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Player-by-Player: Ime Udoka

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Today's subject is Ime Udoka.  Starting us off is world-famous pitchman for Quaker Oats and Mail-Order Diabetes testing products, Mr. Wilfred Brimley.

                                       

A lot of people will tell you that you need a bunch of fancy players to make your team good.  Don't you believe them.  A good team is like a good breakfast.  You need basic building blocks for a healthy start.  Defense.  Effort.  Shooting well without hogging the ball.  Those are foundations to build on.  That's why I'm asking you to take a minute today to consider Ime Udoka.  He's not the fanciest player out there.  You won't see him make the "highlight reel".  He doesn't have to.  He's just plain effective, just like he is.  Ime Udoka will give you heart.  Ime Udoka will give you hustle.  Ime Udoka will give you everything he has to give for 48 minutes.  He's solid, dependable, and he's not going to embarrass you on the court or off it.   You can put him on the opponent's best scorer every night.  He's not going to complain.  He's going to do everything he can to lock...him...down.  That's a guarantee.  Sure he's a little bit older, but who says older fellas don't have something to give?  (wink!)  So take a minute.  Consider it.  I hope you'll come to the same conclusion I have.  If you're about glitz and glamour you're saddling up the wrong horse.  But if you're about winning games--not noise, not hollerin', but good, old-fashioned winning games--you want this guy on your team.  Ime Udoka, he's the right thing to do and the right way to do it.  Thank you.

Thank you Mr. Brimley.  And now for an opposing view, direct from the Infomercial Hall of Fame, please welcome Ron Popeil and Nancy Nelson!

        

                                                                    

Ron:  Good to see you again Nancy!  You're looking as lovely as ever!

Nancy:  Thanks Ron.  It's great to be here.  I'm ready to have a ball!

Ron:  Have a ball, huh?  Funny you mentioned that, because look what I have in store for all the folks watching today...

Nancy:  What is it Ron?  Don't keep us in suspense...tell us!

Ron:  OK, Nancy...but first let me ask you a question.  Don't you hate it when your team can't score points?

Nancy:  Boy, do I!  There's nothing worse.  You get all dressed up to go to the game, you drive to the arena, you pay for parking, you walk all the way inside. And you know that's never a short walk.  All the steps and your heels...it's just a pain!  Ladies, am I right?  

All the ladies in the audience nod simultaneously.

Nancy:  So you finally get to your seat and you're ready for something to cheer about and...no scoring at all.  Nothing.  You sit there all night thinking about cotton candy.  And you KNOW that's not good for the hips.  But it's so boring, what are you going to do?  I just hate that feeling.

Ron:  Everybody does, Nancy.

Nancy:  I suppose you're going to tell us you can do something about it.  Yeah right, I've heard that before.  Promises...promises.  Whooooop!  Pinocchio nose!

Ron:  We've all heard those promises, Nancy.  But brace yourself, because today they're going to come true.  Because today we are rolling out...a Brand New Small Forward!

Nancy:  Brand New Small Forward?  Wait a minute, Ron.  Can one player make that much difference?

Ron:  You'd be surprised Nancy.  Let me ask you this.  How many times did the Blazers make it onto Sportscenter last season?

Nancy:  That's easy, Ron.  Never!  And if they did make it, it was always in the last five minutes of the show.  And they always showed the other team, hardly ever a good play for Portland!

The audience nods to each other in consternation.

Ron:  You're right.  But with the Brand New Small Forward those days are over!  You'd be amazed at all the things he can do.

Nancy:  Tell us more, Ron!

Ron:  Look here.  Don't you hate it when the small forward you have now tries to drive to the hoop?

Nancy:  Oh yeah...the old reliable.   The only thing reliable about him is he's going to get shut down in the lane.

Ron:  Exactly.  But not with the Brand New Small Forward.  The Brand New Small Forward slices, dices, jukes and shimmies.  He razzles, dazzles...does spinners, floaters, double-pumps, beneath the basket moves.  He even makes the opponents into julienne fries!

