Imus, Kucinich, and the Houston Rockets
When it comes to defending Don Imus, I've felt like a hideous cygnet among
The revisionist historians of 2007 would have you believe that Imus called the Rutgers women's basketball team niggers. A story from the Associated Press
made it sound as if the shock-jock's actual words - he called the athletes "nappy-headed hos" - came during a moment of serious social commentary. Anyone listening live
to Imus at the time - and I count myself among that misanthropic minority - knows Imus was only doing what he and Howard Stern and Opie & Anthony always try
to do: Make a joke that pushes the envelope of permissibility.
My letter defending Imus in the Boston Herald appeared not
long ago. Since then, I've been searching for an accurate journalistic account of the I-man's dismissal. I found one in New
York magazine, by Robert Kolker, whose articles always contain terrific balance. Kolker also never shies away
from legwork and legal detail. You learn something whenever you read him.
In other first-amendment news, Rolling Stone ink-slinger Matt Taibbi continues
to hurl his facetious mud: "In the absurd black comedy of the American electoral process, our presidential candidates are mostly two-dimensional monsters, grotesque
approximations of human beings born by some obscene asexual reproductive method in the demeaning celluloid muck of the campaign trail." I wish Taibbi would feast his
critical adjectives on the Democrats. Dennis Kucinich continues to be the only one among them whose campaign promises
(universal healthcare, a complete and immediate withdrawal from Iraq) demonstrate a sincere mind for reform. Why does Rolling Stone turn a blind eye to this
But enough of the serious sociopolitical stuff. Here are some sports screeds to ponder as 2007 winds to a close:
- The Houston Rockets are my pick to win the Western Conference. We all know about Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady. Now imagine adding a power forward like Argentina
native Luis Scola. He's better than Andres
Nocioni. He will challenge Kevin Durant for rookie of the year honors. Along with small
forward Shane Battier, bench banger Chuck Hayes, and a gaggle of competent point guards((Mike James, Rafer Alston, Luther Head, Aaron Brooks, John Lucas III), the
Rockets are loaded. They even have high-wire bench talent, in the form of Bonzi Wells, Steve Francis, Bobby Sura and Dikembe Mutombo.
- Appearing on the "360 Hoops" radio show on 1510-AM in Boston, I admitted that I liked the Indiana Pacers as an
Eastern Conference sleeper. Hosts Dave Shook and Brendon Rose laughed in their sleeves, until I gave my reasons. The main one is head coach Jim O'Brien. He knows how
to create defensive chemistry. Moreover, the tandem of point guard Jamaal Tinsley and center Jermaine O'Neal is immensely gifted on offense. Both players are only 29,
and O'Brien will get the best from them. Surround those two with a talented wingman (Danny Granger), a bona fide mucker (Jeff Foster), and dependable shooters - Troy
Murphy, Mike Dunleavy, Travis Diener, and Kareem Rush - and you have a legit sleeper. Mitch Lawrence, columnist with
the New York
Daily News, has reported that O'Brien is prepared to trade O'Neal and lose 50 games. But I don't believe Lawrence. Both O'Brien and his boss,
Larry Bird, are "win-now" guys to the marrow.
One final note: This initial blog - written in November - is going to stay here a while. My ace designer and I need to tweak the content-management system of
ilanmochari.com. Updates will commence in December or January. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, you can check out my fantasy football work
on KFFL, for whom I'm covering the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Ilan Mochari is a novelist and journalist living in the Boston area. His fiction has been honored by Glimmer Train. He is a
former staff writer for Inc magazine, and he has also written for Fortune Small Business and CFO magazine. He has a B.A. in
English from Yale University.