It was all the way back in January, when I had an interesting idea for an article. It was called "The Cast of The Jersey Shore Gets You Caught Up On The College Basketball Season." And it was one of my favorite things I've ever written.
The premise was simple: How did all our favorite guido's and guidette's from down on the shore compare to the elite in college basketball? The article turned out to be fun and goofy, and was something that sports fans and non-sports fans alike could relate to.
And you what else? It became the most read thing I've ever written. Not so much because people cared about college basketball, but because they just couldn't get enough of Snooki, the Situation and Pauly D (And who could blame them? I mean after all, do you know anyone that owns their own tanning bed? I didn't think so).
Anyway, after Jersey Shore ended, I needed my reality TV fix, and decided that after a few years away, I'd give The Hills another chance. There's just something about a bunch of super hot girls, yelling at each other for 30 minutes a week that intrigued me. What can I say, I guess I'm old fashioned like that.
Well with the second round of the NBA Playoffs underway, I decided to combine my new found love for The Hills, with my passion for all things Kobe, LeBron and Steve Nash.
So if you're just getting into the NBA Playoffs now, or doing the same with The Hills, here's your chance to catch up.
Let "The Cast of The Hills Get You Caught Up On The Second Round Of The NBA Playoffs."
Kristin Cavallari: Kristin burst onto the reality TV scene as a 17-year-old high school junior, on the former MTV show Laguna Beach. She was fun and bubbly, basically every man’s dream, you know… if she’d been legal at the time.
Since packing up her bags in Laguna, Kristin has managed to keep herself in the news, despite the fact, that really to the best of my knowledge and research, she hasn’t actually done anything. I guess if you include a failed TV show called “Let’s Get This Party Started,” (Honestly, how’d that show fail?) and brief romances with current Arizona Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart and Brody Jenner (More on him coming), then, yes, she's been busy. I guess.
Anyway, after those few years away from the camera, Kristin is now back, taking over as the star of The Hills, when Lauren Conrad left town.
Upon taking control, Kristin immediately made her presence be known, sidling up with Audrina’s long time boyfriend, Justin Bobby. Almost like a dog walking into a new house and peeing on a couch cushion, Kristin let everyone know who the new sheriff in town was.
However, as she enters her second season on The Hills, there is some controversy surrounding Cavallari. She spent the better part of the first episode of this season partying into the wee hours of the morning in Miami, and has since had to defend herself from accusations of drug abuse by the fellow girls.
Cavallari is still the star of the show, but at the age of 23, her best years might be behind her.
Just like this current NBA superstar...
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers: Clearly Kobe is still the man, and to loosely quote NBA commentator Hubie Brown, “Is still one of the elite players that we have, in our league today. But now closing in on 32-years of age, and with all those regular season, playoff and Olympic games on his resume these last few years, he’s definitely lost a step too.
Now sure, Kobe can notch things up when he needs to, as he did with 31 points in Game 1 of the Lakers second round series with Utah. But he also put up back-to-back 12 and 13 point games against Oklahoma City as well.
And more than ever, Bryant just looks old. He hasn’t been able to get to the basket as easily for the past few years now, and even his up-and-under pump fake game hasn’t fooled many this spring.
Right now, Bryant reminds me of an old dog off the leash at a park. The dog is definitely a step slower, but smart as ever, and knows that he can’t chase every squirrel. But if he picks his spots, he still might be able to catch one or two.
That’s Kobe. He knows that can’t score 40 at will, or defend the other teams best player every night. But when his team needs him to get 30, or step up defensively for a game like he did against Russell Westbrook, he’s still as good as ever.
I’m definitely not ready to count out Kobe or the Lakers yet.
But much like Cavallari, his best years might be behind him.
Audrina Partridge: There’s no doubt that when it comes to The Hills, Audrina is the steady hand and voice of reason.
While I haven’t watched every season, I do know that Audrina has been one of the mainstay’s of the cast, starting when Lauren and Heidi moved into her apartment complex during Season 1. She stuck by Lauren’s side throughout all the drama that followed with Heidi, always providing a shoulder to cry on, and an ear to listen.
