Each week, Dan Rubenstein, Ty Hildenbrandt and Jacob Osterhout will jump on e-mail and riff about various subjects in the news offered up by SI.com's Jimmy Traina.
Traina: Let's start with the Denver Nuggets-WWE building dispute. Who should get the arena Monday? What's the fair solution? How great is this feud?
Osterhout: Obviously, the fairest solution would be to have Kenyon Martin wrestle against the Undertaker for the rights to play at the Pepsi Center. Assuming that won't happen (the Undertaker would get killed), the solution is to have the Nuggets play in a local high school gymnasium. Listen, the only reason this situation arose is because Nuggets management did not have enough faith in its team to reserve the arena, therefore Denver should be humbled by playing against the Lakers in front of a crowd of 427 screaming high school students -- including cheerleaders. It would be good for both the local high school and the NBA, which is in serious need of a reality check.
Hildenbrandt: Yes, we should really explore the possibility of Kenyon Martin hopping in the ring with someone and settling this dispute the old-fashioned way. Think about it, Martin may end up in the WWE someday anyway, and the whole event would have a This Tuesday In Texas-kind of feel to it. It'd be like 1991 all over again! Plus, it leaves the door open for Mark Cuban to hide underneath the ring, disguised as Doink the Clown and concealing some sort of illegal weapon. Get Vince McMahon on the phone ... this can't miss.
Rubenstein: Vince McMahon seems to enjoy pointing the finger at the fact that Nuggets and Pepsi Center owner Stan Kroenke didn't have enough faith in his team to keep the arena secured for the playoffs, but remember this was before the Iverson/Billups trade. Also, after getting embarrassed by the Lakers in the first round last year, there wasn't much in August (when the WWE reserved the arena) that indicated that Kroenke had any need for the arena in late May. The solution here is to give the arena to McMahon until the WWE gets that sweet, sweet Nugget cash to move or delay the event. Wooooooo!!!
Rubenstein: I think I'm OK with the fact that I didn't understand a single reference after the first "Kenyon Martin."
Hildenbrandt: And you wanna be our SI Tour Guy ...
Osterhout: Might I point out that while the WWE reserved the arena last August, the deal wasn't confirmed until the final night of the NBA regular season. There was ample time for the Nuggets to regain their faith in Chauncey Billups and George Karl's defensive wizardry. Also, I think that the lip marks on Kenyon Martin's neck are the exact size of Mark Cuban's mouth. Think about it.
Rubenstein: If that's true, then the WWE has every right to the Pepsi Center, and Kroenke can take the Nuggets to the high school gym of Jacob's choosing. They should also be forced to run out through a homemade paper Nuggets banner and have a band of 15-year-olds play Rock and Roll Part 2 every 37 seconds.
Hildenbrandt: Obviously, the Nuggets will find some way to get their home court back -- it's not like they're gonna pull an NHL and play the game at Invesco Field. I'm assuming this as fact. But I still think there is a golden marketing opportunity here to stage some sort of faux feud between organizations. It'd be just what the doctor ordered to get Denver past that whole Jay Cutler-Pat Bowlen squabble.
Rubenstein: Also, Stan Kroenke should be forced to wear Gary Glitter's outfit seen here.
Osterhout: We threw a 70th birthday party for my dad the other weekend and he walked in wearing that exact same outfit. Very weird.
Hildenbrandt: Glad I just spent three minutes watching that video. I will now wander into traffic.
Osterhout: Just like all the University of Miami fans who thought John Wall might be playing for them next season ...
Traina: I should've known wrestling would generate such passionate responses, but unfortunately, we need to move on. Jon Gruden has replaced Tony Kornheiser on Monday Night Football. What would be your dream MNF booth?
Rubenstein: First, a game just feels bigger with Al Michaels behind the microphone, so I'd start there. I'd then probably go Cris Collinsworth -- he always seems to see things happen all over the field, though that's mostly because the camera is so close in on the quarterback that you can barely see the left tackle.
