Five Guiding Principles For Achieving Sales Success

Landon T. Horstman/The Raisin Review

Landon T. Horstman/The Raisin Review

Considering a career in sales? Ready to climb that corporate latter straight to the top? Well, before you begin decorating your cubicle with inspirational quotes and Workaholics memorabilia, allow me to provide you with five guiding principles for achieving sales success. As an account manager for a large corporation, I’ve compiled a number of important fundamentals imperative for business prosperity. Remember these five golden rules and you’ll be demanding quarterly results from subordinates in no time!

1.) Money Is Everything

Do you like money? Do you love money? Do you want some more of it? If your answer is anything short of, “I’d harvest my own kidneys for more money!” than pack your shit and get the fuck out, because your modest, bohemian, loser mentality is a complete waste of office space! Money is everything. Money is the reason people wake up in the morning. Money is the reason people become lawyers, politicians, entrepreneurs, teachers, prostitutes, Martin Shkreli — hell, money is the reason people become anything at all! In order to succeed in this business — or any business for that matter — money must become the single most important aspect of your everyday life. Donald Trump is your president; Roger Goodell is your commissioner; Alan Greenspan is your celebrity crush; Capitalism is your religion; Atlas Shrugged is your bible; Warren Buffet is your God. If you’re not prepared to make as much money as humanly possible each and every day, even at the cost of abandoning your entire family and creating a hobbit-sized desk hole to live inside, than you’re better off joining a commune or departing the country entirely (don’t let the flag whip you in the ass on the way out — commie bastard). But if your appetite for money is so intense that you develop stress ulcers from the mere thought of not making enough, than sales might just be the right job for you! Establish this kind of winning attitude and your next money selfie will reflect true success (you’re so money and you do know it).

2.) Never Stop Making Sales

An important adage commonly used throughout the business world is “sleep when you dead;” a profound philosophy every salesman should adopt as their morning mantra. If money is everything, than constantly conducting business is an absolute necessity! You cannot make money if you’re not making sales. You cannot make money if you’re not consistently calling, knocking, or harassing potential clients via Facebook (Wait! Why are you on Facebook? Pick up the fucking phone and make a sale for Buffett sake!). You cannot make money if you’re eating lunch everyday, or going home every evening, or sleeping every night. If you want to succeed in this business than never stop selling — sales equals money, and more money equals the happiest life money can buy. If you remember anything from this article, remember this: Never. Ever. Stop. Selling. Now get on that phone and make a sale already! You can sleep when you dead lil’ homie.

3.) Choose Your Words Wisely

I’m sure you’ve heard the proverb “the pen is mightier than the sword” once or twice before. For a salesman, nothing is more powerful than the almighty word. In order to succeed, every salesman should boast a robust repertoire of terminology — and even more importantly, a firm understanding of vocabulary. Just like any successful lawyer or professional swindler, every accomplished salesman should possess a strong comprehension of jargon, because the ability to adequately manipulate your words could be the difference between making a sale and standing trial before a grand jury. Just like any skilled hunter or shifty politician, every salesman should always use a variety of diverse tactics to confuse their prey, and the subtle replacement of one word for another could be enough to lure that elusive target into a stern trap or extensive contract. Remember to always maintain a strong sense of ethics when conducting business, allowing a careful choice of words to keep your agreements legally binding.

4.) Take Time To Relish Success

Any business worth its weight in gold should provide a public forum for acknowledging the many achievements of successful salesmen. This mandatory assembly should allow superiors and subordinates alike to offer congratulations for a job well done. It should also serve as a platform of public humiliation in order to separate the winners from the soon-to-be unemployed. Take time to relish success. Enjoy the spotlight of a winner compared to the shame of a loser. Cherish every raucous applause and jubilant roar echoed throughout the office. Treasure the overwhelming support provided from peers. Remember the pathetic salesman who couldn’t sell a pen even if his life depended on it (that guy is now homeless). Remember the humiliation endured by that stupid bastard. Remember the satisfaction received from being labeled a “winner”. Appreciate and savor success, as the recognition will help promote increased motivation, higher self-esteem, and above all, humility.

5.) Engage In Healthy Competition

Engaging in healthy competition amongst peers will increase productivity and office morale. Nothing is more motivating than a cordial contest between friends — challenging co-workers to strive for greatness while stimulating your own lust for success. Don’t be afraid to occasionally boast accomplishments and periodically tease associates, mimicking the common banter shared between friends. Often remind co-workers of the true alpha salesman, consistently reestablishing the fact that “they ain’t shit” and “they suck dick” whenever the opportunity arises (i.e. always). A lighthearted razzing will inspire cohorts to be better salesman, administering ridiculing remarks such as “you’re a pathetic piece of shit” and “you’ll be lucky to supply your family a happy Christmas after this miserable effort.” Mild mockery and healthy competition will boost personal drive towards unrivaled excellence, create a family atmosphere, and motivate peers to parallel your greatness.

 

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Dream Team: A Starting Five to Rule Them All

50 greatest

The Raisin Review/Landon T. Horstman

Sports provide fans with a variety of varying excitement. Whether it’s the melodrama of an athlete’s personal transgressions, or simply the game itself, athletics consistently present spectators with a smorgasbord of fascination and intrigue.

One aspect of sports fandom especially enthralling is the hypothetical scenario (i.e. a theoretical premise only possible within a parallel universe). I’m sure every fan has indulged in some form of hypothetical debate at least once in their lives; whether with friends, strangers at a bar, or even morons on the internet — arguing emphatically with a computer screen in retaliation to something somebody senselessly stated (Michael Jordan would absolutely own Kobe Bryant one-on-one, by the way).

One hypothetical scenario quickly becoming a fan favorite is the “greatest starting five ever” debate. It’s a simple premise: Pick five players throughout NBA history — specific or non-specific to position — and compose the greatest starting five of all-time. Of course, this could never come to fruition, for obvious reasons, but it’s still an amusing argument between commercial breaks.

I’ve had this discussion numerous times before, always concluding with the following lineup: PG Magic Johnson, SG Michael Jordan, SF Larry Bird, PF Tim Duncan, C Bill Russell. That sounds like a damn good lineup, and a team many people would respect. But I have never examined said lineup with sharp statistical analysis; only utilizing the knowledge simply swimming within my head. So I have decided to do just that, and continue to open a large can of worms in no way possible to observe, purely subjective, and an argument fire-starter that elicits a passionate debate between combatants with no right or wrong answer.