Since Kristin came to town, Audrina has assumed semi-BFF status with her as well.
Sure there was that whole incident where Kristin stole Audrina’s ex-boyfriend roughly 27 seconds after she moved to town, but that’s water under the bridge now. And it didn’t stop the two of them from travelling to the Super Bowl together in Episode 1 of Season 2. Yes Audrina spent half her time talking about Kristin behind her back, but she was also there with a glass of water after one of Cavallari’s all night benders too.
I’m not sure if Audrina has enough “umph,” to carry this show all by herself, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a very valuable role on The Hills.
Kinda like this guy…
Jameer Nelson, Orlando Magic: While all the talk is on Dwight Howard in Orlando, “Superman,” was pretty limited in what he actually did in the first round of these playoffs. Sure he was a monster defensively, but was also in constant foul trouble, and averaged only nine points a game.
But while Howard was limited, it was the 28-year-old Nelson who shined. He averaged almost 24 points a game, and added over four assists a contest too, leading Orlando’s high-powered attack to a sweep over Charlotte. His 24 points in the first half of Game 1 alone, set the tone for the series.
I guess what’s strangest to me about Nelson, is that no matter what he does, the guy just doesn’t get any respect. It started when the Blazers chose to take Sebastian Telfair over him in the 2004 Draft (Woops!) and continues to this day.
Despite being almost disgustingly consistent, he never gets mentioned in the top tier of point guards in the league (Which I guess is understandable), or even the second tier, with guys like Tony Parker, Rajon Rondo and others.
Over the last five years, Nelson has averaged at least 28 minutes played, and double-figures in scoring every season as well. And as a teammate, all the guy does is win baby! Take that Telfair!
While Nelson wasn’t 100 percent in last year’s NBA Finals, if the Magic get back this year, no one will be more important than Nelson.
Jameer may not be a superstar, but he is the straw that stirs the drink in Orlando. Just like Audrina on The Hills.
Brody Jenner: Like most of his cast mates, Jenner is simpy famous for being famous, as quite frankly, I’m not really sure if he has an income, or where exactly it comes from. Maybe his big claim to fame is actually just being the son of former Olympian Bruce Jenner, and the step-brother of Kim Kardashian. Not exactly a highlight filled resume, but if you’re me asking if I’d change lives with him, the answer is in a second.
What Brody is best known for during his time on The Hills though is his Wilt Chamberlain like dating record, which is simply second to none in all of Los Angeles county. Basically, if you’re between the ages of 18 and 30, and have any estrogen floating through you at all, Brody has probably spent some alone time with you.
Just since The Hills started, Brody has dated Kristin. And had a fling with Lauren. There was his Hawaii getaway with Audrina. Most recently, he was even dating 2008 Playboy Playmate of the Year Jayde Nicole, until that too went up in smoke (Honestly, if this two kids couldn’t work it out, what chance do any of us have?)
Beyond his flinging and swinging with the ladies, Brody is just a cool, entertaining, fun dude. He likes to surf, and play pickup basketball, never seeming to have a care in the world (Well at least until Tuesday night's episode when we learned he had beef with former pop sensation Ryan Cabrera. Just for the record, I'm on 'Team Brody.' And also just for the record...Man, Ryan Cabrera got REALLY fat.)
But just because Brody's never done anything of real significance with his life, doesn’t mean this season of The Hills can’t be his big breakout.
Phoenix Suns: There’s no doubt that like Brody, the Suns have been as entertaining as any team in the NBA these last few years. But something has always just seemed to get in the way.
There was Joe Johnson’s injury in 2005. And Amare Stoudemire’s microfracture surgery in 2006. There were the absolutely bogus suspensions of Stoudemire and Boris Diaw in 2007, possibly costing the Suns a trip to the Finals. There was the dagger Tim Duncan three in 2008. And last year, Amare’s eye injury kept them out of the playoffs. Look at that list again. All I'm saying, is that if Steve Nash trips over a black cat walking into US Airways Arena one of these days, I'm officially labeling the Suns the most cursed franchise in sports. There, I said it.
