The Prison on Pearl Avenue

I finally had an opportunity to watch Through the Fire the other day. While I considered Sebastian Telfair a fascinating, charismatic, and extremely likable kid, I found myself considerably more interested in some of the the peripheral characters in the film.

When it hit me, I knew it was like I’m not gonna get paid for it. It felt like I lost my life. Basketball is my life…. I’m still here. As long as I’m here, it’s pain.
- Asher Beard aka Tick Boom

Flick Webb, John Updike’s ex-basketball player, sadly clung to the past, occasionally dribbling an inner tube around a gas station to remind others of his departed greatness. Former superstars seem to pepper the projects of Coney Island. But these men don’t appear to reminisce wistfully about their glory days. While they occasionally recount their success, they often describe how they didn’t make it; looking almost like shell-shocked veterans, they seem able to understand how they didn’t make it into the league and out of Coney Island, but completely unable to come to terms with it, remaining in the very neighborhood they so desperately sought to escape. Flick Webb yearns for the past, but these men don’t even seem to recognize that they have a past, as if the moment it became apparent to them that basketball would not be their salvation, their lives halted, leaving them unable to move beyond high school. Even Jamel Thomas, Sebastian’s older brother, with the benefit of four years of college under his belt, could have landed an excellent job on the strength of his folk hero status in the town of Providence; instead he doggedly clung to the pursuit of self-actualization through basketball. For former Coney Island superstars, hoops dreams don’t fade, they freeze.

As I’ve mentioned (entirely too many times) before, I spent several years teaching in an exceptionally poor and almost entirely black area in the Mississippi Delta. I specialized in working with the “bad” kids, often several years behind and floating in and out of training school, the last resort before juvenile detention facilities. Teaching these kids was tremendously challenging, but not necessarily for intuitive reasons. By far the greatest difficulty was not teaching math to kids who often were more than three grade levels behind, but leading them to believe that they could be the kind of people who had the capacity to learn math.

By age six, the life paths of many Delta children are already mapped out. Some time during first grade, many teachers declare that kids are “smart” or “stupid”, “good” or “bad.” It's not uncommon to hear a teacher tell an eleven-year-old boy that he’s on his way to prison, as if his fate were unavoidably sealed. These labels originate from authority figures and are passed on to peers and before long, entire communities have placed many of their children into these discrete and static groups. (Parents obviously can help children resist this kind of labeling, but it’s exceptionally difficult for many parents, who may be too busy working and raising their own and others’ kids to constantly demand proper treatment for their children in school).

So when a kid came to my classroom from training school, in his mind, his only option was to be a “bad” kid. Learning math and positively contributing to class was simply not something “bad” kids did. The challenge then, was to show these kids that acting “bad,” was a decision that was theirs to make; they needed to recognize that others were imposing their identity on them and that they could forge one of their own if they tried hard enough.

As enticing as it may seem to suddenly be unshackled from the internalized expectations of others, this is actually a fairly terrifying process. For a sixteen-year-old seventh grader, being bad may be the only thing he knows how to do. Not only is he obviously far behind his peers academically, every one around him expects him to fail and wind up in prison. I can’t conceive of how difficult it must be for someone so young and with such little support to try to completely change who he thinks he is. Upon entering class, kids will rebel for weeks, desperately clinging to who they were and the lack of responsibility that comes with it. Analogously, consider the challenge facing men like Beard; declared a basketball star his entire adolecent life and suddenly faced with the prospect of shedding that label. Imagine the challenge of just giving up on that identity so late in his life.

The “smart” kids faced similar, identity-related problems. When “smart” kids struggled with a certain concept, they often ignored their difficulties. After all, they were the “smart” kids, who weren’t supposed to have questions or make mistakes and simply assumed that their difficulties stemmed from something other than not understanding. Yet if they failed a test, they freaked out, completely unable to understand how a “smart” kid could perform poorly.

