GOLD COAST—A mysterious team of dream espionage specialists have been hired to infiltrate Ater Majok's ludicrous dreams of reaching the NBA after Majok announced that he would withdraw from the Gold Coast Blaze to focus on his NBA draft prospects
Although Majok has never completed a full season of NCAA or NBL or any European league, he has been otherwise working hard to pursue his NBA dream by attempting an American accent, wearing gangsta-style clothes and developing the deluded cockiness of a pro baller. Experts believe Majok's chance of being drafted to the NBA are slimmer than his frame.
The secret team of dream specialists intend to remove the idea of "making the NBA" from Majok's dream, replacing it with more obtainable dreams such as "selling designer brand counterfeit handbags in New York". They also intend to remove his idea of being an NBA small forward prospect, replacing it with being a small claims tribunal prospect
An adaptation to this remarkable story has already been sold to Hollywood executives under the title 'Aspiration', alluding to the medical act of removing foreign material from the body, or in this case, the removal of ludicrous ambitions from a dream.
"Check the dictionary, people!" screenwriter Chris Nolan exclaimed as he submitted the script to Hollywood executives. "It's one of those cerebral double-meaning titles that you'll only understand if you are really, really smart; and one of those meanings has been adapted for this context, but only if you are smart enough to understand it. Basically, those who don't like this movie are clearly stupid."
"If you think the title is deep, mysterious and complex, just wait until you read the implausibly complex storyline about a young Sudanese immigrant's wildly deluded aspirations of making the NBA being extracted from his own dreamspace by a team of black-suited dream infiltrators in a stunning array of cool special effects and amazing explosions for no real reason whatsoever!"
"Aspiration!" Nolan whispered emphatically.
PERTH—Basketball Australia CEO Larry Sengstock has congratulated the Perth Wildcats for equaling his record of five championships, taking “over 13 years longer” than himself to win five championships.
As time expired in the deciding game 3 of the Grand Final series, it took under one second for Fox Sports commentator, Brian Taylor, to proclaim that the Perth Wildcats had become the “most successful team in NBL history”. However, Sengstock was quick to point out that these five championships took 29 attempts to achieve.
“I don’t want to rain on their parade. Winning five championships is an impressive feat, but it took them over 28 years to do it,” Sengstock commented after the deciding game. “Of course, by comparison, it took me only 15 years to collect five of them.”
“It took Perth nearly twice as long as me and the assistance of hundreds of players to equal my record. Put that way, they’re not as good a club as they think they are, are they?”
Perth’s celebration went late into the night, but Sengstock warned Perth fans to not get too excited by the achievements of their club.
“Let’s not get too carried away. They are no David Stiff yet,” Sengstock said, alluding to the record six championships won by retired forward David Stiff. The Wildcats require one more championship, two hundred travel violations, and seventy-two fouls to equal the NBL records held by David Stiff.
PERTH—Perth Wildcats coach and everyone’s favourite redhead, Rob Beveridge, has pulled off a remarkable maneuver by successfully claiming underdog status in the contest of being regarded as underdogs against the team more highly fancied as underdogs, the Wollongong Hawks. As both sides desperately sought the highly coveted underdog status leading into game one of the Grand Final series
, Beveridge has pulled off a remarkable and unexpected switch of strategy by guaranteeing himself an underdog status of sorts while surely confusing all of Wollongong in the process.
“Everybody has been talking about Wollongong’s underdog status all season,” Beveridge told reporters at the Perth Wildcats training session. “Since we finished the regular season on top, they’ve continued saying that they are the underdogs in this grand final contest. So we surely must be the underdogs in the contest to be seen as the underdogs. Our team is really up against it.
“We are David against the Goliath of underdogs, Wollongong,” Beveridge continued. “Wollongong’s own arguments confirm that we must be the underdog underdogs.”
From Forrest Gump to Steven Bradbury, everyone likes underdogs, but only if they are successful, argued Beveridge. “Can you imagine the film Forrest Gump if he just sat on a park bench the whole film?” Beveridge asked.
