3.28.2007

They Called It Ragtime



Anyone wishing to further discuss Michael Ray Richardson should click here immediately. I know FreeDarko has a responsibility to the Jewish community, but there is an even higher power to which we respond better. . .

Actually, the AP deemed it "battle of the bad," but had judiciously removed that headline when I checked again just now.

Praise due to the anonymous commenter who reminded me this was on. As longtime readers know, a certain past Bobcats/Hawks game was a landmark in my basketball developmentā€”despite my not having seen a second of it. Tonight's showdown was to prove no less influential, but in a different way. If that baroque meltdown brought into focus all that FreeDarko stood for, this one confirmed many theories that I have long kept buried deep within my armpits. Or just done such a shitty job of articulating that they might as well have never existed.

Before I lose all restraint: the AP also has a story up by the title of "Tanking? If Only the NBA's Bad Teams Were That Good." The gist, of course, is that teams don't need to try to lose. However, I liked my initial interpretation better: that the sorrowful teams whose names we know well have absolutely no control over themselves. Winning, or losing, are both as involuntary and accidental as passing celestial gas.



The most moving part of last night's game was that, in all honesty, I couldn't tell whose announcers I was listening to. Early on, one dude said "I would pay to see Gerald Wallace and Josh Smith anyday," which practically bowled me out of my seat. It turned out to be the Hawks crew, but it was like rooting for the Hawks somehow necessitating also supporting the Bobcats for all they could ever be worth. Maybe it was because they were brothers in failure, and needed each other to matter for life to go on. But I prefer to think that, unbeknownst to everyone, Hawks or Bobcats fandom inadvertently leads to some version of FreeDarko ideology. Not as a form of denial, or compensation, but because it exposes you to a particular, fractured version of basketball from which you can never return.

It goes without shorts that the event of the evening was Wallace/Smith. Both were playing insane, and so much like themselves it was sickening. Multiplicity followed a 15 point first quarter with an almost silent second; Smith continued to take McGrady's languor to the next level, as he basically drops in and out of consciousness over from one second to the next. Even when he takes flight to create something magnificent, you can follow the movements of the on/off switch that regulates his brainwaves. I used to think he was just humble, or shy, or young, or dumb, but now I see that it's a far more profound state. Just as Wallace wanders around aimlessly until he starts getting into the paint and becomes unstoppable, Smith is a constant inner battle between daydream and cyclone. All that can stop him is his own ruthless periodicity; if circumstances allow him to momentarily coast and perk up in time for the crux, he's fine.



For some reason, the Atlanta announcers knew that Wallace goes out of his way to remind people how sick he was as a high school football player.

Watching Marvin Williams struggle is like seeing a pretty face meet puberty. You know he'll get through it, but the interim can be hair-raising.

Eventually, someone will realize that Childress is capable of polish and aggression, not just smartness and effectiveness.

Raymond Felton crossed up the entire Hawks team several possessions in a row. Salim is a deadly shooter and needs minutes; however, he dribbled off his foot three possessions in a row.

If you thought Ginobili plays bizarre, get a load of Walter Hermann when he decides to cut loose. I can barely describe it without looking upward for help; maybe like the lead in an East German sitcom about a state-engineered Dr. J.

You know the competitive level is diminished when Jake Voskul stars delivering absolute monster blocks.

I had to turn the game off with five minutes left when my girlfriend and I got in a fight about exactly how sketchy our neighborhood is. When I asked Dr. LIC if I missed anything, he admitted that he'd switched the channel to watch Boogie Nights.

22 Comments:

At 3/29/2007 12:59 PM, Blogger Gladhands said...

Why do I picture you living in Hyde Park?

 
At 3/29/2007 1:28 PM, Anonymous john said...

When do the Pacers, loosers of 15 of 17, enter this status? It is both horrible and somewhat funny to watch DArmstrong in bafflement atTinsley and co.'s unflagging indifference to the outcome of games.

 
At 3/29/2007 1:57 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

gladhands - you got the wrong master of the klondike. hint: it's not me, although i am sitting in hyde park AT THIS VERY MOMENT!

