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Conversations with DBB: Prava88 and Laughton

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Another in our continuing summer series about getting to know one another better.

Prava88: Hi Laughton, I'm sorry you requested "Prava88 or whomever." Let's start easy. If you had a terrible neighbor and you wanted to get some revenge, what would you do (legally ish) to take it out on them? Kill them with kindness, or? (asking for a friend)

Laughton: All good mate, I'm glad you accepted! To answer your question, I would probably just mow the lawn at 6 a.m. each Sunday. I'd really be tempted into some minor sabotage, but I'd have to be sure I'd get away with it. Your police scare me way too much, so I'd also need a damn good alibi. What would you (or your friend) do?

My first question is really easy too. What is some of the history of where you live? Any cool or controversial things happen in the past there?

Prava88: I'm not sure my other neighbors (the not very terrible ones) would appreciate that - oops, I mean, my friend's not very terrible neighbors. But I like your thinking - sabotage is the right spirit! I'll let everyone know when I get reprimanded by the police.

I grew up in a town just miles from where Michigan Grand Dragon, Robert Miles, had KKK gatherings on his farm. It happened a bit before my time - and the reputation still lingers. My parents didn't do a great job on research before they chose to move out there. But on a positive note, it's less than an hour to both the University of Michigan and Detroit.

Second question:

I don't know if you play basketball nowadays, but whenever you did play, which NBA player did you play like / your playing style compares to which player? (your answer can't be an Aussie or Steph Curry).

Laughton: Thanks for sharing that Ryan, I can't really imagine what living near people like that would be like. I wonder if much has changed especially considering some of the interesting folks in politics today.

I did play basketball in my younger days, never any good to be honest but I enjoyed the game. That will rule out Steph since he's a little after my time. Am I allowed to include Americans that played in the NBL? If I am, then the first player I wanted to be like was Ricky Grace who played for the Perth Wildcats. He played point guard and was quick and pretty good from three.

As for NBA players, I disliked Jordan from the start and probably leaned more towards wanting to play inside more as I grew (I only ended up just over 6ft though) so I went with the popular big guys of the time; Malone, Johnson, Kemp etc.

I’m going to cheat and ask the same question of you, except for the Aussie part.

Prava88: It's entirely possible that you or others played like Steph Curry before he ever became a thing (or existed). It's just that Steph Curry plays just a bit better than everybody else who's good at shooting and dribbling around like a super human. So, that's why he's Steph. But... it is refreshing to hear someone mention liking guys such as Kemp and Malone. I'm sure on occasion you dunked like Kemp did... If you have video evidence please do unearth it. And I will do my homework by looking up info on Ricky Grace. I'll eventually work in a reference to him in a future post.

During the past several years I lived in China and played in a hoops league during some of the winters there. If we were new to the league we had to write to the league commish and tell him how tall we were and what basketball strengths and weaknesses we had, etc. This way the commish could better organize the league draft process so the teams were generally fair and not lopsided (that was the idea anyway, since there were constantly an influx of new guys joining the league). So before my first time entering the league I wrote on my form that I'm a "poor, poor poor man's Chris Quinn". And that's pretty much what I was at my peak. Quinn video here.

Next question:

What curses (if your kid(s) aren't around) do you use while watching your favorite teams play? Have any habits or superstitions you have pertaining to watching your favorite teams? I guess, just generally, what is it like watching a game with you?

Laughton: Believe it or not but I have dunked! In training though never a game and it was around 18 years ago...

Give me some time and I'm confident I will get the footage of some Kemp-like dunks. I just need to find a mini-ring.

I'm really interested in that China league and I do have plenty of questions about your time there, but I'll respond to your question first. I'm a calm sport watcher truly, intense but calm. I get really sucked into the contest and sometimes let out a curse or too but my go to would have to be "Oh you bloody idiot" if I have to think of one. I did drunkenly heckle some loud fans a few rows in front of me at the Palace once, but they were really obnoxious so they deserved it. I think they were a little puzzled as to the origins of the slurred convict English behind them. When I was a kid I used to watch Wildcats games with my stuffed animal toys which I named after the players. One by-product would be that if someone is watching with me and they're not really a sports fan, then they must refrain from stupid comments. I once asked my ex-GF to leave the room during the AFL grand final a few years ago because of her commentary. Probably why she's an EX eh...

