Diss Guy Miss Guy, Volume 10
The Diss was about to break it's first ever story involving a (former) NBA player, but then our source in South Beach decided that he didn't want to lose his job. What a hoser! So, so much for that. Here's our revised DGMG picks in the slowest NBA news week since the 2011 Lockout.
Diss Guy: Matt Barnes
As a Californian, I'm a sucker for Matt Barnes. He's a Bay Area guy like me; born in Santa Clara, CA, and a two-sport star at Del Campo in Fair Oaks (which, admittedly, is more Central Valley than Bay Area). He was a key player on one of the only college basketball teams I've ever enjoyed watching, the early 2000s UCLA bruins, which featured Barnes, Earl Watson, Jason Kapono and Dan Gadzuric. All of those guys really had to scrape to get spots in the league, and Barnes was no different. Though he was a 2002 draft pick, but didn't make his NBA debut until 2004, after playing in the D-League and the ABA. Then, once he got to the league, he became a boss in a way that only someone who has a real chip on their shoulder can be. He was mean, wore a scowl, fouled hard, guarded the best players on the other team, and did a little of everything on offense. Of course, my favorite memory of him is with the 2007 Warriors, hitting threes, playing lockdown perimeter defense, and embodying the East Bay-ness of the We Believe team. And finally, he's a biracial dude who's been very forward and honest about growing up between two racial worlds, feeling neither black nor white enough to fit in anywhere. I'm not that happy he signed with the Clippers (I actually liked him on the Lakers), but I'm happy he's staying in California.
Miss Guy: Vladimir Putin
Jerry Zgoda, who covers the Wolves for The Star Tribune, reported today that Andrei Kirilenko and Alexy Shved will travel to Minnesota to start getting ready for the 2012-2013 season. Kirilenko and Shved, of course, played key roles on Russia's Olympic team, which beat out the Argentinians for their first medal in basketball since the dismantling of the Soviet Union. Speaking with reporters, Kirilenko explained that he would've come to the States earlier had Vladimir Putin not requested that the team come to the Kremlin in late August. "You know Putin, you don't go against Putin in Russia," said Kirilenko, who then quickly added, "just kidding." No you're not, Andrei. Putin's an oligarch whose rule, both as president and prime minister, has resembled his Soviet predeccessors more often than not. He has stifled free speech, put down peaceful protests, jailed countless individuals without giving them due process, and used public money to create a cult of personality around himself. Yesterday, a 50,000-strong march called for Putin to leave office, call new elections, and free political prisoners. Sadly, there's a better chance of Putin accepting former presidential rival and current Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov's invitation to play a game of one-on-one than any of these political demands being met.