To provide some context into my evaluation process, selections will be decided position-by-position. Meaning, a starting five cannot consist entirely of one position (e.g. five power forwards, five point guards, etc). The team must consist of a player representing each standard position, and someone who predominately — or at least substantially — played that position throughout their career (modern basketball tends to sometimes disregard or stray away from this classic model, but by selecting players according to specific position, the model becomes not just best starting five ever, but best player at their position ever, which adds to the fun).

Each category will have five initial nominees (players that I have predetermined for consideration), and from that five one starter and one reserve will be selected. Since an NBA roster is generally comprised of 12 players, two additional reserves regardless of position — selected strictly on the basis of talent, merit, success, and personal preference — will also be chosen. As an additional bonus, an honorary head coach and assistant head coach will also be added to the team.

With that said, and without further ado, let the debating commence!


Point Guard (PG)

Nominees:

Magic Johnson; John Stockton; Oscar Robertson; Isiah Thomas; Bob Cousy

Honorable Mentions:

Jason Kidd; Steve Nash; Gary Payton; Walt Frazier; Nate Archibald

Prior Selection:

Magic Johnson

Analysis:

Point guard is arguably the most valuable position in the game of basketball. Assuming the role of floor general, the point guard is typically responsible for driving the ball down court, establishing tempo, signaling play calls, and providing teammates with exceptional passes in optimum scoring position. The ideal point guard is quick, intelligent, savvy, tenacious, perceptive, and proficient. The appointed nominees are often regarded as the premier players at their respective position — but only one can be crowned the best of the best.

Earvin “Magic” Johnson: Not only was Magic Johnson a sensational passer, but he was also an exceptional scorer, and one of the most versatile athletes to ever play the position. In fact, during Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals, Johnson played not only guard, but all five positions due to significant injuries afflicting the team (let that sink in for a moment). At 6′ 9″ and 220 pounds, Johnson possessed the physical attributes and abilities necessary to play a variety of different positions; especially phenomenal considering the bruising physicality of the era. Johnson led the league in assist four times, steals twice, and averaged nearly 20 points per game throughout his stellar career. He is also fifth all-time in assist, a remarkable feat for a man his size.

John Stockton: Stockton wasn’t just remarkable at his position — he exemplified the standard. If the prime objective of the point guard position is to readily recognize available options and distribute the ball to teammates in premium position to score, than nobody was ever better than Stockton. He lead the league in assists nine seasons in a row, rivaling fellow greats competing during the same time-frame (e.g. Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, Gary Payton, Jason Kidd, Kevin Johnson, etc). Never a particularly great scorer — averaging only 13.1 points throughout his career — he was still a high-percentage shooter, and played his position exquisitely. Stockton is still currently the league leader in assists, above the second closest player, Jason Kidd, by nearly 1,000 assists. It doesn’t get much better than that folks.

Oscar “The Big O” Robertson: “The Big O” wasn’t just versatile, but damn near unstoppable. If audiences are currently impressed by the total number of triple-doubles amassed by Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook this season, than consider this: Robertson averaged a triple-double for two entire seasons, only marginally failing to complete the feat three additional seasons by mere fractions of statistical points. Not only could he pass (he led the league in assist seven times), but at a relatively paltry 6′ 5″, he averaged double-digits in rebounding during three separate seasons, and averaged near or above 30 points throughout his first eight campaigns. As a point guard that could rebound, score, and pass, “The Big O” was a true anomaly.

Isiah Thomas: A perpetual All-Star nearly his entire 13 year career (12 out of 13 seasons), Thomas is considered by many as one of the fiercest and toughest competitors to ever streak the hardwood. Standing at a modest 6′ 1′ and weighing a meager 180 pounds, Thomas wasn’t exactly the heftiest man, but that didn’t stop him and his teammates from establishing a bruising and physical brand of basketball that earned the Pistons of the late 80s the moniker “Bad Boys” of the league. An exceptional scorer and passer, Thomas was the “little tough guy that could” long before Allen Iverson emerged, and is still highly considered one of the greatest at his position.

Bob Cousy: “Cousy the Doozy” (a nickname I totally made up) is considered one of the first elite point guards in early league history. Nicknamed the “Houdini of the Hardwood” (an actual nickname) for his exceptional control and ball handling skills, Cousy won 6 NBA titles throughout his career as member of the illustrious Boston Celtics. A formidable scorer and notable passer — consistently averaging around 20 points per game and leading the league in assists eight consecutive seasons — Cousy swiftly set the standard for the point guard position, as well as establishing himself as a bona-fide legend in the process.

Decision: 

A tough decision, indeed, but lets be honest: It was always going to be Magic. Although Stockton’s passing prowess is virtually unmatched, alongside his extraordinary court vision, he simply didn’t have the physical characteristics necessary to parallel Johnson’s versatility. Stockton would have been an undeniable selection had his passing abilities been decisively better than Johnson’s, but Magic was a phenomenal passer himself, and a more prolific scorer. Oscar Robertson certainly has the stats, and was arguably the most versatile and complete player the league has ever seen, but he played during an era with limited and condensed talent, allowing stats to be padded, sometimes by significant margins. Isiah was tough, gritty, and undeniably talented, but Johnson displayed a size and skill set that succeeded more than deflated, throughout a career that largely coincided with Thomas. Bob Cousy may have set the standard, but those standards have been considerably elevated since then. Cousy led the league is assists several times, but none of those averages surpassed double-digits, and his career field-goal percentage was modest at best. Magic Johnson, simply put, was the whole package, and an athlete who could not only play in the modern era, but dominate as well.

Starter: Magic Johnson

Reserve: John Stockton and Oscar Robertson (too tough to call)

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Shooting Guard (SG)

Nominees:

Michael Jordan; Kobe Bryant; Jerry West; Clyde Drexler; Allen Iverson

Honorable Mentions:

Reggie Miller; Earl Monroe; Georg Gervin; Pete Maravich; Dwayne Wade

Prior Selection:

Michael Jordan

Analysis:

There’s no reason to exhaustively evaluate this position, considering the obvious decision. But for the sake of providing empirical evidence and overwhelming proof, lets evaluate the greatest shooting guard ever (i.e. Michael Jordan) in correlation to his closest “comparison,” (i.e. Kobe Bryant); hopefully providing some significant insight into the paramount career that was “Air” Jordan.

