January 12th, 1996
Team owners and officials,
Who needs a vacation? Your Commish does! J.R. “Red” Yellow here, and this is comin’ to y’all as the second-ever league newsletter and a general how’s-ya-nuts-hangin’. I can’t say the first half of season numero uno has been the rousin’ success we all expected it to be, but you learn more from mistakes than successes. Ain’t that a sayin’?
I’m gonna crow about the good news first. We finally got them NAACP picket squads off our backs after we stopped announcing the dates of our games, or really advertisin’ them at all. Of course, our attendance has plummeted as a result, and we wasn’t exactly packin’ ‘em in like anchovies to begin with. However, the fact that my name stopped appearin’ on the same placard as Mr. Hitler’s was one less lazy bead of sweat rollin’ down this fat forehead.
But it ain’t been all cherries and chalupas, has it? We’ve had our fair helpin’ of setbacks. Both the Milwaukee Milks and the Milwaukee Whites folded only two games into the year. Coulda seen that comin’ after that sumbitch Jesse Jackson met with the city mayor. He just keeps jammin’ his sniffer up dog rears it don’t belong! After I challenged him to a street fight on the radio, you’d think the man would keep his distance.
Luckily, we quickly found another squad to join our ranks, courtesy of the Utah State Bible College, who volunteered their Golden Elk men’s basketball team to what they said was “a worthy cause,” and who I might add seemed a little too excited to join the league. Anywho, Utah and their venerable 105-year-old coach Norm “The Crusader” Quaglund quickly dribbled theyselves to a league-leadin’ 34-0 record. To you other four teams: even though the Elk are younger, far more skilled and play with a certain religious fervor, we still got sixty games left to play, so try and make it interestin’!
Your concerns about a lack of positive media coverage ain’t been fallin’ on deaf ears. We’s tryin’ here. Y’all know that in October we flew in the world’s tallest livin’ white man, that sky-scrapin’ eight-foot-three sucker from the Ukraine, to play in a game. It wasn’t like we knew the fella was bound to a wheelchair and couldn’t even stand up! But from what I understand, we got some real good press over in the Kiev papers, so y’all are still liable for your share of that plane ticket.
Then there was the incident what twisted PETA’s nuts in that Opa-Locka/Raleigh-Durham game. ‘Cause of a rash of injuries, someone on the Phantoms side thought it would be a grand idea to pull an “Air Bud” and send a golden retriever onto the court. O’course the poor thing got trampled to death under our players’ clumsy clodhoppers. I want this to be the first and last time this happens, y’all: no dogs playin’ in games, whether they got a white coat of fur or not! There might not be anything in the rulebook that prohibitates it, but the rulebook is also handwritten in a Five Star notebook, so cut us some slack.
Now with League Tidbits is my lawyer and your ICBA business manager David Fincher (not the director).
– The fact that the league is (somehow) still financially soluble is nothing short of a wonder. Eventually our strategy of gathering all team owners every second Sunday and flying to Atlantic City to bet the remainder of our funds on red is going to backfire, and it’s probably going to happen soon.
– We’ve gotten some interesting analysis back from our stat department, which is of course Red’s nine-year-old grandson Billy. Apparently, an ICBA game’s average point total is 48 (that’s both teams combined), and it does not feature a three-pointer. In an effort to have more respectable scores, and hopefully attract fans, we will now be starting both teams at 150 points and counting down.
– The ICBA “Free Dunk” rule – where a fouled player is rewarded with an uncontested two-point dunk opportunity – has been an unqualified failure. The original consensus was that this would be a treat for the fans, but it’s simply resulted in too many injuries, as well as a lot of embarrassing net-tanglings. To remedy this, we will simply no longer be calling fouls.
– In the closest thing we’ve had to a bright spot, “Jungle” Jim Stupart of the Hamilton Canada Whiteout broke two league milestones on November 11, becoming the first player to score ten points in a game, and also becoming the first player to be ejected for sexually harassing a referee.
– Finally, in a personal note, I will taking a two-month vacation from my duties as league business manager to recover from multiple stress-related illnesses. Though I will be visiting Malaysia, I will not be partaking in “sex tourism,” as Commissioner Yellow will no doubt claim. I only ask that if the ICBA folds while I am gone, that the Star Wars memorabilia in my office not be sold to recover financial losses.
Now listen here: I know we’ve prett’near hit rock bottom, babies. And I think we’d all agree that we reached an ultimate low point when my vengeful ex-wife, the owner of the Buffalo Pale Riders, put nudie photos of yours truly on the Jumboscreen for all to see. I guess I had that one comin’, as they wasn’t even from the time durin’ which we were married, and I had FedExed them to her only days prior. Christ, I miss that woman.
I’d be lyin’ if I didn’t tell you there’s been a few sleepless nights where I’ve tossed and tumbled, and wondered if I’m the man to be Commissionin’ this here venture. Why, everythin’ I’ve opened my cowhide wallet for has quickly crumbled into financial insolvency, the most recent bein’ my Subway-style restaurant where the employees watch you make your sandwich. There wasn’t a damned soul innerested in that. And for God’s sakes, look at me! I even write in a Southern drawl! I’m a pair of Mickey ears away from being a full-fledged cartoon character.
Then I remember ’bout all you dreamers, my owners, the people just like me. The folks who got into this league to take a chance, to flirt with destiny and revive the long-forgotten American tradition of segregated sportin’. Sure, some of y’all are only here to use your team as shell companies for money launderin’. In fact, Mr. Fincher tells me that all of y’all likely are. But if I made a habit of listenin’ to him, this league wouldn’t exist in the first place, would it?
I’ll see y’all at the All Star Game in Hamilton, Canada. But remember, if any reporters or fans ask, we ain’t holdin’ an All Star Game!
Commissioner J.R. “Red” Yellow