The Roundup has been preempted. Yes, some things are this important.
I’ve been following O.J. Mayo since his first days as a freakishly talented ninth grader at North College Hill. I still have the June ’05 SI issue in which Seth Davis prophetically referred to him as a “grizzled” veteran of the summer league circuit.
I cheered when Memphis landed him in a draft-day trade. I cried when Rodney Guillory told me about “improper benefits.”
Let me start over.
I’ve been a Grizzlies fan for three weeks now, coincidentally, just long enough to enjoy their recent 11-game home winning streak.
So you can imagine my dismay at watching new man-crush Mayo lay three straight stinkbombs in his showdowns with the league’s three best scorers. Let me flesh out “stinkbomb” for you…
1/22 @MEM 86 OKC 84 K. Durant: 10-23 FG, 10-12 FT, 30 PTS, 8 REB, 0 AST;
Mayo: 1-12 FG, 3-4 FT, 5 PTS, 3 REB, 2 AST
2/1 @MEM 95 LA 93 K. Bryant: 16-28 FG, 8-13 FT, 44 PTS, 3 REB, 3 AST;
Mayo: 3-11 FG, 2-2 FT, 9 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST;
2/2 MEM 89 CLE 105 L. James: 7-14 FG, 7-7 FT, 22 PTS, 6 REB, 15 AST;
Mayo: 4-15 FG, 1-1 FT, 10 PTS, 6 REB, 4 AST;
It could have been worse. Durant could have had an assist. Even so, I don’t have to tell you that these are three bitter pills for a month-long fan to swallow.
A month in a nutshell
In Mayo’s “jump” year – the season every college dropout shows his stuff – the guy’s points are down from 18.5 to 17.9, his rebounds and assists are flat (about 3 each), and he’s deferring to Rudy “I’m Not Touching That Easy Joke With A 10-Foot Pole” Gay as the team’s main-man perimeter threat.
He’s the third scoring option on the Memphis Grizzlies. Let me say that again. He’s the third scoring option on the Memphis Grizzlies – right behind the once fat, lettuce-smoking ass of Zach Randolph.
Mayo’s got one of the smoothest strokes in the game, and his field goal percentage is up a point and change from last year to 45.4 percent. So it’s not game. It’s confidence.
Some guys need a change of scenery. O.J. needs a change of name.
With this, I unveil the official Juice Hellmanns 2010 Campaign: Year of No Mayo.
From here on out, Sports Casualties will only refer to The Unspoken One as Juice Hellmanns – not just in posts, but in daily conversation, in podcasts, when we DJ your next party.
We implore you to do the same. The Unspoken One is dead to us.
Why? Because if you’re Number 32, the only thing cooler than getting renamed by a fringe sports blog is getting renamed to freaking Juice Hellmans by a fringe sports blog.
People could confuse you for a Big Ten linebacker. This is in play. And it’s awesome.
Also, because I’m afraid for Juice. In case you haven’t noticed, the name “O.J.” carries some baggage. This man’s only 22. He’s already been saddled with a lifetime’s worth of taint.* He doesn’t need to be reminding people of Gloved Justice.
I think you feel me on this one. So own it. It’s yours. We impart Juice with the mojo he needs to become one of the greats and then we take credit for his success. It’s easy. And it gives you a reason to watch both the Grizz and February basketball in general.
You can think of JH 2010 as an adopt-a-star program mixed with “Fight Club’s” groundswell fervor and hush code.
First rule of Hellmans 2010, do not talk about “O.J.”
Juice Hellmanns already has the game. He’s got the name. Now he just needs a little karmic push. And we’re going to give it to him.
*Where do I start? With the time he allegedly clobbered a high school ref? With the ’07 pot bust? With Tim Floyd taint? With Rodney Guillory, the shady L.A. runner who funneled agency cash to Juice at USC? With the 29 he scored on his ACTs? You know what, I’ll let Bob Ley handle it.