I had something certifiably important to say about the Odom/Payton friction, and wanted to call everyone’s attention to Shawn Marion’s
I’ve avoided writing about Portis’s press conferences (not NBA, but probably should be), if only because they’re deserving of their very own academic discipline. Plus they’ve been a mixed bag, ranging from sophomoric to unspeakably brilliant, and, although you’d think I’d be overjoyed that they existed in any form, that inconsistency made me hesitant to wheel out the superlatives. Say goodbye to that restraint, and get lost to FreeDarko’s golden rule of never simply linking up “hot items” elsewhere on the internet—if this ends up being the last FreeDarko post of 2005, I can’t imagine a more appropriate way to close out the year that saw this blog come into the world.
Actually, would this ever happen in the Association? I'm beginning to believe that, paradoxically, there is a limit placed on style and personality in the league at the same time as these factors define it. I'm not talking dress code or marketing—more that, among players, style is encouraged, but it's supposed to be of a certain manner and to a certain degree. Portis can flourish because the NFL itself is too busy fighting Chad Johnson and other game day auteurs to even imagine this level of self-expression. They think they know the enemy, and in doing so let the real (yet seemingly trivial) firepower slip through the cracks, like when Earl Boykins drops thirty, or terrorists figure out the real usefulness of a hijacked airplane. And I don't think the football culture of players and coaches can even begin to judge Portis because, well, he's so deviant that he's off the map.
The culture of the Association. . . make no mistake, it's watching, and is probably also self-regulating. As much as we've come to see it as a war between corporate interests and African-American aesthetics, don't forget that the latter has its own kind of status quo to enforce.