Amare who?

I had something certifiably important to say about the Odom/Payton friction, and wanted to call everyone’s attention to Shawn Marion’s very gratifying complaints about the pace of life up in Phoenix these days. But then I happened over to Deadspin, discovered the lantern at the end of God's street and, on the honest, there is really nothing left to believe in at the moment but

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.


At 12/29/2005 10:43 PM, Blogger mutoni said...

Gilbert is definitely the early odds-on favorite to pull a Portis.

My darkhorse would have to be Kwame Brown. MJ did enough screwing with his head that he's liable to go nuts at any point ...

At 12/29/2005 11:27 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

for anyone that read the above before just now. . . sorry for all the scare quotes. i thought the whole point of freedarko was that we never had to use these, meaning that "hot items" is in fact in double quotations.

i would have said at one point that ricky davis was a candidate, but dude actually seems to have developed a distasteful liking for business as usual. he might be the nba equivalent of the "was wild in college" type.

confirmed by this quote from steve bulpett's interview with get buckets:

"Yeah, I’d heard the stories about Ricky being a knucklehead, but the people I checked with on his other teams said he was pretty much a straight-up guy who was having some typical NBA young-guy issues."

At 12/30/2005 10:31 AM, Blogger O.D.B. said...

Sorry, don't know the Redskins very well, are those other players with him?
Also, when you say: "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," are you implying that Clinton is pushing the limits of Afro-American hetero-sexual identity?
I think there's something to it if that's the case, though apparently his teamates encouraged him to keep up the act when he told them he was gonna stop a couple weeks ago.

At 12/30/2005 11:33 AM, Anonymous aug said...

Those are all different indentities Portis took on in different press conferences/interviews. He doesn't just dress the part. He becomes someone else. They're always fun to watch. I don't think he's pushing any kind of african american aesthetics/heterosexual identity or anything. He's just a guy with a good sense of humor. He probably just realizes that the nfl has a bunch of stiffs in it and is trying to lighten things up. I don't know how deep this goes, he's just fun to watch. I wanted to mention something about him a long time ago, but didn't know how many people knew/cared about it. I still don't buy him as an elite runningback though. He's not the same since leaving denver.

At 12/30/2005 11:36 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

one thing that should be said: a lot about his act is nothing more than recycled p-funk, some sly. and seeing as nostalgia is safe and harmless, no matter what it consists of, there's always that way of reading what he's doing. the reason i liked the last one so much is that it was just plain crazy. he dressed up like a little girl at a ballet recital, and had batman in the background without ever mentioning this. even someone familiar with the references points would have to be taken aback.

the fact that his teammates encouraged him/participated only goes toward my point that this seems harmless and insignificant exactly because it's so crazy, but really this is twenty times more revolutionary than defying the dress code by wearing a chain.

At 12/30/2005 11:40 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

no reason that shaking things up can't be fun. and obviously having multiple personalities when you address the media, making a cartoon narrative out of what should be a fairly serious battle of a season, is a new and amazing thing for an athlete to do--and evidence that's he an eccentric.

portis was my favorite runner in the league when he was on denver, like plan my day around making sure i watched him good. alas, those days are gone, even if he and gibbs seem to have figured out a way to make him effective in that system.

At 12/31/2005 4:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure you folks would be interested that Martynas Andriuskevicius is apparently a TEEN IDOL in Lithuania, according to an Ohio sports writer.


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