And such a princely structure!

First off, let me eternally apologize for any lives scarred by my curt behavior following the first of the two virtually identical games that showed on ESPN last night. I have made no secret of the fact that I want the Cavs to win as badly as I've ever wanted anything in my accumulated time on earth, solely because of the apocalyptic fever that would result from James/Wade. At least as far as I was concerned, the intrinsic truth of basketball relations would now lead things in that direction; yesterday afternoon, I had that same feeling as when I realize that I've passed over something titanic in a record shop, and have to endure the formality of waiting for it to open up the next day. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized: I most certainly do want the Pistons making it hard for the The Man Who Would Be. Contrary to what some of our commentors (is it "commentators?" is this an exclusively FreeDarko issue?) may think, I don't want the entire league to be overrun by players whose great acts give me tingles. In fact, our gospel of style and mowing attitude is meaningless without its great counter-weights; without a test of FD's empirical merit, we might as well just be advocating all out And1-dom.

For everything bad I have said about the Spurs, Pistons, who in these playoffs are seeming more than ever like Riverwalk Midwest, they sure do a lot to make my appreciation of this league beat a little faster. Without their vaguely diabolical need to taunt much of what I hold dear, it would mean nothing to believe as I do; without them standing tall as implacable monuments to sacrilege, the exploits of our brave upstarts would be nothing more than entitlement's feet upon cake. It's no accident that I rejoice in the Pistons' losing touch with their regular season zeal, and gladly welcome the Suns into the fold of villinary. I seek not to insult this great sport, but to ensure that the very finite bunch that I choose to elevate above all others can be matched by worthy opponents—entities that play backwards and set my teeth on edge, such that ideology is never merely incidental to the rendering of wins and losses. I don't shit on certain teams and athletes because I lack respect for them. No, it is because I seek to make them as indestructible as those to whom I feel attached. If my criticism of them strikes you as petty, I swing low not out of cowardice but to avoid damaging the perfect visage of hate I have fashioned for them to wear!!!!!

The theory in this is transparent, and if you've all along believed me more concerned with hatred than goodness, it is because the two cleaveth not in my take on the the Assocation. As I prepare, sorely and wretchedly, for Sunday, I must consider the possibility that ultimate disappointment will but strengthen the joy within me.


At 5/20/2006 6:09 PM, Anonymous aug said...

I agree, it's definitely much better to watch two contrasting styles play against eachother. Pistons-Spurs may be basketball at its finest, but you're watching some very similar teams play against eachother(the difference i guess could be mid range vs. paint scoring), but you know what i mean. Just like watching the suns play the sonics(of last year) in the finals would be somewhat unsatisfying as they are very similar. Suns vs spurs, pistons vs. cavs, suns vs. lakers all make for great viewing and competition. This obviously extends to free dark vs. un-free darko.

This being said, i think a suns vs. heat final would be the most interesting and entertaining, but for some reason i have villified the suns like most and want to see clippers beat the heat(i like rooting against the heat for some reason. The main reason is i can't get enough kaman and livingston. I usually change who i root for in a series after watching the first game or two and seeing whose style in the series i like the most.

At 5/20/2006 7:29 PM, Blogger Snicker-snack said...

Can't we have just one more year of freedom until Lebron dominates the league completely and totally (minus defense) for the next century? You find the Pistons v Spurs inevitable; every time I watch the Cavs, I can just feel the unstoppable force of Lebron and know that his team will win. For fuck's sake he almost used his hypnotic powers to brainwash Chauncey Billups into sending Game 6 into overtime!

And for anyone who can't understand my fear of Lebron:

"america doesnt want to evolve, america want to listen to Eagles Greatest Hits over and over and over until the end of days and Lebron is AMERICAS BIG SPIRITUAL CORPSE"

check wizznutzz for the rest, they finally updated for Game 6.

At 5/20/2006 9:05 PM, Anonymous Memory Jones said...

Every non-Cleveland GM in the NBA has got to be hoping for LBJ to struggle (and ultimately to be eliminated) as well. They all want him to realize his potential (and they've all seen what that potential may be), but their only chance of seducing him as a free agent is if he gets frustrated with Cleveland and thinks he'll get better treatment elsewhere. If he starts winning championships (or even getting to the Finals) now, the chances of him leaving Ohio have got to drop precipitously.

At 5/20/2006 9:41 PM, Blogger GentleWhoadie9000 said...

beautifully put

At 5/20/2006 10:40 PM, Blogger FuzzyDementia said...

As a fiercely protective Piston fan and near-equally fierce opposer to the over-hype of individualistic grandeur, I concede this post as one of the finest yet penned. Well stated, well supported, and well taken. Blind hate and crude animosity is dead weight, and though it surfaces here from time to time, it only serves to brighten intelligent discourse, as there can be no light without dark, no Bron without a sea of blue-jersied foes, and no reason to watch without a reason to love and hate simultaneously. If you can wish for the Pistons and Spurs to fall and wish for the Bron's and Kobe's to rise while respecting and being critical of them respectively, you are a scholar and a gentleman.

At 5/20/2006 10:46 PM, Anonymous futuristxen said...

Well written. On point.