But through all that turmoil has come hope. And now this season, just as we were ready to write off Phoenix as old and over the hill, with Amare almost traded at the All-Star break, here they come in these playoffs.
And I think this could be the year they finally break through.
They’re currently playing the Spurs in the second round, and although San Antonio has been their kryptonite in years, I think Phoenix finally gets past them. San Antonio just looks old to me, and got by on grit, toughness, and defense against Dallas.
While I think the Spurs defense will still be there this series, I really wonder if a six or seven game series at such a fast pace, will wear on Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and others (Not to mention it's got to be tough for Manu Ginobili to play with what appears to be a used diaper on his face). Even when Phoenix has an “off,” night offensively, they can still score 100 points. And I just don't think San Antonio will be able to keep.
As for a perceived Western Conference Finals matchup with the Lakers, well, I don't have the same confidence. Los Angeles is just sooooo big inside, and lose none of that size with Lamar Odom coming off the bench. Then again, if Utah can win a few games at home, and turn this into a long series, after a long series with Oklahoma City in the first round, I suppose it wouldn’t quite be impossible for the Suns to win four out of seven against Los Angeles. Unlikely, but not impossible.
Finally, in the Finals, there’s no way they’d beat Orlando or Cleveland. Sorry Suns fans it’s true. Too much size, too much skill, too much everything.
But how cool would it be just see Nash, Stoudemire and their teammates get there?
Spencer Pratt: Honestly, this guy is just totally nuts. If his weird beard last season didn’t give it away, his actions this season have. I mean honestly, did anyone watch Tuesday night's episode? What was up with those beads? They looked like something you'd buy out of the trunk of someone's car in New York City. And they definitely didn't give him any serenity.
Anyway, back to Spencer and his...how do I say this delicately...Emotional instability.
First there was his strange, bizarre, borderline uncomfortable courtship with Heidi, that led to their marriage, and her going certifiably insane (More on that coming!). Then there was the rumor that he and Heidi started about a Lauren Conrad sex tape. Which after several hours of internet "research," I can confirm is not out there. Unfortunately. Most recently Spencer made news again, because of bickering via Twitter with Perez Hilton.
Again, this guy is totally out of his mind. I wouldn't trust him to pick a bagel at the deli for me, let alone ever want to actually interact with him in real life.
But to his credit, he knows how to create, and get everyone involved, where no one else would be able to.
Kind of like...
Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics: Ok, I'll be the first to admit, this was a bit of a stretch. But at the same time, you can't have a conversation about The Hills without Spencer, just like you can't have a conversation about these playoffs without Rondo. Luckily for Celtics fans, Rondo doesn't appear- at least on the surface- to need a trip to the therapist and a Paxil prescription like Spencer.
But back to Rondo's game. I know I wrote about this all a week or so ago, but it bears repeating: The guy is freakin' incredible.
His long arms and quick reflexes make him as good as any point guard in the league defensively, and in the half court offensively, he always seems to finish against bigger, physical players. And nobody runs the fast break better than Rondo, nobody. Despite being maybe the fastest player in the league, he's figured out how to harness that quickness, and seemingly always make the right decision on the break, even playing at such a fast pace. He's even added a few up-and-under, ball fake moves, making him that much scarier.
Through two games with Cleveland, Rondo has simply been the best player on the court. He had 27-6-12 in Game 1, and followed that up with an out of this world 19 assists in a 104-86 Game 2 romp. This all coming off an opening round against Miami where he averaged just about 15 points and 10 assists a game.
After years of playing in the shadow of "The Big Three," this is now Rondo's team. He's earned the respect of the veterans, and has even forced his way into the discussion of the league's elite point guards.
Hmm... Forced his way into the discussion. Kind of sounds like Spencer, huh?
