5.02.2006

Drunk with mixed repose



One thing that happens when FreeDarko steps up our post game: I am far more likely to be completely and totally off the mark. You can't constantly talk like you're dictating the Magna Carta and not occasionally have time prove you a stinking fern. So without further ado, I direct you toward this fortunately mistaken quote of my own making:

Let me try and translate that for anyone looking to start a fight: we know that the strong teams will roll. We know that the individual stars will shine bright as they can, but will ultimately have a hard time single-handedly knocking off the TEAMS. That's the story of this season, and the lack of intersection, intermingling, or interchangability of these two basketball concepts, both coasting at a zenith in their respective quarters, is why this I've been so nonplussed by it all.

Thankfully, this was almost immediately smoothed over by the sands of a bunch of LeBron. But what it expected simple did not come to pass as initially spoken. Thus far, we've seen Kobe blend the team and individual game as well as anyone ever has, with the added edge of keeping their oil-and-water dynamic set from one moment to the next. Gilbert and Bron are locking horns on the plane of superstar preeminence without the luxury of either being to able to go at it alone or wholly trust in their teammates. The Spurs, team of all teams, are finding that disabled stars hurts them more than they had once thought; they face a mighty foe in the Ron Ron-ified Kings, a squad living and breathing the neurological essence of their newly-installed leader. And didn't the Clippers emerge as a team that, believe it or not, might have cracked the code of "team of stars" in a way that the Pistons could only dream of?

Maybe some of these err on the side of undue optimism, but what better way to correct the doom-saying with which I initally welcomed this post-season?

Oh, and on the Bron/Jesus/Arenas thing, worshipping James has absolutely nothing to do with faith. Whereas I think I proved this weekend that Gilbert jocking must come down to that, which I why I still haven't yet officially made that leap.

29 Comments:

At 5/02/2006 12:50 PM, Blogger mutoni said...

because i'm still not ready to tackle it on my own blog, here's a little nugget to get everyone going : Nash has just been named one of Time Mag's 100 most influential people. I'm sick to my stomach.

John Stockton must be rolling in his proverbial grave.


http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1187353,00.html

 
At 5/02/2006 1:31 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

weird that barkley offers the least astute and culturally layered reading of nash possible. just that his game is a metaphor for human decency. nothing about him as a person, or what he actually stands for in the context of the league. this could've come from the crooked fountain pen of larry king himself.

 
At 5/02/2006 2:29 PM, Blogger Josh said...

Has FD ever investigated the implications of Nash's personality/political predilections as it relates to his anointment by the sportswriting massive? I imagine y'all probably have, so I'm sure I'm on well-trod ground here, but it seems like the whiteness factor isn't nearly as critical to Steve's coronation as his perceived hipness. Nash's well-documented lefty leanings doubtlessly resonate with the architects of his legacy (I assume most NBA writers tend to skew towards liberal), not to mention the fact that a large number of them are likely middle-aged and still clinging desperately to some vestiges of hipness, meaning a guy who reads Dostoevsky and listens to Radiohead would pretty much be exactly their cup of cool.

 
At 5/02/2006 2:36 PM, Blogger Mirabeau Lamar said...

Hard to imagine either Scoop or Simmons curling up with Crime & Punishment while listening to Paranoid Android. Now Pearl Jam, that's another story; a very long story. Nash's style, which Adam Morrison seems to be aping, is anamolous in the Association, both among its players and its commentariat.

 
At 5/02/2006 2:44 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

I said it all when he won his first one, and pretty much got skewered for insinuating that nash wasn't traditional basketball white.

i wouldn't like nash much if he didn't have that vaguely subcultural quality to him. then he'd be just a soccer player or a lodestar for the "Free Larry" movement (pick your Larry).

WBVTCOWH

 
At 5/02/2006 3:02 PM, Anonymous Jack said...

You (collectively) are just as bad as they are, the depths you'll sink to to rationalize Steve Nash. If Greg Ostertag won it, you'd make some sort of silly argument about how going hunting and being a redneck is a cherishable subculture, and Brad Miller is a deserved follower.

Nash has a personality off the court, this is apparent. He has favorite books and music. He is from Canada and plays soccer.

Doesn't change that, in terms of style and play, he is a rich man's Mike Bibby, and about as worthy of our love and respect.