And Memory Jones, there is no chance even now that Lebron leaves Ohio. Every NBA GM hopes that Lebron struggles for another reason though. Because if he starts winning championships now, in the face of the piston's no superstar only team model--then that means NBA GMs are back to the Star System. That means they are back waiting for the next chosen one through the annual NBA crap shoot.

It makes guys like John Paxson's job a lot harder to sell to the fanbase.

Anywho. Game 7 tomorrow. Can you ask for a bigger stage and more pressure? As with the post, we want Lebron to be fully tested. A game 6 victory while nice, would have been premature. This series was destined for 7, Lebron was destined for either game 7 elation or devestation. Lebron needed a game 7 this year. And to have it against the Pistons of all teams? Win or lose, having this game 7 at this age at this stage of development, should send shockwaves through the rest of the NBA. This was not how it was supposed to be.

If he wins tomorrow, I expect a media led meltdown the likes of which we've never seen in the sport of basketball. Wade vs. Lebron. After that last game? Oh god. Even now, just the thought of that is melting braincells in the back of my skull. Wade vs. Lebron will be THE event of our NBA lifetimes. The results of that clash could result in so many new paradigms for greatness...it must happen...it will happen.

Tomorrow the King's will must reign supreme at the Palace. The hushed referential silence at the end of the game--well it's appropriate for this judeo-christian dominated farce of a collective society, that this should happen on Sunday. Church is out early, the chosen one has cometh.

At 5/21/2006 3:40 AM, Anonymous Memory Jones said...

there is no chance even now that Lebron leaves Ohio.

I'm not so sure. Shaq left LA. Jerry Rice left SF and Emmitt Smith left Dallas. MJ unretired and played for the goddam Wizards. Granted those are all unique circumstances, but the days of yore, where a team drafted a player and kept him for his whole career, are long gone, even if that player looks like the second coming.

Lebron doesn't know what the league was like before free agency, and most of the fans don't either. Changing teams isn't just a business decision, it's a way of life.

There may come a day when King James is faced with having an incompetent coach and a struggling supporting cast and the lingering memory of getting booed in his own arena and decides he wants a change of scenery. The modern NBA leaves no room for guarantees, except that LBJ can play wherever he wants.

At 5/21/2006 11:09 AM, Blogger there is no you or me without Suomi said...

futuristxen said: if he starts winning championships now, in the face of the piston's no superstar only team model--then that means NBA GMs are back to the Star System. That means they are back waiting for the next chosen one through the annual NBA crap shoot

Even though NBA GMs are a superstitious and cowardly lot (and thus just dumb enough to ignore the success of the top four teams), I think everyone from the fans to the GMs to Sternie has had his fill of the fallout that model creates-a low scoring nuclear winter of isolations
and Riley D.
I don't think the rules changes are really going to make teams start to pass Chris Boshes over Chris Pauls (as some are saying the Suns success may inspire), and I don't think waiting for another LeBron is going to become a viable strategy again either. The 'next LeBron' would have to be something like Kevin Garnett with a better handle, deeper range, infrared vision, and the ability to mycoremediate any locker room Ron Artest has inhabited. In other words, blue faced GMs lying sprawled on the floor.

wv: udockeix
np: sunn- orthodox caveman

At 5/21/2006 11:58 AM, Blogger Mirabeau Lamar said...

Great post, Shoals. Seems like that was a soul-wrenching outpouring from deep within, revealing the uncomfortable paradox of FD. I too was taken aback by by King James' messianic performance in this series and it has turned my world on end. Game 7 will either reinforce the current power structure or dismantle it. Much rides on this game; for FD, for the League and, utlimately, for the course of Western Civilization (channeling Walton there).

At 5/21/2006 12:00 PM, Anonymous aug said...

We'll see how nba gms still feel about potential if oj mayo and greg oden don't completely expload their freshman year and still go 1 and 2

At 5/21/2006 12:16 PM, Anonymous Kaifa said...

Enough with all that well thought-out analysis of Pistons-Cavs. Leave that to the experts!

"B.J. Armstrong, ESPN: The Cavaliers' lack of experience in a Game 7 will be either their great asset or their worst enemy. In big games such as this, it is best to presume no knowledge of anything at all. As the Pistons have found out in this series, one thing is for certain and that is nothing is for certain. Therefore, I expect the Pistons' understanding and experience to be the deciding factor in Game 7."


At 5/21/2006 2:16 PM, Blogger billikenbluff said...

I'm writing a post about Lebron but a Cavs loss would render it meaningless. So in the interest of continuing this narrative let's go cavs.

At 5/21/2006 4:47 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

yeah, shoals, i always wondered if you'd ever admit freedarko's dirty little secret.

and there's a reason bad guy wrestlers always hold the belt longer than the good guys.

At 5/21/2006 4:58 PM, Blogger Pierre Menard said...

post your thought anyway. Yoy know what they say: never let the facts destroy a good theory

Shit, i'm a believer. Lebron will sacrifice himself for our sins and will resurrect from the dead. I was such a hater untill this game

Word verification: brvetljy
Bron versus tall juggernauts yearly

At 5/21/2006 5:01 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

did they even listen to this tom petty song? does the phrase "but I ain't got wings" ever make sense in reference to lebron?

"i'm learning to fly/are my wings too fucking enormous?!?!!?"


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