Monday, December 7, 2009

Sweater Already, Mom's Spaghetti (1 of 3)

The league shuddered a couple Wednesdays ago when Cleveland dropped a frame to the Washington Wizards, who haven't been good since the early days of "The Surge". Strangely, LeBron James seemed to expend more effort yapping with Wizards backup swingman Deshawn Stevenson, than trying to help his team grab a win.

One may recall that Cleveland's rivalry with the Wizards dates to three first-round playoff series, all won by the Cavs, in 2006, 2007, and 2008. The '08 battle culminated with a caustic colloquy between James and Stevenson in which the latter called James "overrated" and allied himself with upstart rapper Soulja Boy, as against James and his friend Jay-Z. Mr. Carter actually recorded a "dis track" directed at Stevenson and the Wizards. Stevenson also unleashed a dubious gesture that he called "I Can't Feel My Face" to highlight his "unconscious" shooting performance and mock James. (The best video clip of his gesture comes at 0:30.)

Unfortunately, Stevenson did not innovate this motion. It began with World Wrestling Entertainment grappler John Cena, who has used the move to bedazzle fallen opponents since about 2003. Cena calls it the "You Can't See Me" spot. Cena even released a rap album in 2005 called You Can't See Me. To be crisp, Stevenson borrowed (nay, stole) the move from Cena.

Stevenson's mimicry of Cena highlights a long history of cooperation and mutual fascination between basketball players and pro wrestlers. Shaquille O'Neal, a serious fan of graps, hosted Monday Night Raw in July of this year and scuffled slightly with the Big Show, a former Wichita State varsity basketball guy. Tonight, December 7th, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban will host Monday Night Raw, live from his team's usual arena in Dallas. Unsurprisingly, the WWE has tried to make a storyline out of things, ginning up a feud between Cuban and wrestler Cody Rhodes (the son of Dusty, whom I mentioned briefly last year in this post) in advance of the show. Cuban's last WWE appearance came in 2003, when Randy Orton (now Cody Rhodes's pal in the storyline) delivered a devastating "RKO" to the impresario.

Later this week I will outline further wrestler-hooper connections and consider what this means for the sport of B-ball as we know it.
UPDATE DECEMBER 8TH: After I wrote that post on Monday night, Cuban did appear on Monday Night Raw, eventually getting physically destroyed as part of a gimmick to build up WWE's villain du jour, a muscular Irishman named "Sheamus". Kudos for Cuban for his willingness to take a hard slam through a pre-perforated table. This Yahoo article sums things up well, including a Youtube of the pertinent moment.

1 comment:

H.O.S.S. said...

What is a hooper?

This is an interesting post, but I'm not convinced. In the NBA there are roughly 450 players. Sure, maybe a couple of them like professional wrestling (as in any group of guys, a few weirdos will like wrestling). But that is a far cry from a true "connection" between pro hoops and pro wrestling. I look forward to the second installment of Bhel's post to see further proof of this so-called connection.