6.08.2007

NBA Borneo Semiotics, #3.64



Hey, read our live-blog of Game One!

That was a tribute to the thousands of hours that you, me and everyone spent immersed in last night's game. I was so numb, the only answer was the funnies. However, two other issues haunted me throughout the evening, and I bring them to you now. For one, the new LeBron ad. Oddly, I've already been dragging this itch around on AOL for two days. But alas, the conversation didn't get roiling there, so I was forced to haul it back to these doorsteps.

Here's the deal: if it's the Cavs fans being released, why is only the majesty of LeBron shown? The analogy I wanted to use was showing footage of President LBJ in his office as the sole mean of commemorating the Civil Rights Act. SHOW US SOME MISERY AND REDEMPTION! Otherwise, we're forced to at least weigh the possibility that LeBron is being relesed—and to be quite factual, breaking away for a dunk after a game of being semi-stifled does seem to be a form of release. The joke about LeBron being freed from the burden of expectations is bound to at least creep into the psyche of anyone familiar with "I Shall Be Released."

Oh, and no, I couldn't possibly be biased as to how to best use this song in reference to the NBA.



Also yesterday, I found myself incredibly heated that the NBA dared to go up against the Sopranos finale this Sunday. It says a lot of things to me: how clueless the league is sometimes, how out of touch it is with the demographics who watch it, it's refusal to admit its own vulnerability, and probably more than anything else, the continued buttocks-scrape that is the ABC/ESPN tenure. Mostly though, it might be the moment where I realize how little I'll care about these Finals until LeBron shows up. I have zero hesitation about skipping the first half of Game Two for these reasons, and I'm an NBA maniac. Someone should be concerned about this, right?

Subject of Tony Parker: his body control is amazing exactly because he takes the perfect shot from any angle. He can attack from anywhere, and get nailed with anything, and still end up executing one of his three main weapons. That's neither a compliment nor an insult, and pretty much sums up my thinking on the Spurs at this point.

33 Comments:

At 6/08/2007 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That last picture is the FD image of the year.

POP THAT CORN! POP THAT CORN! POP THAT CORN!

 
At 6/08/2007 10:17 AM, Blogger Gregg said...

Just a note about the We Are All Witnesses campaign: obviously it's meant to promote LBJ as basketball messiah, but the quote itself is explicitly biblical.

Acts 2:32
"This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses."

Or in another translation "God has raised this Jesus to life, and of that we are all witnesses."

They read this passage at my last annual church attendance (easter) and it sort of blew my mind.

 
At 6/08/2007 10:57 AM, Anonymous jonny killbane said...

god forced the israelites to wander the desert for 40 years so all the folks who were slaves -- and presumably had a slave mentality -- would die before making it to the promised land.

and you want a commercial about being released from bondage to be full of clips of shots, fumbles, drives, and bottom of the 9th chokes, et al.? not only would that totally defeat the purpose, i can assure you it would have to be well over three minutes long.

it seems to me that the commerical's clean, simple nature is part and parcel of its point: that shot, that game, and this player are the first sentence in the new, blank book of cleveland sports.

not the tense, staccato anticipation of last year's "witness", nor the cocksure swag (i am sure) of next's, just the simple recognition that today is, finally, a new day.

 
At 6/08/2007 11:54 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i am beginning to feel kind of stupid. nevertheless. . .

you see elegant simplicity, i see ambiguity. there are at least three narratives working in lebron's career: savior of cleveland, savior of the nba, struggle against expectations. "we are all witnesses" worked on all these levels last year; the commercial with all the cleveland fans made it clear that, for the purposes of that spot, there was one single meaning in mind.

i guess i don't want to see an anti-highlight reel, or fans crying in the streets. but without some pointed shots of clevelanders, it's possible to read it all three ways. certainly, the plight of the nba is not comparable to that of cleveland. nor is lebron's meta-competition against his own nascent myth.

