Save your claws, chew angles

Who the fuck was I kidding—of course I was going to end up mesmerized by Hawks/Cavs. At last, the Hawks might be the ideal FreeDarko team; they've got some chemistry and a style together, but are also overstuffed with individuals in every key FD category. Joey Johnson is the league's most underrated star, Josh Smith is turning into the second best player from the 2004 draft, Zaza is a Euro I can stand, and that Aryan sharpshooter looks a lot like a certain crazed killer albino monk. At some point this season, I hope to announce Marvin as an FBP Future Star. Most importantly, though, they seem to be reasonably competent, which both makes them bearable and makes us into non-refundable conceptual masterminds.

I realized tonight why League Pass always reigns supreme. It has nothing to do with the importance of what's on or one's moral obligation to check it out. Instead, it makes basketball invariably fun to watch, because you're no longer a slave to whatever's on network. The world is yours, and if you have love of the Association there's at least one game per night that will illuminate you. Maybe this is the ultimate articulation of FreeDarko Liberated Fandom—we chase product, rather than waiting till we can brag about ours to others—and I only hope my living partner recognizes this miracle when she gets back in town.

My sofa life aside, I want to be short and sweet about something we've thus far neglected: the zero tolerance rule and its implications. Let me begin by saying that I could give a fuck less if players whine, provided they're good enough that they're generally a credit to the game. That said, I don't find any intrinsic value or energy in berating refs, and think it has next to nothing to do with the Association's long history of self-expression. Stern's muscle clearly is not fucking around here, and not falling in line will result in nothing but disgrace. I'm not talking with the media—among other players, I'm sure that anyone who fails to see the writing on the wall will eventually turn into a puncline. Sheed's looking nothing like a martyr right now, and for all the world like a guy who doens't understand the difference between liberty and self-indulgence.

For all some of you might want to throw at me about this being Dress Code (Slight Return), think about this: the sport itself has always had rules. Some are restrictive, some leave room for interpretation, and some are largely ignored. The bottom line, though, is that the game of basketball is a mess of rules, which the individual negotiates in an attempt to play like he knows. This is a rule about the game, about the flow of the game and an attempt to stabilize officiating. The new ball isn't ideal, but as Caron said, players know how to adapt. In fact, adapting is a hallmark of rugged, versatile, or even remotely creative basketball, the difference between formula and inspiration.

Maybe the ZT isn't entirely fair, but it's not crippling, and shouldn't keep guys from playing the game. If it does, that's on them, not the Commish's Office—which, after all, is a governing body that trafficks in rules. Stern's Cabal can go too far, but inconveniencing players is kind of its essential function. Unless you want to watch a pick-up game, rule-making is a necessary evil. And I think players have a good sense of when there's been a move worthy of resistance, versus the usual cycle of imposition, adaptation, and transcendence.


At 11/08/2006 12:12 AM, Blogger T. said...

I saw the ball this weekend at my local sports authority - someone had already opened the package, so I played around with it a little, dribbling it up and down.

I thought it was okay. Personally, I find the NBA official balls (old version) a little slippery, and prefer the Spalding top of the line Z/O synthetic balls.

After trying out the new Official ball, I still prefer the synthetic. I'm not sure why (if they wanted to move to synthetic) they didn't just go with the Z/O? It's almost leather like in feel, just slightly less slippery and yet, it still has similar hand-feel to the original leather.

Then again, I'm not really sure why they changed in the first place.

At 11/08/2006 12:22 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

in case people still haven't seen the now-legendary lebrons dunk contest episode, you can watch it and all others here. and for the record, biz lebron's dunk is a lot goofier than i remember, even if it was the flashiest of the three

At 11/08/2006 3:18 AM, Anonymous El Dorado Sunrise said...

re: martyrdom

I think if Zero Toleration has a positive effect, it'll be to make the players/coaches that judiciously display histrionics, look much more desperate and convincing in their pleas. Even if they do end up getting tossed. Nay, especially if they end up getting tossed.

Basically, I think (hope) that the rule might more stealthily prove to the public eye which players' acerbic words are can be trusted, and which should be dismissed as childish.

At 11/08/2006 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...



At 11/08/2006 11:06 AM, Blogger Gladhands said...

That goofy dunk won last year's Slam Dunk Contst.

At 11/08/2006 11:35 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

holy crap, you're right. those commercials never cease to reward.

anon, if that picture's down in the post it occurred in, you need to appeal to its author: the MIA forevers burns.

At 11/08/2006 12:01 PM, Blogger seezmeezy said...

i agree 100% with el dorado: there will be times when a jackass like bevetta needs to be exposed, and only the most sincere protest will do just that.

hey shoals, i'm assuming you watched the entire cavs/hawks game so lemme ask you this: did lebron really walk off the court with 7 seconds left on the clock? i heard the radio call and the dude was going nuts that he did, but espn never mentioned a peep during sportscenter. coverage... or loverage?

At 11/08/2006 12:07 PM, Blogger "rem" said...

maybe the "T" doesn't have the dramatic effect it should

this is after all a new interpreatation of the new rule...in order to get the message across do you think they should flash yellow/red cards?
(i think they talked about this on PTI...yeech i kno sry about reference to those two)

the block by Chill on rageless Z

did Joe tip in that jump ball...

something about Lue tho gives me the willies

At 11/08/2006 12:34 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

i also heard sports talk radio going wild last night about lebron walking off the court with 7 seconds to go. though, i don't know if anyone's shown the footage yet--they said they only had the call by the Hawks radio guy who made a big deal out of it and said something to the effect of "what a classy loser." the sports talk segment focused on what would have happened had Kobe been the one leaving the court early.

and that Joe Johnson buzzer beating tip-in on the jump ball was sweet. why isn't that allowed? it's clearly not easy to pull off or even attempt.

also, for what it's worth, Nate Rob went between the legs twice before tossing it off the glass.

