Tag Archives: Wesley Walker

An enormous win for the Jets over the Giants: I’m going to enjoy this one for a while. The Seahawks and Pats moving in different directions. And Julianne Moore, acting her ass off in Times Square


It’s not easy being a New York Jets fan, no matter where you live in the world.

But in New York, it’s really not easy. Because everywhere you go, everywhere you look, everywhere you listen and read, you’re reminded that the Giants are the best and most important football team in the state.

It’s the Giants who have the four Super Bowl titles, the Giants who are a first-class organization, the Giants who have the great tradition and fans and yada yada yada I want to throw up. Hell, for more than 20 years the Jets played their home games in a place called GIANTS STADIUM!

The Jets and their fans are second-class, and there has never been any doubt about that. There have been maybe five moments of my life as a football fan where I have thought, “I’m glad I’m a Jets fan. I’m glad when I was 6 years old I chose the Jets to root for, and not the Giants.”

The whole rest of the time, I definitely feel I made a mistake.

Which is why Sunday felt so incredible. So satisfying. So… great. For three quarters, big brother bullied little brother around the field, as the Giants grabbed a 20-10 lead. I was depressed, I was mad, I would’ve thrown things at the TV if I hadn’t been at my in-laws family Hanukkah party (oh and hey, Happy Hanukkah to my fellow Members of the Tribe out there.)

And then, the heavens opened, the angels sang, and Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brandon Marshall decided to make some beautiful music. Giving me flashbacks to Ken O’Brien and Wesley Walker, the Jets QB and wide receiver just dominated the fourth quarter. The Jets scored 10 points to tie the game, the defense played great, and then in overtime, Gang Green kicked a go-ahead field goal.
The Giants drove down inside the Jets’ 30 and had a chance to tie, but Josh Brown’s 48-yard field goal try was wide, and euphoria erupted in Jets-ville.

Huge, huge win. Moves the Jets to 7-5 and firmly in the playoff race. So many heroes of this one, after such a miserable first few quarters. Fitzpatrick was sensational, best game a Jets QB has played in a decade. Marshall is the best Jets receiver since Keyshawn. Eric Decker was stellar, as was Bilal Powell, as was the defense for most of the game.

Man, this one feels good. So rare to be able to look down on the Giants. Maybe that’s not very polite of me, but dammit, it feels good.

Couple other quick-hit NFL thoughts…

— Looks like the Seahawks are back and ready to kick ass again. What a destruction of Minnesota Sunday.

— Patriots losing streaks are as rare as an interesting Bill Belichick quote, so pay attention to this one. New England fell way behind Philly Sunday, 35-14, and almost came all the way back before falling short. Pats are banged up big-time but suddenly Tom Brady’s crappy receivers are reverting back to form.

— The Falcons are done. Never seen a team go from 5-0 to 6-6 and look this bad. Disgraceful.

— Cam Newton for NFL MVP, and there really is no other choice. What a thrilling player he is to watch. I don’t care about his silly celebrations and histrionics; guy has grown up and has fun playing the game.

— The Cleveland Browns lost in epic fashion Monday night, and the Detroit Lions lost on a Hail Mary Thursday. Which reminds me once again: As miserable as it usually is being a Jets fan, I could still have it worse. I could root for the Browns or Lions.

**Finally today, maybe you’ve heard of the comedy show “Billy on the Street,” on TruTV, where Billy Eichner ambushes people on the street with funny comedy bits.

I don’t watch the show but have occasionally seen clips, and laughed. This one, though, is downright hysterical, and if my admiration for the awesomeness that is Julianne Moore could possibly be increased, it is now.

Billy and Julianne decide to go to Times Square and tell tourists that instead of giving money to begging schmoes in superhero costumes, they should make a small donation and watch an Oscar winner act out scenes from her movies.

The reactions are priceless; my two favorites are the woman walking behind Moore at 2:13, and the Japanese guy who has no freaking idea what is going on at 2:36. Warning: Definitely some NSFW language here, so use headphones if at your desk.

I love this so much.

My new hero


So my heroes used to be Don Mattingly, John McEnroe, Wesley Walker and Mark Messier.

I’d say with the exception of McEnroe, I chose pretty wisely as a kid. I thought Johnny Mac was so cool for the way he blew up at umpires and humiliated them, until I grew up and learned that for all his remarkable talent, he was just a big baby and remarkably immature. I outgrew McEnroe and was sort of ashamed that I used to love him.

But I’ve got a new hero now, and he’s kinda different from any other role model I’ve ever liked.

His name is Lance Allred, and he’s a 6-foot-11, deaf, OCD sufferer who’s a former Fundamentalist Mormon and grew up on polygamous compounds in Montana and Utah. He’s been battling in basketball his whole life, and for three shining games in 2008, finally made the NBA.

He just wrote an astonishingly honest, hilarious, forthcoming and tragic book about his life called “Longshot,” and I finished reading it last night.

To say it’s one of the best sports books I’ve ever read would be an insult, like calling Rembrandt just one of the 17th century’s best painters. Allred’s book is one of the best non-fiction books I’ve read in my life.

Unlikely, you say? Wait till you hear his story. He was an awkward, gangly child who was seen as a bit of an outcast since his father “only” had one wife. He became deaf immediately after being born but was undiagnosed for years.  He was told by a Sunday School teacher that he couldn’t hear because of sins he’d committed in a previous life (I hope that teacher got fired immediately, but I’m sure he didn’t.)

Eventually, his parents broke away from the compound and moved to Utah, before another family split made them homeless for a short while.

As a kid, Allred struggled to find his place (you know how kind kids can be to children who are different), and he finally did on the basketball court. Of course, that only brought more suffering. A much-beloved coach at the University of Utah named Rick Majerus treated Allred unconscionably while he was there, humiliating and destroying Allred’s confidence and once telling him he “was a disgrace to cripples.” (Majerus was eventually investigated for his behavior, and resigned from Utah shortly after Allred transferred).

Allred became a star at a smaller school, but then found himself battling through the bizarre and highly unpredictable world of minor league basketball in Turkey, France, and the United States (if for no other reason, buy the book to hear Allred’s wickedly funny description of travel life in the NBA Developmental League). 

There were so many times Allred wanted to quit, and so many times coaches and others gave up on him. But he finally made it to the NBA, if only for a few days, and when you get to that point in the book, you almost feel like cheering.

In his beautiful writing style, Allred weaves metaphors about life and basketball together with meditations on religion, the monotony of practice, and too many other topics to count. He refused to blame others for his failures, and is quick to credit others for his success. He’s funny, smart and had me looking at some things in a whole new light.

I got to meet Allred last month at an NBA summer league camp, after having heard about him on this NPR podcast, “Only A Game“. I wrote this column about him for my newspaper, and I was so impressed with his intelligence and humility that I knew I had to read his book. It blew me away.

Lance Allred will not become a major superstar, of  that I’m pretty certain. But he’s why I love sports; proof that beyond the reprehensible reputations of Michael Vick, Plaxico Burress and Barry Bonds there are good guys with amazing stories to tell of will and determination.

I defy you to read this book and not become a fan of Lance Allred. If money’s tight and you’re not able to buy “Longshot,” you can probably find it at your local library.

“I do not care about the money, or the fame,” Allred writes in a letter to God in the book. “I just want to say that I set an “unreachable” goal and I made it.”

He certainly did.