The Myth of Thomasyphus
Have you seen the salesman?
Have you seen him? He is selling —SHOCK!
He wishes us to reach into our toilet bowls and grab the shit out of the bowl and hold it up to the light, and see that in fact this shit may be .... INCREDIBLE SHIT! Do you not realize this piece of shit has value!!
Look here, he runs to us with books, graphs, and charts of “value picks,” bellowing the name “Renaldo Balkman” from the heavens. “Look,” he implores, “you got YOUR shit at the lowest possible price. You’ve even gotten a little shitty return on your last trip to the bathroom. Rejoice!!! This shit will one day fertilize your barren soil and help seed the birth of a new landscape!!”
We appreciate your shitty mathematics salesman, but it’s still feces. It’s smelly, and stains the hands. It sullies your clothes. It is not attractive. It is feces. We will flush it now.
“But look what this shit can do! Renaldo Balkman!!!”
Do you know the Myth of Thomasyphus?
Do you seek to deny the absurd inevitable fate of our tragic hero pushing the shoulder-slumbering payroll up the mountain?
Tragedy seeks not defense, only acceptance. And so we weep, in fact perhaps we don’t boo so much as we utterly, cosmically, and forcefully sob.
The salesman spies our tears and presumes we need cheering up. But while waiting for Godot, we need little consolation, only interesting conversation. And certainly we need no finger-pointing to Thomasyphus halfway up the mountain, extolling the half-truth that “things are going well.” His fate is already sealed, his tragic flaws long revealed. This is why we weep so forcefully, why the night is so dark.
Of course the tragic figure has virtues, without them he would not be tragic. Such is our narrative, the interminable rise and fall. From our vantage point, 6,000 feet beyond the NBA and time, every game affords us a screening of the whole meaningless transaction. And so we weep. But not for lack of remembering happier times.
Tragedy begins with great joy. And weren’t we truly joyous seeing this man accrue talent through sheer vision and will? Oh, do you not remember the parades and spilled champagne when we imported the cancer directly into the heart of the team? We cheered while bestowing upon Phoenix a new life, and leaving our own destiny forever flawed and in need of chemotherapy.
Oh the joy! We covered every inch of concrete from Brooklyn to the Bronx with liquor in saluting the return of our own homegrown prodigal son. Do you not remember salesman? Do you not remember the tears of joy? They taste no different than the ones we shed today.
Tragedy begins with great joy. And weren’t we truly joyous when in a moment of the purest genius Thomasyphus realized, if you don’t have the talent, the only alternative is “The Great Coach.” There are but a handful of fish who can spawn under any conditions, given the time and freedom to fully impose their will. And he catches one and gives it to us.
Oh the joy! We drank Mike’s Hard Lemonades until six in the morn on the day Larry Brown was hired. Do you not remember salesman? Do you not remember the tears of joy? They taste no different than the ones we shed today.
But we understand the nature of your beast salesman, we need not dig too deep into this silly pathology, it is a pitch built on the effuse of flare guns. Alive for a moment on the front page, catching your eye, only to fizzle and disintegrate when watched with any sort of steady gaze. We envy your check, and embrace you with the same ardent love we embrace our father, but also offer a warning: Be mindful of your environment. Alas, such caddish opportunism only contributes to the inconvenient truth of global warming in sports journalism:
“But if I was rebuilding an NBA team, Isiah Thomas would be the first person I'd call. Why? Renaldo Balkman.”Really salesman?
“If Lee, Curry, Richardson, Channing Frye and Jared Jeffries stay healthy and together, within three years they will be in a tug-of-war with LeBron James' and Dwight Howard's squads for supremacy in the East.”Really salesman?
And I especially no longer fault him for drafting Balkman, who blocks more shots than No. 2 pick LaMarcus Aldridge, grabs more rebounds than No. 4 pick Tyrus Thomas ….Tell me more of this Balkman you are selling salesman. Regale me with his epic tales of grandiose shot-blocking domination. It sounds compelling.
Some say Isiah could have gotten Balkman in the second round, or even signed him as a free agent. I say take a look at the 2006 NBA draft and point out a player selected after Balkman who could have helped the Knicks more this season
Critics say the Pacers floundered with Thomas as coach, but few care to mention the roster he inherited was not the roster Larry Bird led to the Finals the season before.Indeed salesman, with Jermaine O’Neal, Brad Miller, Ron Artest, Reggie Miller, Al Harrington, Tinsley and other solid role players, some fools would argue his roster was better.
Look salesman, I wish you no harm of course, you are only selling your wares. You are only trying to pick up my spirit. But perhaps your pitch-perfect satire was published in the wrong venue. The parable of The Geek, The Bully, and The Idiot, is already being told to our children. They are learning the lessons so they won't be chained to this unending darkness. But it would take a Herculean effort to turn back the hands of time now, and until such an event, Thomasyphus continues to roll the payroll up to the top of the mountain. And no one thinks it will stay there, not even you.
Perhaps another tact: Charts and spreadsheets of draft picks can’t process the infinitely complex algorithms of the heart. And we native New York Knick fans now only bleed concrete and pain in lieu of blue and orange. Our love has been turned over too many times. Our soul knows only betrayal (and an inability to defend on the ball) … and so let us weep together salesman. Let us share in this most primal of emotions. Let us weep until the night becomes the day once again.
...thus spach TANathustra