The straight line into moaning

If you haven't already peeped The Blog Reader's piece on FD, please do so before reading any further.

Stack's situation has probably been done to death elsewhere on the nets, so I'll keep my take personal and impressionistic. Tonight I was talking with my eighty-six year-old grandfather about how the academy and certain soccer fans think they're better than American sports, which still on a very basic level connote raw masculinity, aggression, and stupidity. He claimed that this wasn't nearly as much the case as it once was; Stackhouse got suspended, whereas in decades past he would have been celebrated as a hero for daring to come between Shaq and basket. I don't think his point was simply that the game was once more rugged, but that institutional forces would not have intervened when Stack so clearly did what had to get done.

If this isn't quite the same as letting them clash, it has to do first and foremost with the fact that it was a foul on Shaq. No one likes to get broadsided by the man Yao once dubbed "a wall of meat," and O'Neal in his prime could've exert all his force even on the break. Stackhouse was putting himself in harm's way, and laying hands on a supposedly inexorable being; dude's so big, it's difficult to strictly make a play on the ball without catching a lot else of him along the way. Regardless of how venal a foul it was, the fact that it involved Shaq should have, in my grandfather's interpretation, been the crux of the matter. It's the perfect inversion of today's "protect the stars" credo: the relative little guy gets double-pardoned exactly because he dared to stand up to the league's most overwhelming speciman.

Yet perhaps the issue at hand here is, as with Wallace's rejection, Shaq's deterioration into someone who needs the standard protection, who is as vulnerable as anyone at certain key moments, and who can be felled by acts of bullish injustice. For the sake of the Playoffs, Stackhouse shouldn't have been punished. But even more than the unlikely sight of a sprawling Shaquille, this official take on the matter was one more blow to the Diesel's ever-dwindling singularity.


At 6/18/2006 3:20 AM, Anonymous William Chesterfield said...

One of the key differences between O'Neal and every other 300 pound monolith has been his self awareness of his awesome size and therefore key advantage. It is one thing to BE 300 pounds and 7 foot tall but entirely another to ACT 300 pounds and 7 feet tall.

Certainly he is staring into the abyss and knows his time has finally come, however he has also set the high watermark for the "Super Heavyweight" class of centers for generations to come.

Which only made the hit by Stackhouse all the more warming to this mans heart.

At 6/18/2006 3:38 AM, Anonymous Αντώνης Σουρούνης said...

I think that with this post Shaq-hating from Shoals has reached a new level: it's beyond reason.

What Shoals did is take things completely out of context (Yao's statement), just to prove a point (Shaq is to massive to consider flagrant fouls on him as possibly excessive in force) which exists only in his head. Did the fact that Shaq is one of the most injury-prone players should make one think that Yao was simply making a simile, and that Shaq may need some protection?

This argument is more stupid than Wade being less of a man cause he;s wearing protection.

We all saw how hard did Shaq fall. But i guess Shoals expected the league to say: "Well, that was hard, but we're talking about Shaq, so if he wants to be regarded as one of a kind then we sould regard this foul as any other"

At 6/18/2006 5:14 AM, Anonymous cephalapod said...

I take it that Shoals' point was that this was a 'pity' punishment, as if the league was taking offense that someone could play an old, feeble Shaq with such physical malice. LIke mean old Mr. Stackhouse mugged an old lady or something. Which in a way he did.
On a moral tangent--I hate Alonzo Mourning now. He has an evil soul. His emotional expressions in game 4 were pathological. There seems to be no glory in his aggression, only the pleasure of killing. Agression and dominance do defeat opponents but dominance is not in itself a virtue. Dominance is only ethically palatable if the winner expresses through his success the limitless pouring forth of human excellence. Mourning does not lift us up, he pounds our brains into gore. I am rooting against the Heat now, not simply for Dallas. At least with Dallas, liberalism has a chance. Miami seems too Authoritarian.

At 6/18/2006 6:16 AM, Anonymous jack said...

I almost like Mourning as his personality seems to defy judgement. He is, in a sense, a Nietschian superman, stealing kidneys from small boys, stealing hope and money from New Jersey, scorning the Raptor's attempt to subvert him to the place of a mortal. In Miami, his superman-ness is limited by the presence of one greater in social dominance, Shaq, and so we have the caged lion, taking 'no glory in his aggression, only the pleasure of killing.'

At 6/18/2006 9:28 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

funny that only local partisans stick up for the pistons or spurs but when i question the heat i'm "beyond reason."

i didn't start that thing about wade and protection, and have outwardly admitted that taking it too far smacks of conspiracy theory.

there are three components to what i think about that foul:

1. it's hard to not hit a lot of shaq besides the ball

2. a younger, more agile, healthier shaq would have not have fallen

3. my grandfather thought that jumping in front of shaq put one's self at risk

here is what purpose at three served:

1. that probably should not have been a flagrant because with anyone else it would've been a play on the ball

2. shaq is no longer what the monster ordered and therefore needs the same official protection as other stars

3. it's father's day. my grandfather observed that this suspension showed that the league didn't acknowledge the nobility of stack's foul which yes, did depend on it's being shaq.

and if you don't think that who shaq is is being taken into account, think back to any of the fouls that have been put on the mavs so far. that was PLAYOFF BASKETBALL, right?

plus i just saw shaq and zo saying they thought it was no big deal.

At 6/18/2006 5:28 PM, Anonymous Αντώνης Σουρούνης said...

I just want to elaborate on one point from Shoals's response:

"...my grandfather thought that jumping in front of shaq put one's self at risk..."