Offense: Kobe Bryant entered the league as an energetic, electrifying, and prolific scorer, averaging a modest 19.9 points per game concluding his third season in the league (his first two years were less than stellar, but promising). By season four, Bryant had extended that average, scoring 22.5 points a game (his second season as a full-time starter). What did Jordan average his third season in the league? Try 28.2 points per game — his rookie season. What did Jordan average his fourth year, around the time Kobe had finally begun averaging 22.5 points per game? Try 35 points per game, leading the league in points throughout the next six consecutive seasons! Kobe didn’t average 30 points per game until his seventh stint in the league; in contrast, Jordan averaged 37.1 points per game by year three, and would continue to average above 30 points consistently over the next seven seasons.

Kobe has recently surpassed Jordan on the NBA all-time scoring list, currently boasting nearly 200 points more than his heir apparent. Although Jordan retired frequently, and played well past his prime, he only played 15 seasons, which sounds like a lot, but when compared to Bryant’s 19 years in the league, it’s modest at best. Not only did Bryant enter the league straight from high school, but he needed an additional four seasons to surpass his idol on the scoring charts, rendering his impressive feat — in comparison to Jordan — less than extraordinary.

Defense: “The Defensive Player of the Year Award” is typically bestowed upon a league “Big Man;” commonly a center or power forward who consistently racks-up defensive stats (i.e. rebounds, blocks, etc). But that didn’t stop Jordan from stealing the award during the 87-88′ season, his first year as league MVP. Jordan lead the NBA in steals three separate seasons, accumulating enough steals to rank him third all-time in the category (only John Stockton and Jason Kidd have more). Not only has Bryant never won Defensive Player of the Year, but he has never lead the league in a single defensive category, although considered a phenomenal defensive player.

Overall: Michael Jordan is a five-time league MVP, as well as a six-time Finals MVP. Kobe Bryant has only one league MVP attributed to his resume, which he acquired after his 12th year in the league (Jordan won the award after his fourth season). Out of Bryant’s five league championships, he was only awarded Finals MVP twice, as the three previous awards were granted to teammate Shaquille O’Neal. Jordan averaged 6.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.3 steals, and 30.1 points throughout his career. Bryant currently maintains career averages of 5.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.5 steals, and 25.4 points per game.

Decision:

Obviously, it isn’t as much a contemplation as it is a complete and utter annihilation. Michael Jordan possessed every characteristic, ability, and intangible necessary for epic greatness, and has the accolades to prove it. In no other category is the competition so overwhelmingly lopsided, and by comparing the nearly unanimously regarded top two shooting guards in league history — and examining the superior results — it’s not hard to ascertain who is the clear-cut selection at the position.

Starter: Michael Jordan

Reserve: Kobe Bryant (because even a cheap imitation is still a viable option)


Small Forward (SF)

Nominees:

Larry Bird; Julius Erving; Elgin Baylor; Scottie Pippen; LeBron James

Honorable Mentions:

Dominique Wilkins; Rick Barry; James Worthy; John Havlicek

Prior Selection:

Larry Bird

Analysis:

Small forward is typically considered the most versatile position in basketball, as athletes at the position typically range in size, can score in a variety of numerous ways, and typically rebound admirably. Small forwards are commonly distinguished sharpshooters, and provide teams with scorers from beyond the arc. Essentially a “jack of all trades,” the small forward possess multiple intangibles valuable to a teams success. The appointed nominees are often regarded as the premier players at their respective position — but only one can be crowned the best of the best.

Larry “Legend” Bird: “The Hick From French Lick” did more with less than virtually anyone else in league history. Sure, he was tall (6′ 9″), and carried considerable girth (220 pounds), but Larry “Legend” was never considered exceptionally athletic, and could even be described as gangly and gawky. But what Bird didn’t posses in physical ability, he more than made up with refined skill, fundamentals, hustle, and an unparalleled competitive desire. For starters, he could shoot, and shoot effectively. Bird averaged above 50 percent in field-goal percentage throughout five various seasons, and boast a respectable .496 lifetime shooting average. His three-point percentage wasn’t consistently stellar, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t set the rim on fire from beyond the arc. Bird also lead the league in free-throw percentage four separate seasons, and scored nearly 25 points per game lifetime.

Bird exemplified the small forward prototype; a regular “renaissance man” on the court. Larry “Legend” averaged double-digits in rebounds his first six seasons, with a career average of 10 boards per game. His rebounding prowess even excelled that of teammate Kevin McHale, who is an NBA Hall-of-Fame power forward! Bird was also an above-average passer, with the ability to make timely steals with his unrivaled hustle and work ethic (see Bird’s late game steal concluding the 87′ Conference Finals for reference). If that wasn’t enough — just to add icing to the cake — Bird was also a renowned trash-talker, deflating his opponent’s psyche well before tip-off, and establishing a mental advantage with every swoosh through the nylon. Larry Legend consistently defied all logic, and made hicks everywhere look good (a difficult feat to accomplish).

Julius “Dr. J” Erving: Before there was Dominique “The Human Highlight Reel” Wilkins and Michael “Air” Jordan, there was Julius “Dr. J” Erving, the original king of the slam dunk. A three-time ABA MVP and 81′ NBA MVP, Erving electrified and captivated audiences, teammates, and rivals for nearly two decades. His leaping ability is well-documented and highly revered, inspiring athletes such as Michael Jordan into imitating his iconic baseline dunk from the free-throw line. Erving lead the ABA in scoring on three separate occasions, and is currently fifth all-time on the NBA scoring list. He is considered one of the most, if not the most, creative, inventive, and incendiary scorers in league history, with an afro too legit to quit.

Elgin Baylor: Considered by many as the greatest 6′ 5″ rebounder in league history, Baylor is another legend who epitomized the position. He played before steals, blocks, and three-pointers were a statistic, but in regards to categories already recorded, he was nothing short of sensational. With his limited size, Baylor still managed to average over 13 rebounds throughout his career, and nearly averaged 20 boards per game two separate seasons. He was also a suitable passer, averaging near or above five assist per game six different years. Baylor maintained 27.4 points per game throughout his career, and is regarded as one of the 50 greatest players of all-time.

