It's hard to believe, but the NBA season is just around the corner (no, not that corner; that's curling). We don't know about you, but we've barely had time to miss Ron Artest and Mark Cuban before they're back again. And that's a good thing. So let us celebrate with five tiny tidbits on each team, starting with the Pacific Division and that rollicking powerhouse known as the Golden State Warriors. We'll rip through the rest of the Pacific D. this week and next, so do us a favor and send us your tips on those teams via firstname.lastname@example.org.
• 1. Free Zarko. Introducing ... the frohawk. Part afro, part mohawk, it's all Zarko Cabarkapa; his new look for the 2006-07 season. It's got the traditional Mohawk swirl with hair on both sides; the Yugoslavian forward/center debuting the new do while partying at the Video Music Awards in August. Teammate Monta Ellis dubbed it the "Jimmy Neutron Special," and Ray Young never tires of describing it. By the way, thanks to SFGate.com for running a story on this and not including a photo. Jerks.
• 2. Sorry We Suck — Jason Richardson. Joining Michael Jordan as only the second NBA player ever to win two consecutive Slam Dunk Contests, Jason Richardson also takes this losing stuff pretty hard. After the Warriors failed to make the playoffs for the 12th straight season (the active NBA record), Richardson organized an apology to Warriors' fans in the form of a full-page newspaper ad, reportedly ponying up half of the $100,000 fee himself.
• 3. Le Boom Goes The Dynamite. Want to learn more about Mickael Pietrus? You'd better learn french. Pietrus may be the only player in the NBA whose Web site is entirely in a foreign language.
• 4. There Was No There There. Led by prodigal son Rick Barry, whose highly effective underhanded free throw style failed to catch on anywhere, the Warriors scored what some consider the greatest upset in NBA Finals history in 1975, beating the Washington Bullets in a four-game sweep. So confident was the Warriors' front office that season that the team's home, the Oakland Coliseum Arena, was booked solid with other events during the dates of the NBA playoffs. And so, the home games of the Warriors' only West Coast championship were played not in Oakland, but at the Cow Palace in Daly City, across the bay.
• 5. He's Richer Than Latka Gravas. Andris Biedri is the youngest millionaire in Latvia, making $1.5 million this season with the Warriors (he'll make $3,609,636 by the end of his four-year deal). But as they say, money can't buy you free throw accuracy. Biedri has a .366 career free throw percentage, just more than half of his .620 career field goal percentage. Hey Andris, may we suggest the underhand method?