Hildenbrandt: I'm cool with the Collinsworth pick, mainly because there is no flaw in his game. I feel like I learn something new every time the man speaks. Nobody is more insightful or prepared. But due to the shrinking global economy, I think we need a cheaper option than Al Michaels. He just commands too much coin. It's 2009 -- can't some ambitious sound guy engineer a way to use Pat Summerall's voice from the Madden video game series for a live broadcast? All you'd need would be a more elaborate version of the Arnold Schwarzeneggersound board and a producer who is quick with a computer mouse, no? I've seen this idea mentioned before around these here Interwebs, and I can't take the credit for it. But I'm completely on board. Also, can we please bring back Eric Dickerson as our sideline reporter? Oh, how I long for the halcyon days of Dickerson's black leather jacket and vague, pointless commentary.
Osterhout: First off, I know that most people didn't dig Kornheiser in the booth for MNF, but I'm a Washingtonian and I've loved Kornheiser since I was wearing Redskins diapers. Being too intellectual should not be a reason to dismiss commentary, even during a football game. But it is what it is, and if I had to pick a dream MNF booth, I'd go with Keith Jackson, Charles Barkley and Dick Vitale. Sure, Barkley and Vitale know nothing about football, but Vitale knows nothing about basketball either and that doesn't stop him from doing "his job." Jackson's voice is like cold lemonade on a hot day and Barkley is the best, most honest sports voice in the nation. As for Vitale, he gives fans someone to make fun of, which is important. Just ask Joe Theismann.
Hildenbrandt: I think you could build a strong case that Dickerson, over the course of a season, was just as terrible as Brian Collins, the "Boom Goes the Dynamite" kid. Keep in mind, Dickerson raised (or lowered?) the bar for all future sideline reporters with a slow, steady march toward mediocrity over a 16-game schedule. Collins' performance was just a supernova of misfortune all at once, but on a much smaller stage and with a catchy line that turned him into a YouTube All-Star.
Rubenstein: I can't believe I passed up picking a sideline reporter. Since I never really pay attention to what they have to say, I'd go with somebody who would really make me focus on his/her quick ability to gather information and deliver it in a concise, professional manner. That person, of course, is Brian Collins, who would finally be free to boom all the dynamite he wanted on NFL sidelines across the country.
Osterhout: Can't pass up on that sideline reporter opportunity either. The "Boom Goes the Dynamite" kid would no doubt be a good choice, but I think I'd take the body of Tony Siragusa and the brains of Erin Andrews. Maybe I got that mixed up. Maybe not.
Rubenstein: Well, nothing's more boring than agreement, but I concur regarding Kornheiser. Didn't love him on MNF, but his radio show has always been great. I'm also now realizing I'm jealous of your Keith Jackson pick, mostly because he's the Brett Favre of broadcasting. I lost count after his 14th farewell tour season. Also, all great play-by-play guys should have some sort of discernible accent, which is why Bob Costas will never reach the top of the proverbial broadcasting mountain.
Traina: I'll refrain from commenting on the Erin Andrews reference and I'll just give the next topic. The NBA draft lottery is Tuesday night. Who would you take with the No. 1 pick? Blake Griffin? Ricky Rubio? Someone else?
Osterhout: It would be hard to argue taking anyone other than Griffin with the No. 1 pick. With his frame and skills, he's ready to contribute immediately to whichever team drafts him. Rubio, on the other hand, could end up being the next Tony Parker or he could end up being the next J.J. Barea. And Hasheem Thabeet is what he is. He'll block a lot of shots, grab some rebounds, but will never be an NBA All-Star.
Rubenstein: First, I don't really see anyone else getting picked first. I was originally thinking Griffin because of his experience and physical readiness for the rigors of an NBA season, but a couple of days ago I watched a YouTube mix of Rubio set to Free Bird, and right around "... and this bird you cannot chaaaaange," I was pretty much sold. He's 6-foot-3, 18 years old, and looks like a franchise-leading point guard for 10 years. Does this mean I'm going back on my rule to never use a top pick on a guy who could be a Spanish cousin of the Jonas Brothers? Yes, it does. Does it also mean that I get foolishly swayed by well-produced YouTube mixes? Most likely.
