"I could never be a thug. . ."
I'm sticking with this fuck the pre-season stance, even though I've heard Darko is making some serious, sweet Slavic noise. And, as sentimental and wussy as it sounds, I'm still so upset over Amare's injury that the thought of the real thing starting up is more than a little bittersweet.
(Uttered on the phone earlier tonight: LeBron, Kobe, T-Mac, and Wade are unquestionably great, all possibly HOF'ers. But that's exactly what makes their individual prowess so muddled, so interchangable from day-to-day in the "I Love This Game" meter reading. Amare was one of a kind, doing bad things on an utterly historic scale. By the playoffs last year, I honestly felt like I was witnessing something I'd never seen before and might never again; if Wade and Kobe both fell from this earth tomorrow, T-Mac and LeBron would still be there to keep me wowed. What has me so supernaturally nervous about Amare is that, if this is it, we're seeing a entire fifth dimension of basketball sealed up before our very eyes. Ask anyone who saw Gayle Sayers about that.)
But on the heels of Free DressCode-O, there's some serious fashion business to be dealt with before the season's underway. You see, some of us in the FreeDarko cabal have recently made some cash off of FD-affiliated activities, and naturally, are looking to do something inspired, communal, and hoops-related with the windfall. Provided we get that check from beyond the mountains, we're planning to each purchase a jersey that will make us who we already, thus completing the circle of style set into motion by this blog's inception in time for our gigantic one year anniversary.
The problem is, I don't know how to rock a jersey. I could never go for the costumed fan approach since, as I've probably let on more than I should've, fandom makes me sick. And since I'm not about oversized denim and baseball hats, the XL look ain't working for me, either. Like many of us, I was born under the dueling style signs of hip-hop and indie rock, meaning I'd be into owning a closet full of throwbacks but those joints just don't look right in smaller sizes. I tried it once as an experiement—cheap Darius Miles in red (over tee) with brown, seventies Gap jeans that I got from Silverbird's pops—and it only took one pass by the summer program kids at Temple to realize I'd made a horrible mistake. Lately I've been fucking with those t-shirt-style jerseys the NFL made a while back (copped a Winslow, Sr. last year, just sprung for an Earl Campbell on Ebay) but those are football, which is only so interesting, going up in price every day and, let's face it, border on some Old Navy by way of middle-American emo inanity.
Then there's the delicate issue of whose jersey you can get away with. One of the few remotely intelligent things I heard on WIP the whole time I lived in Philly came from the mouth of Anthony Gargano, who could generally be relied on to be the one who said those things. He set in stone that you couldn't wear the jersey of anyone younger than you; not only was the tight D-Miles jersey an insult to the cosmos, it caught me identifying with someone who a friend of mine who knew him (Miles played AAU ball with her sister's boyfriend) had described as "a big, shy kid who always stood in the corner, mumbling politely in an incoherent accent and stuffing whatever potato chips were around into his mouth."
This holds firmly for fans who own one or two, less so for students of the game (jersey and athletic) who can take a more broader, distanced approach to showing love. If you're only going to own one, though, and it's not your "get ready for battle at the sports bar" uniform, you're saying something about your personal, unmediated by institutions, relationship with a player. This has got to be a player you want to be identified with, since you're saying as much about yourself as you are the player's worthiness or your affinity for the team. I guess it's cool if they're younger than you, but they've got to be wise beyond their years, or worthy of being paid history-before-their-time respect (e.g. LeBron or Wade, never Melo). Otherwise, you turn the whole thing into a joke.
But before I figure out who I want to claim, there's that question of if I could ever wear it in the first place. I hardly think I'm alone in knowing exactly why I would want to sport one, but not quite sure what that would look like (conceptually and in the physical) or what set of rules that would force me to play by.
Sidenote, but still on topic: The other night my friend got hit on by a dude whose mouth seriously deserves a Nobel Prize: diamond and platinum grill with braces on top, then a second layers of diamonds in the braces. He answered that Paul Wall had hooked it up, but most people I've mentioned this to suspect that if you ask, Paul Wall's responsible for any and every grill in the Lone Star state. Plus I found a quote from a New York Daily News
To which THC said: "dude, you really do live in Texas, don't you?" For the Recluse's sake, I'll refrain from repeating my line about this guy being the Wolverine of grills.
(And by the way, if anyone knows how I get a job working for the Rockets, holler at the gmail account.)