At 11/08/2006 1:21 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

sorry if i accidentally erased someone else's comments. that was embarrassing enough already. the gist:

-i didn't see lebron walk off. and neither the cavs home team nor the reclue pointed if out to me.

-i missed the johnson thing somehow, probably because i was looking at election returns.

-i suspect that you can't score off a jump for the same reason you can't shoot from out of bounds. also, does the other team get it if you tip it out of bounds? if not, that would seem to confirm my suspicion.

-i still quit.

At 11/08/2006 1:33 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

i didn't see lebron walk off the court either. i'd probably already flipped over to the warriors/hornets or the griz/rockets by then. btw, monta ellis is kinda nice.

the joe johnson thing was dope. i guess you have to control the ball off the tip? if you can tap it in the basket, i'd say you have control of it. i mean, how many times is that ever going to happen? LET JOEY JOHNSON LIVE.

At 11/08/2006 1:45 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

monta ellis + louis williams + c.j. miles. what a bizarre draft.

At 11/08/2006 1:46 PM, Anonymous aug said...

Etan thomas is looking good this season. I wonder how this little brawl is gonna affect shoals' favorite team.

I really enjoyed my last day of free league pass. I don't know that i'd get anything accomplished if i ended up purchasing it, so it's probably for the best. The hawks-cavs game was good fun. Is lebron the only player still whining about the new ball? I hope he gives it up.

I'm still working on the bynum conspiracy i talked about last post. I'll let you know when my investigation yields more results.

At 11/08/2006 2:21 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

Damnit, Aug, I didn't know that was the end of free LP. At the very least I'm putting off that purchase until they offer the annual sale at the mid-way point. At least that's what I'm telling myself.

For all of its many virtues, the LP is a huge time-vacuum that also tends to put a strain on relationships (with women, god, etc).

But tonight I'm heading to the AT&T for my first game of the year and a chance to see Amare start. Ya'll ready for this!

At 11/08/2006 2:54 PM, Blogger Trey said...

Check out the new Simmons article. He has a whole team of 'potential' guys that never do anything. Basically, it's a big list of FreeDarko agents.

At 11/08/2006 3:28 PM, Blogger seezmeezy said...

seriously folks, if lebron did walk off and this does not get more coverage i'll be both pissed off and smugly satisfied.

pissed off cause i actually think bron acting like a spoiled brat is a GOOD thing: shows he's human, shows he's young, shows he has room for growth. no way can dude be boring, but it wouldn't hurt for him to have an internal obstacle to overcome.

smugly satisfied because i think espn has become too big for its britches and their pathological protection of $makers shows them for the battered bitch they are.

as for league pass, shoals nailed it: you have the option to spend an evening with that one gem that would otherwise be a cubic zirconia 30 second highlight.

At 11/08/2006 5:45 PM, Blogger Nate said...

Couldn't agree with you more regarding the league pass. It's all about people with a love of the game having control over which games they watch. Instead of being a slave to the networks, you can just flip to which ever game seems to be the most interesting. Works for me, except for the fact that I don't get much done between the hours of 4 and 10pm pacific time...

I feel sorry for the guys that live on the East coast and don't really get to maximize the value of the pass. Of course I'm assuming that most people on the east are in bed by midnight...

At 11/09/2006 3:24 AM, Blogger T. said...

seezmeezy - it was addressed at least twice on the world wide leader tonight - SAS gave Das Bron a pass because he felt everything he'd done to this point earned him that right (KIA NBA Shoot-around?) but Wilbon and Kornheiser eviscerated him and said he has to recognize that he's not only El Bron, but also the face of the NBA and Nike. Both SAS and the PTI guys said it wasn't any different than Moss, but LeBron hasn't had a history of attitude.

By the way, Kevin Martin was great. The Pistons played with no energy.

At 11/09/2006 4:42 PM, Blogger seezmeezy said...

T.- thanks dude, i saw the PTI response and feel they were firm but fair.

i still can't help but feel espn ignored the incident on their major vehcile, sportscenter, for a reason. i'm a huge fan of korny and wilbon but it's a marginalized show... perhaps this is how they marginalize the incident... plus this morning, van pelt is running down the suns/spurs game and says amare only played 15 minutes without mentioning that he fouled out, which is important right?

eh maybe i just need some sleep, league pass is going to my head.

At 11/09/2006 11:39 PM, Anonymous aug said...

I kinda figured in the back of my mind they wouldn't talk about it much on sportscenter and such. He's nike's main man and nike is a huge advertisor for espn and bron is obviously the face of the nba, and you know that they weren't gonna pull the trigger even though they should've. You don't earn the right to act like that. Kobe won 3 rings, Garnett won an mvp and carries his team every year, etc..., lebron and wade are the only guys who can get away with it(maybe nash and duncan too). They're not gonna rip the most popular guys. The fans aren't gonna get behind it and make it a controversy with guys that people love to hate like Moss, Artest, Sjax, etc... Oh well.

At 11/09/2006 11:49 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

either kenny or charles said the following: not such a terrible thing, but lebron needs to know that if he does it, it will be blown out of proportion because of who he is.

At 11/10/2006 3:31 PM, Blogger seezmeezy said...

espn has covered itsubstantially in the last 24 hours so i stand somewhat corrected. kind of odd it went uder the radar the night it happened and the next day but whatever.

At 11/10/2006 11:22 PM, Anonymous aug said...

Oh. I guess I should watch sportscenter. I've kinda fallen off the past few months. NBAtv daily doesn't give a ton in the way of yell their opinions at you as espn.


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