While I didn’t get the chance to follow my students into adulthood, a few characteristics were particularly striking about the adult population of those areas. Most of the adults I met depicted themselves as always having been on the “right” path. While I occasionally met someone who described overcoming a troubled childhood, I heard countless stories of the overwhelming majority of their “bad” classmates eventually turning to crime, landing in jail, or disappearing entirely. While this may be an illustration of the lack of second chances given to those born poor and black, it also seems that these labels, like the one affixed to Asher Beard, last a lifetime.

In communities like these, self-fulfilling prophecies are tremendously robust. Men like Asher Beard can’t imagine being anything other than a great ball player in the same way that “bad” kids struggle to imagine themselves as anything other than just that. In my own upper/middle class school, I was constantly reminded that I could be whatever I wanted. The possibility of limitless opportunity is never presented to children in Delta schools. A commenter in a previous post noted, quite correctly, that black communities like these produce many important professionals. However, while Coney Island and the Delta may produce potential role models, they almost never return there. Doctors generally don’t come back to live in the projects. Kids can only imitate what they can see, leading to a dearth of imitable archetypes available.

Maybe it’s a community-wide rejection of an internal locus of control that leads so many to accept their labels and fight so hard to preserve them. Maybe it’s something entirely different. Regardless, of its source, such thinking and the behavior that stems from it constitutes a significant social problem. The perception of choice shouldn’t be available only to those born above the poverty line.


At 3/22/2006 9:31 AM, Blogger Josh said...

Not to jump back on the Sports Guy hater wagon, but I didn't get his whole faux-nuanced "you don't know whether to like him or dislike him" bullshit on Telfair. How could you possibly not like Bassy? TSG blew that "country boy" bit way out of proportion too - I doubt Al Jefferson cried himself to sleep that night.

At 3/22/2006 10:16 AM, Anonymous T. said...

There's still a large population of people who believe racism is not something that's institutional (for a good look at one such guy - watch FX's abysmal series black.white) - in that it's just perpetuated by individuals, not by institutions.

I went to a high school that was the middle ground - I mean it was a fairly middle class - but to the rich white schools, we were the poor hispanic/black school. To the poor black and hispanic schools, we were the rich white school. So I got to witness an interesting dichotomy - and it was never so clear to me as the year I was a teacher's aide for my calculus teacher - during his 9th grade math class (I think it was pre-algebra).

The distinction between the way Mr. B taught that class and the way he taught his advanced math class - it was striking. Even he - my favorite teacher in high school, one of those inspirational - you can get anywhere if you put your mind to it guys - he practiced the sort of teaching mentioned by FB in the post. Not to the same degree, but it was subtle, and those kid in that class knew they were - at best - going to community college, if not the workforce directly out of high school. And there was no other future - it was already determined. It was shocking how different he treated those kids, especially contrasting the AP Calculus class I was in just one period before - where we were almost peers.

I liked Bassy a lot, but I liked Jamel Thomas the most. What Simmons alluded to as the most compelling piece of 'Through the Fire' - the trip to Greece to get his head straight. What Scoop Jackson said was working on the second contract - Bassy is lucky to have a brother like Thomas. One only wishes Thomas was around to keep his head straight in Portland. (A gun?! on the plane?!)

At 3/22/2006 10:48 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

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At 3/22/2006 10:51 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

what's most distressing is how, in a lot of communities, kids have to make a choice between "smart" or "good" and "bad." there's very little room for that middle ground that, for most of us, probably defined adolesence.

i also initially had a part about oden, bron, kobe, and howard being good students and disciplined players, but that's too psa a line of reasoning.

At 3/22/2006 11:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Who knows but that, on the lower frequencies, I speak for you?”

At 3/22/2006 11:47 AM, Blogger jon faith said...

Rather profound piece, one which has sent me scuttling into anecdote. In january 2004 my wife and i were preparing to fly to London, I stopped her as we walked towards our gate in Louisville International Airport and said that's Sebastian telfair. Sure enough, there he sat with two cameras filimg and a trio (I think) of reporters asking questions. His teamates sat on the otherside of the lobby and I quipped, without a thought of being prescient, this will be the last time he ever sets foot in Louisville. Sure enough, adidas forwarded cash and it is a pleasant surprise to see him blossom.
I thought the posting illuminated key points about expectation and the development of self-responsibility to assess and adjust whatever one's circumstances involve.

