2.16.2007

As the blade falls, it swings forever



Behold, All-Star Weekend, where the world's most star-driven sport for once admits its sordid structure. Its big names even bigger, their auras leak gloppy ambience, and reputations of cliche are hailed for their resonance. What could be a better occasion to revive my fatwa against the basketball stylings of Dwyane Tyrone Wade, a cause whose time has come again.

Sidenote: This week, Camby told the press that he had no interest in being named to the West team as a replacement. Really, if you're an All Star-ish player like Marcus Camby, why would you? The same goes for Melo, and it's why Arenas's deliverance last year felt so hollow. In the case of Josh Howard or Mehmet Okur, getting pulled at the last minute indicates that they have become All-Star-caliber forces. Fine. But was there any question that Melo or Arenas was an All-Star-ish player when they got snubbed? It's an honor to be designated as more starry than the other stars. Being a star who gets recruited from a dwindling pool is a ritual enactment of the obvious. Camby certainly belongs in that company, even though injuries have kept from ever appearing in the game. In fact, that his first appearance could come in this manner seems to heighten the insult.

Over the last few weeks, Wade has been on a run of complete and utter fourth quarter indestructability. Nary a game passes without him exploding for double-digits in the game's final period. He doesn't just put on a show, or pull out a heroic finish. No, the man motivated by winning a championship shuts the whole thing down. The only body clearly in motion is Wade; the only form of production is the doings of Wade; all occurences exist in relation to Wade's activity; on both of the floor, his presence booms as if he were alone in an empty gym. Defenses crumble, shrill whistle-cries fly, and that deft flick of the wrist is guaranteed like he was signing a check. I don't think there's any question that if a competitive game needs closing out, Wade is the hands-down expert.



Needless to say, I can't stand it. It doesn't necessarily provoke or inflame me; I just couldn't care less. Wade negates the existence of the fourth the way that Shaq once could and Tim Duncan always should. There's been some debate within FreeDarko's internal community as to whether his game is blessedly simple or rudimentary. I do know, however, that his individual moves and overall competitive arc display precious little ingenuity. Wade is incendiary-quick, nastily-explosive, and effortlessly effective. His game depends primarily on athleticism and split-second judgment, without sucumbing to the kind of silliness so prevalent among off-guards of his catchy ilk. Not to get all football up in these parts, but Wade's like a running back who thrives by sensing holes no one else sees.

Compare his way with the fourth to his most immediate peers. When Kobe goes to work, there's an intense logic and structure to his attack, like a quarterback on the two-minute drill. It's a study in on-the-fly rationality, that weird quadrant where science and pirates mercifully co-exist. When LeBron deigns to carry his team, he does see my reaching deep within himself and producing moments of basketball you didn't know could exist. He makes you believe by creating objects whose basis is their own self-invention, solving once and for all that "God and a boulder" problem. Arenas, though he's been more smarmy than fun lately, does so like an Old Testament miracle coming down. God is a given, albeit a tempestuous, unpredictable one, but eventually he will slake the sorrows with colossal events.



Everyone's dude Wade? He's Basketball Jesus in the worst sense. Once he was some scrappy guy proving through heart and wizardry that he belonged at the top. Now, his blankets the last twelve minutes with millenial din. It's the absolutism of nightfall, the tyranny of eternal peace. Wade's cockiness and self-awareness are beginning to peak out from underneath the image, and it's no coincidence that the latest run has come when it has. His dominance is awe-inspiring the way mountains and whales can be, which is to say, both calm and sinister. As usual, I come not to question Dwyane Wade's aptitude or annihilate his humanity. Yet when it comes to the game of basketball, I prefer majesty that exerts more than high-flying inertia.

39 Comments:

At 2/16/2007 10:03 AM, Anonymous Joel said...

Would MJ be considered FreeDarko then? Because most of what you just described sounds alot like MJ 89-98ish.

 
At 2/16/2007 10:15 AM, Anonymous Josh said...

it seems like the only thing DWade could possibly do to earn your love is fail.

