A Nichey Niche Convo - Thanks Steven Adams ... And 'God'

Sometimes the Diggity Doc and the Wildcard talk to each other...

Diggity Doc - Dearest Wildcard, there's sporting shenanigans in bountiful amounts but news of Dante Exum's knee injury and the reaction to it in the NBA community - Utah Jazz fans especially got me thinking about Stevie Adams. Understandably, Adams and the Oklahoma City Thunder aren't too keen to take such a risk which puts a different spin on his/the Thunder's decision to not play for the Tall Blacks at the minute.

Wildcard - Yeah for sure, Doc. And while you can say that this probably wouldn't have happened to Steven Adams, it's not like it's impossible. No team wants to be in this situation where they lose a player they've planned around for reasons nothing to do with themselves. I'm liking what I'm seeing from the Tall Blacks right now anyway, and I don't really think that having Steve would make too much difference when we come up against an Aussie side stacked with NBA talent. He's our best rebounded, no doubt, but he's not quite Wilt Chamberlain yet. And I expect you'll agree with me here: I'd rather have him for OKC than for NZ. Not a real choice, I know, he could easily have done both with a little luck, but I'll say this doesn't make me feel too upset at not seeing him in the black singlet.

DD - It's an interesting situation because unlike the other main sports in Australia and Aotearoa, basketball's essentially run by the NBA. Insurance and all that aside, if Shaun Johnson dislocated his ankle playing for the Kiwis and missed a whole bunch of games for the Warriors, we wouldn't really think twice because he did so reppin' the Kiwis etc. But NBA folk only see these games as friendlies and to lose a team-man like the Utah Jazz have or like the Thunder could with Adams isn't really worth it right?

WC - Nah, not at all. Not from the club's point of view anyway. And not really for Adams either, because while he probably wants to play for his country more than anyone - the dude's as proud as they come - he's also an up and coming NBA player and a serious injury now could be devastating for his future. At least Exum was a very top draft pick so the team's already made a certain amount of commitment to him. Anyway, speaking of American sports, I might take this a little deep and meaningful if ya don't mind. I read the Arian Foster cover story on ESPN, about his openly acknowledging his own atheism, and it's been weirding me out ever since. That a guy feels like he needs to make a public statement about his non-traditional beliefs, it felt like a coming out story, he even talks about accepting who he is. The article made some good points about the link between grid iron and religion too, very strange scene they have over there. Team prayer sessions and church visits as team bonding. And if you don't fit in then you're a troublemaker. Hmm, imagine the All Blacks in that culture.

DD - There was a small outcry of sadness/dumbess when Adams said he wouldn't be available for the Oceania Champs, but Exum's injury showed me that it was a smart decision all round. Plus it means that the Boomers won't have Exum which is also good news.

So you're telling me that Foster's atheism announcement felt like Michael Sam's coming out? Which is incredibly weird if you ask me. Anytime you are made to feel different for your beliefs is just shit really and the All Blacks solely want to win. Culture and being inclusive is a massive part of that so it's impossible to imagine an All Blacks team where religion or lack of it is a key factor. Americans do love a bit of faith thought don't they?

WC - Yeah, the problem with religion in America - this is about to get divisive - is that it's too wrapped up in commercial interests. And by extension political ones, because the corporations fund the politicians. They use people's faith to get them to trust and blindly obey them, extorting belief. They promote a certain type of faith that is all about affirmation and the kind of inclusion that excludes everyone who doesn't follow the exact same rules. God and Country. Love the military. Sports are good, women are stupid. Vote Trump. But my vision of it is that religion isn't about faith as much as it is about doubt. Like all belief systems, if you cannot question yourself then it's all a smokescreen. I hate that New Zealand and Australia tend to be so dismissive of religion as an inconvenience. It's all about finding your own truth, as Foster's dad told him way back (great quote). But I much prefer our way to the oppressive American way. The writer also posed the question to him: which would be tougher, being non-religious or being Muslim in an NFL locker room? Foster reckoned they'd be "one and the same". Maybe count out that Sonny Bill to NFL idea then.

DD - Ah the slippery slope of religion. Speaking of Sonny Bill Williams and Islam, Joe Parker's next opponent Kali Meehan's son Willis has converted to Islam himself #FactOfTheDay. I'm not sure if he did so after or before being cut by the Roosters but he's friends with SBW so there ya go. What have you made of both Parker and Floyd Mayweather's next fights?

WC - Haha, well, we could get into a hearty philosophical debate but we'll save that for another time. The only other thing I wanted to add while on that slippery slope is a curious observation that Arian Foster mentioned which has always kinda bugged me. When devout athletes thank God for their victories... what are they saying about their opponents? Does God hate the Denver Broncos because Russell Wilson prays more than Peyton Manning? Pretty sure God doesn't care who wins the Super Bowl, otherwise Tim Tebow would be a starter someplace. 