At 3/22/2006 12:04 PM, Blogger Mirabeau Lamar said...

This is a fantastic post. I really enjoyed ForEvers Burns's explication of the identities/labels that many youth receive, embrace and perpetuate. I agree that educators and other community leaders need to present more of the "the world is your oyster" perspective to disadvantaged young people, so that they will be just as mentally empowered as upper-middle-class kids. However, I think the flipside to it are the structural and institutional barriers to a true meritocracy. When generations have been excluded from sharing in the prosperity of our society, it is difficult not to perceive basketball as the only legitimate path to making it out of Coney Island. I think half of the problem is the difficulty of transcending the external identity imposed by others on the kids, but half is the opportunities actually being available. If slinging dope is the only way to earn more than 5.15/hour and none of your peers seem to be pursuing post-secondary degrees, it is difficult to make the cognitive leap that you can pursue college, trade or professional school.

The class dimension of that film is quite illuminating, and it's great to see it spawning an FD discourse, especially with FD's celebration of the expressive, inner-city style of b-ball and all its connotations.

At 3/22/2006 12:20 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

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At 3/22/2006 12:22 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i haven't seen the telfair doc, so i can't say if the following is true of the ancillary characters in it. but i did want to point out one of my main problems with the "for many kids, basketball or dealing seem like the only way out the ghetto" line of reasoning.

these kids don't just want to make it out, they want to be paid. that's why going to play overseas, which can still result in quite a comfortable life for you and yours (dime's "where are they now" on rumeal robinson illustrated this), isn't an option--it's got some toil and sacrifice involved and doesn't make you a multi-millionare overnight. dealing, too, pays up cash immediately and it just keeps coming, whereas there are other DIY businesses (like running a label, for instance) that work off the same model but require a little more, well, hustle.

i'm not trying to say that poor blacks are lazy and therefore expect all the money in the world handed to them. more that, in assessing the appeal of these "career paths," let's not forget that they're pretty appealing to people not as far down on the socio-economic ladder of being. and that if sometimes people choose to stake it all on these impossible dreams, rather than some slightly more realistic, if less glamorous, option, we're dealing as much with universal fantasy as the limitations imposed on people by their situation.

think about this: the poor and black are often disadvantaged even when it comes to the drug trade and hoops dreams. schools and teams are wary of "ghetto" players, and don't think for a second that there's no racism in the structure of the drug game.

that was vague, but i've got all day in front of a computer, so go ahead, call me on this.

At 3/22/2006 12:42 PM, Blogger Vegan Viking said...

It's an odd paradox.

On one hand, we're recognizing that there is institutional racism and system barriers for many poor and/or minority children.

On the other hand, the solution to dealing with this is to try and convince kids that they have control over their own lives.

Not that I disagree, it's just an interesting dilemma.

At 3/22/2006 12:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In an article over at ESPN.com, Telfair says his family has opted for ghetto celebrity steez and still lives in that same apartment in Coney Island, despite Bassy's NBA/shoe money. Its an interesting read.


At 3/22/2006 12:48 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i think that, in some twisted way, the desire to embrace the nba/kingpin fantasies reflect that. it's like, you're fucked, so you might as well go for broke and aim for the self-determined horizon. as i said, though, this ignores the peculiarity of their situation, i.e. it's still harder for them than anyone else.

At 3/22/2006 1:34 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

"And I'll tell you one thing, I ain't buying a Bentley a week no more."

a bentley a week?!?!?!?!?

At 3/22/2006 2:12 PM, Anonymous MennoniteOwl said...

I cannot claim to have an authentic perspective on what it would be like to grow up in that kind of poverty, but it seems that Bethlehem is onto something when he points out the lure of instant money over another more moderated career path. It also seems like the public image of hyperconsumption in professional sports, drug dealing and rap music plays into that. Again, it's hard from my upper middle class perspective to criticize how someone reacts to finally escaping that cycle of poverty, but I think "a Bentley a week" does play a role in perpetuating the feeling that drugs, sports & music are the only ways out of that situation.