 
At 5/02/2006 3:12 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

what exactly are we rationalizing? is it "rationalizing" to point out that iverson is hood?

nash won the mvp last season. any statements about his cultural significance weren't met to justify the selection, but to defuse the race issue. nash's identity is complicated, and makes it difficult to call it "white trumps black." it's not my fault that some people can't see that, in the same way that AI's identity affects perception of him as a player, i think that nash's personality could mean something.

what's more all-american than shaq? certainly not a canadian with alterna-taste and subversive taste in books.

 
At 5/02/2006 3:16 PM, Blogger Mirabeau Lamar said...

Jack,

A pox on your house, too. Ostertag's game is the most subtle, yet robust, of the last quarter century. Outside of Bryant Reeves, no one can match him for size, skill or skin color . . . wait, no . . . I mean, "intangibles." Yeah, in terms of old-fashioned, work ethic, crew-cutted wholesomeness and team play, Ostertag cannot be bested. Please, in the future, refrain from disparaging or invoking the man millions of Germans call "Easter Day."

 
At 5/02/2006 3:25 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

freedarko really has sold the fuck out in search of ever-mounting traffic--it's been month since we even dared speak the name of NBARS. is that possibly because it's difficult to racialize lebron, kobe, arenas, or wade? granted there's melo and the pistons, but those four have dominated our "coverage."

losing artest mid-season bred all types of complacency, i guess.

 
At 5/02/2006 3:41 PM, Anonymous aug said...

Yea, the comments certainly pile up quickly nowadays. I contribute that to the writing, the new popularity, or gilbert arenas posting at halftime.

I'm glad john hollinger wrote over 1000 words to tell all of us that the suns don't rebound well.

The only thing about nash and his different subculture leanings, is that i'm not sure the general public gets that. A lot of casual fans don't think of him as canadian unless it's explicitly mentioned. Most fans, analysts, writers, etc don't talk about his indie fuck GQ photo shoot, or him smiling while curled up with his radiohead acoustic sessions cd and the brothers karamozov(i've gone over nba player conversions to characters in this too many times, same with war and peace). I think the general consensus is that he's white. Not ostertag white, but hip new york club scene white.

I'm just looking forward to the lakers-clippers series, simply for more shaun livingston. Diaw and livingston in the same series might have been too much for me. I'm almost glad it didn't happen.

 
At 5/02/2006 3:47 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

whatever happened to ken?

 
At 5/02/2006 4:01 PM, Blogger T. said...

freedarko really has sold the fuck out in search of ever-mounting traffic-

Now y'all sound like whiny Death Cab for Cutie fans post-OC appearance.

 
At 5/02/2006 4:17 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i think i said that about myself

 
At 5/02/2006 4:20 PM, Blogger T. said...

Yes, you're complaining about yourself. But you still do. Sound like that I mean.

I was so excited about yesterday's Clipper win, I went back and got out my Loy Vaught and Gary Grant basketball cards to celebrate.

 
At 5/02/2006 4:30 PM, Anonymous jack said...

I see this whole new 'Nash is freedarko' movement as a snarky attempt to subvert a pop-culture icon (in the world of basketball, at least) and make him our own. I don't want him. Throw him back. Just as he soils the pantheon of MJ, Magic, and Wilt, so does he soil the pantheon of Kobe, Arenas, and Shaq, players with personality so thick you could take the sum of all that is Nash and paste it like a filmy sweat across their tri-headed brow.

Also, I am unapologetic about referring candidly to Ostertag as a redneck. He is probably proud of it.

 
At 5/02/2006 4:34 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

see, i would never call nash freedarko, but i'm not actively bored or repulsed by him, either. which is what i think certain people have been begging me to think of tim duncan for the past two years.

 
At 5/02/2006 4:37 PM, Anonymous Mr. Six said...

Does anyone else feel slightly nauseated when forced to look at Chris Kaman's hair for more than 5 seconds? And I mean bad nauseated, not good nauseated.

Was there always a handicapped symbol next to the WV?

I think that we will struggle to find an appropriate mythological system for organizing the current League cast. As Mirabeau Lamar noted, paraphrasing Mr. 0 [and hereby adding the necessary pretentious Nietzsche reference], god is dead, and those who killed him must themselves become gods to be worthy of the deed, must create new sacred games to comfort themselves. Past mythologies will not fit, for we are now in the era of transformative new gods.

