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Dropping ‘Anchor’ on the NBA


PART ONE: “Anchorman” and the NBA

Before we delve into Part II of my “Anchorman”/NBA column, a few readers were wondering why it took me so long to see the movie in the first place. Honestly? When it came out to mixed reviews, I assumed that it was more on the “Night at the Roxbury”/”Ladies Man” level than the “Austin Powers” level. But if you want to throw down fisticuffs, fine — I’ve got Jack Johnson and Tom O’Leary waiting for you, right here.

bill simmonsOn to Part II. Eighteen more quotes and exchanges from “Anchorman,” handed out to the best and worst of the NBA’s offseason so far:

18a. “Well guess what? Now this is happening. (Kicks dog over a bridge.) That’s how I roll.”

To Joe Johnson, who absorbed various slights from the Suns over the past 13 months, eventually signed a $70 million deal with Atlanta, then told Phoenix, “Don’t bother matching, I don’t want to come back.” Normally, I’m against the player in this type of situation, but here was one of the best 25 players in the league with leverage … and they yanked him around for a solid year. Now he’s gone. Can you blame him?

In fact …

18b. “Whhaaaaaaaaaa ha ha ha ha ha ha! The man punted Baxter … whaaaaaaaaaa ha ha ha. Mrmmememme motorcycle bridge I hit him with a burrito-ahhhhhhhhhhh haaaaaaaa haaaaaaaaa haaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m in a glass case of emotion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

(Not only was that one of the funniest moments in the movie, it inspired me to put my Hubie Brown wig on for a couple of sentences. Here we go … )

Now, you’re a Suns fan. Last summer, your team sacrificed the No. 7 pick for enough cap space to sign Steve Nash and Quentin Richardson, who are two outstanding young men. The team ended up winning 62 games and becoming the talk of the league, and the Western Finals would have been a completely different series with a healthy Johnson, who’s an extraordinary young man. Now, you trade ‘Q’ and the 21st pick for Kurt Thomas, a big body that you desperately need. That allows you to move Amare Stoudamire to his natural position, power forward, where the sky is the limit for him. And after you signed Raja Bell to beef up your bench, you were probably the favorite for the 2006 title.

(Taking off the Hubie wig … )

So what happened? Johnson gets traded for Boris Diaw and two future first-rounders. How does that make sense? You spend the last two years giving away first-rounders and building a contender for the immediate future … now you’re trading one of your three indispensable players for future picks? Whaaaaaaaaaat???? More importantly, has anyone ever won the “Executive of the Year” award (like Bryan Colangelo in 2005) and been eligible for the Bill Russell Worst Executive of the Year Award in the same calendar year? Suddenly, they’re one Steve Nash herniated disk away from winning 35 games. Unbelievable.

Of course …

18c. “Take me to Pleasure Town!”
“Oh, we’re going there!”

Not so fast, Hawks fans. Given the events of Thursday night, we’re changing this one to …

18d. “I immediately regret this decision.”

Yep, you knew the Hawks would somehow screw this up. As the headline on ESPN.com said, “Discord among Hawks partners delaying deal with Suns,” with their ownership group apparently battling over the trade (one partner is against it). Reportedly, there was even a restraining order filed, which normally doesn’t happen in the NBA unless one of the Trail Blazers is involved. Regardless of how this plays out, you have to feel terrible for Hawks fans … all 1,500 of them.

19. “Discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named it San Di-ah-go, which of course in German means ‘a whale’s vagina.'”

To Nikoloz Tskitishvili, who parlayed a 25-point summer league game into an actual contract offer from the Wolves. Seriously, who’s worse than him? You might as well offer Dennis Rodman a contract at that point. Unbelievable. None of this would be happening in Minnesota if Kevin McHale were still alive.

Anchorman(By the way, classic Ferrell at the end of this scene, when Applegate corrects him and tells him that it’s really the “Saints of Diego,” and Ferrell dismisses her with “agree to disagree.” High comedy, although he still peaks in the phone booth scene. Another quintessential Ferrell moment happens near the end, when he’s telling the bartender — That Guy from “Heat,” by the way — how Applegate took his job, then he revs the bad acting into fifth gear with, “And you know what the worst thing is? She’s better than me. She’s better than me.” That’s a lost art — the comedian who’s clearly kidding, but he can have an acting moment, anyway. Although he’s no Adam Carolla in this respect. Few people are. All right, I’m rambling.)