“We finished first in the regular season. You have a choice of barracking for the loser regular season runner-ups, or the young, spirited successful underdog underdogs, the Perth Wildcats,” Beveridge said, rousing the media contingent to a Wildcats chant. The media contingent proceeded to stand and clap, chanting “Wildcats”, until the home team scored.
Well accustomed to the battler club status, former West Sydney coaches Gordie McLeod and Rob Beveridge are unfamiliar with the pressures associated with expectations of victory. Both coaches have used their underdog status all season long to motivate their players and gain the coaching credit associated with guiding a team of overachievers. Establishing the club as the underdog also helps build morale and pride amongst the fanbase, while effectively consoling them in the case of a loss.
Wollongong’s season has been described as a “Cinderella story”
, if Cinderella was placed on life support and needed an Indian entrepreneur to offer $1m to guarantee her receiving medical treatment. But now that Wollongong has been taken off life support, Wollongong is ready to walk down the stadium aisle on the way to accepting the ultimate ring.
“It really is a Cinderella story,” Wollongong journalist Tim Keeble said. “Everyone can identify with Cinderella and the pursuit of her dream of going ‘all the way’ with her Prince char…mpionship.”
“It’s just like a fairy tale. All we need now is a dwarf,” Keeble said, before excitedly realising that Zac Delaney was on the squad.
MELBOURNE—Loyal Melbourne Tigers fan Lee Vertannes couldn’t believe his luck when he glimpsed Neighbours stalwart Ryan Moloney, better known on the Made in Melbourne
soap as ‘Toadie’, sitting courtside on Friday night at the Melbourne Tigers home game.
“Hey, look, there’s that fat guy from Neighbours!” Vertannes proudly exclaimed to his friends Alex Rice and Joseph Black, both new to the sport. “He’s the one stuffing his face with pie.”
Aiming to continue the proud Melbourne Tigers legacy by introducing new converts to the sport, Vertannes proceeded to suggest that similar kinds of sighting are “not at all rare” at Melbourne Tigers games.
“Sometimes they even get an eliminated Australian Idol contestant to sing the national anthem,” Vertannes told his friends before coming to the realisation that the national anthem has been banned from the pre-game routine by Basketball Australia, effectively ruining any chance to see such similar sightings again. Vertannes elected not to reveal this information to his friends. Instead, Vertannes went on to boast that Tigerman was the same stuntman as the mascot of the "rugby team" and “some AFL club mascot”
MELBOURNE—Network 10 has confirmed that the MasterChef franchise will be expanded to include a one-off special featuring several NBL referees. The working title for the special is “NBL Referees Speciality: Home Cooking”.
“We always wanted more of a focus on home style cooking, but weren’t willing to repeat the Julie experience,” producers of the hit show revealed.
The news comes in response to a recent viewing of the NBL by Ten executive Bill Smith. “Put simply, I was impressed by the quality of the home cooking,” Smith said. “I haven’t seen that kind of home cooking and clearly biased officiating since last year with Julie.”
The viewing was serendipitous for Ten and the NBL. “Usually I’d prefer to watch repeats of The Nanny than watch basketball, but I thought I'd give it another go after accidentally watching a few minutes of NBL action last week when Townsville played in New Zealand ,” Bill Smith told our source.
“I hadn't watched the sport in years, but I flicked to it at the moment that the commentator said something involving a whore and a penetration and a homicide. You know what channel 10 executives are like: any sexual reference or act of violence will grab our attention as part of our desperate and cheap grab of the youth market.”
“Turns out the commentator was referring to a player called Stephen Hoare moving closer to the basket with the ball after receiving a pass from Corey Williams.”
“'Hoare penetrates," Smith repeated with a chuckle. "That phrase alone was intriguing enough to stop me from changing the channel for the next few minutes. If there were more players with names like that, maybe we’d be interested in covering the NBL as a sport.”
