Dave: The big news this week out of Sixersland is the unveiling of the new Sixers mascot, Franklin. Do you approve? What do you think, Roy?
HINT: It DOESN'T MATTER what you think, Roy.
Now, I love Twitter. But the absolute worst part about Twitter is that everyone has an opinion about everything. It's exhausting. I have plenty of thoughts. I have opinions and feelings, too. But like most sane, grounded people, I keep them bottled up for all of eternity. I don't share them with the internet.
This past Sunday, for example, was bowling league night. (Shout out to the 7th place Alley McBeals). So I come home, check Twitter, and had to endure millions ... and millions ... (sorry, I'm done) of awful Grammy tweets. If I wanted to know what some cynical 20-something thought about the Kanye West and Beck exchange, then I would email the other LB writers. (I kid, I kid).
My point, Roy, is that I don't care if Sixers Twitter wanted Big Shot, Hip-Hop, or the Teddy the Moose because their political views lean more Bull Moose Party. If the kids in the Delaware Valley love Franklin the Blue Dog, then I love Franklin the Blue Dog. I welcome our new furry overlord to South Philly.
Roy: You may not know this, Dave, but I was Secretary General of #TeamBFranklinDogg. And nothing for nothing, Franklin 2.0 may be a better version of the mascot that I rooted for originally: They dropped the top hat and the trenchcoat which would have made those trampoline dunks a tad more difficult.
You know... it always amazes me when people who are well past puberty go hard in the paint about mascots. I mean, there are people who are legitimately upset at what the Sixers rolled out on Tuesday. I want to lock these people in the box and go full Elliot Stabler on them. "Franklin the Blue Dog is not meant for you, dog. You are not the target market. Mascots are like the Wu-Tang Clan: They're for the children."
My one gripe about the whole process, though? It took them three years for them to settle on a mascot. And not three dog years - three ACTUAL, HUMAN years. Can you imagine how much money they spent on consultants for something you and I could have designed over lunch at Lo Spiedo (the chicken thigh spiedini is exceptional, BTW)? But I digress... getting it right is the most important part, and Adam Aron and Co. did just that. However, if you're game, I'm more than willing to offer our consulting services to the Flyers - their last mascot was an abomination.
Dave: I gave up on Law and Order: SVU once Stabler left the show. I hopped on that Criminal Minds bandwagon and never looked back. I need to get my unsub fix from somewhere, Roy.
So we got All-Star Weekend coming up. Now my favorite event has always been the
Slam Dunk Contest Celebrity Game. Kevin Hart will be participating for the 27th year in a row. He's like the Phil Niekro of Celebrity All-Star Games. Hasn't Hart kinda outgrown the Celebrity Game at this point? Like you don't see Rob Kardashian performing with Will Ferrell and Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show. Needless to say, I'd rather see Kevin's cousin, Bret, on the wing.
Let's take a quick look at a few other big names:
Ansel Elgort: (Never heard of him or her)
Anthony Anderson: Um, I've seen NBC's Hangtime. Teddy Broadis could play. Reminded me of a young Chuck Person. (And look at this clip featuring Kobe Bryant!)
Mo'Ne Davis: Baller
Nick Cannon: Half of this field is composed of actors from the Teen NBC Saturday morning line-up. May as well break Screech out of jail while you're at it.
Michael Rapaport: Again with Rapaport? I've seen enough Rapaport jump hooks to last a lifetime.
I don't know the actual teams yet, Roy, but give me Skylar Diggins, Chris Mullin, and Mo'Ne, and I'll give you +12.5 points. That's an easy cover. I'll spend the 4th quarter counting my money with my feet up, watching Robert Pera in garbage time.
Roy: Can't lie: I keep watching SVU in the hopes that Stabler shows up randomly out of the blue like Bray Wyatt. This is neither the time nor the place, but remind me to shoot you my full L&O: SVU power rankings at some point. Stabler is No. 1. Benson (Season 7 through Season 14 edition) is No. 2. And Amaro is definitely last.
"Hasn't Hart outgrown the All-Star Game?"
I see what you did there. But little guys are always the best in these types of events. Think back: Who do you remember the most from the MTV Rock-N-Jock days? Exactly... FLEA. Everyone likes an underdog, and as extra as Kevin Hart can be, it'll be nice to see him cross up Nick Cannon-Carey. Just be prepared for 243 references to "The Wedding Ringer."
(Kevin and Bret are cousins? Was Kevin in that "Wrestling With Shadows" documentary?)
My thoughts on some of the people you mentioned:
Anthony Anderson: I think you're selling him a bit short. Granted, he's probably the reason why the original Law and Order met its demise, but black-ish is HILARIOUS. I heard he had a few sessions with the "Shot Doctor" over the past month: Expect him to go for at least 12.
(BTW, I watched that clip from "Hang Time" - Kobe passed the ball more in those three minutes than he did all season.)
Ansel Eglort: Is that the guy who's famous for all of those black-and-white nature photos?
Mo'Ne Davis: I saw her at the Sixers' game the other night in a Steph Curry jersey. Where have all our heroes gone?
Michael Rapaport: Rapaport is to the Celebrity Game as Coral was (is?) to the Real World/Road Rules Challenge.
What... no Arne Duncan this year? Who's going to take on the role of the celebrity who takes it WAY too seriously and thinks he's the 45-year-old version of D'Angelo Russell?
* re-reads your email, sees Robert Pera's name *
Never mind - I have my answer.