At 3/22/2006 2:18 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

here's my main contention: even if basketball, hustling, and entertainment may be some people's only options, they could "settle" for more realistic, and secure, goals within these.

At 3/22/2006 2:46 PM, Blogger mutoni said...

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At 3/22/2006 2:49 PM, Blogger mutoni said...

i've never bought into this idea that poor black kids only see sports, entertainment and drug dealing as the surest way out the hood. they're not dumb, they see other middle class kids (be they black, white, green, whatever) going to school, reading bill shakespeare, getting legal (albeit, shitty) high school-level jobs and ultimately making something of their lives. i sometimes get the impression that people not living in the ghetto see those living there as people with shutters on their eyes who simply don't know how the world operates. This is simply not the case. they know what time it is. some (NOT ALL) simply to take the path that leads to the most shine. being an entertainer in the 'hood will always garner more respect than being a lawyer, but only among the kids. kids identify with the loud, shiny and short-lasting. some will fall by the wayside and some will go on to do something meaningful.

If Iverson had a younger brother who went on to become a succesful family surgeon, I would be willing to bet that he would be more respected among the adults in his 'hood than AI.

I recently plowed through Ralph Wiley's Why Black People Tend To Shout, and he illuminated an important point when he claimed that certain blacks seem to have a sort of self-hatred (leading to senseless killings amongst themselves, the sale and consumption of devastating drugs such as crack, etc.) that may stem from the indignities of slavery and other injustices (past and present). Don't really know where i'm going with this, but it was on my mind, so there you have it.

At 3/22/2006 2:57 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i don't think these are ever really anyone's only option, but if kids have convinced themselves that they are, there still is room to make it something than a boom or bust scenario. and yet for some reason this is the exception.

say what you will about streetball tours, local mix cd's, whatever, but they are a more viable model for how people who have made ball or rap their focus can make use of their talent in an orderly fashion.

At 3/22/2006 3:39 PM, Anonymous White People Don't Know said...

2 stories:

1: a while ago I went to an information session that the psychological services department at my college was having during one parent’s weekend. during the course of their talk, they let drop that, at a school of about 5,000 students, psych services had about 1200 kids come in every year. This elicited audible shock from the moms that made up the audience, and one parent asked the shrink, why so many kids. he said that over 95% of the students came in with the same problem: they thought the school (a good school) let them in by mistake, and that they weren't capable of doing the work, and they weren't as smart as their peers.

So shoals' dynamic works on both sides of the spectrum. To people whom have always been the best, to struggle is not just a temporary obstacle, but a basic refutation of their identity.

2: some university did a study some years ago about the affect of prejudice on behavior. They took a bunch of black and white college students, and split them into two groups. To the first group they said that they were doing a study on the capacity for geometric reasoning. To the second group they claimed that they were investigating natural athletic ability. Then they had both groups play a couple rounds of miniature golf. In the first group the white kids outperformed the black kids, and in the second the black kids out performed the white. just mentioning something that was potentially prejudicial had a measurable affect on performance.

the point is that culture matters. ideology and bias are not just ephemeral notions. Its not just the way the wind blows. There are teeth in the grass. these ideas, whether we believe them or not, confine and direct our behavior, and determine the basic structure of our interactions with our peers and our conceptions of ourselves. This is why east asian immigrants succeed everywhere they go in the world, at much higher rates than other ethnic groups. This is why recent african immigrants in the US consistently outperform African-Americans. This is why by so many measures low-income black men are in so much worse shape than black women.

I think that it’s imprecise to call this "structural racism." culture is bigger than that, and less of a subject-object relationship. In fact, calling it racism at all would seem to suggest easy moral solutions that are just not realistic. Individuals do have some power, but to take control of their own lives they must comprehend their role as both a producer of and a participant in the culture that envelops them.

In other words, if stevie franchise had been born to chinese parents, he would have been the greatest baller of all time.

