The Wolverine Trap: John Little


This week’s Wolverine Trap is with A and B leaguer John “Rasheed” Little. While John has always been a solid A league player, he has really shined in the past two B League’s as a legitimate and consistent 20/10 player.

Wolverine: Thanks for being on this week’s Trap, John.

Rasheed: Yeah.

Wolverine: People usually show a little more excitement in these Traps, you know. As always, I will start with the softball questions. Tell us a little about yourself, like where you are from, any outside interests, why your socks/headbands always come out pink in the laundry, etc.

Rasheed: No real neighborhood background for me. Dad’s an educator so we migrated through a series of campuses, staying at each for a decade or so before pulling up stake. I’ve hung my hat in North Carolina (where the Little roots are, so I’m not a native Yankee), Massachusetts, Connecticut (least favorite), Vermont, Kansas and then Massachusetts again (i.e. today). Kansas was my favorite and my folks remain in the Kansas City area where they run a home for disadvantaged youth called The Drumm Institute. Having lived in these different regions–combined with Irish, English, Scottish, German, Italian and Spanish blood–makes me the shiftless American mutt that I am. Outside interests include drinking, smoking, sniffing glue, dice games, petty crime, occasional B&E, voodoo, whoremongering, and fine literature with an emphasis on early to mid 20th century American and French. My favorite is Dostoyevsky though, who was a 19th century Russian. If you haven’t read him you should. It’ll make you a wiser and potentially a more depressed man. Red Bull has its side effects too. Also highly recommend the French writer Celine, especially his second book: Death on the Installment Plan. It’s a wild ride. J.M. Coetzee, a South African, is damn good too if you’re looking for someone still alive and writing. If you’re into Mystery/Crime fiction, you can’t beat the Easy Rawlins series by Walter Moseley. The James Ellroy books, starting with “The Big Nowhere”, are far and away the best of the hard boiled variety, very nasty stuff.

Wolverine: I read a bunch of existentialist stuff, including Dostoyevsky, Gogol, Goethe, etc. during a very dark period in my mid twenties. Satre’s Nausea literally almost killed me and that was enough for me. Now I prefer living a simpler life of drinking Red Bull and reffing basketball. What about the pink socks/headbands?

Rasheed: I don’t know why my socks and headbands come out pink, but I suspect foul play.

Wolverine: You are a real life rocket scientist, right?

Rasheed: That’s a misconception. I’m an employee of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and work on the Chandra X-Ray Center mission, which is a major NASA mission. We do operate a spacecraft, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, which has a deep elliptical orbit and studies the structure and evolution of the universe (black holes, supernovae, dark matter, etc.) but I wasn’t involved in the design or the launch. It was launched by the Columbia Shuttle which, as you know, doesn’t exist anymore. My function is to interpret the hard science research into forms that are comprehensible to non-scientists (teachers, students, the “public”, press, politicians, etc.). This is a key element of our mission and we wouldn’t get a drop of funding from Congress without it. We also distribute funding to science collaborators who submit proposals for creating educational components of their research. Examples include a Braille astronomy book, a Stellar Evolution educational board game, animations, school programs, and so on. Its cool stuff so check out the website and you might learn something: Anyway, I’m not an idiot, but I’m not a rocket scientist either. I do get to meet astronauts though.

Wolverine: Umm, you lost me right after ‘I’m an employee of.’ What was it like growing up not being as smart as the other kids?

Rasheed: I fought nerds on a weekly basis. They’re small but scrappy, and the “spaz” attack can be a very effective offense. You pretty much have to knock ’em out or they’ll keep coming at you.

Wolverine: Before last night I was going to ask you if anyone in B2 could beat Sasquatch. Now that you lost, how do you feel about your team’s chances in B2?

Rasheed: The same as I did last week. We’re the team to beat; unfortunately it happened the other night. Lambda gave us a little “come to Jesus” by outplaying us in every aspect of the game…except free throws. We didn’t play with our usual energy and they killed us on D. The tall guy did a great job of marshalling his team. I like his game and would love to have a player like that on our team since our Achilles heel is that we lack a true center.

Wolverine: His name is Ben Heywood, a/ka the ‘Shaq.’