 
At 6/08/2007 11:58 AM, Blogger MC Welk said...

Hey, I found a photo of longform Shoals: http://teonix.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2006/11/sasha-pavlovic.jpg

 
At 6/08/2007 1:11 PM, Blogger jeff said...

I think the most entertaining revelation of the game was gibson's (i refuse his given nickname of boobie) ability to play with efficient abandon. his success and lack of appreciation / fear of the moment perfectly contrasts with LeBron's forced struggle. Gibson’s drive and bucket at the end of the half (quarter?) was a nascent move that illustrates that he might become the ideal foil for LeBron.

the fact that the players are but separated 1-year in age is a revelation that manifests itself in their styles of play: Both want to function in a free-form system, but only one is allowed.

 
At 6/08/2007 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

People are crazy if they think throwing boobie in instead of hughes is going to solve everything . Someone in the last post said he was the best true point guard. Where that came from, i'm not sure. He's a set shooter who because he is on fire this playoffs, can pump fake and get to the lane when people fly at him. The thing is, the spurs offense is way too good to have gibson play 35 minutes. He isn't going to even bother parker or ginobli. Gotta play both sides of the ball, and you have to alternate those 2(and snow for that matter). Gibson is a good shooter, but his defense is just lacking too much for big time minutes. Rip hamilton ate him alive last series, but lucky for the cavs, the pistons were horrendous. Snow and hughes worked out well last series because chauncey is a slower/stronger guard unlike parker. It's a tough matchup for the cavs this series.

 
At 6/08/2007 1:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree about matcups being important this playoffs. It's not that the eastern conference was just terrible this season, it's that all the teams were flawed. The bulls, cavs, pistons, and heat all had about equal chance to make the finals entering the playoffs, but it all depended on matchups. All the teams had weaknesses and it was a matter of the other team having the personel to exploit it and not have their weakness exploited as well.

Bulls can beat the heat, but not the pistons and were about even with the cavs.

Cavs can beat the pistons, but not the heat(at least with a healthy wade, it'd probably go 6 or 7 with a 85% wade) and they'd probably be even with the bulls(from watching regular season games and player matchups.

Heat can beat the cavs and pistons, but not the bulls.

Pistons can beat the bulls, but are about even with heat and cavs(they'd just have to have a good series and they obviously didn't this year and last year against the heat).


The western conference is mainly good teams who can play multiple styles with coaches who adjust pretty well in game. The suns, spurs and mavs(lets not pretend last year never happened. they're still the 2nd 3rd best team in the conference. This year was an avery johnson strategy meltdown). All the series involving those 3 against eachother are really good and evenly matched even though the personel is very different.

 
At 6/08/2007 2:02 PM, Anonymous Cyanide said...

Someone in the last post said he was the best true point guard.

That would be me, and are you saying he isn't? Yes, he is a great shooter. He also happens to be the second best creator on the Cavs from what he's shown in the playoffs.

Whose a better legit distributor/playmaker at the point on the Cavs? Injured Hughes playing out of position? Certainly not over the hill Eric Snow? Couldn't possibly be shoot-first-through-third Damon Jones, right?

And if you've seen him play, he's doing more than knocking down open threes. He's getting players involved, creating his own shot (and knocking it down at a high %), and getting a bunch of easy points at the free throw line. I never said he was Chris Paul, but I think it's clear he's the best point on the Cavs at the moment.

 
At 6/08/2007 2:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know what you're saying. It's just hard for me to accept a true 2guard(that's what he was in college and when texas moved him to point his sophomore year he was just mediocre and slipped from top 10 pick to 2nd round), like gibson might be their best option at point. I don't really have a problem with him playing the point position as he is the best person to put in there, i think i was just thrown off by the label "true point guard" when he isn't even a point guard. No harm no foul, mate.