 
At 2/16/2007 10:54 AM, Anonymous Jake said...

Hey FreeDarko, would you mind revealing here where you get your quarter by quarter stat splits? I'm really curious. Thanks!

 
At 2/16/2007 11:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darkofan: He really plays all the position, sometimes like Johnson at his peak, or Elgin Baylor .The Gilbert comparison is strained. Very nice, literate rant, though , once again.

 
At 2/16/2007 11:21 AM, Blogger Max said...

What B-Shoals described doesn't sound MJ, at least not 96-98 MJ, as at that time he was the most cunning wily veteran nasty player who had lost a step worth of athleticism and made up for it with the most vicious post game the NBA's ever seen.

 
At 2/16/2007 11:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.nba.com/gallery/allstar2007/070215_2.html

 
At 2/16/2007 12:37 PM, Blogger Wade said...

Only you would devote 6 grandiloquent paragraphs to how you think someone is good, but not truly great.
I'm looking forward to your epic poem about a shoelace.
Wade Word

 
At 2/16/2007 12:53 PM, Blogger SilverBird5000 said...

jake-
if you're referring to the math-saturated writ from a week ago, not today's claim that Wade dominates the fourth, the minute-by-minute stats were derived from foxsports' play-by-play data.

 
At 2/16/2007 1:33 PM, Anonymous JTS said...

I'm a little too doped up on cold medicine to make a solid argument at this point, but this post reminded me a lot of Freud's discussion of the uncanny. Wade's performance has created something of a dissonance in your appreciation, which has led to a negative reaction of sorts. Your comparison of his dominance to mountains or whales also smacks of the sublime, which if I'm not mistaken Freud ties into his essay on the uncanny (it's been four or five years since I read it). Anyway, very interesting post here, even if I'm loathe to throw too much literary rhetoric at any player, if only because to build up his performance is to set ourselves up for disappointment anytime he doesn't achieve at the level of the sublime.

 
At 2/16/2007 3:31 PM, Blogger The Electric Zarko said...

Wade - Seems to me Shoals isn't saying that Wade's not great, just that his greatness is unsatisfactory.

 
At 2/16/2007 4:12 PM, Anonymous danny said...

Exactly, Zarko. Wade carries his superior athleticism and skill like a silver-spoon type carries cultural capital: blithely, innately, immovably. The calls flow his way not because he doesn't deserve them, but because he and everyone else knows he deserves them, and it's galling to watch. He's a structuralist slap in the face for everyone who follows the game as a theatre of emergence.

Thanks BS for giving some words to my antipathy.

 
At 2/16/2007 4:28 PM, Blogger seezmeezy said...

dirk has also developed into a closer, and it made me realize something ill about the mavs. he takes then makes the big shots on a team that is somehow incredibly deep and versatile, yet lacking more than one clutch shooter. perhaps this simply speaks volumes about the incredibly unique skill of clutch shooting, but it seems odd to me that no other player on such a team-for-the-ages could put nail to coffin.

terry is far too streaky to be reliable, howard is good at everything but excellent at nothing, and popeye jones is not allowed to play since he's a coach. and yes, popeye jones does have a wikipedia entry.

wv bmndt: stock exchange tag for bowel movements

 
At 2/16/2007 5:43 PM, Blogger AOL IM- kgx2thez said...

Big shocker freedarko hates on Wade.

"Wade's like a running back who thrives by sensing holes no one else sees."- Wade's patent move, the split the pick dribble is a thing of beauty. Is he not supposed to use his athleticism? Jordan became the best post-player because he had to, not because he wanted to.

 
At 2/16/2007 7:46 PM, Blogger The Electric Zarko said...

I'm just going to go ahead and say that the Wade Problem is best macro-in-the-microed by examining his shoe line.

 
At 2/16/2007 9:03 PM, Anonymous Amphibian said...