Nancy:  Wait a minute, Ron.  Can one player really do all that?

Ron:  All that and more, Nancy!  Let me ask you...what's the number one thing they like to show on Sportscenter?

Nancy:  Too easy again...it's dunks!  Am I right?

The audience nods enthusiastically.

Ron:  And this small forward does them all.  He's got forward dunks, reverse dunks, tomahawk jams, reverse 360's, catch-it-off-the-backboard, through the legs, wonder dunks.  Any dunk you've seen or imagined he can do.

Nancy:  Hold on, Ron.  Dunks are great when you're unopposed on the break, but how often does that happen?  I need more than that from my small forward.

Ron:  That's exactly right, Nancy.  And what is the problem with your old reliable?

Nancy:  You know it already, Ron.  He's so limited.  He can hit shots, but only from certain spots on the floor.  If you get him anywhere outside those two or three spots it's bye-bye sizzle, hello fizzle.

Ron:  Well what if I told you the Brand New Small Forward could hit anywhere on the court?

Nancy:  I'd say you were lying.

The audience laughs.

Ron:  No, it's absolutely true!  Everything from the lay-up to the long-ball, this guy does it all.

Nancy:  So let me get this straight.  This guy is going to get you two points--or maybe even three--with every shot he takes?

Ron:  Absolutely right, Nancy!  And when you start to think how many shots are taken in a basketball game...

Nancy:  It must be at least twenty.

Ron:  Try seventy or eighty.

Nancy:  Oh my!

Ron:  That's right.  The Brand New Small Forward could potentially score you up to 240 points per game.

Nancy:  Bye-bye scoring problem!

Ron:  And hello Sportscenter!

Nancy:  But wait a minute, Ron.  All of the slicing and dicing and scoring is great, but how does he do on the boards?  I'm tired of one-dimensional small-forwards who can't clean up on the glass.

Ron:  With the Brand New Small Forward's oversized hands and leaping ability, glass clean-up is a breeze!

Nancy:  So no more grinding and sweating it out trying to get a rebound?

Ron:  That's right.  You can have all the rebounds you want in a snap.

The audience oohs and aahs.

Nancy:  This all sounds great, Ron, but you know somebody is going to ask about the defense...

The audience folds their arms and looks skeptical.

Ron:  That's the beauty of it, Nancy.  With the Brand New Small Forward combined with the Ron Popeil Running System you don't need defense.  You can simply outscore every team you meet!

Nancy:  It's that easy?

Ron::  It's that easy!

The audience breaks into wild applause.

Nancy:  But Ron, is the Running System complicated?

Ron:  Not at all.  Ordering the Brand New Small Forward is the first step.  You can talk to your operator about ordering the optional Brand New Point Guard, Brand New Undersized Center, and Brand New Coach.  If you order them as a package we'll even throw in a dozen "We Believe" t-shirts, a $350 value, absolutely free!

Nancy:  Amazing, Ron.  But there has to be a catch.

Ron:  No catch!  We just want all our customers to enjoy the benefits of the Brand New Small Forward on their own team.  Nobody should have to watch boring basketball anymore.

The audience whoops and hollers.

Nancy:  OK, Ron, I'm sold!  Tell us how we can get the Brand New Small Forward!  Is it expensive?

Ron:  Not at all!  The Brand New Small Forward can be yours for six easy payments of fourteen million dollars a year.

Nancy:  Why, that's barely half of what a terminally average center costs!

Ron:  Exactly.  But we're depending on word of mouth to help us sell the product, so make sure you tell a friend when you order!

Nancy:  Will do, Ron!  Now let's go have some fun with the Brand New Small Forward!

The audience smiles and applauds enthusiastically as cheesy music plays to end the show.

Well, it's your call at this point.  Do we re-sign Ime, and if so at what price and in what role?  How important is he to the future of this team?  His stats are here if you need them.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)