Scottie Pippen: Often considered the Robin to Michael Jordan’s Batman, the Chicago Bulls almost certainly never win six NBA championships without Scottie Pippen. An exceptional defender and reliable scorer, Pippen played his role to perfection. As a seven-time All-Star, perpetual first-team All-Defense selection, and dependable starter — leading the league in games played three separate seasons (tied) — Pippen was a utility man with all the tools necessary to compete for greatness.

LeBron James: Although his career is far from finished, the accomplishments and accolades LeBron James has already accrued could cement him as one of the greatest players ever, even if he retired today. At 6′ 8″ and 240 pounds, “King” James is truly a freak of nature, with physical abilities possibly never seen previously before. At the tender age of 30, James has already earned league MVP honors four times, NBA All-Star honors 11 times, and NBA Finals MVP twice. If he resigned today, his career stat line of 7.1 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and 27.4 points per game would be considered simply astonishing. James should continue to play at a superior level for several years to come, but without any further seasons, he may still be one of the 10 best players to ever grace the court.

Decision:

Although Pippen, Baylor, and Erving were certainly great, this position was always destined to be decided between legends and kings. Pippen was phenomenal, but hardly a franchise centerpiece. Baylor has the stats, but it’s no surprise a man listed at 6′ 5″ was able to become such a dominant rebounder (i.e. slim talent, soft competition, etc.), and he never won a championship to boot. Erving was prolific, but his best years came and went with the ABA, as once he entered the NBA his point totals and rebound averages dropped dramatically.

Bird and James are the premier choices at the position, but at the end of the day only one can be crowned the best, and that honor goes to Larry “Legend”. Jame’s career is still unfolding, and his mental wherewithal and playoff inconsistency make him a step below Bird. Not only did Bird win three NBA titles during a decade consisting of two incredibly gifted heavyweight teams (i.e. the Pistons and Lakers) — both of which he had to frequently battle and defeat — but he also played during an era of heightened physicality and toughness. James has displayed an uncomfortable disposition when defending the post and playing a physical brand of basketball, prompting former All-Star Tracy McGrady to state “[Before] you had men. You played with men. Now it’s a bunch of boys,” in regards to a statement by Dennis Rodman suggesting James would be an “average player” in another era (because of the physicality). James, or more accurately his teams, have been notably lackluster in the Finals. He is currently 2-3 in championship series, and would be 1-4 if not for a last-second buzzer-beater by Ray Allen against the Spurs in 2013.

One-on-one LeBron James conceivably dismantles Bird, but when talking about a collective team, Larry Bird is hands-down the best, and one of the best team players ever.

Starter: Larry Bird

Reserve: LeBron James

Second Reserve: Scottie Pippen (his defense, teamwork, and role awareness is paramount to team success)

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Power Forward (PF)

Nominees:

Tim Duncan; Karl Malone; Sir Charles Barkley; Kevin Garnett; Kevin McHale

Honorable Mentions:

Elvin Hayes; Dirk Nowitzki; Dennis Rodman; Bob Pettit; Dave DeBusschere

Prior Selection:

Tim Duncan

Analysis:

Power forwards, like centers, are typically lane enforcers but with more finesse. They gobble rebounds and play the post, relying on footwork and fundamentals to score. The prototypical power forward possesses a variety of skills, akin to the small forward, but ordinarily use their girth and large frame to succeed underneath the basket as opposed to further away. The appointed nominees are often regarded as the premier players at their respective position — but only one can be crowned the best of the best.

Tim Duncan: What really needs to be said about “Timmy” Duncan? He’s won five NBA championships (including three in three different decades), he’s a two-time NBA MVP, a 15 time All-Star, and has registered career stats of 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 2.2 blocks, and 19.5 points per game. His longevity is indicative of his superior fundamentals, conditioning, and work ethic. Still active, the Spurs continue to be relevant and competitive nearly two decades after drafting the big man. If you want a role model and a consignment professional, look no further than Tim Duncan.

Karl Malone: He never won a championship, but then again, not many players did during the 90s — besides the Bulls of course. Nevertheless, Karl Malone still managed to cultivate a sensational career, ranking second all-time in points scored, and averaging 10.1 rebounds and 25 points throughout his career. Nicknamed “The Mailman” because of his phenomenal scoring ability, Malone delivered every night and twice on Sunday, averaging near or above 25 points per game for 15 straight seasons. He never won a scoring title, but he should have won many, if it wasn’t for that damn Jordan! Not only is he one of the 50 greatest players of all-time, but he’s arguably one of the ten greatest to ever play the game, regardless of position.

Sir Charles Barkley: Before he was everyone’s favorite crazy uncle on “Inside the NBA,” Charles Barkley was everyone’s favorite crazy cousin on the court, and an insanely great player at that. Only listed as 6′ 6″ — no taller than the average guard — Barkley is arguably the greatest height-for-height rebounder in league history. He only lead the league in total rebounds once (with an incredible 14.6 average), but he lead the NBA in offensive rebounds three times, an impressive and important stat teams appreciate. He finished his career averaging 11.7 rebounds and 22.1 points per game, and would have certainly won a championship if it wasn’t for that damn Jordan!

Kevin Garnett: KG was always more finesse than fundamental, but when he was at his best there was nobody better. Averaging double-digits in rebounds nine consecutive seasons — leading the league in boards four times — Garnett could do it all, as he was even a proficient passer, shot-blocker, and stealer (remarkable for his position). His stats have declined over the past several seasons, but considering he has played nearly 20 straight years, his longevity is a marvel in itself.

Kevin McHale: Playing alongside the legendary Larry Bird, Kevin McHale may be the best low-post scorer to ever play the position. He had finesses and refined fundamentals, making him a nightmare match-up problem for most teams to defend. McHale lead the league in field-goal percentage twice — with a career .554 average — and consistently averaged near or above 20 points per game lifetime; he was also an adequate free-throw shooter, not common for players at his position. Fundamentally sound and with a remarkable basketball IQ, Kevin McHale will always be the first Hall-of-Fame Kevin to play at the Boston Garden, and arguably the best.

Decision:

Barkley was great, and in a different era — with slightly more height — possibly the best, but his lack of accolades and championships are his ultimate objection. McHale was a prolific scorer and consignment teammate, but his rebounding was less than stellar. Garnett during his prime was the best ever, but his fundamentals pale in comparison to Duncan, who happens to be a position above KG on both all-time points and rebounds, and ten slots above Garnett in blocks.

