a situation to succeed.

The bottom line is that our bigs are good, and good together.

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I love the internet, mainly now because it's full of hilarious things. Before it was great for getting information. Then it was amazing because it was the best way to communicate with people near or far. But now? Now I can't get over how many silly things there are online. One of my favorite sites since the 90s has been The Onion. They are a satire publication that exists in the print variety (or did in the 90s around the Chicago Area) but now dominate the web. Their writers are so damn good. Depending on the article (or now video) you read (or watch) you'll think they are either a left leaning or right leaning site. They aren't. They are a satire site. They've hit the proverbial homerun with their sports coverage (and killed sites like SportsPickle or TheBrushBack). Karl Malone is popular enough to satirize there. Check out their latest:

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It's a short piece that pokes fun at older models of fandom, how to make money in this economy, and additionally, Chris Mullin. Here's a quote:

"With these computer programs now, it’s super easy to make them at home, throw the files on a Zip disk, and bring them to Kinko’s, where they print them out," said Malone, showing reporters a few of his favorite designs, including one featuring the power forward dressed in a postal service uniform that says "The Mailman," and another of him striking a pose while dunking, which he called "a total classic." "People think posters have gone out of style, but no way. A kid turns 12, gets to decorate his own room, what’s he gonna choose? Posters. And that’s where ‘The Mailman’ comes in."-- A fictional Karl Malone, in the satire paper The Onion.

I love how great Karl Malone was on the court, winning two MVPs. And how much gold he has been off the court. After all, he's been in the news a lot and been in a ton of movies as well. But you may also know him from his selfless work after Hurricane Katrina to disobey FEMA and actually do physical labor for like two weeks to clear debris. So, being a good bigman isn't just all he was, but also a good man. Like Olden. (Or Big Al, a very lovable human being in his own right). Also it should be noted that Karl Malone has a Bacon number of 2. So he's one step ahead of O.P. here.

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You already know that the NBA bigwigs have decided to do away with the center (the #5) position on the All-Star Ballot. It's nuts. If they are doing this, they should just have the fans vote on the Top 5 people from each conference, regardless of position -- and then have the remaining 7 spots be picked by coaches. And have the head coach make the starting lineup after that, disregarding the vote. That's smart. I have a lot of smart ideas, but the NBA doesn't listen to me. My own family doesn't either. So I don't blame them. (Amar Cry for help alert #1,393,302,043) The ballot was recently released . . . and well . . . it's a big mess.

I know they make the ballot before the season starts, and it's easier to vote now than ever. (You can just tweet them now) But here are the Jazz players on the ballot:

  • Al Jefferson (Frontcourt)
  • Derrick Favors (Frontcourt)
  • Paul Millsap (Frontcourt)

Yep. Three people. Mo Williams is killing it, but even I had no clue how he would perform this year. Some of the guards who have yet to play this season ARE on it though like Chauncey Billups, Eric Gordon, and Ricky Rubio. So that's good. Klay Thompson is on the ballot as well. Even Wesley Matthews is . . . sheesh.

Well, if you are using the ballot you can still ad in a write in candidate manually. Please do vote -- because it's a great way to see how futile voting is when there's no logical way we can beat the crazy fans of bigger market teams or whatever. The good news is that voting is all about popularity; and not about quality. Good people are frequently not voted into things they would be great at.

And no, this doesn't have anything to do with me not winning homecoming king years ago. (Amar's cry for help #1,393,302,044) The good news is that the three players Arnovitz mentioned in his article are the three guys on the ballot. And thus, they are recognized by the powers that be at the NBA head office to be quality players. And they are our three best players, and Tyrone Corbin is looking to get them on the court more and more as the games go by.

It's nice to be recognized implicitly, but the world takes notice if we keep playing great and winning games. Then you can move onto being famous, being mocked by internet websites, and be honored and recognized in your homeland for your service to your fellow man.

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