We Love Waltah!
Bleeding purple and gold a Laker-for-life like me shouldn’t even like Boston, let alone be friends with a Celtic. Still, it seemed to work for Larry and Magic after awhile so let me take off my Lakers warm-ups and reveal a Celtics t-shirt underneath…or maybe a Boston Strong one for this incredible city that continues to rise up showing its tougher than the rest and strong enough to endure any test. I’ve now been lucky enough to go to this incredible city three times in my life, but add all those trips up together and you probably wouldn’t get more than a week. Still, I could stay here forever. From it’s New England, old Irish feel its so timeless. The beautiful parks, hallmark bars. Residential streets of vintage and new age shops, the marvelous market and of course the magnificent mile. It’s home to some of my favourite movies like ‘Good Will Hunting’ and ‘The Town’ (Matt Damon and Ben Affleck being among my favourite actors too) and a favourite band I really want to see live in Aerosmith (oh and for the record Steven Tyler in his autobiography pictures the feeling of coming into Boston from the highway to the skyline in a prose perfect way (“And just then, the highway opened up-right at the junction, right at that spot on the highway where you see the skyline of Boston, and you go, “What!?” Because it suddenly goes from trees, woods, and crickets to cars flashing by and skyscrapers and apartment buildings…Just at that moment, I went “Oh, s***, the city”)). Then of course there’s the great people, genuine and friendly and always welcoming to me…I guess they don’t know I’m a Laker…until now, but hey this Basketball aficionado turned writer because he lives in England will catch a game no matter where he is. Even if he has missed the Garnett, Allen, Pierce, big-three days. It’s still all good.
One resident in particular has been especially kind to me and it all starts with a disappointing game in Los Angeles like any story of Celtic pride. Back in 2006, fresh out of university I decided to take a year out and try my hand living in Toronto, Canada (I’m still connected to that country via Basketball Buzz but can’t wait to make a trip back). During this excursion I decided to take a jaunt to Los Angeles to see as many Laker games as I could while I still could, being so far away from home in a once in a lifetime experience. With the Lakers set to host their neighbour Clippers on the first night I got in the perfect stage was set. Or was it? Losing my luggage on my connection the airline grounded my plans and as a first time solo traveler there was no way I was leaving that airport until me and my few prized possessions where reunited. Hours of stressful and dreams dashed waiting later (I’ll give you some perspective then at 21, I’d been a Laker and Kobe Bryant fan since around the age of 11 (bet that makes Vino feel old) and never even got to see much in the way of late night/early morning games on T.V.), I see a tall man walk through baggage claim. “Perhaps my night of Basketball isn’t over” I thought. “He looks like Walter McCarty, but he’s carrying a keyboard almost as tall as him under his arm. Wait…it is Waltah!” After he graciously signed autographs I nervously went over said hello and shared some hoops memories, most notably the time he Antonie Walker, Paul Pierce and Mark Bryant of all people shot down Allen Iverson’s Philadelphia 76ers with a barrage of blowout threes (one game I did get to see on T.V.). I also asked him about the instrument and he told me about his budding music career. He told me to take care, we went our separate ways, I got my baggage, saw many Laker games to make up in the week and that was that.
Years later inspired by this unforgettable trip and staying close to the game I began a pitch at a writing career with help from the likes of SLAM magazine and Bleacher Report, who I’ll be forever grateful too. Still, starting my own blog and seeing how easily you could connect with fans and even players themselves on Twitter I wanted to take it further, interviewing guys like former Celtic Rodney Rodgers and getting some encouragement from another Laker/Celtic Rick Fox. Then one night after talking with my girlfriends friend in America (who recently was gracious enough to host us over there) who is a hardcore hoops head and a devout Kentucky Basketball fan we got talking about the former Wildcat Walt and she told me where to find him on Twitter (so all of this is thanks to him, her and the constant inspiration of my girlfriend who encourages me to go for my dreams (insert Oscar speech here)). Thinking it as a long shot I reached out to see of Walt remembered me and he said he did, then I asked if he wanted to do an interview about his Basketball/music career and he was so genrous enough to grant me this. ‘Soil & Basketball’ followed, then did his unquestionable ‘Unbreakable’ R&B album that showed he could hit the high notes as well as the big shot, his Robert Horry clutch like/Derek Fisher hustle and guts, dirty work (more Laker references hey? You have to call it like you see it) role player classic career showed. These days Walt’s big time when it comes to rhythm and Basketball working with Tank of Tyrese and Ginuwine supergroup TGT and of that wasn’t enough the fan favourite, Tommy Heinsohn announcing ‘I Love Waltah’ t-shirt star is back with his beloved Boston as a Celtics assistant coach. Giving his seasoned advice and experienced guidance to some young talent in a new, best Point Guard in the league Rajon Rondo led era.