Karl Malone provides a compelling case with his impressive credentials: Second all-time in points scored, sixth in rebounds, and tenth all-time in steals — all stats considerably higher than Duncan’s. I wanted to give Duncan the undisputed affirmation considering his supreme fundamentals — possessing a polished skill-set allowing him to continue playing exceptionally well late into his twilight. But at age 38 — the same age Duncan is now — Malone still averaged 22.4 points and nine rebounds per game, in comparison to Duncan’s current totals of 13.9 points and nine boards per game.

Many people will cite Duncan’s success, accolades, and championships as reason to bump him above “The Mailman,” but I can’t fault Malone for never winning a ring, considering he played during an era where a plethora of notable names never won — all because of that damn Jordan (e.g. John Stockton, Reggie Miller, Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, etc)! Duncan also benefited from playing in the modern era, where the average big man has slimmed down, become less physical, and forgotten the prestige of the post. Duncan also benefits from a coach that limits his minutes of play, allowing him to have fresh legs late in the season, and thus increasing his longevity. When Malone was 38 he still averaged 38 minutes per game, opposed to Duncan’s 28.9 minutes per contest.

But with that said, the definitive decision must be Tim Duncan, as his defense raises him a mere step above Malone. In eighteen seasons, “Timmy” has been selected to the NBA All-Defensive committee 14 times; an overwhelming accomplishment that vastly overshadows Malone’s four selections. Duncan is also a superior rebounder and shot-blocker in comparison to “The Mailman;” distinguishable traits that cannot be taken for granted.

Karl Malone poses a convincing edge over Tim Duncan offensively, but it is the astounding defensive separation that makes this difficult decision a swat in the park.

Starter: Tim Duncan

Reserve: Karl Malone


Center (C)

Nominees:

Hakeem Olajuwon; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; Bill Russell; Wilt Chamberlain; Moses Malone

Honorable Mentions:

George Mikan; Shaquille O’Neal; David Robinson; Patrick Ewing; Willis Reed; Robert Parish; Bill Walton

Prior Selection:

Bill Russell

Analysis:

Center is arguably the most domineering position in basketball. With sheer power, strength, and force, the above-average center possesses the ability to overwhelm opponents, while expanding opportunities for teammates alongside the perimeter. The center also assumes the role of lane enforcer, forcing opponents to execute difficult shots and blocking them as well. The appointed nominees are often regarded as the premier players at their respective position — but only one can be crowned the best of the best.

Hakeem Olajuwon: Nicknamed “The Dream” for a reason, Olajuwon possessed an array of remarkable skills that made him a vision to witness and a nightmare to defend. Gifted with nimble feet and considerable size, Olajuwon had the unique versatility to play like a “little guy” offensively but like a “big man” defensively. Take a moment to absorb these career statistics: Tenth all-time in points, thirteenth in rebounds, eight in steals (the second closest center in this category is far down the ladder at 42), and first in blocked shots. Nearly a the top ten performer in every quintessential category, Olajuwon played both ends of the court, and was awarded defensive MVP twice as well as NBA All-Defensive team nine times. “The Dream” was a fantasy come to life, and arguably the most gifted center in league history.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Many people regard Michael Jordan as the greatest NBA player of all-time — including myself — but it becomes increasingly difficult to justify that opinion when you examine the legacy of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. As a six-time league MVP (the most ever), six-time NBA champion, and all-time league leader in points scored, it’s hard to argue against the dominance and ability of Kareem. “The Big Fella” lead the league in points three times, rebounds twice — averaging above 16 rebounds per game four separate seasons — and blocks four distinct seasons. He is a 19 time All-Star, and among being the league leader in points, he is also currently third in both rebounds and blocks. If Jordan is the greatest, than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar isn’t far behind.

Bill Russell: If not considered the greatest, Bill Russell is certainly the winningest. In his 12 year career, Russell won 11 championships — you read that correctly: 11 championships. Known more for his defensive prowess than his offensive abilities, Russell lead the league in rebounds four separate seasons, with a career average of 22.5 rebounds per game. If your head hasn’t exploded quite yet, wrap your brain around this: Russell’s lowest rebounding average throughout his illustrious career was a whopping 18.6, proving that even at his worst he was still a class above the best. Russell played well before blocks were an official statistic, but many “experts” still consider him to be one of the most prolific shot-blockers to ever play the game. “The man. The myth. The legend” begins and ends with Bill Russell.

Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain: If Bill Russell didn’t blow your mind, prepare to have your head shattered after reviewing Wilt Chamberlain’s career. If stats never lie, than behold the truth: A seven-time scoring champ, eleven-time rebound leader, and lead the league nine times in field-goal efficiency. Throughout his lifetime “The Stilt” averaged 22.9 rebounds and 30.1 points per game, cultivating a career double-double average that will never be eclipsed. Chamberlain currently ranks fifth all-time in points, and first all-time in rebounds, succeeding second place (i.e. Bill Russell) by more than 2,000 boards. “The Stilt” was a remarkable freak that would have made even Barnum & Bailey proud.

Moses Malone: With a name like Moses, this big man was destined to become a legend of the hardwood. Malone quickly established his presence underneath the basket, garnering the nickname “Chairman of the Boards” in regards to his exceptional rebounding dexterity. Malone lead the league in rebounds five separate seasons; an exceptional accomplishment considering the era and increased competition. His career average of 12.3 boards per game helped him secure fifth all-time in the distinguished category — cementing his legendary status everlasting. A three-time NBA MVP, Malone also boast an admirable 20.3 lifetime average in points scored, which is just another incredible accomplishment attributed to his resume.

Decision:

Hands-down the toughest position to choose from considering the immense talent, as the selection for best center comes with thorough reflection.

Nothing against Bill Russell or Wilt Chamberlain, but their mind-boggling stats can easily be ascribed to the era, inflating their inventory to astronomical margins and unfathomable feats that could not be accomplished in future decades. Moses Malone could be considered the greatest ever considering his dominance, accomplishments, and accolades; that is, if Olajuwon and Kareem never existed.

A heavy-weight bout between two esteemed, revered, and accomplished athletes, my decision comes with great contemplation, ultimately selecting “The Dream” as my all-time starter.

Obviously, a great case could be made for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — which has been chronicled above — but no big man possessed more variety and versatility within their skill-set than Olajuwon. Abdul-Jabbar mastered the “sky hook,” but Olajuwon mastered the “Dream Shake,” which has been translated and utilized at numerous positions, and taught to players such as Kobe Bryant (SG), LeBron James (SF), and Dwight Howard (C), just to name a few.