I've been chewing on this for the last few days: Is Bode Miller FD? Downtime antics aside, Miller takes ridiculous lines and chances in a style that no one else on the ski tour possesses and all respect him for that. Every trip down the mountain is an all or nothing proposition for him. It's like that TO likelihood graph a few posts back - he'll either make it down with a blazingly time or he'll flame out in spectacular fashion.

WV: jkxlsan - Joke by Axel-san: Chinese Democracy will come out this year. Har, har.

 
At 2/16/2007 10:00 PM, Anonymous eauhellzgnaw said...

I understand people hating Wade because he's become the NBA's preferred posterboy or because he gets all the calls, even though both are stupid reasons to hate a player.

I just don't understand what yall have against his style. The critiques seem to be way off. It's as if you just dislike him for some intangible reason and try to justify it with the FD style critique.

To my eyes, the Wade style hate echoes the Shaq (in his prime) style hate, though they're based on different attributes.

Thoughts?

 
At 2/16/2007 10:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As usual, I come not to question Dwyane Wade's aptitude or annihilate his humanity. Yet when it comes to the game of basketball, I prefer majesty that exerts more than high-flying inertia."

If you're saying that Dwyane Wade is nothing more than a high-flyer, I'd have to question the credibility of FreeDarko.

 
At 2/16/2007 10:35 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

anon 10:05--i said that his inertia was of the high-flying nature, not that he was nothing more than a high-flyer.

AOL IM--just because it's effective, doesn't mean it's aesthetic or meaningful.

 
At 2/16/2007 11:50 PM, Anonymous Carlos Destrroyo said...

I dig the fourth quarter analogies, and it gave me a few ideas of my own.

To me, LeBron in the fourth is like a tsunami. He takes over so seldom that when he goes off, it seems to come out of nowhere, almost like a continental shelf collapsed in his mind. The domination that follows is so physically overwhelming that the carnage itself is awesome to witness. LeBron channels so much energy that it has to be supernatural.

The story behind The Ghost and the Darkness (The Man-Eaters of Tsavo for you literary types,) best represents Mr. Bryant. He's cold, calculating, and death feels inevitable when he's on the prowl. The terror and foreboding he inflicts is almost bad enough to make the sweet release of loss seem favorable. Is there anything that makes an opponent more scared than Kobe with the ball and five ticks on the clock?

Chauncey Billups' analog is The Professional. He has his flaws, but he knows when to take his shots, and he wants to be the one responsible. His swagger has a certain nobility (such as that of a Western gunslinger) that, even in defeat, says "You got lucky. Next time."

Wade, on the other hand, is more like radiation poisoning. The death is slow, painful, frustrating, and comes from a force that is completely incomprehensible to the normal mind. Sure, you know how radiation works, but it's impossible to visualize, so it feels predestined. Chernobyl vs. firefighters seems astute.


Brilliance like this post make me want to start my own blog, but I'm tired as crap. Otherwise, I'd write more (and better,) but I have to go rest up and prepare to be blown away by Dwight Howard. I seriously believe that he has one or two dunks that will break the dunk contest.

wv = yditbf. Yinka Dare is Tim (Hardaway's) Boyfriend.

 
At 2/17/2007 8:20 AM, Blogger whitefolks said...

I'll say up front that I am not down with Star Wars, Star Trek and 98% of their ilk. To that I also say that Wade is a damned Jedi.

His moves are fluid, sometimes preternaturally determined, concise and for these amongst other reasons, look more simplistic than they should. The reason this happens is Wade's ability to recognize and thusly react before everyone else on the court. It's not Monta Ellis or Barbosa-type speed or Kobe-like in countless hours of practice where he can feel confident in knowing which response to use. It's that he sees what's happening faster than everyone else, the reaction time that knows just before it actually happens that he will need to split the screen defense doubling instead of going around it.

If I can compare it to anything, it's the very experienced fighting game player who always seems to have the counter or offensive move ready that maximizes your incorrect or not quite as correct decision. I'll consider it similar as a floor-based version of guys like Rodman who the timing of the ball figured out and got lots of rebounds and blocks.