I knew that durant didn't lift the weight, but i didn't know he was the slowest guy in the draft. He can improve yea, but so can everyone else in the draft with nba training. He probably will still be a monster in the nba in a few years, but being slower than spencer hawes or jared jordan(who a scout said would be a pretty good point guard in lower level euro leagues as a COMPLIMENT) isn't a good sign. No lateral quickness means durant can't guard anybody at the 3 position, most guys at the 4 and the other guys at the 4 he won't be strong enough for. Plus, having that kind of terrible agility, doesn't make it easy to get to the hole. He'll still be an amazing player in time when he trains better, but the learning curve will be rough. Let's hope his jumpshot is working. He'll still average close to 20ppg because he'll be getting tons of minutes and shots for a bad team, but stats really don't mean much.

 
At 6/08/2007 2:18 PM, Anonymous Cyanide said...

Ah, gotcha. Yeah, I guess "true point" probably wasn't the best choice of words, but you know what I was getting at. "Dude most likely to handle the ball and not turn it over or throw it in the fourth row" just didn't come out as smoothly... haha

 
At 6/08/2007 2:45 PM, Blogger nein said...

seems to me the audience is included in the ad through lyrics since nike wants a groundswell behind lebron. it's in black and white because he's already made history. we've seen it, we're witnesses.

lebron is eye level with the rim for about half of the ad, and it's in a game and everything. he smiles a bit at the end: we're being rewarded for watching the first time, with a nice slow replay and nice music.

not much cleveland in this ad imo

 
At 6/08/2007 3:05 PM, Anonymous aug said...

I think one of my favorite subplots of the playoffs has been Jalen Rose's role on cold pizza almost every day while still employed by the suns. My favorite moment of the playoffs with him was after game 4 when the suspensions were handed down and on cold pizza he just seemed depressed when jay jokingly said "maybe you'll get some run with those guys out" and he just nodded and sighed as he knew the suns were just going to shrink their lineup even more and play only about 6 people. Great stuff.

 
At 6/08/2007 5:41 PM, Blogger Andrew said...

When talk turns to who should start at PG for the Cavs, am I the only one who still thinks LeBron is the best guy to bring the ball up? He obviously has the best passing skills and court vision of anyone on the team, and as has been discussed elsewhere (I think I saw it observed at TrueHoop today) he could probably do the best job containing Parker. I just miss the novelty of the 6-9 point, and I wept for his transition to the three as I wept for Penny Hardaway's degeneration into fragile off guard.

 
At 6/08/2007 8:10 PM, Blogger Matt said...

Andrew, it's not about who brings the ball up or initiates the offense - for that LeBron is undoubtedly the better option and Boobie or Hughes isn't a very bad second choice.

But who does boobie defend, as anon said?

 
At 6/08/2007 8:10 PM, Blogger Leonardson Saratoga said...

I think sometimes people mistake "Point Guard" for "Steve Nash." While ideally you'd want a guy like Nash or Paul or D.Williams who is pass-first but can still hit shots, and always finds a teammate, most teams don't have that, but those teams can still win without it. All you really need--as a starting point (especially in the East/against a slow it down team like the Spurs)--is someone who can bring the ball up, get you into your offense, and hit some open shots. Additionally you'd like them to be able to defend the other teams point guard, or at least be able to handle someone on the other team defensively.

As long as you aren't trying to run and gun, you just need a guy with good shot selection and low turnover rates. Like I said, obviously ideally you'd want a Chris Paul, but this is a good starting point.

 
At 6/08/2007 8:54 PM, Blogger Andrew said...

Matt,
Stick Boobs on Manu, it's not like he (or Hughes, or Pav, or anybody) is going to keep him from scoring in bunches. But if I remember right, the Game 1 final score was 85-76, even with pretty good showings from San Antonio's big three. In my mind, facilitating optimal offensive production is a bigger key (than worrying about who Gibson can best guard) for the Cavs as a whole. And that's why I long for LeBron with the ball in his hands at the top of the key, rather than swinging in from the sides.

That's not to say I expect San Antonio to score only 85 points a game, but I think the Cavs' defense in general needs less tinkering and worry than its offense.