20. “I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch. Here it goes down, down into my belly . . . mmmm mmmm mmmm.”

To Charlie Villanueva, a nice enough college player who went 10 spots too early (not his fault) and took a Joey Buttafuoco/Scott Peterson-level beating from fans and media members over the subsequent few weeks. Just wait until the season starts and he becomes the first rookie ever to get booed at home — they’re going to have to swipe the key to his mini-bar on road trips. Poor Charlie. And you think I’m sneaking in a “Beds are burning” joke here, but I’m not.

21. “You are a smelly pirate hooker! Why don’t you go back to your home on Whore Island!”

The funniest fight in the movie goes to the funniest fight of the offseason: Portland’s Ha Seung-Jin (a 7-foot-3 South Korean) and Nedzad Sinanovic (a 7-foot-3 Bosnian) getting into a fistfight while shooting free throws at a summer workout, with Ha reportedly screaming, “I’ll sue! I’ll sue!” before getting pulled away. But it didn’t stop there: Ha found Sinanovic in the team’s weight room and attacked him with a wooden stretching pole, nailing him twice before they were separated. Within 24 hours, they had made up.

But that’s not my favorite part. In John Canzano’s report about the incident for The Oregonian, he mentioned how this was a good-natured altercation compared to some of the Portland incidents in the past, leading to this paragraph: “This isn’t the same as Zach Randolph cold-cocking Ruben Patterson two seasons ago, breaking his eye socket, then being chased around the facility, and later having to spend the night, in hiding, at Dale Davis’ house because Randolph feared for his life. The Ha-Sinanovic bout was about good competition, and frustration, and boiling points.”

(Umm … hiding out at Dale Davis’ house? What? How have I never heard that one before? What else don’t I know about the 1998-2005 Blazers? Why hasn’t there been a five-hour “E! True Hollywood Story” yet? Why aren’t cameras rolling at that facility at all times? I know, I know, I ask this every summer. Yeah, but still.)

22. “I will smash your face into a car windshield, and then take your mother, Dorothy Mantooth, out for a nice seafood dinner and never call her again!”

To Michael Finley, who is in danger of being dumped in Dallas with the Amnesty Clause — which is so confusing that ESPN.com’s Marc Stein wrote 25 columns about it in the last three weeks and I still can’t understand it. The question remains: Why waive a solid player with a ridiculous contract to save a few bucks when you could simply trade that ridiculous contract to the Knicks? That’s what I can’t figure out. Regardless, wouldn’t you bet anything that Finley is playing with a chip on his shoulder next season? Me, too.

These “Anchorman” quotes were good ones but couldn’t make the cut:

“I wanna say something. I’m gonna put it out there — if you like it, you can take it, if you don’t, send it right back. [Pause] I want to be on you.”

“Superduper! Superduper! That’s nice. Way to go! Neato, gang!”

“Loud noises!!! Loud noises!!!!”

“I love carpet. I love desk … I love lamp. I love lamp.”

“Great Odin’s Raven!”

“I have one great passion that lives deep within my loins like a flaming golden hawk.”

“We have a saying in my country — the coyote of the desert likes to eat the heart of the young and the blood drips down to his children for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

“It seems that our youngest, Chris, was on something called acid and was firing a bow and arrrow into a crowd. [Pause.] You know how kids are.”

“Sweet Lincoln’s mullet!”

“Garth, if I was to give you some money out of my wallet, would that ease the pain?”

(More importantly, had Vince Carter known last season that he could potentially receive two paychecks for quitting on the Raptors, what would he have been capable of? Would he have just started launching 3s at his own basket? Blocking the shots of his own teammates? Showing up naked for games? Where would the line have been drawn?)

23. “I ate a whole bunch of fiberglass insulation. It wasn’t cotton candy like that guy said — my tummy itches.”

To former Cavs GM Jim Paxson again … in yesterday’s column, I mistakenly blamed Philly GM Billy King for the fact that Kevin Ollie possesses a $15 million contract right now. Actually, Paxson was the one who signed Ollie to that deal; King then traded for it the following season. So my facts were screwed up. But since I forgot to mention King signing Derrick Coleman’s decomposing body to a $20 million extension three years ago, we’re probably even here.

