Whether you’re at the end of your coffee, your day, your week or even your rope, welcome to Whitt’s End …
*Look closer. He gets better. The more I watch the Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic, the more I marvel at his unique skill. For example, he never sprints. Never seems to be exerting strenuous effort. Yet he always gets where he wants, when he wants.
While others around him play at a frenetic 78rpm (Google it, youngsters), Luka is the slow-motion 33rpm somehow beating them to the spot. And rarely has a player dictated, even dominated games with such accurate, savvy passing.
The pinpoint assists Wednesday night in Indiana – from the one-handed, side-armed 20-foot fling to the mid-air, no-look zinger – were breathtaking in both style and substance. By my very unofficial math, he directly turns double-teams into open shots for teammates 83 percent of the time.
How rare is Doncic? He recorded a triple-double in the victory over the Pacers despite four teammates outscoring him.
Luka reminds me of Emmitt Smith, the Cowboys’ running back who rarely outran a tackler but also never took a direct hit en route to gaining more yards than any NFL player to ever take a handoff.
Luka is so good – so different – he’s forcing us to retrain our brains to truly appreciate him. That doesn't make everything perfect; Dallas is at the AAC tonight against the visiting Nuggets and the Mavs sport just an 8-8 record.
But watch Luka. Look closer. He gets better.
*Jerry Jones is a staunch Republican. Loyal donor to Donald Trump’s campaigns. But if history is any indication, the Dallas Cowboys’ owner should be thrilled to see this week’s transfer of Presidential party power at The White House. Because through their 61 seasons, America’s Team has won a higher percentage of games and more Super Bowls with a Democrat residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
From Eisenhower to Trump (1960-2020), the Cowboys have spanned 12 Presidents. Under seven Republicans, they have gone 294-235-2 (55.3%) with one Super Bowl; 267-191-4 (57.7%) and four Super Bowls under five Democrats. Bill Clinton’s 1993-2001 reign was by far their most lucrative, netting three Super Bowls and 84 wins.
My subjective ranking – from a Cowboys’ perspective – of the best Presidential administrations (No pressure Joe Biden, but it’s been a minute since I had to monkey with these at the top):
1. Bill Clinton D ’93-01 – 84-57 – 3 SBs in 4 years
2. Jimmy Carter D ’77-81 – 54-18 – 1 SB, 4 NFC Championship Games
3. Richard Nixon R ’69-74 – 59-21-1 – 1 SB, 5 consecutive playoffs
4. Gerald Ford R ’74-77 – 31-15 – Lost SB X
5. George H. Bush R ’89-93 – 35-33 – Robbed by Clinton of SB XXVII by 11 days
6. Lyndon Johnson D ’63-69 – 45-31-2 – 1-3 after Kennedy assassination, lost Ice Bowl
7. Barack Obama D ’09-17 – 72-61 – Missed playoffs 5 of 8 years
8. Ronald Reagan R ’81-89 – 69-58 – 4 years missing playoffs got Tom Landry fired
9. Donald Trump R ’17-21 – 34-32 – Only 1 playoff win
10. George W. Bush R ’01-09 – 66-65 – 0-3 in playoffs
11. John F. Kennedy D ’61-63 – 12-24-2 – No playoff sniffs
12. Dwight Eisenhower R ’60-61 – 0-11-1 – Only winless Prez
*So, I get a text this week from “David cain.” I don’t know a David cain and I usually don’t hold in high regard those that put forth iffy grammar. But it caught me at a good, down, time, so on I read.
hi, you like to drive your vehicle around with (McCafé) logo and get $500 every week with an extra $50 for gas?
I mean, no. But absolutely!
During a pandemic, who wouldn’t want to pocket $2,050 a month just for driving around … by yourself … unable to hear the snickers of passers-by at your goofy car adornment?
Alas, this is where being a stickler for grammar – and also not being a complete idiot – comes in handy.
You see, McDonald’s is a pretty big, legit corporation, hence the $21 billion in global annual revenue and an advertising budget of $450 million. Why would it have David cain and his questionable capitalization send out random texts to recruit a grass-roots marketing team?
Answer: It wouldn’t. Duh.
But, out of curiosity, I played along.
“Sure”, I responded. Within seconds I received the following reply text:
We are glad for showing your interest in advertisement program that is easy. Send address straight now and we send you our first funds.
In the past, just for laughs, I’ve strung along scams involving the fake IRS agents and the wealthy ambassador from Nigeria, but I’m not about to give my address to an obvious criminal. Good thing, because the well-known ruse goes like this:
“David cain” actually mails you – with nary a background check or single question about your vehicle or driving habits – a cashier’s check for $5,000 “to get you started.” The money comes with instructions: “Deposit the check, then wire $500 of the money to our third-party logo department so it can send you the proper materials for your car.”
Victims deposit the check, wire the money and – tuh-dah! – learn days later that the fraudulent check bounced and “David cain” suddenly doesn’t respond to texts.