So anyway a couple of years after the interview brings us to just a couple of months back. My girlfriend takes a three month trip to America to meet her Kentucky friend and more and I meet her in New York in this New Year for the last month, taking in Kentucky, Nashville and the Lakers old home Minneapolis with her for the best trip of my life with the love of mine. Heading from New York to Boston via Greyhound for just one day we arrive at the city and see what Steven Tyler was talking about as the skyscrapers appear through the trees after our relatively short, but remarkably scenic ride from the Big Apple. On an unseasonably Spring like January day, staying in the new-to-both-of-us beautiful Back Bay near the sea its a great day like no other that we’ll always remember and not just because we got to see the ‘Cheers’ bar as the Norm. With my girlfriend Holly absolutely loving this town from the start and me loving it like I never thought I could top we also had one more sweet surprise coming our way. After talking about possibly meeting during our rushed and short schedules I e-mailed Walt while in Dunkin’ Donuts (wink, wink, we run on it too) and asked if he still wanted to meet. He replied that we could after the game. Completely forgetting the Houston Rockets and my Lakers beloved Dwight Howard where in town I said “cool, forgot there was a game on, we may try and go”, just like that, to which he replied saying he’d leave tickets and passes at will call for us! Now how great and generous is that?! Seeing one of the best games I’ve seen after the best day in recent memory I finally got to share a real NBA game with my girlfriend for the first time (and exhibition in Manchester with her doesn’t really count and compare to the Garden). We got to see the banners, the jerseys and even meet former electric, spark-plug great Dana Barros (now how about an interview buddy…remember me I’m the guy whose camera wouldn’t work…sorry). Then of course Walt himself recognizing us after the game and fetching us some refreshing, cold water with plenty for us all to talk about from the game, to music, this city and of course Kentucky. In what was a great day for Basketball and one epic entry for the travel journal this really was one of life’s best memories thanks to Holly and Walter McCarty. There’s no awesome adjective that could truly do justice to his unprovoked kindness and generosity. So instead its more fitting to leave you with his motto that he signs his e-mails and lives his life by, “Give without remembering, take without forgetting”. Thank you Walt…we won’t! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Jared Dudley Is The Lakers Unsung Hero
There’s a hero that could save us in Hollywood right now.
And I ain’t talking about The King.
Or the Brow to ‘Bron in A.D. and his best since Shaq and Kobe dynamic duo combining for 70 like one off Elgin Baylor’s career high.
I ain’t talking about Kuz. Canada’s champ Danny Green from downtown purple and gold. Or the redemption reunion of Superman returns Dwight Howard in the hash-tag “Washed King’s” revenge season.
I ain’t even talking about the bald identity of my hero the Alex Caruso show this time.
I’m talking about Jared Dudley people.
Yeah I said it!
Not the same Jared that got replaced by Joaquin as The Joker. Not the same Dudley that got nut checked by Shaquille O’Neal on the Knicks before lamely quarterback pitch throwing the ball after him on the inbound technical (we didn’t think centers apart from Shaq could pass like that). Or the same J.D. that like going with Coke welcomed us to Atlanta with Ludacris. But just Jared.
You may think the former Brooklyn boy fan favourite owns the last roster spot that should have gone to a blazing Carmelo. Or still a free agent Jamal Crawford (even a J.R. Smith?!). A spot reserved for Andre Igudola once he gets out of contract hell. Or even a South Bay call-up for legendary names in young Lakers like Antetokounmpo, Stockton and Payton II. And let’s not forget the one Ingram they didn’t trade in the Grey Mamba ‘dre.
And with that headband over his shaved dome you may think the guy who Balenciaga bigger than Basketball looks the part in the players only catwalk runway to the stadium for his fashion fit drip looks like he’ll definitely be in ‘Bron’s ‘Space Jam’ sequel too. That’s all for your insults folks (“baldy?!”). But with that number ten to go with the head check he kind of looks like a less ripped version of a former King that used to kill the Lakers…and that’s no insult to J.D. Have you see Mike Bibby these days? He really is a unit.
But to me he looks like one of those bench energy guys who lifts the whole team in the mould of a Rony Turiaf or ‘Mad Dog’ Mark Madsen. Even if his time on the pine is more than on the hardwood. He still has his Laker legend like that photoshopped number 10 next to James and Davis for the new big three, tongue in cheek.
And speaking of that number ten you just may see that jersey in the seats of STAPLES almost as much as the King’s 23. Why you ask. Are fans waiting until A.D. adds a King’s 2 to his 3 as LeBron carries the 6? Was there a sale? An in-game giveaway like that Shaq City Edition being on everyones seats pregame for its debut in L.A.?