Chris Quinn is someone I know nothing about, the video seems to indicate heady PG play and a knack for three pointers. Therefore the poor poor poor mans version would be Reggie Jackson? Sick burn I know! Kidding of course, because I like Reggie when he's good. Anyway, so my follow up is to ask more about China. Why were you there and where else have you been? Any other basketball adventures abroad?

Prava88: If you go out and dunk (even on a 9-foot rim or such) and send the video to us at DBB.. I know we would post it, and maybe it could catch on and other readers / writers of the site could do it too. If you got the time and can make it funny or Pistons themed somehow, please do it!

"Oh you bloody idiot" ... that does seem rather calm, if a bit intense in a way too. It's more a statement of disappointment than anything, I'm guessing. And I really didn't see your Reggie burn coming ... poor Reggie! Yeah let's hope Reggie gets back to fringe All-Star caliber Reggie.

Mainly I worked in China in the job recruitment / consulting area for the last several years, after initially going there to just check the country out for some months and return stateside (..about 5 and a half years ago). Good experience in a lot of ways. Perhaps stayed there a few years too many, but I don't regret any of it.

On hoops side of things - I followed Stephon Marbury and his career in Beijing, China. He won three championships in the Chinese Basketball Association with the Beijing Ducks (and is a legend in the city), and soon will be playing his last season of professional basketball before retirement - however it's going to be with the other Beijing CBA team since Stephon and his former team had salty disagreements about money and playing time and the like. Stephon is 40-years-old now!

As for the China league I played in, it was pretty fun and competitive. Very diverse with Chinese, Americans, Canadians, Europeans, Aussies, Russians. There were some guys in the league who formerly played at the college level and were still darn good and athletic. A couple of guys could have walked-on to high level DI teams had they not chosen to go to smaller schools to get more playing time or a scholarship of some sort. Playing with and against these guys really improved my basketball knowledge and also I'd like to think I've gotten sharper in the subtleties of playing the game too.

Otherwise I spent dozens and dozens of weekends playing four on four half-court pick up basketball in the crowded outdoor courts in Beijing with buddies and strangers. The Chinese prefer half court ball (up to five, one point per basket) since it rotates the teams in and out quicker... but even then during the nice days there would be just so many teams waiting at each end of the court that if you didnt come with a good team or find one, you'd probably have to wait 40 minutes or more to get back on the court if you lost. This is at parks or schools with 10 or 12 courts, so times that by two. The Chinese love their basketball and most take it seriously. They play physical. Having said that, many of them smoke and will offer you a cig right after the game if they know or like you. I never got tired of that.

I have a few more questions yet:

Dude. Australia has some big ass bugs and spiders -- got any stories to share about an unplanned encounter with any of those buggers? May you enlighten us on that topic? I'm sure some of the DBB readers like to learn and squirm at the same time.. (sure, perhaps I'm just projecting) #learnandsquirmatdbb

Laughton: Now there's a fun idea. I'll see what I can do dunk wise, perhaps involve some props even. I'll start stretching now (since I'm old) so I bust a knee or something.

As for stories about bugs and spiders, I've got a couple of doozies. I'm from the southern coastal area of Western Australia and I grew up around the towns of Mt Barker and Albany, so there were plenty of opportunities to get the shit scared out of you from sneaky arachnids. I once had a large huntsman spider drop onto my shoulder as I walked into my place. I didn't notice the bugger until I turned the light on. Another time I was about to drive my car and as I put my seatbelt on, a large furry eight legged friend appeared into view. It seems he felt the need to buckle up as well. Growing up in the bush like I did, they were a pretty common sight so you did get used to them a bit.

Back in my Army days I lived in Darwin, which is in the Northern Territory, and there would often be Cane Toads everywhere. Those were really large ugly bastards and there would often be collection drives to get rid of them because they were pests. I heard that there were times the local government would offer beer bounties for them but sadly that wasn't when I was there.

You know, I find it pretty hilarious how much of a rep we have here for nasty critters and yet you guys have bloody mountain lions, bears and all sorts. The most ferocious animal I know of here wouldn't even compare I reckon (though my ex is something to fear for sure!). I'm keen to #learnandsquirmatdbb regarding your own experiences, because I'm planning on going back to the states to see some nature and I really want to avoid becoming the next Timothy Treadwell!