As bland as Barkley's comments were, the article was accompanied by a great picture. Part of the Riddle of Nash and why he causes consternation is that he is a dribbling-under-the-basket-flip-passing-teardrop-dropping refutation of the myth of the monolithic white player. Every reference to Dostoevsky and Marx and every left-leaning political observation and action defies categorization, speaks to the celebration of the individual (which I have thus far taken as part of the FD geist), and is likely to set many a jock's world on its ear. But then the interesting psychological question: why so much hardware for this enigma wrapped in a bad haircut?

 
At 5/02/2006 5:35 PM, Anonymous Edwin O'Malley said...

Just as he soils the pantheon of MJ, Magic, and Wilt

You can't blame Nash for these accolades. He is the player that he is. Hate that if you want, but do it without recourse to what anyone else thinks or says about him.

Arguing that someone you've only seen on TV has no personality smacks of simply meanness.

As with all things, popularity infects our opinions. If Nash played exactly the same but didn't win the MVP, there would be a lot more sympathy for him, and all the moreso if he hadn't won it last year either. Because he's been asked to carry a legacy that his career can't sustain, he is resented.

 
At 5/02/2006 5:38 PM, Blogger mutoni said...

Simmons--in a fantastic Staples Series column today--mentioned that Mamba and Cat Mobley have a feud and can't stand one another. I'd never heard of this until today. Have any of you guys?

 
At 5/02/2006 5:45 PM, Anonymous Edwin O'Malley said...

Does anyone else feel slightly nauseated when forced to look at Chris Kaman's hair for more than 5 seconds?

Yes. But knowing that Kaman must realize that everyone thinks this makes him 100 times the image-defier that Nash is. Kaman is only cool to those who genuinely don't give a fuck, not the ones want you to think they don't.

It's a travesty, by the way, that Elson wasn't suspended for that tug on Kaman's sac.

 
At 5/02/2006 5:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nash is no Ostertag. The Great White Hope, NBA style, is for the familiarly white face to play black ball (and if he's more Isiah than Jordan, well, so was Billy-Ho). I went to see the 2000 Kings play a god-awful Celtics team because and only because of White Chocolate, and that's what our mouths water for still. We will it into existence with MVP votes, don't we?

 
At 5/02/2006 7:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

as an aside...any thoughts on shaun livingston? 14 assists yesterday, has he arrived?

 
At 5/02/2006 8:48 PM, Anonymous jack said...

On TV the great personalities shine through and the quieter ones are swept under. I think it's fair to criticize Nash for not having an on-air personality, if we equally criticize and praise others by the same criterion. If it is mean to dismiss Nash, it's equally pretentious to praise Arenas.

Also, another ESPN article says Kobe and Mobley used to play street ball in Philadelphia. Maybe that's why they hate each other? I didn't see much of it in the Houston - Lakers series in 2004.

 
At 5/02/2006 10:16 PM, Blogger T. said...

I agree with jack - as far as I know Cat and Kobe are cool. Both Philly guys (even if KB8 is from Lower Merion).

Kwame Brown - sexual assault? what in the dickens?

 
At 5/02/2006 10:26 PM, Blogger Snicker-snack said...

I think the increased traffic is due a lot to McSweeney's. Mr Eggers is an NBA lifer (the NBAE series, recommending freedarko in the Recommends section--well before the official link), and these two websites are both about the most pretentious things evah.

 
At 5/02/2006 10:47 PM, Anonymous White People Don't Know said...

in retrospect, the t-shirts were a frank-sinatra-selling-vacuum-cleaners moment. Free freedarko!

 
At 5/03/2006 1:45 AM, Blogger The Electric Zarko said...

1. It wasn't Elson who pulled the jerk and twist, it was Reggie Evans.

2. Not only is Kwame Brown being investigated for sexual assault, when Aldridge threw it back to Harlan from that report, Harlan tried to tie it in with the fact that Kwame had just committed a foul, only to call him Kobe.

3. At the end of the game, Harlan told us that Burke had played 7 of his 8 professional seasons in "Europe, Spain and Greece."

 
At 5/03/2006 9:49 AM, Blogger Vegan Viking said...

I'm just happy that at any point in human history, reading Dostoevsky could make one "hip."

On an esoteric tangent--after reading below on the Holy Trinity's basketball correlatives, how about the Brothers Karamozov (or other literary figures)? I see Kobe as Ivan, who epitomizes the cold, selfish, "all is permitted" ideology, yet in the playoffs finds his spiritual conscience and becomes a team player.

 
At 5/03/2006 10:13 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

kobe is stavrogin 4 life.

WV: a cry from a vastly outnumbered lakers fan contingent that time forgot: MIEMM!!!!

 

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