Rasheed: We should have taken it to the hole more than we did. Anyway, it sucks to lose but I wouldn’t want to be the team playing us next week. We’ll be back with a vengeance.

Wolverine: Would Andre “Flash” Jones be a legit superstar in the A League?

Rasheed: Andre’s got serious game and I think we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg. He’s so athletic and light on his feet. I don’t think anyone, in any of the leagues, stands much of a chance of topping his drive. He’s also the consummate team player, just check out the spread of his stats. Anyway, it’s a pleasure to run the fast break flanked by Andre and The Worm, who, by the way, is another great guy to play with and has an uncanny ability to finish the shot in full coverage. Even in a setup offense, those two guys cut to the basket better than anyone I’ve played with at the CRFC. The importance of having Manship prowling the arc for the kick out shouldn’t be underestimated either.

Wolverine: What do you attribute your “Rasheed” like outbursts too?

Rasheed: I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m not a role model. Recognize this address: 6 Blackwood St, Boston, MA?

Wolverine: Well, it’s a good thing I moved. Google can’t keep up with me. Ok, if you had to choose one referee to be stranded on an island with, who’d it be: Dave, Brian, Commish, or the Wolverine?

Rasheed: Well, chances are that I’d have to resort to cannibalism, and none of you have much meat on the bone (probably gamey too), so I’d really need all four in order to maximize my chances for survival. Because I’m not a complete barbarian, I’d slaughter you all at once to minimize the psychological trauma of waiting your “turn.” You’re all nice guys though, so I wouldn’t enjoy it.

Wolverine: That is very scary. I seem to recall a philosophy question about that very same issue. Who is the most annoying poster on the CRFC boards?

Rasheed: Abe Vigoda

Wolverine: Did you know that Loaf/Maverick Howe’s real name was really just John? I for one feel kind of cheated for calling him all those cool names for all that time.

Rasheed: Yes I did. In fact, I think I’m the guy that blew his cover. A while back and at some odd hour, he called me on a cell phone to ask what the early signs of gonorrhea were, and whether Alice Cooper is a woman or a man. Anyway, my cell phone display read “John Howe”. I shared this info with Traveling Jim, and he shared it with everyone else. Seems like a lot of Johns hanker for a more exotic handle, although I don’t understand why some choose “Jack”. “Cheese” is another John alias. I’m not down with that whole charade. I’m known as “Rupert” outside the gym.

Wolverine: How has the creation of the B league improved your own game?

Rasheed: More playing does wonders, but the biggest factor is that the B league is more team oriented than the A league. Sasquatch is the most balance team that I’ve played for at the CFC. All of us pass, score, run the fast break and play tough D. We’re also pretty good rebounders for being undersized. Our strength is our wolf-pack style of play, none of us are selfish with the ball and we usually have three or four guys scoring between 10 and 20 instead of one guy knocking in 30+ a game. This is the way I like to play. Keeping the same squad together has also been a huge boost to both our individual and team games. We get along with each other too, which always helps. Our formula of 5 seriously nice guys and one hot-head asshole is working pretty well. I should add that I’m not busting on the A league. Anyone with half a brain can see that the A league teams that play team ball are the ones that win it all. The Commish clearly understands this and it’s obvious by the way he drafts with an eye toward getting the maximum value from each player. Kevy Kev’s team last season is another good example. My most enjoyable and best A League season was OTJ’s squad with Poulos and O’Donnell.

Wolverine: How do you feel about playing less than 2 minutes in Monday’s A League game against us?

Rasheed: It’s tough to come off the bench, especially once the glue and whiskey wears off and rigor mortis sets in. No chance to get in a rhythm, which usually results in awkward play. Also doesn’t help that Brip’s passes tend to careen off the back of my head and out of bounds. Not much future in that…didn’t need wash my jersey, though. Next week Loaf and I are bringing some dice. Seriously though, I did want to get in there and slap some D on you, or at least a hard foul or two.

Wolverine: Jenna Jameson or Jenna Bush?

Rasheed: I’ll take Monica Bellucci. You can keep your dime store floozies.

Wolverine: Yes, very nice. Thanks for being on the Trap. It has all been very interesting.

Rasheed: Yeah