 
At 3/29/2007 2:40 PM, Blogger SuperFrankieLampard said...

this post was dead freaking on. as ugly as watching adam morrison in person can be, gerald wallace was a man among boys last night.

there were more than a few times hermann left those of us at the game in a "what the hell did he just do?" state. dude has the biggest hands i've ever seen. "state-engineered dr. j" is the absolute best way to describe him.

one thing the bobcats do that's cool though-- 4 tickets, 4 hot dogs, 4 cokes, and 4 t-shirts for 60 bucks on select nights. one of those select nights just happens to be next tuesday against arenas and the wiz.

 
At 3/29/2007 5:30 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

Is it a done deal that Gerald Wallace is gonna opt out this summer and bolt for greener pastures (i.e. almost any team in the league)? Think of the level next year's Bobcats-Hawks games could sink to without GW in the mix.

 
At 3/29/2007 6:43 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Yes, there is a player option available for GW; he should opt out because he is underpaid. However, the Bobcats have a lot of money available, and might be able to pay him more than most teams (there are only like 8 teams with enough cap space to sign Wallace at, say, $8-10 million/yr), and plus the Bobcats might make a run at another top free agent (Vince Carter). Maybe a potential lineup of Felton, Carter, Wallace, Emeka, and a top pick (Brandon Wright or McRoberts, or even Ji, if they want to go that route), plus Morrison and Knight on the bench, can make Wallace think twice about greener pastures?

The real question is whether the Bobcats see Wallace as a part of their future. They could also go the route of trading for Richardson or something to replace him rather than to pay his injury-prone body $10 million for the next 4-5 years.

 
At 3/29/2007 7:25 PM, Anonymous iverson fan said...

Did someone bet you that you couldn't use "periodicity" in a blog. You won the bet. I like Wallace and Josh Smith. Spurs built a franchise by tanking.

 
At 3/29/2007 7:59 PM, Blogger T. said...

The photo of the Chinese space baby poster blows my mind, only because I saw what must have been the first one in the series (the baby in a rocket taking off) last weekend in a market in Pudong and I wondered who the hell would spend anytime drawing such a monstrosity.

 
At 3/29/2007 9:35 PM, Anonymous db said...

I sense a lightening of mood in this post from Shoals. Part of the existential rhythms of the season I think...

 
At 3/29/2007 10:15 PM, Blogger BenQRock said...

Gerald Wallace + Dwight Howard in Orlando's frontcourt for the next decade = FANTASTIC FDness.

Shit, and Trevor Ariza too.

 
At 3/29/2007 10:24 PM, Blogger T. said...

Simba's column re: Kevin Love and OJ Mayo seems anti-FD, but I think his conclusion is right. There is room in my heart for both play the right way and sublime unrealized potential.

 
At 3/29/2007 11:24 PM, Blogger BenQRock said...

Anyone else paying attention to the Suns/Warriors Ode to Offense that's on right now? J-Rich had 19 points in the first quarter... on 7/8 from the field. 45 points for the Warriors in the quarter

 
At 3/30/2007 12:47 AM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

@BenQRock: Wallace and Howard would be too good to possibly live up to the hype. Plus it would be like Shawn Marion and Amare Stoudemire on the same team without Nash.

@T: Simmons' Mayo column pissed me off. I don't want to self-promote, but I felt compelled to go off on the column on my site. And I can't wait to read what D-Wil has to say about this on his site... I expect him to have something to say about yet another ESPNhead joining the ranks calling Mayo a "punk" for no f*cking reason. There is clearly an agenda out there.

@BenQRock: Hell yeah, this game has been beautiful - the Warriors have outrun the Suns all night long (and still been able to get back on defense, too, even on long rebounds). I'll have something up on this game over at yaysports in the morning.

For the record, I have only 8 teams that are likely to be under the cap this offseason: Toronto, Chicago, Milwaukee, Atlanta, Charlotte, Orlando, and two west teams - Memphis, Seattle (If Lewis opts out). The significant free agents, besides Wallace, are Lewis, Billups (player option, woefully underpaid), Carter (player option), and maybe Antawn Jamison (16.3 million option, I'm guessing he'll use the option, but he might test the waters, too).

 
At 3/30/2007 1:24 AM, Blogger thope said...

i apologize, this is completely off topic, but 45 points in the first quarter? that was fucking epic

also just wondering -- is grindhouse freedarko?

 
At 3/30/2007 9:43 AM, Anonymous bernard snowy said...

"Maybe a potential lineup of Felton, Carter, Wallace, Emeka, and a top pick (Brandon Wright or McRoberts"

McRoberts would be an ideal addition, finally giving the Bobcats the font of anguished tears that their situation warrants.