Olajuwon’s nimble feet yet large frame made him an absolute nightmare to guard — an anomaly never more potent or obvious than in 95′ Western Conference Finals against Reigning MVP David Robinson. As starting center for the San Antonio Spurs, Robinson had secured league MVP honors that year, and was prepared for a supreme match-up against Olajuwon, ultimately proving too much for “The Admirable”. Olajuwon wasted no time making Robinson look foolish, averaging 35.3 points per game, 12.3 rebounds, 4.2 blocks, and five assists throughout the bout, subsequently winning the series in six games. But Robinson wasn’t the only esteemed center to fall victim to Olajuwon’s prowess, as “The Dream” dismantled various league big men in an era of great centers, which included Patrick Ewing, Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning, and Dikembe Mutumbo, just to name a few.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was no slouch on the defensive end either, but it is Olajuwon’s vast skill-set that lands him atop my list.

Starter: Hakeem Olajuwon

Reserve: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar


Added Bonus: Coach

Head Coach: Phil Jackson

Assistant Head Coach: Gregg Popovich


Agree with this? Disagree? Make your opinion known in the comments below — and let the debating begin!

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Another Raisin Review: The Brilliance Behind “Eastbound and Down” Season 1

The Raisin Review/Landon T. Horstman

Every former athlete hopes to avoid one debilitating nightmare: Becoming a physical education instructor. That nightmare becomes reality for Kenny Powers (Danny McBride) — star of the former HBO series Eastbound and Down — long after his days of “burning ass are over”.

Known for its vulgar language and morbid sense of humor, this short series is “more than a pair of tits and legs,” showcasing the hollow existence of an athlete forgotten, and a competitor desperately clinging onto the past.

The first episode begins with Kenny Powers striking out the final at-bat during game seven of the World Series. As a rookie closer for Atlanta, Powers shoots to super-stardom after his clutch performance, coining the phrase “You’re fucking out, I’m fucking in”. His achievement is followed by a short montage, illustrating his crude behavior, various vices, and inevitable downfall.

After “several shitty years later,” Powers finds himself where it all began, in his hometown of Shelby, North Carolina, applying to become a substitute teacher. Chapter one (i.e. episode one) focuses on the denial of an athlete who once had it all, and the life of a man now reduced to shame. Of course Powers cannot handle the realization that his playing days might be over, as he desperately tries to convince himself and others that he still has what it takes to compete at the professional level.

Powers eventually becomes the physical education instructor at his old middle school — where he was once revered — colliding head-on with his past. There he is reacquainted with his high school sweetheart, April (Katy Mixon), whom he deserted quickly after going pro. He soon finds out that April is engaged to school principal Terrence Cutler (Andrew Daly): A condescending antagonist who subtly and sarcastically reminds Powers of his prior failures and current circumstance.

In chapter two, Powers meets Ashley Schaeffer (Will Ferrell), the owner of a BMW dealership arrogantly entitled “Schaeffer BMW”. Powers believes Schaeffer admires him and sincerely desires his sponsorship as a spokesperson for the dealership; but in reality, Schaeffer is a sadistic psychopath who constantly condescends and embarrasses Powers for his own morbid enjoyment.

During one encounter in particular, Schaeffer shrewdly forces Powers under a microscope, demanding that he oblige a fans request to receive a pitch during a “celebrity” signing. Powers reluctantly agrees, but eventually becomes incredibly overwhelmed by crippling anxiety, due to exposing his now defunct not-so-rocket arm. In this moment, Powers is forced to face the reality of the present, and possibly come to terms with the past. But in typical Kenny Power’s style, instead of coming to terms with anything, he declines the fans request, punches said fan in the face, and abandons the celebrity signing. And in typical Ashley Schaeffer fashion, the perverted dealership proprietor joyously waves goodbye to Powers along with other spectators, screaming aloud, “Go fuck yourself Kenny Powers!” in a delighted tone.

For the most part, characters in the show either ignore (mostly ignore), condescend, or laugh at Power’s expense; that is, except for one loyal subject: Stevie Janowski (Steve Little). The band teacher at the same middle school Powers is employed, Janowski borders on the line between adoration and infatuation in regards to his former peer, who he mistakenly perceives as some sort of god through quasi-homosexual rose-colored glasses.

Understandably — although never officially stated — Janowski is mentally challenged, exhibiting similar characteristics of a man dealing with acute retardation. Powers ungraciously relishes the newfound admiration, disregarding the fact that the only person showering him with praise is a misguided admirer who may or may not be retarded. He quickly takes advantage of his only supporter, manipulating and exploiting Janowski every chance he gets (for example, at one point in the series, Powers even decides to “let go” of Janowski, explaining that if they continued to be friends he would only abuse their relationship further, which was a battle he decided he couldn’t win).

Eventually, after a dinner party at Cutler’s house, Powers becomes so overwhelmed with embarrassment and shame — literally finding himself face down in cake after an awkward exchange with April (i.e. prematurely ejaculating in his pants) and being berated by an inebriated Cutler — he decides to abandon his comeback to baseball, as his looking-glass self collides with perception and reality.

It would seem as if the egomaniacal Powers had finally come to terms with his professional afterlife, deciding to accept his full-time position as an instructor, with “no hopes and dreams” and “just waiting to die like everyone else”. But this stark epiphany would only become a fleeting realization, as his small support system of friends and family foolishly propel Powers into regaining his prominence and accepting a challenge presented by professional archnemesis Reg Mackworthy (Craig Robinson).

Mackworthy, a former baseball player responsible for officially ending Power’s professional career, teams up with Schaffer in an attempt to continue their perpetual mental assault against Powers. The dubious twosome challenge Powers to a duel between pitcher and hitter, which the former big league closer initially declines, but after his brother questions his fortitude, he adamantly accepts.

During the climax of season one, a large crowd forms at Schaffer BMW, as the two enemies engage in an intense face-off. Initially, Powers begins poorly, as his command and arm strength prove to be less than formidable. But after April makes a surprise appearance, Powers suddenly regains his confidence — and his pitch — subsequently hitting Mackworthy in the eyeball, officially ending the bout.

Afterwards, Powers decides to continue his quest of becoming a big league pitcher again, at the cost of any humility or self-awareness; quickly forgetting any life lessons he may have learned, and reverting back to the arrogant, delusional asshole he was always born to be.