Prava88: Great -- just don't back out on the dunk... it's all on record here. You said you would do it, man!

HA, beer bounties for toads! I love toads and frogs and always keep my dogs away from nosing them to death, but those Cane toads do look too toad-y even for my comfort.

Where in particular will you go in the states this time? Check out the northeast if you can -- beautiful up there, less people (more moose) and if you like the ocean then you still have the coast via Maine. I was just up there earlier this month... Portland, Maine is a must visit, too. Although I have no special stories about big animals, I did happen to see this pretty cool mountain lion video that happened in California just days ago. Check it out! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNJxDWX-qes

Finally, a Pistons question for you:

You mentioned on a recent thread that the Pistons could win 50 games this season. Alright, so I'm taking that as your prediction whether you like it or not. Question is... tell me a bit about how Detroit gets to 50 wins (which player or players surprise, how close was the Boban for sixth-man of the year voting, etc) and what happens in the playoffs and such. Who do they end up playing, what's the series like, you know the drill. I want some good old fashion kool-aid to drink about this team.

Thanks a lot, Laughton, enjoyed the convo!

Laughton: The dunks are coming! I just need to organize some stunt doubles that are happy to wear bald caps. That mountain lion video had me anxious man, far out those things seem scary. I've heard tales of people mauled by those buggers.

Last time I was in the states I ventured to the D and then onto the Pacific Northwest, though I didn't see enough of it really. I would really love to visit the Dakotas and then drive West. I'm fascinated by Native American history and I love the idea of road tripping through that part of the world and learning about another culture outside of books.

The North East sounds like a fine idea too and something my kids would probably enjoy more than the other trip. Maybe when I get my long service leave in 7 yrs I can do that one. If you ever decide to visit Australia, the East Coast is the better place to start as there's a lot more in driving distance. This side of the continent is very isolated with not much interesting in between (cue Adelaide jokes).

You know, I get a little optimistic this time of year thinking about the season ahead. I look at the team and the state of the league and I think "if everything goes just right, we can win 50". I think we all talk ourselves into it from time to time. This year is different though because it feels like a backs to the wall type response should be forthcoming from certain players, like they can see their own mortality and now they have to produce. I'm thinking 50 wins is doable based on a number of internal and external factors and I justify the copious amounts of kool-aid I use to bathe myself in with the following:

1. Dre has a monster season. Since Dre fixed his nostrils, he's been able to identify a fetid odour lingering about the place and he realises it's the ghost of seasons past haunting him. Understanding he now needs to wash his socks, Dre matures before us into a true ALL*STAR.

2. Reggie is healthy enough. That's it really.

3. MUCH better outside shooting. We added three guys with career averages around 36% that all shot around 39% last season whilst removing streaky shooters that hovered around 33-35%. Add in the rookie Kennard who seems a nice shot (though he could take a little time) and there is potential more huge improvement.

4. Tobias Harris becomes a star. I love his game and he needs the ball more. With Morris gone he should get it.

5. You don't mess with the BOBAN! I'm almost as high on him as our Myconid friend. What I saw last year from him was a difference maker. I don't care if he's slow because he causes players to change shots and is a useful deterrent in the paint. He's better than advertised and this year he proves it by winning MIP.

6. If the East (and our division) was any more watered down it would be an American light beer. Chicago has reset and Indiana makes no sense anymore. That could mean six more wins alone if we sweep those series. All this collecting of stars into super teams really does give us a huge opportunity to rack up wins if all of the above comes to pass. 50 wins in this league should be a heck of a lot easier than it was in the past.

I know I haven't really accounted for many things, but hey it's all wishful thinking until the ball goes up anyway. Stanley should be better and perhaps Henry too, but I'm not counting on them to push us up to 50. If they both perform then it makes the season even better. My feeling is 4th seed with a first round series against the Bucks, winning through to the second round where we lose in seven to the Cavs.

That's my take anyway, it's all heart mixed with half a brain and a sprinkling of hope. It's been great chatting, you are more than welcome for the convo. Thanks for the fun questions and all that!

Prava88: Looking forward to the stunt doubles or whatever you can come up with...

If you are ever in the D or nearby area again do let us know in advance on DBB!