 
At 3/30/2007 9:48 AM, Anonymous Joel said...

@SML:

You can cross the Hawks off the list of teams that can sign Wallace. They can't sign anyone longterm until their ownership battle is overwith in court. They had to have a judge overturn the order just to be able to sign-and-trade Al Harrington last summer.

Btw, you're not exactly saying anything too shocking re: Simmons. A Simmons article where he basically says he likes this white player more than this black player is a blogger's wet dream, espicially for 'D-Wil'. I thought it was pretty tasteful (as much as a column by him can be) considering the delicate line he was treading.

 
At 3/30/2007 10:26 AM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

@Joel: I never claimed I was saying anything shocking. I normally don't write attacking other people's posts, but Simmons is quite influential, both in the mainstream media and in the blogosphere. And while you thought it was "pretty tasteful", I thought he crossed the line by:
a) calling Mayo a "punk" (a pattern is emerging at ESPN with regards to that)
b) blaming Mayo as a manifestation of everything he hates about the "me-first generation", including Paris Hilton, his crappy Celtics (wasn't he openly rooting for them to tank the season; now he's disappointed in their lack of fire?!?), and rich kids on Super Sweet 16.
c) positioning Kevin Love (a white HS player) as the anti-Mayo. Like D-Wil said, he could have shown love to Love (sorry for sounding like Donna Summers there) without hating on Mayo. The two are not the dynamic opposites Simmons tried to portray them as.

It's very subtle, but this is how character assassination begins; the man isn't even a pro, or even a college player yet, and already there are attacks on his character coming from the MSM? Who even knows anything about this kid?

 
At 3/30/2007 10:27 AM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

BTW, thanks for the tip on the Hawks - I wasn't aware of that. Only 7 teams then that are really in contention for free agents this offseason (beyond sign and trade deals).

 
At 3/30/2007 1:27 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

mayo and love are actually friends. they're not like boys, but they have mutual respect for one another. mayo was trying to get love to go to the same school as him for a minute. he was trying to recruit bill walker and michael beasley, as well, but they ended up at KSU with huggy. i wouldn't have been surprised if mayo ended up there, but i guess he wanted to be in a big media market.

 
At 3/30/2007 3:26 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

I was upset by Simmons' most recent column for another reason entirely: apparently he's one of many people who mistakenly thinks that "Hurt" is a Johnny Cash song. When Kermit was singing "Hurt" he was covering a Nine Inch Nails song, just like Johnny Cash did. Some pop culture expert!

Also, his complaining that Paul Pierce continues to bravely kill himself out there despite his desire to see the Celtics go in the tank is unfounded since Pierce announced he was done for the year following that double OT game Simmons mentioned. Speaking of the Celtics, did anyone else chuckle the other day when Simmons threw the Reggie Lewis Celtics in as proof that Jordan faced tougher competition than Kobe does?

 
At 3/30/2007 3:48 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

yams--simba has another column up today where he addresses both of your criticisms. apparently, NIN are "grunge" or at least had one of the definitive hits of "the grunge era". interesting.

anyway, he sounds almost insane, rambling about all the things he's done instead of writing his AL column. um, bill, isn't writing columns your job? might want to find a little time in there among the tv and movie watching, gambling, and fantasy sports, to, like, write a real column, since that's ESPN pays you to do? and, not to pile on, but is anyone else disturbed by the way he infantilizes his wife? he makes her sound like a child most of the time (to be fair, her own writing in the guest celebrity gossip columns also make her sound like a child).

 
At 3/30/2007 8:52 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

Simmons' "reason" for why he said Johnny Cash instead of NIN is patently ridiculous: "the point was that Kermit was doing a parody of Johnny Cash's version of the song." Huh? NIN's version was pretty much the same: a slow, acoustic song. The only real difference between the two was Cash swapping out the word "shit" for the word "thorns". This is like people thinking that Battlestar Galactica ended Season 3 with a cover of Jimi Hendrix's song "All Along The Watchtower". Clearly Simmons thought that "Hurt" was written by Johnny Cash and is doing a bad job of covering his ass. Maybe the "grunge era" comment makes some sense though - he was probably too busy listening to Pearl Jam at the time to notice a mostly acoustic song by NIN, and never heard the song till someone emailed him a YouTube clip of the Cash video.

 

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