Just makes me wonder what these scammers would be capable of if they used their energy an ingenuity toward something good instead of evil.
*Considering the source and the amount of America’s sadness, this is perhaps the most important story I've ever written: Along with the cardiac comebacks and Hall-of-Fame career with the Dallas Cowboys, beloved icon Roger Staubach has spent a lifetime helping a teammate – daughter Michelle – in a battle against depression. He speaks out on mental health for the first time right here.
*Damn you, Miami Hurricanes! They were the first team I remember in 2017 sporting a “Turnover Chain,” a garish, gold necklace presented on the sideline to a defensive player after creating a turnover. The trend has deteriorated into an epidemic. In a world where we pretend to scoff at participation trophies, we simultaneously allow our sports to over-celebrate not games, but merely plays inside games.
Since the Turnover Chain’s debut, copycat college football teams have unveiled beads (Tulane), robes (Memphis), a crown and chalice (SMU) and even a chainsaw (Oregon State) to celebrate routine changes of possession. In the NFL, defensive units creating a turnover now regularly run the length of the field to preen in front of end-zone cameras. And in the NBA, even no-nonsense Rick Carlisle has joined the circus.
The Mavs this week revealed their “Defensive Player of the Game Heavyweight Champion of the World Belt.” Said Carlisle, “We have a new award, only in wins … ” Willie Cauley-Stein won the first.
Here’s hoping – but knowing otherwise – that he’s the last.
Youth sports need trophies. College kids love gimmicks. But the Mavericks? I long for the days when lifting the Larry O’Brien hardware was ample motivation.
*My New Year’s commitment to go dry – alcohol-free – all of January is proceeding swimmingly. Only time I’ve been tempted to partake was during the inauguration. Ya know, a toast to surviving the turbulent last four years.
But it can wait until Feb. 1. Cheers!
*16 ounces = 1 pound? I’ll be damned. In that case, feels like I drink a couple of pounds of water per day. Which sounds like … a lot?
*Premature report card on Mavs’ rookie Josh Green: He has the athleticism to get to the rim, but also a void of savvy and experience that keeps him from consistently finishing. He did get his first career 3-pointer in Saturday's loss to Houston, so that's nice.
*NRA to DFW? The beleaguered National Rifle Association, the nation’s foremost gun lobby, has filed for bankruptcy after losing $63 million during the last three years. The documents were field last week in the Northern District of Texas, and the group said it plans to leave New York – where it was founded in 1871 – and relocate to DFW as a nonprofit called “Project Freedom.”
Just what we need in Texas: more guns.
*Houston Texans’ quarterback Deshaun Watson is open to leaving the organization because he’s upset with the front office. I mean, I get it. Good for him. But is today’s management all that different from the group that awarded him a four-year, $160 million contract extension that he gladly signed in September?
*During last Spring’s shelter-in-place, we were all fixated by the Michael Jordan documentary, Last Dance. HBO’s Tiger is a zillion times better. Why? Because Jordan signed off on his, and Woods didn’t approve his. What that means is that Tiger provides a raw, real look at his life and, yes, his flaws. You get the roaring crowds and historic golf achievements, but also interviews with several of his mistresses and footage of his iconic car crash into the fire hydrant and DWI arrest.
It’s fair. It’s balanced. It’s riveting. It reminds us that Tiger Woods is both superhuman and, yup, human.
*Maybe politics has changed. Perhaps I’ve changed. Could be a little of both. But I was considering how America was breathlessly consumed (guilty) with this week’s inauguration and I was trying to remember past events. Mostly drew blanks. On Sunday, Jan. 17, 1993, the Cowboys beat the 49ers in muddy Candlestick Park to advance to Super Bowl XXVII. Three days later was the H. Bush-to-Clinton transfer of power ceremony. I can tell you everything about that NFC Championship Game, and zero about that inauguration.
*Another sign we might just return to some sense of normalcy in 2021: NBA TV ratings on TNT, ESPN and ABC are up 34 percent from last Summer’s bubble. Is it a result of less Black Lives Matter? The comfort of seeing games in actual NBA arenas? Or just a sign that basketball in January feels more familiar than basketball in August.
*DFW fans of rugby and lacrosse, look away. The Dallas Rattlers of the National Lacrosse League ceased operations in 2020 with no plans to resume. And now the Dallas Jackals of Major League Rugby are postponing their debut until 2022. Guess you could always join the trend and resume watching NBA.
*Starting with last Wednesday, every date until January 29 – 1.20.21 to 1.29.21 – will be a palindrome. The next palindrome-number Inauguration Day isn’t set to arrive for another 1,000 years, on January 20, 3021. No way America’s leaders are still living in The White House then, right? Extremely doubtful that Whitt’s End will still be rolling along.
*The Weekend? Saturday was my the first tennis match of the new year. Sunday was our last day with multiple football games until August. As always, don’t be a stranger.