Just noticed that Spike Lee, Carmelo Anthony, Mike & Mike and Isaiah Austin are all going to be coaches for this shindig. Are five coaches really necessary for a Celebrity Game? With that many people, I half-expect them to call actual plays like Horns or Elevator Doors.
(Pro tip: If you can get good odds on Kristen Ledlow for MVP, take 'em. She's no Willow Bay, but I heard that jumper is sweet from eight feet and in.)
Dave: "Who do you remember the most from the MTV Rock-N-Jock days?"
Bill Bellamy, obviously.
I suppose we would be remiss not to discuss the Slam Dunk Contest. Now, this year is lacking that Sixers flare we've come to expect. There's no KJ McDaniels in the dunk contest (boo). No Lord Bob in the Three-Point Contest (double boo), and no Furkan Aldemir in the Mikan Drill Contest (worst All-Star Weekend ever).
The wonderful Kyle Neubeck wrote a terrific piece on the 2006 Slam Dunk Contest Travesty so I don't see any reason to rehash those painful memories. But the Sixers have had some decent representation in the Dunk Contest. A few thoughts:
Dr. J - 1984
You know I love the Doctor, Roy. I come to you today a humble man. And I don't want this to come off as - well, I'm gonna tread carefully here. But other than Dr. J taking off from the foul line; it was a fairly pedestrian effort from him in '84.
But I'm absolutely willing to pardon him here. He was 34 at the time of this dunk contest. You, too, are 34, Roy, or close to it anyways, and spend your days pining for the return of Detective Stabler. What have you accomplished other than a 2-21 Game Thread record?
Clarence Weatherspoon - 1993
Step away from the stove, Roy, because this take is scolding.
Get at me. Harold Miner rode a wave of orchestrated propaganda and false hype - "Baby Jordan" - to a really questionable and unsatisfying 1993 Slam Dunk Contest win. If you watch the below clip, the amazing and venerable, Hubie Brown, astutely pointed out that the fans weren't overly enthused with Spoon's dunks only because they didn't know who Spoon was.
Hubie Brown must've studied at a terrific college institution.
People thought that Clarence was just a cornucopia of pump fakes, but those people don't know ‘Spoon like I do. Just when you thought you had all the answers, ‘Spoon went and changed the questions. I think it's time that Miner and Nate Robinson step forward and do the right thing.
Please relinquish your Slam Dunk belts. Jake Pavorsky will see you out.
Tim Perry - 1993; 1995
As a Cherry and White product, I demand you issue a public apology on behalf of all Temple Alumni for Tim Perry's performance in the '93 and '95 Slam Dunk Contests. Are you gonna do the right thing, Roy? The public has waited twenty years for this.
I'd rather watch Pepe Sanchez in a lay-up line. And, you know, 10 year old Dave never wore his Tim Perry jersey ever again after that '95 Dunk Contest. And not because my mom had bought me an Adult-XL, waiting for me to grow into it. (Although she was notorious for that). But because it was too painful.
That kid you saw at the Sixers game in the spring of '95, Roy? That kid in the Derrick Alston jersey who was mere moments away from puking up cotton candy? That was me, Roy. That was me. I wore my heart on my sleeve and my Alston jersey on my chest.
Seven Sixers have participated in the NBA Slam-Dunk Contest. Name them.
Roy: [18 hours later...]
My apologies for the delay, Dave - my laptop burst into flames after I read your #HotTake about Baby Barkley. I'm typing this on my mother's old Tandy 1000.
It's all well and good to cop pleas for the Good Doctor, but to make excuses for Clarence Weatherspoon's dunk contest performance? I can't co-sign on that. He lobbed the ball at the basket and then caught it off the bounce for a two-handed slam. Really? REALLY? Paul George came up with a dunk that involved him wearing a suit from that ill-fated Tron reboot, and all 'Spoon could come up with is a dunk I've done 44 times on my nephew's Lil Tikes basketball hoop.
And the unfamiliarity angle holds no weight with me. I had no idea who the hell Jeremy Evans was before he won the dunk contest back in 2012. But the slam where he jumped over a painting of himself dunking over a painting was so meta... (take notes, 'Spoon). That said, I still don't know who Jeremy Evans is - is he playing for the Bakersfield Jam these days?
(Sidebar: Best painter/dunker? Desmond Mason. Dude was Zach LaVine and Peter Max all rolled into one.)
That said, I will apologize on behalf of the Temple delegation for Tim Perry's 1995 Dunk Contest shenanigans. I had just begun researching institutions of higher learning, and Perry's "performance" nearly made me choose Penn State over Temple. Cooler heads would prevail, however. (Side note: Rutgers was never an option - sorry, Sohil).
Can't lie: I looked up the answer to your Sixers/Slam Dunk on Google. I knew Jerry Stackhouse had done it, but I drew a blank on Larry Hughes. And to my mind's credit, I had completely erased the memory of Shelton Jones' showing in 1989. Nothing for nothing, he didn't do a bad job - he was a victim of poor timing more than anything. Scratch that... he was a victim of Kenny "Sky" Walker.
Thinking about all of this makes me a bit sad - how is it that the Sixers have never won anything of consequence on All-Star Saturday Night? At this point, I think we should formally petition Adam Silver to bring 2Ball back so that we have an extra chance at All-Star Weekend glory.
Roy: Willow Bay. #NBABallot
Enjoy the weekend, everyone.