Black K Street
I don’t think I was the only exciting NBA fan thrown into crisis by Ray Allen’s foray into the physical last week. As the Recluse himself pointed out, this was not just a incidental blow or two; as NBA fights go, this was about as fully-realized as they get. Like most people, I probably assumed that Allen wouldn’t hesitate to mix it up within the flow of the game, but would demurely fall back the minute it came time to actually square-off
The implications are raw and obvious. Everyone knows that Ray Allen is, despite his debonair exterior, world-class art collection, thing for pedicures, and credible grasp of the acting profession, a basketball machine of the highest order. If you looked up “quiet assassin” in the yearbook of frost, expect to see Allen’s likeness rendered therein. The thing is, he’s also Grant without the ears, Obama with a jumper, and top to bottom the single most likely NBA player to follow the legion of footballers before him into office. Surely we must live in a racist police state when Allen remains a mere citizen and the powers of law-giving are in the hands of former athletes like
Allen, though, was the one that sent Dooling flying into the stands, making punching all but inevitable. And for those of you not fortunate enough to have seen the footage, clearly there was nothing on Allen’s mind but beating the shit out of that scoundrel Dooling (who, according to Stevie Francis, would’ve been the odds-on favorite to walk out alive). Dooling’s post-fight pursuit definitely cast him as the villain, or at least the imbalanced one, but Allen was all up that fray and stank of it for the next few days.
What’s so amazing is how elegantly Allen, his coach, and even Dooling worked to explain away the entire thing. Playing both ends against the middle, the quotes that follow show you a world scheming to bring out the man in Allen while downplaying the animal within. This became something less than even a typical sports incident; by the time the spin was complete, this was the anti-Artest, two gentlemen defending themselves against the fire imposed on them by, well, the game itself. Allen’s not that kind of guy, but he can be if his duty to the game demands it. Like, I’m not a killer, but I’ll do it for my country.
"I know he ran underneath the tunnel and I guess he tried to meet me on the other side and he got met by some of Seattle's finest. I think once everything cooled down, I think he realized it was ridiculous. Things happen at the heat of the moment, and I guarantee you both parties regret what happened." —Allen
"I definitely regret what happened ... but it seemed as though it was unavoidable. It was almost like I was attacked and, you know, I responded in a way that I think any individual, any man or woman, would respond. Most people thought that I was this kind, even tempered, mild-mannered individual -- and I am for the most part -- but there is a line. My buttons can be pushed."—Allen
"Basketball is an emotional game. Sometimes you don't think, you just react and tonight was one of those nights."—Dooling
"I deserve [the suspension], bottom line."—Dooling.
"I thought Ray did the right thing staying on the ground and Dooling came back at him. At some point you have to protect yourself. I thought Ray handled it as well as he could. And if Ray didn't handle himself that way, I'd say it.” —Bob Hill.
"I never saw that in [Dooling]. He's very competitive ... but I'm a little surprised it went that far."—Riley
One notable thing here: Allen could have thrown Dooling under the bus, but instead took the highest of high roads and forgave his aggressor. Perhaps it would have sullied his public image to have admitted he’d sunk to the level of a wretch like Dooling, or have weakened his “all in the game” stance had he claimed that evil had lurked within his opponent—then, of course, it could just as easily have resided in him. Either way, you’ve got to figure that now Dooling inadvertently benefited from the ordeal, having now had no less a moral authority than the FBP himself offer a perfectly palatable explanation for Keyon’s bad behavior. If you don’t believe me, look no further than the Franchise’s insubordination—which, with no such blessings from above, was made into the (highly deserving) scapegoat for all the evening’s bad vibes (by an organization with credibility problems of its own).
When this post first dawned on me a few hours ago, I was dead set on laying out an elaborate FBP in a fight/Capitol Hill under siege metaphor, easing anyone caught in the blind, deaf, and dumb along by means of the thunderous quotable “work with the kid.” Then I caught the first two hours of Bauer Unlimited, witnessed the passing of the original FBP, was forced to accept that dude who plays Curtis has put on too much flesh to give us a premature look at older Dwyane Wade, and now believe the world awash in geo-political conspiracy. I thought it went all the way up to Stern. But that would’ve obscured what is actually a pretty solid point, so suffice to say JACK BAUER IS BACK, TRICK!!!!!!