At 3/22/2006 3:53 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

funny to think about stevie franchise being adopted by chinese parents. he might actually not have concentrated on ball and might have been the best hooper in his med school class.

i'm only half-joking.

At 3/22/2006 4:02 PM, Anonymous T. said...

sidenote about Stevie - I went to a friend's wedding some years ago in New York, and I was seated at a table of my buddy's grad school friends.

My relationship to the Rockets was discussed (as things generally are at weddings) - and one of the women at my table had gone to the same high school as Steve.

She said the thing he was most well known for at that high school wasn't his basketball skills (since he had barely played there anyways) - but that as a freshman, he had gotten his hand stuck in a drink machine and the fire department had to come get him out.

I just wanted someplace to tell that story.

At 3/22/2006 4:27 PM, Anonymous Mr. Six said...

WPDK may have been referring to the work of Claude Steele (and others) on "stereotype threat." (If he was referring to someone else's work, Dr. Steele's research is still relevant to the discussion and related to the work that WPDK describes.)

Here's a link to a couple Atlantic Monthly articles by Dr. Steele on the issue.



Here are the results of a Google scholar search for those who want more:


Among his conclusions is that the fear of fulfilling a "negative" stereotype has a measureable and statistically significant effect on performance. More generally, he defines it as the threat of being viewed through the lens of a negative stereotype, or the fear of doing something that would inadvertently confirm that stereotype. In other words, the fear of confirming a stereotype may result in an action that one could interpret as evidence to support the validity of the stereotype.

I'd like to write more about this when I have the time, but I wanted to introduce the stereotype threat information into the discussion now, since it's obviously relevant.

At 3/22/2006 5:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me add my two cents to the mix... apologies for the length. First off, I think I was the comment you sub-referenced in the post. If so, I'm very honored. Does this mean I'm officially two degrees from McSweeney's?

Alright, on Shoals' comments about not buying the "for many kids...only way out of the ghetto" line of reasoning - you then suggest that poor kids should then set their eyes on more achievable goals, like "running a label". I mean, I don't want to pick on your example, but I don't see how that's more realistic. Where's a poor kid in the projects going to get the capital to start his own business - from his (poor) family? From his (poor) friends? More importantly, running a business requires some guidance or experience in that field; it's hard to start a business without knowledge or sources of knowledge to provide guidance, whether its a label or a laundrymat...

Quick comment on Anon 12:46's post about Telfair's family staying in the projects - no doubt. I grew up next to a guy whose half-brother made it big in the 80's as a producer (you've all heard his work), and the family, despite having money, stayed in the projects. It's one thing for a young man (Telfair, or the producer in this case) to move to a new location and start a new life; it's another thing for older members of the family, who have lived in that apartment since the birth of their kids, to leave their home, their friends, their community. It might be the projects, but home is home, you know? That family still lives in the projects, so reading that Telfair's family is still living large in Coney ain't surprising to me. It's one of those things that make you go "hmm".

To Mutoni, and Shoals: My argument would be that a young person's dreams, their aspirations, are based on what's around them, and what they see as achievable. From what I've seen, here are the people who have made it out of the projects - those who had role models that they could base their goals upon; for example, a friend whose father was rare in the projects - one, a father in a "normal" two-parent family (that's rare, so it's worth pointing out), and two, a father who had a decent low to middle-class job (a nurse at a nearby hospital). He followed suit, and went to a local community college. Most people in the project have parents who work entry level jobs, so these kids don't aspire, or maybe they don't believe they can achieve, middle class jobs. Tell any kid in the project that they can a doctor if they want to, and see how many of them will laugh at you or dismiss you. It's sad, but I believe it's simply because they don't have examples of people who have walked that path before them. And like Burns wrote about school, they might not get any encouragement there, either. But in every project in NYC, there is one person - an entertainer (Damon Wayans, though the last time I think I saw him working on TV was during one of those History Channel re-enactments), a rapper/other musician, a baller, someone who everyone knows made it out of those very same projects, and made it big. And that's what the kids base their dreams upon.

This is a sloppy post, but I just wanted to throw my opinion in... this is a great discussion....