 
At 2/17/2007 1:15 PM, Anonymous Scott said...

"It's not Monta Ellis or Barbosa-type speed or Kobe-like in countless hours of practice where he can feel confident in knowing which response to use. It's that he sees what's happening faster than everyone else, the reaction time that knows just before it actually happens that he will need to split the screen defense doubling instead of going around it."

this sounds to me like the way people describe gretzky (which itself is because its the way gretzky highlights actually look). it always looked like everyone else is moving in slo mo--just like wade, especially with his team as presently constructed (shaq, payton, kapono).

so, not knowing enough about hockey to complete my analogy...was gretzky preternaturally stylish, or just better than everyone? in short, was he FD?

WV: amkgwgyp = accusing mchale of kg's wasted great years' production

 
At 2/17/2007 1:50 PM, Anonymous cw said...

I've only been coming to this site for the past few weeks, so I'm still figuring out what the idea behind it is. I'm currently thinking it's either all satire or else something like the french postmodernists who were--as far as I can tell--about half serious and half random verbiage thrown out there to fake people out. And the thing with the French guys was that they actually thought that the language they just threw out there meant something the way performance artists forcing canned yams up thier butts sometimes think what they are doing "means" something.

So anyway, my take on this post is that it's just basically Wade dislike dressed up in fancy words. Which is cool, I liked the whale analogy. But it's still simple Wade dislike based on somekind of aesthetic tht you can't totally discribe. But again, that's cool. Kobe has good basketball skills, but I don't like him. I don't like him for his personality. I don't like him becasue he played like a selfish 14 year-old for how many years? I really don't like him becasue he took 3 shots in the 7th game against Pheonix.

But the thing about Wade is, he is winning games, and it's really hard to criticize that. You can't even say, "he's winning games in the regular season, but that's going to fuck them up for the playoffs," becasue he won them the final. You can make a legitimate argument that Kobe's basketball personality actually has cost the Lakers championships. You can't say that about Wade. Wade playing the way he is is the only way the Heat can win games and championships.

So what I'm saying is , I understand your aesthetic dislike of Wade and am not questioning your right to it, but I am saying that it is pretty hard to support with reason (hence the frenchishness?). It's pretty arbitray and personal.

 
At 2/17/2007 1:59 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

you're confusing rationality with taste. wade doesn't resonate with me as a basketball-consuming individual, at least not in the way that the players i do like do.

i don't think that, just because i base my dislike for Wade on Biblical analogies, it means I'm making shit up. fine, he's winning. i know plenty of friendly, successful people, and it doesn't make want to befriend them; there are plenty of good-looking women whom i'm not in the least attracted to.

i want athletes that engender folklore and legends. wade doesn't do that; he's a great basketball player, but a lazy icon.

 
At 2/17/2007 2:30 PM, Anonymous cw said...

First, I want to say that I didn't send that post in a negative spirit. It's was more as an interested response. I enjoy your work.

Second, when I say you make shit up, I mean that I see a resemblance to the tactics of guys like Barthes (sp?). He would be making his point and then just throw in some languge that was like personal poetry. It was not really meant to make syntactical sense or but was more like the evocation of some feeling. I think you do the same thing:

"When LeBron deigns to carry his team... He makes you believe by creating objects whose basis is their own self-invention, solving once and for all that "God and a boulder" problem. "

I think I kind of know what your are talking about (although the past few games I've seen, it looked everyone had caught on to what LB could do). But then again, I would just be guessing. Maybe I not a good enough reader or something. I don't know. It was just an observation.

And I tried to make it clear that I understoodt hat your dislike of Wade was based on taste. I was just saying that it's especially hard to give good reasons for your taste in Wade's case. Not that you have to. I have totally arbitraty likes and dislikes.

And I see what you mean that Wade's fourth quarters are simple and basic. But to me, I would call it elegance and intelligence. He knows if someone plays him to drive he can shoot over them, and if they play him to shoot, he can drrive around them. He also knows that if they try to double him he has to pass. He knows where the other guys are going to be and the other guys are ready. It's a simple formula based on his abilites and teammates. It's based in the dynamics of basketball. I can see how it is a little boring. On the other hand, it's a very rare thing to see someone who can do that figure it out at such a young age. He's way ahead of Jordan.