Lo Bosworth: To say that Lo is a veteran of the reality TV scene, is like saying Jamie Moyer is a veteran of Major League Baseball clubhouses, or that Charlie Sheen is a veteran of the Bunny Ranch is Las Vegas. It's a MAJOR understatement.
Lo was originally cast alongside Lauren all the way back on Laguna Beach in 2004, and returned to reality TV again on The Hills. With Lauren leaving the show last year, Lo has remained a fixture, now joining Kristin's crew, even heading to the Super Bowl with Audrina, Kristin and a few other girls this past January.
But despite her presence over all these years, has Lo ever actually done anything? Honestly, I don't remember one guy she's dated, one unfortunate night with alcohol, or even a memorable quote. Even browsing her Wikipedia page reveals little more than that she went to UCLA.
Lo is always there, but never seems to do any damage, or be a real factor. Almost like...
Dallas Mavericks: I don't want to kick a group of fans when they're down, but damn, how can you not feel bad for these guys?
After all these runs toward a title, and these failures, I truthfully thought this was the Mavericks year. They could play big or small, athletic or physical, and would basically have the best point guard and best power forward on the floor no matter who they played. I really believed that if the Mavs got the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, they could beat them in a seven game series.
Of course the one thing nobody factored in though, was that once again, Dallas just wasn't tough enough. And now everyone's beginning to wonder if it's time to blow this thing up and start from scratch.
It's clear that Jason Kidd can't guard anyone anymore (Honestly, I love Kidd, and he was a superstar on my fantasy team this year. But look at what George Hill did to the guy. Imagine if he'd had to defend Russell Westbrook for six or seven games? We might have had to call the Red Cross for relief). Shawn Marion is no longer "The Matrix," but instead just some old dude who can't really run or jump like he used to, which were basically the only two attributes that gave him any value (Not to mention he just looks old. His hairline is disappearing faster than the Pacific coastline). Even franchise mainstay Dirk Nowitzki is thinking about skipping town this summer. The scariest part is that a lot of people seem to think it's what would be best for both parties.
So is the run over in Dallas? I think it just might be.
And much like Lo Bosworth's reality TV career, the Mavericks don't have much to show for it.
Heidi Montag: Heidi is one of The Hills originals, as it was she, who first came to Los Angeles with Lauren in the show's first season.
But since she started dating Spencer, it's been nothing short of a disaster. Heidi has turned on her friends and family, and is believed to be the one who started the Lauren Conrad sex tape rumors. Which again, unfortunately aren't true.
And now that the new season of The Hills has begun, it's clear that Montag is totally, undeniably, unequivocally off her rocker.
Heidi recently had several plastic surgeries, which gave her "the body she's always wanted," but also almost killed her on the operating table. Not to mention that at least to me, they make her look more like Shrek, than an actual living, breathing, attractive female.
Beyond her looks, the surgeries have become the butt of jokes with everyone (Including her mom, who was especially tough on her), ostracized her from her family, and pushed her even farther away from friends. And the scariest part is that despite it all, she might not be done yet. She even claimed on Tuesday night's episode she wants to get her cup size up to "H for Heidi."
There's no doubt that the girl has lost her mind, and probably would benefit from a psychological evaluation.
Kind of like you know who...
Ron Artest: Obviously! Who'd you think I was going to say? Matt Bonner?
But for all the controversy surrounding Artest, and all the bad haircuts and crazed quotes, I've got to give him credit. Because he's still really good.
If the Lakers first round series with the Oklahoma City Thunder showed us anything, it's that when Artest needs to step up on defense, he's still up for the challenge. From Game 1, he was in Kevin Durant's hip pocket, and even though Durant averaged 25 points in the series, he still had to work for everyone. The league's scoring champ shot just 34 percent from the field in the first round, after shooting 47 percent in the regular season.
Artest might certainly be a little bit off, but he's certainly still entertaining too.
You could probably say the same about Montag as well.
And the rest of the cast of The Hills for that matter.