Eastbound and Down, no matter how crude or vain, is a sincere psychological examination of an athlete’s life after baseball, and the distinct plight they sometimes fail to overcome. Underneath the profane tirades and low-brow comedy is a series that exhibits incredible depth, chronicling the unique dilemma that afflicts many former athletes — especially professionals — after the glory days are over.

Retirement can be a difficult transition for many former athletes, especially for men who have cultivated substantial egos over an entire career. A personality once showered with praise may no longer be readily recognized in public; a body that was once a well-oiled machine may no longer perform at a superior level; immense media interest and intrigue may no longer exist, as a once highly revered professional is forced to slowly fade into irrelevancy. It is a somber reality that every athlete must eventually endure, and it can be an especially excruciating ordeal for former gods who abruptly become mortal again.

Eastbound and Down studies the most extreme of circumstances with the most outrageous of characters, depicting the fragile psyche of a man who cannot let go of the past, and ultimately come to terms with the present. The series slowly peels the layers of a character exhibiting unabashed confidence on the outside, but frailty and weakness on the inside. A show that examines the human condition — and in doing so makes a distinct story and character relatable to anyone who watches it — Eastbound and Down is an uproarious dark comedy that is more than meets the eye.

 

The Raisin Review is sponsored by Adidas and their affiliates. 

Detroit Lions: America’s Most Wanted

The Raisin Review/Landon T. Horstman

The Raisin Review/Landon T. Horstman

Yesterday evening the Detroit Lions (11-5) squared off against the Dallas Cowboys (12-4) in a conference playoff battle. The contest presented an intriguing matchup, as both teams came equipped with explosive offenses capable of racking-up points in bunches.

Unfortunately, the excitement of the game wasn’t the only interesting storyline between said organizations, but also the revival of “America’s Team” (i.e. the Cowboys) in action against the NFL’s dirtiest team (i.e. the Lions) — or, in other words, “America’s Most Wanted”.

The last two years have been tumultuous for the NFL, enduring enough scandal and public embarrassment to make even a Kardashian blush. From a hazing incident that spurred a full-blown investigation into the Miami Dolphin’s locker room, to Adrian Peterson becoming indicted by a grand jury on charges of child endangerment, the iron shield is in dire need of a facelift — or at least a good buffing.

2014 is shaping up to be the NFL’s most raucous season to date, and it seems as if the Lions have taken it upon themselves to make sure the year ends in infamy.

If the league had an “All-Dirty” team — similar to the All-Pro team — than the Lions would have representatives on both sides of the ball; and not just representatives, but team captains!

Introducing Dominic Raiola: At 6′ 1″ and weighing in at 310 pounds, this perpetual meat-head has become a habitual sleazeball during his tenure, and has garnered the utmost disrespect from his peers (it’s no surprise here that he and Richie Incognito are both Nebraska alums).

Roughly a month ago, during the Lions final game against division rival Chicago Bears, Raiola “unintentionally” stomped on the right ankle of defensive tackle Ego Ferguson.

The blatant attack resulted in no injury to Ferguson; only making Raiola look like a moron with no sense of the term “nationally televised game”.

Not to be outdone by his peer, Lions’ defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh also has a laundry list of dubious behavior, with his latest “incidental” incident occurring only a mere several days after Raiola’s river dance (also, again, no surprise Suh is also a Nebraska alum).

During the Lions’ final game of the season against division rival Green Bay Packers, another well-documented, clearly visible — yet totally accidental — ankle stomp was attempted (I don’t know what it is with these guys and ankles, but maybe if they got rid of their cankles they wouldn’t be so angry — but I digress). In the video below, you can clearly see Suh step on the ankle of Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers multiple times before casually walking away.

Now, I will agree that the Suh incident borders closer on the line between intentional and accidental than the Raiola occurrence, but it’s Suh’s defense that makes that case conclusive in my opinion.

Suh claims that his feet were “numb and cold” and that he could not feel the difference between the ground and another man’s leg. Understandable, but could he also not feel Rodgers firmly shoving him either? And if said incident was “unintentional,” why wouldn’t he have turned around to apologize and help Rodgers up?

When most human beings accidentally step on another person, typically a swift emotional response occurs quickly thereafter, with the “stepper” expressing a visible appearance of shock and remorse. Suh conveys none of this, and just simply walks away like a man attempting to get away with something.

Inevitably, and hypocritically I might add, both men won their appeal, and were able to lift their suspension in order to play in the Lions’ lone playoff game of the season (somewhere Adrian Peterson is shaking his head in disbelief).

After the Cowboys’ come-from-behind victory last night, winning the ballgame 20-24, it is unclear whether Suh or Raoila will be returning to the team next year, as many experts believe it was the tandems final game in a Detroit uniform.

Their separation and departure from the team may be for the best, like two disruptive students who must sit in seats away from each other during class. One thing is for sure, Detroit needs to clean up its act, and possibly stay away from any Nebraska players in the future.

The Raisin Review is sponsored by Adidas and their affiliates.  

 

 

 

 

 

A Raisin Review: “The Affair” Season 1

Landon T. Horstman/The Raisin Review

Landon T. Horstman/The Raisin Review

 

Grade: B+ 

It can be a challenging task — even for the most gifted writers — to take a trite storyline and develop something truly unique. “The Affair” quickly acknowledges this dilemma, interweaving a meta-commentary within its narrative.

The showrunners make their own predicament the plight of the series protagonist: Soon-to-be one-hit wonder and struggling author Noah Solloway (Dominic West), whose creativity and zeal for life has become vapid due in-part to the monotony of his cookie-cutter lifestyle.

Early in the series, Solloway is forced to promote his current novel to a potential publisher, who finds the author’s “new” narrative as banal as he does. But Solloway eventually captures the publisher’s interest — spontaneously implementing a dark twist to his love affair storyline, and concluding the book with the protagonist killing his mistress.

“The Affair” gives originality a valiant effort, but ultimately can’t keep from drowning in the folly of its own ludicrous endeavors.

The series is essentially composed of two parts, recalling moments and events from the respective perspectives of the two leading protagonists (i.e. the people having the affair). Utilizing a framing device, the central characters discuss the past occurrences leading up to a murder investigation, expounding upon their affair with an overzealous lead investigator vehemently striving to solve an unsolved case.