When i played basketball in highschool, i was (and still am) 1.75 cm and weighted about 150 pounds. In our team, our center was 1.97 cm and weighted about 210 pounds. So you could say that compared to me he was huge. To draw an analogy i was like pippen and he was like sabonis. The thing is, i hated his guts and he hated mine. For no reason, we just did. So when we played in practise 2-on-2, or 3-on-3, i would always guard him. And i did that like a dog. I pushed and i elbowed and i kicked, anything to stop him from using his body as an advantage.

To get to the point: every time he went for a layup or a dunk, i went up with him. It was a silly attempt, i could't really stop him. I just fouled him and i fould him hard. More often than not i was more hurt than him (twisted fingers, hitting the floor hard etc). But every now and then, he would fall down and hurt real bad. I now admit it: i fouled him not in order to stop him but just to inflict pain upon him.

Bottom line: i knew i was the one probably running more risk of getting injured. And at that time, i was fooling myself that i just played hard D. But i now know that all i did was to risk injuring myself just for the tiny chance of injuring him. Not because i had a purpose: just because i couldn't stand him.

So maybe, just maybe, even though Stack knew that he was taking more chances, he still tried to hurt Shaq. Now you can call him brave, but to pretend you didn't see how hard was that foul, that's self-blindness. Every time one goes up against such massive a player as Shaq, even for a second, he can't help but hope that he will be the one standing and Shaq will be down injured.

Finally, if you think that ten years from now a dialogue like this will happen, please tell me so:
-Man, you remember Shaq, how dominant he was back in 2000-02?
-You are full of shit. I remember that one time when he was fouled by Stack, it wasn't really that hard and they called it flagrant.
-Well, you do have a point.

At 6/18/2006 5:45 PM, Anonymous throwawayidentity said...

I don't thnik I agree that a younger Shaq doesn't fall. It doesn't matter how big you are, if you get clipped in the air, you hit the ground. A younger Shaq may have gone up harder or faster, but the way stack collared him was irresponsible and dangerous. I don't know how he could have stopped Shaq, but it was a lost cause anyway. I think stack was just taking revenge for that elbow he caught in the schnoz in the other game. I view it as childish behavior.
Just because Shaq is the largest piece of meat on the planet, doesn't mean he deserves to be tackled while he's in the air.
But, given that, I'm not convinced a suspension is warranted. If reggie evans didn't get suspended, why did stack? I think the league is more fearful of a brawl in the finals then actually caring about the foul itself.
It all keeps with my theory on NBA officiating. Officials screw up all the time, see it on the jumbotron after the fact, and compound their error by making another bad call to make up for the previous fuckup. I can't decide whether the league or the officials are the contagion, but they both compound their bad decisions with more bad decisions.

At 6/18/2006 6:39 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

three things that make shaq arguably the greatest big man ever: his passing, his feet, his body control and unflinching intertia in the face of assault. i'm just suggesting that the third might have deteriorated somewhat. being big is not the same thing as being able to fully harness one's size in a basketball way, and shaq's absolute control over his bigness is spottier these days than it once was.

obviously this doesn't effect his standing in history; it's an indication of what's happening to him as the curtain draws lower.

and if shaq is going to crack stackhouse's nose. . .


1. a player going for a lay-up is hardly exposed the way a wide receiver can get
2. saying that shaq depended on kobe doesn't mean i don't think he's the foremost center ever, just that he's been mythologized beyond any rational relationship to a basketball game

At 6/18/2006 9:01 PM, Anonymous WhitePeopleDon'tKnow said...

i like b. shoals, but i think i love grampa shoals. i went from being annoyed at the first suspension, to perplexed at the next couple, to now fairly irate at what must be close to the dozenth. the suspensions have been the pimple on the otherwise quite fetching back of this years playoffs--and a blemish that is growing with sickening pulses. (and i'm not complaining about the officials, which are always bad.)

i thought this was "the playoffs." isn't it suppossed to be harder to get to the basket this time of year? its like they are trying to invert the age-old dominant atmosphere that playoffs are more hardcore than the regular season. i probably watched close to a hundred basketball games this year, and i don't think i saw a one-game suspension until the playoffs. down the road are we going to be saying things like, "sure, he scored 45 points, but it was only in the playoffs."

stu jackson is a bitch

wv: jfbuz - a popped-collar-wearing wasp-with-attitude who appears in psa's educating children about bee-sting allergies

At 6/18/2006 11:54 PM, Blogger the_glide said...

what the hell is inside miami's jumbotron? i've wondered this for years and have reached a breaking point.

At 6/18/2006 11:56 PM, Anonymous TheLogo said...

I'm sorry, but there needs to be statistics for O'Neal telling us how many lane violations he has caused and how often he hits the extra shot.

At 6/19/2006 9:04 AM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

i was (and still am) 1.75 cm and weighted about 150 pounds.

holy shit! you're REALLY short and REALLY fat!

anyway, come on, that foul was not that hard. he didn't "tackle" him, and it wasn't "irresponsible and dangerous." if stack had gotten a little higher, he would've been able to make a legit play on the ball. sure, he would've gotten body, but there's no way he tackled him or tried to hurt him.

At 6/19/2006 1:43 PM, Blogger T. said...

keeping in line with my mission to watch every single world cup game - that was a yellow card, but not a red. reckless, but not with malicious intent.

At 6/20/2006 7:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

preliminary draft of thoughts on chauncey billups and free darko...



Post a Comment

<< Home