In response to this news, Basketball Australia CEO Larry Sengstock urged any club to entice David Stiff, Braith Cox and Willie Simmons out of retirement. Sengstock is believed to be in the process of drawing up his next pitch to network 10 which involves the promotional phrase "Hoare plays with Stiff, Cox. Rillie."
Last night's game lacked the same quality of sexual references, but Smith remained interested in the telecast when he noticed that "one of the commentators seemed to get aroused when the Tigers made their run."
This attracted Smith's attention just enough to allow him to notice the standard of officiating. “It was the degree of biased officiating that really impressed me. It made me see the potential for a MasterChef spin-off involving NBL referees,” Smith noted.
“The referees dished it up and the crowd loved it.”
Smith immediately alerted the MasterChef crew to assess the coverage. Upon viewing of the replay, MasterChef judges Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris were equally impressed.
“We understand more than anyone how the pressure of being on national television under bright lights can affect your usual judgment,” Calombaris admitted. “But we also understand that the officials should rightly be the centre of attention. They understand, as do we, that pleasing the viewers is more important than a fair and even contest.”
“They plated up the home side win beautifully,” fellow Masterchef judge Gary Mehigan added.
MELBOURNE—Following months of speech therapy, Australian basketball legend and Fox Sports commentator Andrew Gaze has successfully pronounced the surname of Wollongong Hawks veteran forward, Glen Saville.
For years viewers have been irritated by Gaze's apparent refusal to correctly pronounce 'Saville'. Despite everyone else in Australian basketball circles pronouncing it otherwise, Gaze continually opted more towards the English pronunciation of the Spanish city of the same name. To address the issue, Fox Sports subjected Gaze to a series of tests to determine the cause of the problem. Months of speech therapy soon followed.
"Sah-veel. No, wait a second, I can do it this time. Sa-vuhl. There, I did it!" Gaze proudly exclaimed to his somewhat relieved Foxsports crew, before adding "go Tigers!".
SYDNEY—Following the devastating events of 2008 and 2009, which saw the loss of the 2009 Champions and both Sydney clubs, Basketball Australia is reassessing its ‘stay or flee’ policy with regards to clubs in the National Basketball League.
For the first time, clubs will now be urged to evacuate the competition on ''catastrophic unprofitability risk'' seasons.
From today the ''stay and defend'' message will be discarded from official NBL warnings during seasons when authorities believe club owners could lose excessive amounts of money while attempting to keep their club in the competition. NBL clubs are urged to leave early and stay only if the club is “well prepared and you can actively defend it from financial ruin”.
‘Black May’, when both Melbourne clubs withdrew from the competition, would have been deemed a "catastrophic unprofitability risk" or "code red" under the new warning policy. However, under the policy at the time, Basketball Australia gave the Victorian clubs the choice to persist losing large amounts money by staying in the competition, as the Melbourne Tigers eventually chose to do by competing in the 2009-10 season.
“Until now, club owners have always been given the choice to leave or stay and defend their club no matter how severe the threat,” a League spokesman said. “We even let Cairns and Wollongong stay in the competition as soon as they gave us the $1m guarantee, even though both franchises would need a miracle to go anywhere near a profit.”
In the wake of the Basketball Australia Royal Commission's interim findings, the new 'stay or go' policy's focus is on saving club owners money not protecting the integrity of the NBL by making it a stable and truly national competition.
The previous 2008-09 season, and every season prior through to the early 1990s, would have also qualified as being a ‘code red’ season under Basketball Australia’s new criteria.
The changes are likely to impact on the future of the Wollongong Hawks, despite currently sitting proudly at the top of the ladder.
“We suggest they flee the competition immediately,” an anonymous National Basketball League source said while reviewing North Melbourne Giants’ 1994 Grand Final win. “The community can only support spirited winning underdogs for so long before the inevitable happens as they go from winning underdogs to just plain dogs and spiral into oblivion. I hope.”