Every hour long episode dedicates half of the shows’ time frame to each counterpart’s viewpoint; giving both characters an equal opportunity to tell their own story while basically retelling the same. This dichotomy helps to create an intriguing juxtaposition between characters, highlighting nuances and subtle differences throughout each individual’s recollection.

The separate divisions of storytelling is an engrossing masterstroke that assists characterization, develops themes, and keeps the mysteries that lie underneath the bounty of deceit afloat. It also helps to divide the characters, who essentially commit adultery for varying reasons, exhibit distinct differences, and who have contrasting experiences.

The season concludes with Noah and Alison (Ruth Wilson) deciding to start a new life together — leaving their old lives, families, and values behind — but not before cops interrupt their love nest and arrest Noah on the suspicion of murder.

The finale cliffhanger is nothing short of comical, as the entire murder scenario seems unnecessary and forced. Obviously, the showrunners needed a way to propel their story forward and implement their vision of a double narrative from the perspective of their two main characters — but was this the most appropriate frame they could think of?

A series that began as an honest examination of human frailty and relationship strife, seems to have manifested itself into a whodunit farce that would make every executive at CBS proud. A murder mystery that was once a small focus of season one, appears to be the main focus of season two, rendering the title of the program meaningless and pointless.

Everyone knows the winning formula to a successful television series means combining sex, drugs, and violence (which “The Affair” is more than content to oblige), but in an effort to be innovative and original, the show fails to rise to another plateau, and ultimately becomes just another caricature in the melodrama canon.

 

The Raisin Review is sponsored by Adidas and their affiliates.  

 

The Censorship Debate Shouldn’t End or Begin with “The Interview”

Landon T. Horstman/The Raisin Review

Landon T. Horstman/The Raisin Review

As many are well aware, Sony Pictures has decided to withdraw the national release of The Interview. Due to an increasingly large array of complications (terrorist threats, hacking, notable movie theaters across the country refusing to show the film, etc.), the corporate powerhouse has decided to postpone the release date indefinitely.

Many celebrities and prominent figures have publicly expressed dismay with the company’s decision, suggesting that Sony’s apprehension to premiere the film encompasses greater implications; most notably, censorship and submission to terrorism.

This has caused a firestorm across social media, with many pondering what this means for future films, expression, and free speech. But America has always complied to some form of censorship — to some extent — even before the Sony debacle.

It wasn’t that long ago that South Park — the irreverent and salacious television show known for satirizing anything and everything — was forced to censor a depiction of Muhammad due to extensive death threats. Television and film has always upheld an unwritten agreement in regards to the Islamic prophet, fearing violent consequences and subsequent terrorism. But if America is concerned so deeply about the ramifications of not showing The Interview, shouldn’t we be discussing past censorship that we’ve continued to abide by?

The argument to show The Interview is justifiable, but we must also fight for expression and freedom on all fronts, otherwise America will always succumb to terrorism, even if a juvenile stoner-action comedy is permitted to be seen.

 

The Terribly Irritating and Unfortunate Adventures of Sam and Wonder boy

The Raisin Review

The Raisin Review

Disclaimer: Based on a true story, the following series examines and depicts the daily annoyances, absurdities, and irritations experienced by Sam — a short-tempered man begrudgingly responsible for monitoring and caring for our nation’s mentally disabled. Although the individuals he cares for are not solely responsible for his exasperation, one character in-particular — adequately described as Wonder Boy — has become a constant thorn in his side. This is the story of their relationship, among other things. 

I’m sure you’ve heard it before, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” The same could also be said for the ridiculousness that sometimes afflicts man, as one man’s folly has often been my amusing pleasure (there’s a reason why George Costanza continues to make me laugh).

This, naturally, brings us to Sam, whose real name shall be concealed; that is, until a few people on Facebook connect the dots and expose the mysterious truth. Sam is a friend of mine, among many other friends of mine who work for the same company — suddenly compelling me to halt mid-sentence and ponder why I have so many friends that dabble in the same line of work — and who are employed to monitor the daily lives of the mentally disabled. His duties include, but are not limited to: Cooking, cleaning, taking clients to dances, birthday parties, work, etc. For the most part, Sam’s job is pretty tame, spending most of his time either channel surfing or making gallons of tea to momentarily subdue his client’s unquenchable thirst. But there are still a myriad of moments where hilarity ensues, inevitably bringing us to Wonder Boy.

Wonder Boy is a sweet young man, with earnest intentions. But even the most honest intentions can sometimes be the most irritating. Whether its constantly touching others with his clammy hands, being awaken by a cricket and subsequently staying up the entire night from midnight till dawn, or persistently inquiring about tea and how to make it, Wonder Boy cannot help but sometimes get under Sam’s skin.

For example, while at work today I received a text message from Sam. He contacted me to tell me about his day at work. He proceeded to tell me about how he was forced to take Wonder Boy to work, because apparently Wonder Boy has his own job (essentially, Sam is at work to watch Wonder Boy work, which normally results in Sam doing all of Wonder Boy’s work for him, basically rendering the entire job useless. Nevertheless, it’s Sam’s job to take Wonder Boy to his job, and do his job for him which is his job. Make Sense?).

Anyway, Sam quickly informs me that he didn’t want to take Wonder Boy to work, so much so that he bribed Wonder Boy with two dollars to pretend to be ill. Wonder Boy agrees, because Lipton is on sale today, making two dollars a small fortune. After adequate enough time to perfect his best queasy face, Sam believes Wonder Boy is ready to fool the superiors — the people who ultimately decide whether Sam does actual work or can continue playing Madden all afternoon.

Upon arrival to speak with the superiors (who really aren’t all that superior, but we’ll get to that in another chapter), Wonder Boy becomes stricken by fear, and decides he cannot perform the task. Unfortunately, Sam is forced to take Wonder Boy to work, to his chagrin. But this doesn’t stop Wonder Boy from further inquiring about the two dollars, constantly “whispering” to Sam about his Lipton bucks. As you can see, this opened up a large can of worms for Sam, who not only must take Wonder Boy to work, but must also endure the constant pestering of two dollars for the unforeseeable future.

I don’t know why but this story had me in tears — of laughter of course. Maybe because I know Sam personally; maybe because I know Wonder Boy personally; or perhaps for all of the above. But after a month of hearing these random incidences, I became compelled to write about it. This is just a little taste of The Terribly Irritating and Unfortunate Adventures of Sam and Wonder Boy, but rest assured, there is more to come.

– Landon T. Horstman