At 3/22/2006 5:10 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

it's amazing how sloppy i'm being today, considering how important, and potentially sensitive, this whole thread is.

i think i was just saying that running a label involves some of the same entrepeneurial/marketing skills as moving up in the drug game, but isn't as irrational or unreasonable a career path. what i should've said was "promoting local artists, selling cd's out of your trunk, having an imprint that's a nominal label", since that was what i was thinking of.

being the next dame dash is just as unreasonable as tryign to be the next jay.

At 3/22/2006 5:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, promoting is one of the more common ways I've seen people use to get out of the projects, or the hood, in NYC. It's worth pointing out that people do make it out, and not all of them are ballers or entertainers (or hustlers, but very rarely do hustler actually make it out - as Freaknomics pointed out, that's the biggest myth of all). Again, it's all about what you know - lots of kids from the projects could run a laundromat business, for example (I chose that example because it's a common low-barrier business that immigrants use to escape poverty, so why can't project kids?), but how many really know how to run that business? How many have worked in a laundromat? The advantage immigrants have is that someone made it here first, paving the path; for example, someone hired immigrants as cheap labor to work in his laudromat... eventually those immigrants opened their own laundromat, since they knew how to run one; the next wave of immigrants followed their lead. It could apply to driving taxis, running a newstand, whatever. But the projects are fundamentally flawed for this reason - unlike an immigrant neighborhood, the projects are purposely meant for only poor people needing help. So if you do come to some money, like you open a successful business, you leave the projects and take that trail, that path, with you. In theory. No footsteps for the next poor child to follow.

Promoting and club-related activities (DJing, promoting parties, etc.) is something that poor kids DO get to experience, to learn about, so they can take that route out. And some do, so that's one way to get out that isn't balling/entertaining.

At 3/22/2006 5:55 PM, Blogger OG said...

a child's expectations for his/her future will be dictated by any number of things, and are (obviously) really hard to pin down.

i taught one summer in a program for newly graduated eighth graders in cincinnati which was intended to get students who might be wavering between just trying to wrap up high school or proceeding on to higher education; the idea was to keep them thinking about academics all the time, and the program billed itself as targeting 'at risk' kids. they came from a variety of backgrounds, but nearly all were black.

on one end, i had a kid who was pretty much certain he'd never go to college and seemed self-destined to the kind of fate resigned to the 'bad' kids in burns' post (he wasn't really bad, though).

on the other end, i had a kid who was ultraconfident that he was going to be BOTH a doctor AND an nba basketball player AT THE SAME TIME (i played with him, and doubt he even made his high school team).

the second kid's mom forgot to file his financial aid application for the ritzy private school in town, and so he was going to have to start high school at a crummy public school in his neighborhood with drugs, gangbangers and all the regular cliches. she told me in a conference that now she "had lost him," almost as if his future was completely ruined because of this. obviously, his attitude would say differently, but given his mother's woeful attitude, who knows what ended up happening.

anyway, there's another little anecdote for amateur sociology hour.

and as women get short shrift here and in the world, it's worth dropping the reminder that they're half our population for whom much of this doesn't apply.

At 3/22/2006 6:00 PM, Anonymous Tinns said...

Darko's heart beats in the comments (as was pointed out after the Fox thing) and this is why. Not to slurp or nothing, but if guys here aren't feeling gladwell's stuff--I can't finger that for certain yet--(and I could easily make excuses for him and think he should be acknowledged for making things like the above available/digestible to not youse) it's because of depth. He'll give you provocation, but with a little CC and contemplation, there's just more IMPACT that needs to be flushed out, which is being done so beatifully here and can't really be done so well elsewhere (pace being stoned with real (and present) buddies).

Don't blink, think. (But maybe blink first.)

At 3/22/2006 6:20 PM, Anonymous T. said...

I was googling for a quote I once heard/saw/read about how dealing, playing ball, promoting a record - were all part of the same thing - it's all a hustle.

And this is one of the things I found - it's not my quote (which I still haven't found) - but I think it's highly relevant to the FreeDarko oeuvre.