Right, boxing though. Two big fights (one locally, one worldwide), both massive let-downs. But Parker's fight I understand. They want him to fight on a schedule, a certain number a year, so this is just a placeholder. I also think they were pretty pissed at Bowie Tupou's pathetic efforts in only lasting 63 seconds, pretty sure they wanted several rounds out of this one. So they're putting in a guy who can box without recklessness to take him some distance and let him show off his technical stuff. The big knockouts get people's attention, but before Parker fights an international name he'll need to show the promoters more than that. Power alone won't challenge Deontay Wilder. Parker can do all that other stuff, he just needs the chance to show it.

As for Floyd Mayweather, pffft. Pretty much any guy he fights is gonna be a foregone conclusion, but he could at least try. My theory is that maybe he's saving the big one for career fight number 50, when his Showtime contract will be over and he can negotiate a new one-fight deal with the highest bidder that will shatter even the May-Pac numbers. Maybe I'm being a dreamer though.

DD - It's all about sacrifice mate and Russell Wilson is apparently sacrificing sex with Ciara so all power to him. Although if you are a pro athlete you could probably get away with not banging a sheila because well, you're a pro athlete ya know? 

I agree about Parker and I like that Mayweather hypothesis of yours, but neither of them can expect the public to pay to watch these fights. We both agree with what I'm calling the 'Parker Plan' but I'm not gonna spend my dosh to watch these fights and Mayweather - consider this the hangover.

WC - Funny you should say that about sacrifices because I see Ian Healy is trying to blame the Australian cricket team's 60 all out capitulation on the presence of the so-called WAGs on tour. Very distracting is seems. Funny then that it was also a Broad that sparked the downfall.
I don't reckon I'll be paying for either of those fights. Frankly, there are other ways and the better quality of video doesn't cover the standard $39.95 costs. It's definitely a hangover fight for Mayweather, for Parker he's never really had a fight that was evenly matched. Sky Arena and Duco must make some money off these bouts or surely that price is unreasonable. But they wanna charge that then they have to accept that numbers won't be sky high. It doesn't help either that I just really don't wanna support Duco Events. Joseph Parker, absolutely. Duco, not at all. Remember this Meehan bloke won their pathetic farce of a joke that was Super 8 boxing. Another one of the Duco rotation.

DD - Wait you're telling me that Duco have their own little group of fighters to use at their disposal? Shock! Hey, Jack Wilshere's got a hairline fracture or something - should I be concerned that the injuries have already started?

WC - If you aren't already concerned by Jack "The New Diaby" Wilshere then it's too late now. Duco used a ready-made relationship, Jack Wilshere is injured. Coming up after the break on Nightly Nichey News, we have exclusive images of cats and dogs fighting, as well as Kane Williamson scoring runs.

Wilshere's a top player but the Gunners will be fine without him. It's Diego Costa's injury troubles at Chelsea that should be inducing a lil panic. Between Ramsey, Cazorla, Coquelin, Ozil and company, there are plenty of fall back options (tbh, not even sure if Wilshere is first choice anymore anyway). I've already taken advantage of this situation to draft Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain into my fantasy team. This is the Year of the Ox, Doc. I can feel it. (But more importantly, also the year of Rooney, Mata and Depay).

DD - Death, taxes, Wilshere being injured, Duco's ready made fights and Kane. I think we'll both be hoping Costa's got plenty of time to watch pornos with his friends his season huh?

WC - The more time the better. We might have to combine the Arsenal/Man Utd fan communities and get the lad a couple subscriptions. I'm guessing he'd be keen on some Older Looking Guys with Younger Women type stuff. And probably some foot stuff too. I wonder how Mourinho would feel if Costa sparked up his special parties again, I know he doesn't like handshakes.

DD - I would be weary of a handshake with Costa. What is your pick of the sporting action this weekend - what has the Wildcard sliding into hibernation?

WC - Well Doc, I don't know if you realise this, but there's only a year to go until the Olympics in Rio!!! I'm so excited that I've cancelled every event and appointment all the way from now 'til then. But not really. Gimme some Warriors vs Dragons, a bit of All Blacks vs Wallabies and then a full night of Premier League football. No sleep for me, mate. There's a ripper of a Saturday night line-up right there.

DD - So you won't be sleeping for 100 days because of your excitement for the Olympics or because there's so much sport to focus on right now so who gives a fuck ... the Olympics is next year?

Either way you will need your usual dosage of peptides to get through the weekend I assume?

WC - Meh. Sleep is for people who don't watch English football. It's a torturous ritual but a necessary one (goddamn the international date lines). Love me some Olympics but I also love me some FIFA World Cup and some Commonwealth Games. Neither of them is on this year either.

Yep, them peppies will certainly help me through the wee small hours, might needa up the dosage this week, gotta get the early scouting reports in on Stoke-alona and company. Same meeting place as always? Behind the dumpsters down at the old industrial centre?

DD - Yeah, you only get my assistant though, I've got bigger business to deal to with these fucking Aussie cricketers. What am I saying - it means more business!

WC - Whatever works in this economy Doc. Talk to ya next time.