I had one hand on the wheel, the other turning the nob on the radio, a 1999 Toyota Corolla, a loaner, my 'good' car in the shop, something about the catalytic converter melting, crap, more out of pocket.
Off to work, 6am. South on the Golden State Freeway. More stop than go, while I monkeyed with the radio, needing my March Madness fix for the morning. It bordered on UnAmerican activities for a guy in March not to Tweet something about his bracket picks. What else was I supposed to Twitter about, feelings? give me a break. Small car, so I had to balance my bear claw, and my Starbucks on my lap.
"...does Elmer Fudd have a problem with the letter..." No, that's not sports. '...more than $3 hundred thousand dollars in credit card debt, we can help..." Not sports either. "...So you think Carmelo is a lock for the Hall of Fame, that what you're saying?" Now that's Sports!
"...and Dick Vitale, only does college sports, and he's in there before Carmelo? What's that?"
"Well, sure, Dick Vitale, is part of Basketball, why not?" said Hoops.
"...and women are in there too. Come on. It's a disgrace. We need separate Halls of Fame. It's all mixed up."
You're the one all mixed up, my friend, I thought. Basketball Hall of Fame, if I'm not mistaken, is about Basketball. Was I hearing this right? Guy didn't have a clue.
"...and how can we have coaches right up there with real players, like Carmelo."
Who is this guy? Too long in the Beltway? I bit into my bearclaw, and wooops some of the Starbucks, ugggg, on my pants. DAMN, damn, damn. "Okay, Hoops, get this lamo off. Wasting time with dummies who are just screwing with us. Next."
"Thanks Jack from North Hollywood...Let's go to...Angelo, from Anaheim. Talk to me."
"Great show, Jim. You gotta change this Hall of Fame, dog. You got players better today, better than those in the Hall so why not put Kobe, guys like that, in right now. People don't care about old dudes, you know."
There's rules, knucklehead. You're inducted AFTER you finished playing. I should call in. Somebody who knows what's going on.
"Yes, why not" said Hoops. "Good Question, my friend. We know Labron, and Kobe will be there, so why not induct them right now?"
..and Kobe's better than Bill Sharman who's there already, and didn't he have something to do with the Clippers once. It's nuts, Hoops. Coaches in the Hall, what is that, takes up room for all the players."
Lakers, not Clippers, dummass. And you're saying John Wooden's just a hack, shouldn't be there either. You're a moron, guy. I have to pull over and call these peeeople...OOOOpps.
Last second I saw the red lights in front of me. I jammed on the brakes, and grabbed the coffee, My nose hit the steering wheel. Ouch! Whooshe, close. Dumb bearclaw slid off onto the floor, but hey, ten second rule. It looked okay.
"Hoops Hooper, SportsRadio 79. Taking a break from March Madness. We're talking Basketball Hall of Fame. What do you think? Who should be there? How should we chose the players? Should fans vote for inductees on their computers? Coaches only vote, or sports bloggers, and sportscasters. Or...do we even really need a Hall of Fame?"
WHAT? I thought. No Hall of Fame? Was I hearing what I was hearing?
"Lines are open...Let's see...Wally from West Hollywood, talk to Hoops."
"Hoops, love your show. Okay, okay Hoops, where the hell is Artis Gilmore. He played terrific. All along, I thought he's already inducted. Wow, these judges picking them are just plain stupid. Same thing with Dennis Rodman. The guy was awesome. Okay, a little bizarro, but why not? Better than Maurice Cheeks. They picked him."
Artis Gilmore? This is insanity. I gotta pull over. This show's getting out of hand, WAY out of hand. Artis Gilmore?
"That's is a good question," said Hoops. "I'll have to check on that. Who exactly votes them in? I should find that out. The NBA really has nothing to do with it, if I'm not mistaken."
"Hoops, you know, not saying it's true, but a few bucks changes hands, and all of a sudden. Know what I'm saying?"
Hall of Fame taking bribes? This is...Blasphemous! I gotta call in. This is so...so...LAME!
"You ask me," said Hoops. "I don't like museums. Boorrrring. Tell me, would you rather see a game, or go to a museum? Shell out $15-$20 bucks for a tour, or see a pro game? You tell me. Lines are open, call me, 1-800 Body Slam. Talking basketball, talking Hall of Fame. Okay, Betty, hey it's Betty from Bellflower, you a basketball watcher, Betty?"
"Better'n that Hoops. I'm a player. And I know Waa Ssuuup! I like the idea of a game instead, show off the new players at half time. I hate museums too, you just like me."
"So you're up with doing away with the Hall of Fame, and just make it a game instead?"
"And give out, what? Gold chains at half time," said Hoops.
"Why not?" said Betty. "Solid 18 carats!"
Oh...My...Gawd, I thought. Gold chains? This is sick.
"Thanks Betty, I like your style...Bingo...that right? Bingo? from Big Bear, you got about thirty seconds."
"Artis Gilmore. He was good and why is he not in? Rick Berry, Dr. J. why not Artis? He was good on defense, like Dennis Rodman, but I guess can't slam dunk on defense, not sexy. Hall of Fame is wrong. We need something better. What about Spencer Haywood, Bernard King, Marques Johnson? Hell, like the man said Maurice Cheeks' in there. Why not them? Something feels clammy in Alabammy, Hoops."
What the Hell ARE THEY TALKING...I reached down for my Starbucks...OOOHHH! YIIKKES!
This time, crap, I couldn't stop, jerked right, clipped the right rear of a Land Rover, bounced on two wheels, and careened hard into the guard wall, while four other cars collided, scattering mostly twisted chunks of fiberglass and Bondo.
Didn't matter. It was about the Hall of Fame? A basketball SHRINE! In a sweat, I dialed. Had to get through. Hell, I'd deal with this loaner thing later.
I knew people were looking at me, getting out of their cars. Not happy. But...
"Why aren't they answering? Come on, answer, ANSWER." I was hot.
"Hello, this is sports radio 79."
"This is Cornelius from West LA...this whole thing about the Hall of Fame is an OUTRAGE, simply an out...
"Thanks Jimmy and thanks everybody...
"Wait! I need to tell you," I said
"...'bout all the time we have. Tomorrow, interview with Mike Smreck, remember him? Destined for the Hall of Fame? I'll ask him. Hoops Hooper, see ya."
"But I have to talk to Hoops...Hall of Fame...you can't just cut me off."
"Damn. I want to talk to your supervisor!" This was not happening.
"Oh, hello officer. I thought I had room, but I had to get through to Hoops. I'm real sorry about all these cars, but come on? Artis Gilmore? And talking about no coaches, like John Wooden, can you believe? And get this, they were saying they should close the Basketball Hall of Fame, and Lebron should be inducted right now. There's rules, RULES I tell you. They had to be MADE TO UNDERSTAND!"
"Please sir, step out of the car."
"But Officer...the Hall of Fame?"
That's my take. What do you make of all this? Would you rather see a game, with inductees awarded at halftime, or go to an actual Basketball Museum, roughly $20 either way? And what about Gilmore? Hall of Fame material?