How storms get their salt
This could easily be christened "NBA Quotation Semiotics #1," but FreeDarko refues to ally itself with too many numerical properties.
So while I'm fitfully adjusting to reading J.R. Smith's name in Power Rankings-type column, I'd all but forgotten about the original, Gerald Wallace. Things are cold down in Cha-Town, and only partly because 'Kub himself has pressed his hairy, sordid paws into what once fertile ground for future basketball. Yes, I object heartily to Morrison's de facto centrality in that line-up, but this is also the first time that they've had all their prospects intact and ready to thrive. To my knowledge, never have Okafor, Felton, May, and Wallace all been placed on a court at the same time and asked to weave buildings. Factor in Morrison, too, and there's to be some semi-awkward calibration of roles before we see the Cha break .500. For now, however, our man Wallace has stumbled into a completely uncharacteristic mediocrity. Inconsistent and streaky are his unpredictable signature, but these days he's Posey for the sacred set.
He has, though, managed to get caught up in the incident that inspired this post in the first place. Any one with access to AP content probably saw the following quote:
"He gets all the calls, that's what makes him special," Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace said of Wade.
No context here, just the naked insinuation that Wade is a whore who owes his prowess to referee favortism. Needless to say, I was overjoyed that this existed, but a little suspicious. Thusly, I dug a little deeper. From the Miami Herald:
The season is not even a month old, but already there have been three complaints from opposing coaches and players about the amount of foul calls Dwyane Wade received in the course of a game. The latest was Charlotte forward Gerald Wallace, who claimed, "He gets all the calls, that's what makes him special."
Here we have a less searing obesrvation, sort of. Wade's exceptionalism is a league-wide issue, Wallace states that these phantom calls are the special treatment, which is kind of retarded. Or is his quote the knock-out slap, the press-stopping salvo that ratchets up the argument from critical to cruel?
Actually, it's neither. Witness the complete quote, taken here from The Charlotte Observer:
All of the above, Gerald Wallace would say, about how officials are treating his Charlotte Bobcats these days.
"He gets all the calls -- that's what makes him special," Wallace said of Miami's Dwyane Wade, who scored 35 points in the Heat's 102-93 victory against the Bobcats Saturday.
Wade made 22 trips to the foul line, hitting 15, which clearly frosted Wallace.
"It seems like anybody who is an All-Star, or has the potential to be an All-Star, who plays the Bobcats is going to get all the calls. We're not allowed to touch him," Wallace continued.
So we have gone from utter beef instigation and potential league-wide zinger to the far less stimulating claim that ref don't respect pathetic operations. I for one am crushed, and the media is all the more poor for it, but this investigation has at least saved the rest of the world much chattering.
And in related waters, Etan Thomas's column on visual stereotyping left me a little puzzled. First off, I'm guessing anyone who has read this far is aware of my lasting committment to smashing racism in every and all American institution of note, so I'm not turning a blind eye here. But what Thomas and Antawn Jamison perceived as a brutal instance of racism—"you're not as dumb as you look"—is actually just grouchy old white man speak. It's exactly what you'd expect a ref to say, and to me sounded borderline affectionate. Hell, my dear old grandfather probably said it twice to me this past holiday. I don't doubt that some refs exhibit questionable behavior and I'm not discounting Thomas's right to call them on it. In this case, though, I think he's misfired. That and, as the Recluse pointed out, he "uses the fact that he's read the entire Left Behind series to illustrate that's he's intelligent, where I would think that accomplishment indicates the opposite."