It’s because Dudley has literally been gifting his number ten signature to almost everyone (hello!) whose asked this season on Twitter and it isn’t even Christmas yet. What a statement. And if you thought that was a grand gesture then half of these people in the stands in tens are there because Jared has personally left comp tickets waiting for them for games at will call (the other half probably just in thanks). Not just at STAPLES…but on the road too. Now how’s that for player power? Reaching out to fans in precarious positions, with problems when it comes to getting to games, or even those whose lifelong dream was just to see Hollywood’s Lakers live and in living colour one time.
He’s done it countless. More times than the 23 and 2 team to start their best season since the year 2000 have won.
Now how about that? You love to see it. Right now no one does more for the fans than the people’s champ Jared Dudley.
When he gets his ring it won’t be from riding coattails, but giving his all, everything.
And let’s not forget the heart and hustle he puts down on the floor every night his box score doesn’t read DNP-CD for a second, or minute of time.
Let’s see more from Dudley.
The Lake Show are the Hollywood story of the season. But we all know when it comes to the script from the Basketball God’s you need your character actors as much as the academy of award winners. And if Jared Dudley really is the Lakers unsung hero in L.A. like Denis Irwin was for Manchester United (know your history) it’s time to hit the high notes and shoot our shot like he does his.
Now is this enough for me to get a jersey Jared?
DO Call It A Carmelo Comeback. Anthony Is Guaranteed For Years
Three fingers like “what’s your poison” and shots to the dome like LL Cool J’s comeback. I’m calling it…
La La said knock you out.
They say there are no guarantees in this life, or league. But now after almost crossing off an entire calender, Carmelo Anthony has one in this league of X and O’s.
You best believe every team that slept on him has woke up now.
O.K. Thunder? Like old New York. No ‘Melo in Lakers yellow, or Houston’s problem.
And let’s not talk about that ATL jersey Atlanta tried to hawk.
The Nugget type of fellow that Nelly rapped about like ‘Na-Nana-Na’, with the heart of a champion sweat until he was no longer in a suit and part of the Sportscenter theme again. After waiting longer to align with The King in Hollywood for this Game Of Thrones than another Anthony (Davis), Carmelo ended up coming up roses in the RIP City of Portland. And boy has he blazed a trail. Voltron forming arguably a big three with the best backcourt in the league not in this nation’s capital with C.J. McCollum and Dame ‘Time’ Lillard with the look like the OK3 of Russell Westbrook and PG3 and not the Beard and the Brow.
And now he’s exceeded everyone’s greatest expectations. As one of the G.O.A.T.’s has polished his path to the Hall with a comeback even better than the return of Superman Dwight Howard with the Lakers…which could have had a Hollywood sequel with Carmelo’s comeback.
But the Lakers loss is the PDX’s blazing gain.
What more would you expect from a guy who still put up competent averages in the soaring Rockets cosmos, despite being grounded by little court acclaim? The problems in Houston could have actually been attributed to another guy who ended up ousted and in an Oklahoma home too. Despite the trolls who are now trading in hot takes like they never simulated 2K videos of him building a Commodore house with his shot selection. Or the analysts who are changing their discussion like a report rewrite.
Carmelo ain’t calming down. Anthony is taking everyone back to school.
Class has been in session.
And how about the report card? Eight games. 16.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Big shots. Western Conference Player of the Week. All Star legend spot? He belongs like the Carushow in the Slam Dunk Contest. He’s unstoppable like LeBron James’ Eurostep, spin-cycle lay-up that is like a runaway freight…word to Denzel Washington. Or his Kareem sky-hook. Tokyo 2020 Team USA bid for the best in five rings Olympic legend in his golden age? Big shots from the double 0 like seven. From nothing twice?! This is no time to die Mr. Bond.
He’s gone toe-to-shot with the MVP. Showed he was more than a most imported or Sixth Man, but still a star. More than the name, but the actual game. And now he’s guaranteed to be around for a while longer like he never left, but is here to stay. As the Blazers changed the trail on the end of the signature of his contract before the ink even dried for this guy’s with the wet jumper like staying outside in the snow with your ugly NBA sweater this Christmas.
This tax is more than a luxury. It’s about to cap off a classic career with one compelling closing chapter.
Even when he bit career highs at the core of his career in the Big Apple, the ever humble hero Carmelo was a walking and dribbling, “I just take it one game (or day) at a time” postgame soundbite like he has been in his comeback off court to on it. Well now the Blazers can guarantee him 365…or at least 82 or however far he takes them.
From the headband to the hoodie, stay ‘Melo. Anthony is here to stay.
Subscribe to our Newsletter!
Canadian Basketball Insider Newsletter