(While we’re here, kudos to Steve Carell as Brick Tamlin — normally the Token Dumb Guy is a thankless role, but he’s outstanding in this movie — good enough that I’m even thinking about seeing “The 40 Year-Old Virgin” in the theaters. Which reminds me, does he wear an A.C. Green jersey at any point in that movie? Was A.C. hired as a consultant? Has anyone written about this yet?)

24. “I mean, come on, Ed, it’s bullcrap! I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love the ladies. I mean, they rev my engine — but they don’t belong in the newsroom!”

To NBA TV, who keeps insisting on showing WNBA games when they could be showing classic NBA games in their place. Sure, I’m the only TiVo owner in the country who gave “NBA Hardwood Classics” the pole position spot on their TiVo season pass, but still. Throw me a bone here. I need my weekly Bird fix. I need my weekly M.J. fix. Heck, I need my weekly Gus Williams fix. Please tell me their season is ending soon. Please.

25. “It’s so damn hot! Milk was a bad choice.”

Joe JohnsonTo the Nets, who geared their entire summer around a Shareef Abdur-Rahim sign-and-trade and found out he couldn’t pass a physical. Ouch. Why not pursue Antoine Walker over Shareef? Since when has Shareef ever been on a winning team? Isn’t he the quintessential “Good stats/bad team” guy of the past 10 years? And while we’re here, everyone needs to settle down with the whole “The Nets could be a top-five team!” stuff. Let’s get an extended look at Kidd’s knees and Vince’s everything before we start lumping them in with the Pistons, Pacers and Heat.

By the way, quote No. 25 cracks my list of the most underrated things about “Anchorman,” along with …

• Burgundy’s fake mustache. It’s just a little off — like maybe 1/10th tilted, like they spent an entire day in the makeup room tinkering with it before deciding, “All right, we got it, that’s sufficiently ridiculous!”

• The “Smokey and the Bandit” blooper randomly thrown in the closing credits.

• Tim Robbins’ curly afro and sideburns, right out of the John MacLeod/Randy West Collection. Somebody needs to get that going again.

• The fake TV ads, in which everyone suddenly looks up at the camera at the same time. Total ’70s. You really had to be there. This stuff actually happened.

• Fred Willard casually telling his son on the phone, “Chris, listen to me, put down the gun and let the marching band go. We’ll play it off as a prank.”

26. “Get out! Just go! We are through! Through! Because of your actions, you scorpion woman!”

To Larry Brown … forget about the way he killed Team USA in Greece last summer, how he openly solicited other jobs while coaching the Pistons, how he distracted the Pistons enough that it might have cost them the 2005 title, how he exaggerated his health problems to keep the Pistons hanging this summer. In the end, he didn’t even have the dignity to resign before taking his dream job with the Knicks — which is what he’s always wanted; and if you don’t believe me, read the chapter about him in “Wait Till Next Year” by William Goldman and Mike Lupica, which only came out 17 years ago. Nope, he needed to weasel out an extra $7 million from the Pistons on his way out the door. Good guy. Hopefully, he’ll be named Sleazeball Magazine’s “Sportsman of the Year” this December.

Larry Brown and Isiah Thomas(The best part of this bizarre saga? Knicks fans talking themselves into the Isiah-Brown combo, when the two have caused more damage than any tag-team since Mr. Fuji and Mr. Saito. Like this is going to end well. What’s the over/under for Larry complaining about Isiah? Nov. 15? Dec. 1? And what’s funnier than the thought of Stephon Marbury and Jamal Crawford torturing Brown with ill-advised 25-footers in his twilight years? Sometimes, you get what you deserve in the end. Just ask Jimmy Johnson and Bill Parcells.)

27. “This is your doctor. I have your pregnancy report here, and guess what. You got knocked up.”

One of the best moments goes to the best NBA news of the summer: They’re having the 2007 All-Star Game in Vegas! Gentleman, start your condoms! What’s the record for “most groupies in one city”? What’s the record for “most money collected at a $100 blackjack table by a single casino?” What’s the record for “most illegitimate children spawned within a 5-mile radius in 48 hours?” What are the odds that this weekend will lead to me ending up in the Boston Herald’s “Inside Track” and eventually getting divorced? And most important, who gets the “Real World” suite at the Palms? David Stern? Michael Jordan? Mark Cuban? Do the Maloofs keep it themselves? What about cramming 45 porn stars in there, loading the place with cameras and seeing what happens? Actually, this news item deserves its own column.

