PHILADELPHIA -- South Park recently brought back Eric Cartman's superhero alter-ego "The Coon" for a three-part epic, which also introduced us to some hysterical superfriends like "Toolshed," "Tupperware" and "Mint Berry Crunch."
My favorite character in the trilogy, however, was "Captain Hindsight," a former journalist named Jack Brolin that gained the power of extraordinary hindsight through a freak accident involving a retroactive spider.
Hindsight is first seen arriving at a burning building and telling the assembled police, firefighters and rescue workers that different safety measures should have been taken when the building was erected. Things like the building next door was too close and the roof should have been larger so rescuers would have an easier time. The town was so relieved that they gave Hindsight a standing ovation, as the building and its inhabitants continued to burn in the background.
Hindsight, who also takes on the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and advises the NFL on Brett Favre in the episode, was clearly a playful jab by Trey Parker and Matt Stone at a national media that seems to take perverse joy at pointing out the mistakes of others with the benefit of ... you guessed it ... 20-20 hindsight. A practice that really doesn't amount to much when you are trying to solve real problems.
Over the past few days, a lot of Jack Brolin wannabes have been sitting back and taking shots at the Portland Trail Blazers and ex-general manager Kevin Pritchard for taking Greg Oden over Kevin Durant back in the 2007 NBA Draft.
Oden, the No. 1 overall pick that year, is scheduled to undergo microfracture left knee surgery Friday and will now officially miss the entire 2010-11 season. The Ohio State product, who has not played in an NBA game since fracturing his left patella on Dec. 5, 2009, underwent a recent MRI that showed cartilage damage to the surface of his femur.
Of course, the oft-injured big man has already undergone a microfracture surgery on his right knee that kept him out of his entire rookie season and has yet to play in more than 61 games in a season. In fact, out of a possible 258 regular season games that he has spent on the Blazers' roster since entering the NBA, Oden has played in only 82 of them, averaging a pedestrian 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks.
Durant, on the other hand, has been a revelation for the Oklahoma City Thunder. The No. 2 pick in '07, went on to win the NBA Rookie of the Year during his debut season, blossomed into the league's youngest scoring champion by last year, and most recently led Team USA to a gold medal in the FIBA World Championships.
In July, Durant announced on his Twitter page that he and the Thunder agreed on a 5-year contract extension worth nearly $86 million. Meanwhile, Oden's rookie option wasn't even picked up by the Blazers and he will be left to his own devices this summer.
It would be easy for me to pile on and point out the ineptitude of Portland's front office now but here's the thing -- I liked the pick and I certainly wasn't alone.
One national poll before the '07 draft asked 21 of the NBA's GMs at the time one simple question, Oden or Durant? Twenty came back in one direction and no, it wasn't the guy who is now All-NBA First Team.
The thinking was sound and no shot at Durant. You see, there are always skilled wing people around. Athletic guys on the outside are as overpopulated as it gets in the NBA landscape. That's not to say players as good as Durant come around all that often -- it just means guys you can win with do.
Oden, on the other hand, was an endangered species. A true big man that actually played like a big man in a game bastardized by the three-point shot.
Hindsight could never change that. Unfortunately injuries did.