AI - Only the Strong

At 3/22/2006 6:31 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

playing ball is not a hustle if you're a coddled AAU prodigy.

and music ain't a hustle unless you're putting in work to make it stick

FOCUS, people!

(that was directed at those who indisrciminantly call anything that makes money a hustle, like "my friend put me on--don't knock the hustle!!!!")

(it wasn't directed at T. for bringing into the light the similarities, which is something I think I forgot to say in one of my comments about five hours ago)

At 3/22/2006 6:32 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

obviously i have no right to make that call. but i do think it diminishes just how much grit and determination some of those take if they're all lumped in together

At 3/22/2006 10:45 PM, Anonymous aug said...

Lebron finally rose up and took the shot himself, but for some reason it didn't feel satisfying. Maybe it was because he was only single covered and left to go 1 on 1. I don't know if the Bobcats didn't respect his ability to win the game, or assumed that he was gonna pass it off. I don't know, for some reason i can't like Lebron. I respect the hell out of him, but i still don't see how he does it and simply can't like him. He does things so effortlessly and has never really struggled in his career that it makes me want to believe in a crazy conspiracy where david stern handpicked lebron to be the next jordan and bring the nba back to the glory days. It seems sometimes that lebron is just given open lanes or easy shots as if stern is telling the league to go easy on him. I know it holds no water, but for some reason i can't believe in lebron. It's not the same thing as i think shoals said about not liking wade because he is too no-nonsense, efficient, things come too easy for him and the shooting Js with a cig in the other hand that someone else said. I like wade a lot more than lebron. I don't know what it is. I'm just waiting for the day lebron gets a hard foul, only to find that his face plate falls off to reveal a cyborg of some sort. I was without tv and internet for a week so i'm still getting back into the swing of things nba wise, so i'm not thinking straight at the moment. Carry on.

At 3/22/2006 11:15 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

you all know i would rather be talking about children of the ghetto than our bemusive namesake, and i don't think i've ever brought him into thing in the past, except when logic demanded it.

but dude makes what can't be but his second or third (at most) nba start and goes for 13 and 7, 4 swats, a steal, perfect from the line and .500 from the floot. in thirty minutes. granted it was against the nba's worst team, and no, he's not as good as wade or melo, but i'll be suprised if he doesn't blossom into a quality starter. FLOURISH!

At 3/23/2006 12:55 AM, Anonymous White People Don't Know said...

After all the ink that's been spilled, and even after proudly wearing my fd threads, i don't know if i am ready for darko to actually be good. the What-ifs are too overwhelming. we already knew that in an alternate universe somewhere dwayne wade + pistons = sharks with laser beams. but what could detroit with darko have been, if dustin hoffman hadn't shitted in his soul for two years?

At 3/23/2006 11:43 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

silverbird and i talked abotu thsi for a while on the phone last night, and since his lazy ass is obviously never going to comment here, i wanted to share with all assembled something that came out of it (i can't remember whose idea it was)

we tend to think of it as being more and more difficult to get to each successive level in basketball, and a purely statistical reading of the situation would seem to support this interpretation. yet for players, the biggest step is taking over the world in high school. from there, it seems natural that they'd get picked up by an aau powerhouse, runs hit at a major school, get drafted, and find success in the Association. in short, that's where they've proven to themselves that yes, they could, and the rest seems like it should fall into place. that might also be why we see such an emotional, if not downright sentimental, attachment to players' high school days.

college may toughen up player, but is also humbles them, serves as one more step they have to take. it sucks if it ends up knocking them out of the running, but it also serves as a buffer between hs glory and the pros. wow that was a simplisitc point.

but i do think this kind of explains why kids insist on aspiriing to the pros/are in shock when it doesn't come through like that. to them, the hard part is making the first step towards the nba, whereas we all know that the hardest thing is sticking in the league. silverbird also pointed out that this also extends to the jordan comparison, like the leap from mere star to jordan is only a matter of course.

At 5/17/2013 6:11 PM, Blogger Jim Philips said...

Thanks for the recommendation I will give a try, I hope that i can find it on netflix to watch it on Mobile Sportsbook device.


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