 
At 2/17/2007 3:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"i want athletes that engender folklore and legends. wade doesn't do that; he's a great basketball player, but a lazy icon."

...according to you. We're all entitled to our opinions, and I must say you do have a way with words. However, it's just your opinion that Wade's play is not aesthetically pleasing and is not a thing of beauty. The way that you're putting it out there, you're saying it's a fact, which is not the case at all.

 
At 2/17/2007 3:39 PM, Blogger Captain Caveman said...

I continue to believe that this is the chink in FreeDarko's armor. Every time I read a grandiloquent but ultimately questionable argument against Dwyane Wade, what I actually pull from the philosophical prose is Shoals saying this: "I just don't like him, okay?"

 
At 2/17/2007 4:26 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

here's the thing: i thought of rewriting this as a more general "philosophy of the fourth quarter" post, since i think that's the most interesting aspect of it. dissing wade would have been a secondary concern. but since this entire thought process came out of how little i enjoy watching wade in the fourth, wouldn't that have been artificial?

maybe it would have made my real point stand out better. but it is a little important that wade is such a foil for me that a master theory can emerge based on my intuitive dislike for him.

 
At 2/17/2007 4:45 PM, Anonymous cw said...

I would love to see a philosophy of the 4th quarter. It would be extra fun to see the aesthetics (taste) merged with strategy (the xs and os as they are sometimes called). An examination of the boarder between style and content.

For example, my favorite team of all time is the '83 sixers (no fourth quarters needed that year). They had a really aesthetically pleasing style (the Dr., Moses, Bobby Jones, cheeks, toney) and their content crushed.

 
At 2/17/2007 5:01 PM, Anonymous Danny said...

So anyway, my take on this post is that it's just basically Wade dislike dressed up in fancy words.

An intrinsically FD aspect to the ten or so comments like the above: Of course, they deeply reflect the lack of imagination that is central to white US culture, and that this has been a historical problem for mainstream NBA analysis which is a racial melodrama of, for example, swag and "the right way".

The silly thing is, by bringing in the erroneous French analogy (as if any french theory was mentioned, French poststructuralism is obviously not the FD style) cw is grasping for a shared enemy that everyone can obviously agree on, and by doing so seeks to shore up the expectation that instrumental critique (wins, losses, stats, scales, empirics) can be salvaged against this incursion. But this simply reflects and amplifies the lack of imagination (which from my POV) FD looks to disrupt.

This reminds me of the frat guys in borat who, as a way of suppressing their own anxieties, convince each other with ever-increasing stridency of the problems women create for men. Yet they know, even as they express them, that such appeals to common prejudice are somehow out of keeping with the times.

Anyway, the response makes me feel that Shoals might be onto something significant here. Perhaps Wade, like Jordan, is a well-placed lever to open up some of the fissures in the collective NBA imaginary.

 
At 2/17/2007 5:42 PM, Anonymous cw said...

Danny,

The indirect way you insult me as well as the manner in which you insult me (I'm white, anxious frat boy, with some sort of racial problem who in afraid of abstract criticism (theory) and made a faulty academic comparison), is right out of a grad level woman's studies class. Which is not a good thing.

I appreaciate theory, I enjoy theory, I engage in theorizing, but I think theory is better when it can be supported with everyday, transparent language. I like that Shoals reaches for poetry, but I personally want the poetry to make sense on some level. Some of stuff on this site doesn't make complete sense. I enjoy it when it's doesn't but I'm hoping that it doesn't on purpose for fun. I will still read it, in any case.

But that whole white men can't understand non-linear thinking is pure bs. Most of what you wrote is bs and I don't believe was written in good faith. Just baiting basically.

So I replied to this, but since I don't want to start any kind of boring blogwar, I won't respond to anything else.