Sean Lampley taunts Glen Saville
MELBOURNE—With the Melbourne Tigers contemplating the re-inclusion of Sean Lampley
in their lineup to cover the loss of Ben Knight, the Tigers seem prepared to recruit yet another component of the All-NBL Most Hated 1st team. With Anstey locked in at centre on the Most Hated team for the rest of his career and Worthington’s Most Hated stocks rising rapidly at power forward, the Tigers already have two of the most hated players in the league. Lampley, universally renowned as a complete tosser, would automatically take the small forward position on the All-NBL Most Hated 1st team.
Not since Chris Anstey has there been a more widely despised player than Sean Lampley. Lampley’s antics in the 2008 Grand Final series against the Sydney Kings raised the ire of Sydney fans, flaming anti-Tigers sentiment around the league. "Lampley's behaviour in the Brisbane semifinal series and his gestures to the Sydney crowd in the Grand Final series were that of an A-grade wanker," said Professor Thomas Yardly of the School of Psychology, Psychiatry and Psychological Medicine at Monash University. "Apart from Clinton, he's the only person to ever score a perfect ten on my newly devised 'wanker scale'."
Lampley's choice of playing number, number 1, is no coincidence, says FIBA Board member Yalou Canfi. "Traditionally, it's not been allowed to use the number 1 in domestic leagues, but we decided to allow it to highlight to the refs who is likely to be the biggest dickhead on the court. Turns out there's an even bigger correlation than counting tattoos."
The recruit is likely to make the Tigers clear favourites to take out the most hated team in the league award. "The Sydney Kings are long gone now. We need a new universally despised team," Tigers co-owner Seamus McPeake confided to our source. "After already recruiting myself as part owner, Westover as our coach, Anstey as our centre, and Worthington as our power forward, who’d be the best recruit to make us even more hated around the league? The answer is even more obvious than our past salary cap transgressions."
With starting shooting-guard Kendall the subject of a substantial amount of online hatred, particularly during his Kings years when he managed to make every Boomers team regardless of his form, the addition of Lampley would make the Tigers just one piece away from assembling the All-NBL Most Hated 1st team as their starting five. "We only now need the most hated point guard," McPeake commented. "I wonder if I can entice Shane Heal out of retirement."
Refugee children eagerly await the arrival of NBL players
BALI—Initially introduced as an effort to rid the National Basketball League of unwanted superfluous flab on players, Basketball Australia has now abandoned the controversial ‘Pacific solution’, which involved the trans-Pacific movement of players in order to achieve ‘Pacific shrink’.
‘Pacific shrink’ is a well-documented phenomenon whereby American imports arrive in Australia substantially smaller than their records in the United States indicate. The implication is that basketball players experience physical shrinking as they travel over the Pacific Ocean. In one case in 2005, American import David Bailey was listed by his American agent as a 6’4” guard, but arrived in Australia looking more like a body-double for ’80s TV star Webster.
Numerous trials have been conducted to assess the effectiveness of using Pacific shrink as a slimming technique -- mostly by Rick Burton on regular trips to visit his family in the United States -- but there has been no convincing evidence of success to date.
"We’ve sent [Pero Cameron] heaps of times over the Pacific, but we haven’t noticed any ‘Pacific shrink’ at all," a Gold Coast Blaze employee revealed on the condition of anonymity. "So as my first task for the Blaze I said to my boss Dave Claxton, ‘I, Scotty McGregor, will take on this task scientifimically’. So I put on my white lab coat, went with Pero to Las Vegas and back a few times, and then compared his weight using the NBL website. But his weight has stayed at 120kg for the past four years!"
"I presume the NBL keeps these records up to date," the source added.
If anything, the improved quality of airline meals seems to be doing the opposite. "He’s now looking forward to his trans-Pacific voyages, as do I," the source admitted. "He likes the food, I like the hookers. They're better than Brisvegas."
The 'Indonesia solution'
To act as a substitute for the failed ‘Pacific solution’, Basketball Australia this week proposed the ‘Indonesia solution’. The ‘Indonesia solution’ again puts the onus on foreign parties to deal with a local issue by placing the overweight players in a detention facility in Indonesia.