 
At 6/09/2007 9:41 AM, Blogger Carter Blanchard said...

Eventually it's just going to devolve into Tits Gibson. I can feel it coming. Honestly, where the hell did this come from? Did this ever come up during a Texas game? I feel like I should have heard mention of it at least once before. Part of me believes this is some practical joke that he decided before game 6 to invent the most ridiculous nickname he could think of, just to see if the announcers would actually say it.

 
At 6/09/2007 12:20 PM, Blogger Barnesgasm said...

In regards to "I shall be released", which is among my favorite songs and one I posted on my tiny little site as part of my Warriors will beat the Mavs prediction series in which I compared the Warriors to the Last Waltz (how I got that doesn't make sense anymore) I have to throw my two cents in as to how to use "I shall be released".
The point is, yeah, its a Lebroncentric campaign. He's being released. If Cleveland factors in at all, its that Cleveland is the song's prison that he's being released from. My one problem with their use of this song is that if anything, its too soon to bust out joyful inevitibility for Lebron.

 
At 6/09/2007 12:50 PM, Anonymous Freddie said...

You ever see a machinima? Like, where they make movies out of people playing around with the Counter Strike engine or such?

To me, that's the Spurs.

 
At 6/09/2007 1:29 PM, Anonymous aug said...

Jeff buckley's cover of "i shall be released" comes really close to making me cry.

 
At 6/09/2007 1:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off topic:

Is there any reason to believe Joakim Noah would be a BAD play to [air with Emeka Okafor?

 
At 6/09/2007 1:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or player to pair as it were...

 
At 6/10/2007 6:54 AM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

Let us all pray for JR Smith.

 
At 6/10/2007 9:29 AM, Blogger Ben Q. Rock said...

Getting injured in a car wreck is decidedly not FD. I hope he, along with everyone else involved in the accident, is okay.

 
At 6/10/2007 9:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is wearing your safety belt FD?

 
At 6/10/2007 10:09 AM, Anonymous paper tiger said...

i had a dream last night where jennifer beals and deron williams were fighting over who was a better point guard. she patted his stomach and told him maybe he could hang if he lost some weight. then he cried a little. this is what happens when you spend months on end watching nothing but ball and the l word. something had to give.

 
At 6/10/2007 12:24 PM, Anonymous Todd Martin said...

FD: Nadal or Federer?

 
At 6/10/2007 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Todd Martin... are you really asking that question?

Federer is tennis' Tim Duncan.

 
At 6/10/2007 8:45 PM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

Nadal is about as un-FD as it gets on the court. Defensive tennis is no friend of mine.

Federer is tougher. Anon. is somewhat right that he's like Duncan in that the result is never really in question and he plays angles constantly, but Federer's shots are so varied that I find him pretty exciting to watch. To me, he's like what Kobe would have been if he'd committed to tennis instead of basketball.

 
At 6/11/2007 12:37 AM, Anonymous padraig said...

I remember reading other people having this discussion on FD back during the Australian Open and probably every other Grand Slam of the past year or so. As always, Federer remains to my mind pretty much the embodiment of FD in tennis; being dominant does not automatically equate to being boring. Nadal, on the other hand, has perhaps the most numbingly boring game on the Tour even if he might end up as the best ever on clay.

I was disappointed when Serena got knocked out b/c I was looking forward to seeing her reduce yet another Eastern European teenage girl to tears and then destroy the media with fabulous quotes about her badonkadonk again.

 
At 6/11/2007 1:52 AM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

Discussing the FDness of women's tour players brings up the somewhat uncomfortable question of how to factor attractiveness into the term. (Or at least it seems that way to me given the site's demographic. Correct my heteonormativity and sexism if I'm wrong.)

 
At 6/12/2007 1:17 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...

Ana Ivanovic! http://www.ontennis.com/uploaded_images/ana_polugola-753379.jpg

 

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