 
At 2/17/2007 6:16 PM, Anonymous cw said...

I got to revise something. When I said, "I personally wnat the poetry to make sense on some level"? I take that back. I like the way they write on FD just fine. It dosen't have to make sense. I like the goofy poetry.

 
At 2/17/2007 6:26 PM, Anonymous Danny said...

cw, my apologies if you took offense, but that you might think I've suggested that "whole white men can't understand non-linear thinking is pure bs" is kinda symptomatic of the differences in how we would approach these questions.

Of course, as a whole white man without much game myself, I'd like to believe that not everything we might think about theory, race, gender or the NBA is based on our identity.

All I'm saying is that you're finding your "plain and transparent" language by dissing "french postmodernists", which you clearly don't know or care about. (And a few of whom I do). You've now added graduate women's studies classes to your list of other things which aren't good, and I care about those as well. I could choose to be insulted I guess.

That's not saying you're a frat boy, it's just saying that whenever you start dissing things that you don't know or care about, you end up running the risk of sounding stupid, and mandating "plainness and transparency" instead of treating the unknown as an opportunity to learn and explore. And that is, bottom line, something we've all encountered far too many times.

The reason I read this site is because it is obviously thinking the game in a different way, and different from me. The Arenas-love, for example, is interesting to me because I can't comprehend it, and it changes how I see the game.

 
At 2/17/2007 7:55 PM, Anonymous jake said...

cw: I've heard the "everyday, transparent language" argument in relation to political theory numerous times and it always grates on me because it paints an incomplete picture. What is "everyday" language? That argument assumes that such a thing exists and implies that the masses at large (or anyone outside of elitist intellectuals capable of understanding complicated words and phrases) are unable to comprehend anything beyond its' bounds due to either lack of education or stupidity. You don't, I think, mean to insinuate those things but that argument is by definition exclusionary.

It's also about the objective; FD is not, as I understand it, attempting to delineate a rigid coda of basketball aesthetics for a broad swathe of people. You're assuming that the poetic, grandiloquent, possibly whimsical aspects aren't integral to the writing's functions.

Personally, I see Wade largely as MJ 2.0, not for their similar playing styles but for what they represent. A safe, smiling face with a bland constructed persona perfectly designed to serve as a shill. He's boring and his game is boring. It's efficient with no flair, no resonance. What really makes me dislike Wade (and MJ as an icon even though I grew up in Chicago) is that he stands for absolutely nothing except selling sneakers, or cell phones or whatever else.

 
At 2/17/2007 9:12 PM, Anonymous Sourounis said...

Everyday language in Theory would be Stanley Fish and Richard Rorty.

 
At 2/17/2007 9:37 PM, Anonymous Abacus said...

Jake -

i would argue your point that Wade is Jordan 2.0 based on his personality. personally i see much, much more similarities in their games than in their personalities...

as far as their games go, they both (in the early stages of their careers) seem to triumph based on athleticism - being faster, stronger and jumping higher - than "skills" or some peculiar combo of freakish size and skills (e.g., Magic, Lebron, Dirk).

but as far as personality goes, Wade's public persona is that of a super-nice guy, goody 2 shoes (tithing 10% of income to his church), almost goofy kid. yes, some construe this as bland, and yes, jordan was construed as bland. but jordan was bland in the sense that he was apolitical, measured, super-polished, etc. but he never a "nice" guy. he was slick, corporate, well-marketed, etc., but never a goody 2 shoes. and you forget, because he basically reinvented the paradigm, but jordan was stylistically subversive - shaved head, long shorts, random pads on his shins rather than knees, tongue wagging, red jordans, etc.

i think hindsight casts a different light on Jordan because basically everyone imitated him and his style became the norm.

 
At 2/17/2007 11:49 PM, Anonymous cw said...

Jake,

I got to disagree about "everyday transparent language." It does exisist and could be easily quantifiable. One way would be according to vocabulary possesed by a certain percentage of the population.