Under the proposal, overweight NBL players will be fed a strict diet of Mi Goreng noodles, must endure physical challenges such as removing fallen objects from their shanty houses as a result of earthquakes, and will be forced into regular exercise by physically struggling to swim through the regular tsunamis.
"I know we said this when we changed season from winter to summer, and also when we introduced the points cap, but this is one hell of a silver bullet of a solution," an NBL spokesman said at the press conference held at the luxurious Balinese Four Seasons hotel. "Those boat people are always skinny and undernourished. If that kind of diet works for those pesky freeloaders, surely it has to work for NBL players."
The plan doesn't just address a political issue for the NBL who desperately need to be seen to be doing something productive. The league is also exploring the opportunity to raise an income by documenting the players' stuggles in an overcrowded detention centre. "This is like The Biggest Loser meets Survivor, but this time for real. If Fox8 can broadcaster tripe like 'The Contender', surely they'll cover this. Fox might actually pay the league for broadcast rights this time."
"Indonesia is an unknown for Australian audiences, apart from Bali. This represents an opportunity for Aussies to learn something about the country." When informed about the 1400 death toll from an earthquake earlier this month, the spokesman shruggled. "See? Show me just one other person who knew about that."
However, this alternative approach to deal with the issue of spiralling BMIs has not been supported by the NBL Players Association, with some within the Association describing this as yet another example of the “oppressive NBL regime”.
"The NBL has undergone many recent changes to the detriment of the players," a Players Association spokesman told Basketball Australia media manager Marc Howard at the press conference. "First we needed to sacrifice our wildly excessive salaries, then we needed to endure school clinics, and now this," he added before taking another sip of his Goddess Elixir Margarita cocktail.
"This kind of oppression will surely make the fatties in the league feel like refugees.
"We aren’t refugees! It shouldn’t be okay to oppress us!
"It’s fine to discriminate on the basis of race or nationality, but not BMI."
Obama campaign poster (left), new BA poster (right)
SYDNEY—Following the press conference last week to announce no change
, Basketball Australia Chief Executive Larry Sengstock has made yet another insignificant announcement: a new Basketball Australia propaganda poster.
"After conducting extensive stakeholder engagement and comprehensive commercial analysis, our review committee, thinking outside the box, has concluded that a proactive ‘change neutral’ approach is required to maximise the NBL’s exposure and potential revenue in order to achieve mission critical outcomes for the forthcoming ‘next generation’ national league," Sengstock told the press conference.
"With customer-focused vertical secured lines, enterprise-wide dynamic productivity, and our focused actuating task-force, the league is in a prime position to develop optimal mandatory bottom-line budgetary management, decentralized 4th generation inheritance, and a customer-focused didactic toolset."
The new poster bears a remarkable resemblance to a campaign poster used by US President Barack Obama. Venturing off his buzz-phrase loaded script, Sengstock conceded there were similarities. "It may appear to be a rip-off, but Obama recently won yet another award for this compelling piece of propaganda," Sengstock noted. "The award, of course, was the President of the United States of America."
"I'm all for change, but not if it's so difficult. That's why I take a proactively 'change neutral' approach to leadership," Sengstock added, marking the tenth time he had used his new buzz-phrase during the first five minutes of the press conference.
"Doing nothing, or as I have coined it, 'change neutrality', represents a paradigm shift in modern administration: it's like change, but safer and easier."
"Nonetheless, we (Basketball Australia) are still achieving things. The club owners can't deny that," Sengstock asserted, clenching his Seamus McPeake-shaped stress ball.
When asked if an image of Sengstock on a poster purported to promote Basketball Australia was shameless self-promotion, Sengstock appeared agitated, throwing the spherical stress ball towards the bin, only to airball it. "If Rick Burton can put his signature on the game ball, why can't I put my face on this new Basketball Australia poster?"