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Back For the First Time

Posted by doktakra on September 21, 2009 at 2:05 PM Comments comments (0)

I've been a Sacramento Kings fan for 15 years, and in a little over three months, I will finally step inside the confines of Arco Arena to see my team play on its home court.  The greatest girlfriend in the world is accompanying me on a trip to Los Angeles to watch the Kings get crushed play hard against the hated-rival Lakers at the Staples Center on January 1, and then take on the Mavericks at home the following night.  I already bought Michelle a purple Kings t-shirt, and the over/under on the amount of money I'll drop at the team shop currently stands at $750.


In the meantime, recently-hired Sacramento head coach Paul Westphal took some time to answer fans' questions on the Kings' Full Court Press Blog, and I was fortunate enough to make it into his mailbag.

 Alex K. As it stands now, the Kings don't have a true backup center behind Spencer Hawes. Do you envision playing more small-ball with Jason Thompson and Sean May at the five this season, or are we likely to see another trade or signing before the season begins?

 paulwestphal Alex-Right now, the way that our roster is constituted, we do not have a lot of tall centers. Spencer Hawes certainly qualifies as a legitimate NBA 7-footer. And Jason Thompson has size. We have Kenny Thomas who had shown us that he also can defend the low post better than anyone else on our roster, but he is a little short to play center. There is also Sean May as an option. Those guys are the primary options to give us some minutes at that position. Whenever Spencer is not at center, then I guess we will be playing small ball, if that is what you want to call it.

So there we have it. As much as the thought of seeing Kenny Thomas play big minutes when I finally make it out to Sac-town horrifies me to no end, at the very least, it beats my last New Year's, when my ex-roommate caught the flu and I stayed home instead of going to a friend's party. Ah, good times.

I Can Be Your Hero, Baby

Posted by doktakra on July 30, 2009 at 2:48 PM Comments comments (7)

I was a huge comic book fanatic as a kid.  I'd pick up the latest issues of X-Men and Spiderman every week, read them from cover to cover, and then carefully place them in plastic protectors to keep them in mint condition.  I'd pride myself in knowing every minute detail about Wolverine's past and Cyclops' superpowers, and spent hours drawing my own superheroes and fictional stories.  I dreamed of working for Marvel or DC Comics, and my cousin still tells me I would've made a great animator every time I see her.


My love of comic books slowly started to fade as I became more and more immersed in sports when I reached middle school and started trading basketball cards.  One day, I decided to put my entire comic book collection in the attic, presuming that some time down the line, they'd appreciate in value and pay for my college education (in retrospect, I would've been lucky had they covered half a semester at NYU).  I haven't looked at them since, and can only hope that my parents didn't throw them away after I moved out and shifted my focus towards stalking Candace Parker my financial career.


A couple of months ago, one of my friends, a terrific professional animator who'd previously worked for Nickelodeon, decided to create his own comic book.  He asked if I'd help him with the project, and I was about to tell him that I'd be happy to pitch ideas and could even dig up some of my old drawings.  It turns out, he was looking for something different  -- he wanted me to be the superhero in his story.  I ended up posing for several pictures (not nearly as shady as it sounds, I promise) and he later presented a few comic illustrations to the heads of a well-known studio.


Although most of the details are still under wraps and I'm not allowed to reveal any additional information at this time (the titles have been edited out), I'm proud to present two future comic book covers featuring my likeness.  Keep in mind that he had to, "make [me] look less than flattering given the context of the scene."  I still think I look damn cool, even with a knife pressed up against my throat.  I guess this makes me a hero...



Nothing Lasts Forever

Posted by doktakra on September 30, 2008 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

With both the Mets and Yankees moving to new stadiums next season, it's a time to reminisce on the good times.  I was never a huge fan of either team -- for reasons I don't fully understand myself, I'm a Florida Marlins fan -- but I've had my share of fun experiences in each.  They usually had nothing to do with the games themselves, but more about the people and the times.

I'll always remember being chased by four security guards at Yankees Stadium back in summer camp.  My friend Jeremy and I didn't care about a meaningless game against the Texas Rangers, so we found other ways to entertain ourselves.  One of us (probably me) thought it would be a good idea to fill cardboard food trays with ketchup and mustard and then toss them at unsuspecting people by the concession stands.  After about a half hour of unspeakable fun, we saw several cops rushing toward us.  Jeremy and I ran down the stairs and somehow dodged them, but had no idea where to find the rest of our group.  I don't know how we made it back on our bus, covered in red and yellow food stains, but we never told a single person about what really happened.  The whole thing makes me laugh to this day for some reason.

I also recounted an emotional moment at Shea Stadium on Deadspin, where I comment under the pseudonym of Candace Parker Secret Lover:

This One Was For All Of Them. I'm not a good enough writer to describe how Mike Piazza's go-ahead home run in the bottom of the eighth inning on September 21, 2001 lifted an entire city. I remember standing up and cheering with my friends, at a time when none of us could imagine ever smiling again. I was a freshman at NYU, and just 10 days prior, the tragic events of 9/11 brought about unspeakable pain and suffering. To many, going to a game during a time of mourning was appalling and heartless, but we needed baseball to remind us that we could get past the tragedy and move forward. After Armando Benitez (who else?) gave up a run in the top of the eighth, putting the Braves ahead 2-1, Shea was eerily quiet and dejected. The good vibes from the touching pre-game tribute were all but gone; I don't think we had the heart to go home with another loss. And that's when it happened. Edgardo Alfonzo reached on a walk and set the stage for Piazza to rescue the Mets, and in many ways, us all from being down. I'm not ashamed to admit that it was the only time I ever cried during a sporting event. We left the stadium in a state that was somewhere between hysteria and disbelief. Whatever that feeling was, I'll never forget it.


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