I dislike the language used by some academics because I believe it is obscurant. I believe that the purpose of using htat language is to limit who can understand it. Ideally, only the author would understand it. I also believe it is to obscure the everydayness of their theorys. You wade (no pun intended) through the type of writing (I think) we are talking about and work and work and work and you almost always find some small familer point, that easily could have been expressed in "everyday transparent language."

And I wasn't insinuating anything about the masses at large, but the bball loving masses at large are not reading Free Darko, I can promise you. And I do not believe the masses at large can understand typical academic theorists language (which is what I think you are talking about in your psot--I'm not saying FD uses this type of language) not becasue they are stupid or uneducated, but becasue it's ridiculous.

About the language in Shoal's post, and on FD in general, I was saying that it reminded me of the way Barthe used language. My take on it is that, a lot of the time, it was not meant to make rational sense, but to be some kind of poetic art form in itself. I was kind of complaining at first, but after I thought more about the use of language on FD, I realized I enjoyed it. It's fun, I like it. I posted that.

Anyway, I appreciate your comments, just disagree.

 
At 2/18/2007 7:04 PM, Anonymous D-Wil said...

I got no beefs with Shoals' style.... Mike was quietly subversive? Hmmm, he wore long shorts because he was superstitious - wore his UNC shorts underneath - and he balded his head because he was going prematurely bald. The knee and wrist band misplacement, I can't comment on because there's no empirical evidence of what they were used for-stood for, if anything.

But, very little of what Jordan did that wasn't hoops, or gambling, was premeditated. And even his famous mid-air hand-switch layin was superfluous to the moment in which it took place and, in retrospect, seems contrived.

However, the whole Kobe as calculated thing has gots to go, peeps. Yes, in late game situations he instills a sense of impending doom and stark fear on his opponents; and that's why they, almost to a man, say Kobe is the best player in the League (Damon Jones just said as much on the NBA TV, All-Star pregame show live interview - and we know which present swingman luminaries DJ has recently shared court time with).

However, part of Kobe's mystique is that he "appears" calculated. He appears like he's running through hours of video of yo ass in the three or so seconds he stands with the ball on the wing as he "appears" to be calculatin' your and your team's certain demise. And yet he's doing no more than waiting for you to flinch - because he knows it is YOU doing the thought, you who's cipherin' and you who is running through the compilation DVD the you asked the coaches for so you could study Kobe on the plane on the way to LA-LA....

Like the man addressed as Sensei, Kobe's level of understanding allows him to know the result of 10 players' actions before the scoreboard tells of his feat and before five of them feel the agony of his dagger piecing their egos; he knows before the knowing is known.

D-Wade, in comparison, is a neophyte; a youth still contemplating the depths of his being. Bron Bron is much the same, but he already holds a silver spoon, so what he does know is that this privilege he holds allows him the time to figure it all out.

 
At 2/18/2007 11:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A large part of the reaction against Wade seems to be based in a sense of artificialness to his dominance. Kobe, LeBron, Gilbert, they appear to us as supermen, each triumphing alone over all comers. They seem to lift themselves above everyone through application of something beyond skill or hops. Like Gilbert, they have swag.

Wade's incessant trips to the line leave the impression that, rather than rising above the crowd on his own, they're elevating him. Make no mistake, he's an incredible player, but no player is the beneficiary of as many dubious fourth-quarter foul shots and palming non-calls as Wade is. When I watch him play, I get the feeling that, given his preferential treatment, any player in the NBA, short of Ben Wallace, perhaps, could have the reputation for crunch-time brilliance that Wade has. Wade is, in my mind, the on-court equivalent of Barry Bonds; an enigmatic of real and artificial. He has brilliant natural skills, but I ultimately have to wonder what would be without the helping hand.

 
At 2/20/2007 10:06 AM, Blogger seezmeezy said...

to me, the difference between the early stages of mj and dwade is as follows:

mj was about asking doubters "what the fuck were you thinking?"

dwade is about making doubters ask themselves "what the fuck were we thinking?"

 

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