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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Bipedal/Vs./Yield the key/Ten (starters)

Bill Simmons calls this NBA playoffs a comeback for great basketball, pointing out that it is much like the upcoming Pearl Jam album, which is being billed as a comeback for great grunge. So Simmons uses Pearl Jam lyrics to describe the various characters and scenarios of the NBA postseason:
19.

She loved him, yeah ... she don't want to leave this way

She feeds him, yeah ... that's why she'll be back again
Can't find a better man

To the great Chauncey Billups, who's one more killer spring away from moving into the pantheon of Big Game Guards, along with Sam Jones, Jerry West, Dennis Johnson and Walt Frazier. Out of anyone in the playoffs other than Kobe, he's the one who can make the biggest leap historically. Well, unless Artest charges into the stands again.

(By the way, out of any Pearl Jam song, this is the one that gives me one of those party flashbacks -- you know, when you hear a moment in a song and it makes you remember standing in somebody's kitchen at 4:45 a.m., bombed to smithereens, holding a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other, waiting for the guitar transition near the end to wrap up so everyone still awake could scream, "She loved him!" at the same time ... )

...
21.

On a weekah onawasta onawaya yeah.
And they called nine-a-said and I won't and they said
Andacalled out again
Anda reason on a levah gone buy no
I said I dunno wear on a bicycle back
Awaaaaaaaay hey! Can you see them?
Ow on the porch! Yeah, but they don't wait!

The most impossible-to-decipher Pearl Jam song ("Yellow Ledbetter," in which Eddie sounds like Jame Gumb for five straight minutes, although it's still one of their greatest songs, so you figure it out) goes to the most impossible-to-decipher Round 1 series: the Suns and the Lakers.

Is this one of the all-time goofiest matchups in playoff history? (I say yes.) ... Can Kobe break MJ's record for most points in a series? (I say yes). And can you see where I'm going here? (That's right: Lakers in six.)

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Blogger Alice on Tue Apr 25, 12:49:00 PM:
The best part of the Simmons piece is the sidebar by Kevin Jackson about what it was like to be a Sonics fan in the early '90s:

From there, my love for the Sonics and PJ became one affair. The "Slam Jam" poster featuring leaping images of Kemp and Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament, which was given away at the 1993 home opener, became the featured piece of art in my apartment.

Pearl Jam songs became the sound track for the Sonics' playoff runs in those years, and any Seattle fan worth his salt could close his eyes and tell you what was happening on the floor at the Seattle Center Coliseum by the tune being played during timeouts. "Even Flow" meant our boys had blown the game open, "Alive" meant they were waging a comeback, "Go" meant they had a big lead in the fourth quarter but the house was urging us to "not go on them now" and bolt for the exits.


Simmons' previous NBA breakdowns organized by popular quotes have worked well (especially the Top Gun installment), but this one seems to make clear that Pearl Jam is best quoted in fragments and not in blocks; or, rather, the lyrics are better sung by Eddie Vedder than quoted as semi-significant poetry. Simmons appears to know he's reaching for connections by the end, when he throws in the incomprehensible "Yellow Ledbetter" lyrics, but half of the items are reaches. He should have gotten something better out of the fragment he's quoted from "Nothingman": it's Vince Carter, obviously, or the absent Kevin Garnett. I'm with him on the "Black" lyrics, though I too have resigned myself to a Pistons-Spurs Finals.