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2011 NBA Playoffs Nuggets vs. Thunder: Birdman vs. Air Congo

Stan SillimanCorrespondent IIApril 18, 2011

2011 NBA Playoffs Nuggets vs. Thunder: Birdman vs. Air Congo

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Pictured above: Three guys without tattoos.

    Denver Nuggets vs Oklahoma City Thunder.

    The 4 vs 5 seeds in the West are two teams of contrasting personalities: One lead by a crafty veteran coach, the other by a youthful, energetic third-year coach.

    Both teams possess abundant speed and athleticism, both have an interesting mix of foreign and domestics dotting their line-ups.

    One is the most tatted-up team in the NBA. The other is not.   

    This is our stop.

    Tattoo town vs Loud City! The Tats and the Nats! Watch your step as you get off. 

    Chris Anderson vs Serge Ibaka.

    Is there enough room on the floor for two guys heading down court with their arms swept wide like eagles... or jumbo jets, especially when they both possess 7'4" wingspans?

    After a dunk or a block, the Birdman runs down the court flapping his arms like a soaring bird. Except if we were to pick a bird, it wouldn't be a bland colored one like a hawk or a condor, it would be a peacock. The guy has more ink on him than Vogue magazine.

    Also sailing down court like a 747 after a dunk or block is Air Congo. Only with less ink than a worn out Bic.

    That is our subject for today.

Serge Ibaka: Air Congo

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    Serge, a 21-year-old native of the Congo, possesses one of the best bodies in the NBA.  It is not only well muscled, youthful, hairless and un-tatted. It is almost devoid of visible scars.

    If I had a body like that, I'd be anything but humble, yet Ibaka has humility to spare.

    Even though they play the same position and are both known for defense and blocks Anderson and Ibaka could not be more opposite.

    Here's a video of Ibaka playing "I Blocka."

The Birdman Blocks a Few, Too

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    Chris Anderson brings a ton of energy when he hits the floor.

    He's like the white Dennis Rodman-- crazy plumage, proud defender, rebounder delux, and enough body art to be distracting.

    He can also block shots like a demon.

    He almost led the league in 2008-2009 playing 20 minutes per game. Ran out to a 48 minutes he would have averaged 5.47 blocks per game.

    This year he's been injured so much his stats don't register.

    Here's a block party video. 

Serge Ibaka: The Afridunker

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    When Serge goes in for a dunk, will Birdman block it? Or vice-versa?

    That's what we're wanting to know. It might be an intriguing part of this series.

    Here's a dunk by Ibaka for your enjoyment.

    Note the arms spread wide. Serge and Bird might engage in a "who-can-spread-widest" wing-off.

Now It Is Chris Anderson's Turn to Dunk

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    The Birdman is not a great shot maker. I've watched him since he was an Oklahoma City Hornet and never saw him take a shot beyond 15 feet.

    But he's good at the put back, the alley-oop, flying down the court dunk and several around the basket shots.

    Here's a video of him dunking. Let's see if he does a Birdman gesture if it's successful.

Both Chris and Serge Were in Dunk Contests

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    Both of these guys were in All-Star game dunk contests, Serge in 2011 and Anderson six years earlier.

    I keep saying these guys have opposite personalities but similar games. Maybe their dunk contest performances will show more similarities.

    Chris is anything but smooth on his dunks but his elevation and arm stretch makes up.

    Here's a video with Jack Nicholson in it where does a reverse. Note his canvas is only partially filled.

Serge in the 2011 Slam Dunk Contest

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    Here is Serge's 50 point free throw line dunk from the 2011 contest yet the judges only gave him 45 points.

Smell the Ink. Where You'll Find Chris When He's Not on the Court

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    Is Anderson the tattiest guy in the NBA? Or does that honor goes to one of his team mates, Kenyon Martin or JR Smith?

    In the "tattoo to teeth ratio" of inkster parlance the Nugs threesome all pass. JR Smith has 32 tattoos, so he's on a one-to-one ration while we think both Anderson and Martin have lost count. The Birdman may be working on 2 to 1, even with all his teeth. 

    We do know he has a lot of unfinished art. The video above doesn't even have his neck art.

    Take a look.

Serge Ibaka Is a Clean Slate

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    Like we said, these guys are similar yet so very different.

    Ibaka seems to be comfortable in the skin he was born with.  He's not showy, not flashy, not boastful and is not the Birdman.

    However, in this series both players are capable of eight block, eight rebound games. I doubt either will score over 15 points in a game.

    Here's a Serge Ibaka mix tape put together by Kardinal8Nik. .

A Mix of Birdman's Top Ten Blocks

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    We ran a mix of Air Congo.

    Now we need to find a mix of Chris Anderson blocking people.

    Here's one by a guy named SotNight. In this mix titled "Anderson's Best Blocks of 2008-9 Season" Birdman blocks Tim Duncan, Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitsky, Lamar Odom, Shannon Brown and several others.

    That's not a shabby group.

Serge Ibaka Blocking Wilson Chandler in Game 1 of Series

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    We're keeping this fresh, from tonight's opening first round game. Denver had a lead, up to 12 points, and just as the Thunder were coming back, Wilson Chandler broke away for a momentum changing dunk.

    Serge was able to chase Chandler down from behind, rise up and swat the ball right as it left Chandler's hand. Momentum change averted.

    We wish both Serge and Birdman luck. We hope no one gets hurt. We also know Chris likes to party when he played for the Hornets in Oklahoma City.

    I remember him making trips to the Loony Bin Comedy Club when I performed there. He wore sleeveless tees at a time when he had no ink sleeves and no neck tattoos.  Whenever a joke struck him funny, he'd do his bird flapping gesture. 

    We're sure he'll keep himself clean this time around and have a good series.

Game Four Highlights W/ a Bird Block

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    Here's a game four highlight. Watch for Serge and Bird.

Game 5 with a Batch of Ibaka Blocks

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    Exciting Game 5. Lots of blocks. Lots of clutch shots.

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