28. “We need you. Hell, I need you. I’m a mess without you. I miss you so damned much. I miss being with you. I mess being near you. I miss your laugh. I miss your scent. I miss your musk. When this all gets sorted out, I think you and me should get an apartment together.”

To the Celtics’ front office and coach Doc Rivers, who need to start saying similar things to Paul Pierce every day from this point on … or else he’s going to make Vince Carter’s Operation Sabotage in Toronto look like child’s play by comparison. Pierce is 28 years old, nearly made the NBA Finals three years ago, is the fourth-highest scorer in the league since 1997, and is one of those guys who watches old playoff games on ESPN Classic and NBA TV and wishes he was playing in them. You really think he wants to go through another rebuilding effort and bridge the gap between the Pierce/Antoine Era and the Green/Jefferson Era? Please.

(Prediction: This is going to end badly. Repeat: Badly. They’re doing the right thing with the youth movement, but they need to move Pierce before they’re getting 30 cents on the dollar in December. Which is precisely how this will play out. I’m telling you.)

29. “People call me the Bry Man, I’m the stylish one of the group. I know what you’re asking yourself and the answer is yes — I have a nickname for my penis. It’s called the Octagon. But I also nicknamed my testes — my left one is James Westphal and my right one is Dr. Kenneth Noisewater. You ladies play your cards right and you just might get to meet the whole gang.”

The greatest moment of the movie goes to the greatest moment of the summer: Isiah Thomas signing Jerome James to a five-year, $29 million contract. Seriously, what were the odds that James’ agent took him out to dinner right before the playoffs and said: “Look, I know you’re lazy, I know you don’t care, but all you have to do is play hard for four weeks and I guarantee Isiah will make you a ridiculous offer … can you do that? Can you break a sweat for four weeks? This summer, after we sign the deal, you can put on 75 pounds for all I care. Just give me four weeks!”

(Quick aside on the above quote: A few months ago, a reader e-mailed it to me as a mailbag question, and because I didn’t know the context, it was so bizarre that I literally didn’t know how to react or how to answer it. I thought the guy had sent it along after going through about 25 bong hits and a bag of Kit Kats. So I was trying to figure out the right response, and then I saw the movie and realized what had happened. And yes, this is my actual job, to determine things like, “Why is this reader telling me that he nicknamed his testicles James Westphal and Dr. Kenneth Noisewater?”)

30. “I know that one day, Veronica and I are going to get married on top of a mountain. And there’s going to be flutes playing and trombones and flowers and garlands of fresh herbs … and we will dance. Until the sun rises. And then our children will form a family band and we will tour the country … and you won’t be invited!”

To Cavs fans, who were swayed by the Ilgauskas/Hughes/Marshall signings (all good ones, by the way) into thinking that LeBron will stay in Cleveland for the long haul (and multiple championships). Personally, I think you have a better chance of seeing Leo DiCaprio in a “Growing Pains” reunion movie. But that’s just me.

31. “I don’t know how to put this … but I’m kind of a big deal. People know me … I’m very important. I have many leather-bound books, and my apartment smells of rich mahogany. I’m friends with Merlin Olsen, too. He comes over on occasion.”

To Latrell Sprewell, who passed up a $21 million extension under the “I need to feed my family” rationale, and now he’s looking at … well, nothing. We’re inching closer and closer to my idea for the reality series on ESPN2, in which Latrell hangs out on his yacht in Milwaukee and does yacht captain things. Do you think he’s like my stepdad — constantly on the boat, washing it off, hooking up needless equipment, wearing blue polo shorts and waving to everyone who sails by? Does he just keep it docked and have parties on it? What does he wear when he’s entertaining guests? Does he dress like Judge Smails? Does he keep a bong on the boat? And does the bong have a name like “Gilligan?” See, we need to know these things, right?

32. “Take it easy, Champ. Why don’t you stop talking for a while?”
“Yeah, maybe sit the next couple plays out.”

To Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, who seems determined to squander Kobe Bryant’s prime (as evidenced by the Bynum pick and Kwame trade). Has there ever been this many NBA GMs who clearly have no idea what they’re doing? I mean, clearly? For instance, have you ever been stuck in an airport metal detector behind a senior citizen? They get the deer-in-the-headlights look. They’re inexplicably terrified to put their belongings into one of those round cups. They set off the detector nine times before they finally make it through. By the time it’s over, you’re trying to swallow your tongue. Well, that’s how I feel when I watch guys like Kupchak, Rob Babcock and Isiah trying to run their own team — I feel like I’m stuck in line at the airport.

This can’t be happening. Please, let it end. Oh, my God, just listen to them, take off your belt … oh, Lord … now you’ve done it …

33. “They’ve done studies, you know. Sixty percent of the time, it works every time.”

To Miami, for rolling the dice with White Chocolate under the M.J./Rodman Alpha Dog Corollary — namely, that even the biggest head case will fall into line with the right alpha dog. And just for the record, I liked what Miami did (acquiring Jason Williams, Antoine Walker and James Posey for the Eddie Jones pu pu platter). How could anyone call that a risky move? It isn’t like they were pulling a Mark Cuban and overhauling their roster for the hell of it. It’s a better team.

(Although you have to feel for Damon Jones, who played one of the worst Game 7s in recent memory against Detroit and probably cost himself $20 million in the process. Suddenly, we’re T-minus two years from Jones replacing John Salley on “The Best Damn Sports Show Period.”)

34. “I have nothing left! Nothing! I have been reduced to rubble!”

AnchormanTo Gary Payton … you mean there haven’t been any takers for a washed-up point guard with a bad back who can’t shoot, can’t guard anyone and still thinks he can play 40 minutes a game? I can’t believe it! What’s this world coming to? Come on, GP. Hang it up. We don’t want to be adding a GP Clippers jersey or a GP Cavaliers jersey to Mitchell and Ness’ Collection of Depressing End-of-the-Career Throwback Jerseys someday (along with Namath’s Rams jersey, Rice’s Broncos jersey, Mays’ Mets jersey and everything else). Put the basketball sneakers down, GP. Come on. Please. Put them down. Let’s start the Hall of Fame countdown. Come on.

35. “You’re watching Channel 4 News with five-time Emmy award-winning anchor Ron Burgundy and [Bleep] McGee.”

“Good evening, San Diego. I’m Veronica Corningstone. [Bleep] McGee is on vacation.”

One of my favorite moments goes to my favorite offseason strategy, courtesy of the Wizards, who parlayed a potentially bad situation (Larry Hughes and Kwame Brown either splitting town or holding the team hostage financially) into a good situation (Antonio Daniels, Caron Butler and Chucky Atkins at one-third the price). When NBA teams use logic, it’s almost disarming. I never know what to do with myself.

Bonus Quote No. 1. “Uh, Brick, before I let you go, are you still having your celebrity golf tournament?”
“No, no. Too many people died last year.”

To Allen Iverson … what would be more entertaining than the “First Annual Allen Iverson Celebrity Golf Tournament”? Anything? Anything at all? Imagine AI showing up five hours late for his 9 a.m. tee time? How would he be dressed? How would he react if he missed a 4-foot putt? Or imagine a terrified Kyle Korver in a foursome with 50 Cent, Ron Artest and Ice Cube? What about Jim Nantz saying, “Let’s go to Verne Lundquist on 16, where there’s apparently been some gunfire again.” I might devote the rest of my life to making this tournament happen. After all, if Michael Douglas can have a celebrity golf tournament, why can’t Allen Iverson?

Bonus Quote No. 2. “Today we spell redemption, R-O-N.”

To Ron Artest, who quietly traveled down to Vegas and played summer league ball last month, just to show that his heart was in the right place. Hey, if Ron Burgundy can come back from telling San Diego to bleep off, anything’s possible.

And on that note: Stay classy, San Diego.

Bill Simmons is a columnist for Page 2 and ESPN The Magazine. His Sports Guy’s World site is updated every day Monday through Friday.

Filed Under: NBA, Sports

Bill Simmons is the founding editor of Grantland and the author of the New York Times no. 1 best seller The Book of Basketball. For every Simmons column and podcast, click here.

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