Hildenbrandt: Good logic, Dan. Perhaps we should then make this kid the first pick in next year's NFL draft? YouTube, where amazing happens! Taking anyone other than Griffin would be another chapter in the hallowed Tales of Teams Outsmarting Themselves on Draft Day (now in paperback). Griffin needs to be the pick.
Osterhout: You should see the YouTube mix ofPete Maravich set to Free Bird. Maravich makes Rubio look like a cover band, albeit a decent cover band. But still, those aren't his songs and he's singing with a Spanish accent.
Rubenstein: I guess if it were my money on the line, I'll admit that I'd probably take Griffin. All I know about that Pop Warner video is that if I were a high school coach (or junior high), I'd break every recruiting rule to land that kid. Also, thanks for fueling my secret joy of answering the question of what I do for a living with, "I'm in the business of terror." Never gets old.
Hildenbrandt: Kind of makes you wonder -- if the Rubio remix were set to a different song, would that help or hurt your opinion of the guy? Like, if we were talking about that Propellerheads song from the lobby scene in The Matrix instead of Free Bird, would you feel more comfortable about taking him at No. 1?
Hildenbrandt: Or if it were set to some baroque Spanish tune from the 1700s, would you relegate him to the ranks of an undrafted free agent?
Traina: I'm not sure how to follow up baroque Spanish tunes, but I will try. Let's wrap this up with the most important topic of the day -- the Maxim Hot 100. Biggest omission? And we all know Olivia Wilde is a controversial choice for No. 1. Who should be No. 1?
Osterhout: Hold on. I've got to scan the Maxim Hot 100 list. This could take a while. Yup, definitely going to take a while.
Osterhout: What is Britney Spears doing at No. 17? That girl lost any sense of hotness when she stopped wearing bloomers and shaved her head. And Michelle Obama?! Don't get me started on that one. Maybe stylish, but not hot. I know there's a big uproar about Brooklyn Decker not being on the list, but I'm not going to join that fight. Instead, I think it's a travesty that Shakira isn't mentioned. Have you ever seen her dance? Man, oh man, those hips don't lie. Maria Verchenova, that sexy Russian golfer, should also be on that list, but she's still undiscovered and working on her short game. She'll make it next year. To conclude, Olivia Wilde went to my school growing up. I wish that meant something other than nothing, but it doesn't.
Rubenstein: In what world is Heidi Montag hotter than Minka Kelly? Or really even Jim Kelly? This list also made me realize that I grew up down the street from No. 47 Katie Cassidy and had no idea she would ever be a Maxim 100 girl, even though her dad, former Patridge Family star David Cassidy, has an alluring feminine mystique. Between Jacob and myself, we have a legitimate connection to 2 percent of the list. Take that, John Mayer! The biggest omission is clearly Kristen Bell (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Veronica Mars). Watch her on Craig Ferguson sometime, I dare you to resist her charm. If I had anywhere near as many readers as Stewart Mandel, she'd be the all-time Mailbag Crush.
Hildenbrandt: As usual, my problem isn't so much with omissions as it is Maxim's continued fascination with Lindsay Lohan. I thought we, as a society, had agreed that alcohol problems, in conjunction with poor acting and singing skills, were no longer redeeming and noteworthy qualities. Apparently, I missed a memo or something. So many questions here, but I have to wonder if Lohan looked at the list and said, "Wait, I'm No. 23? Really?!?" This reminds me of those down years -- read: NOW -- of Notre Dame football when pollsters would bend their warped minds into logically rationalizing the Irish as a top-25 squad. Everyone would acknowledge they were a top-25 team, but nobody would actually believe it. Keeping with the college football, putting Olivia Wilde at No. 1 reminds me of last year when Georgia was the consensus preseason No. 1. Rankings are just numbers -- it's easy to be a paper champ. Just like last season, my real champion is currently ranked No. 5. Two words: Mila Kunis.
Dan Rubenstein hosts and produces the SI Tour Guy video series for SI.com and co-hosts The Solid Verbal podcast. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ty Hildenbrandt writes for SI.com and co-hosts The Solid Verbal podcast. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter. Jacob E. Osterhout is a features reporter for the New York Daily News and a former writer for Sports Illustrated On Campus. His work can also be found at the College Sports Examiner.
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