7.17.2007

The Otter and the Grey Thing



Another Miss Gossip banger today, this time with Chris Paul on the subject on bowling, Desmond Mason's burgeoning rap career, and a certain Stojakovic photo. For serious, I wasn't necessarily going to link here, until she made made my morning (granted, it's 7:30AM) by saying she first saw the topless Peja on our fair site. While it's not quite the revelation that her sit down with Oden was, I'd still take it over most of the interviews I've ever heard with NBA players. The most favorable thing about it is how you can see Paul's serious side slip away over the course of the conversation.

Can someone please explain to me why I don't like Mason? He's one of the most passable emcee-athletes of this decade, and was at some point a major player in FreeDarko's Best NBA Art Collection Sweepstakes. Plus his game is the precursor to Gerald Wallace, sort of. Okay, that's too strong, but he does have no jumper, a wild free throw motion, and has made a living off of artful athleticism. I'm going to take this as a sign that the era of NBA from which he sprang is really, truly, can't-catch-a-break curse. There's a world of difference between Mason and, say, Darius Miles; for one, Other Mase has a brain and is likable. More importantly, though, dude also seems like a hard worker whom coaches respect.



That's what makes it all the more strange that I neglect him. If anything, what separates the post-Bron era from the NETS IN THE FINALS millenium is that players give a fuck, or at least take the craft and pith of basketball seriously. Gerald Wallace isn't just a dunker, he's a dunker who also happens to have a Bowen-esque work ethic on the court. I despise Bowen exactly because he's gotten where he is solely through ass-busting, and there's a presumption that this is more noble than combining labor with natural gifts. On the contrary, I think it just reinforces the anti-athleticism bias that, sadly, is the legacy of the post-Jordan pall.

I think, then, that Mason eludes this site's peremptory gaze of freedom exactly because he seems shackled by this old way. I'm not saying that he should abruptly start hoisting three's all day, but if distant memory serves, he accepts himself as lesser for his lack of completeness. Rather than reinventing himself, as Amare, Josh Smith and Melo have done, or reinventing completeness, as Wallace has, 'ol DM seems content to make frightful physical skill into a kind of hyper-responsible role play. And while that's certainly preferably to flailing around in costume, it strikes this observes as something of a compromise, or at least complacency.



While I'm on the subject of figures I don't really care about who have something to do with the Bucks, ANDREW BOGUT WTF?!?!??! Before time began, FreeDarko was all over him for taking shots at Kobe. . . before he had been drafted. Now, Etan Thomas is raging over the Big Aussie's latest round of lazy invective, which I wasn't even going to comment on unless someone in the league saw fit to thusly them dignify. Bogut is really sui generis among internationals, in part because of his college ball over here: He's a foreigner who understands full well what the NBA wants from its imports. Namely, WHITE. Oh, and AN ANTIDOTE TO HIP-HOP. That Bogut conflates NBA foolishness with typical American slobbery is both astute and, for his ultimate place in loud-mouthed history, kind of stupid.

25 Comments:

At 7/17/2007 9:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good stuff.

 
At 7/17/2007 9:42 AM, Anonymous Laphonso said...

Bogut only gets half a bar...

 
At 7/17/2007 9:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does it make me a bad person if I overrate Desmond Mason's defense because I like the fact he has a decent mind for art?

 
At 7/17/2007 10:06 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i didn't even realize that mason's going back to milwaukee, probably. that article also has some guy raving about how great a defender mason is, but it seems to boil down to "he is sized and is athletic enough to use it to stay with his man."

 
At 7/17/2007 10:07 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

sorry, published too soon. was going to add that the athleticism should enhance the fundamentals, not be a means toward them.

 
At 7/17/2007 10:34 AM, Blogger Gregg said...

Maybe you don't like Desmond Mason because he sucks. Ersan Ilyasova is 7 times as FD as Mason, and has the added benefit of being able to make shots.

Jesus, I hate Larry Harris.

 
At 7/17/2007 10:37 AM, Blogger New Orleans Nation said...

as someone who watched mason in person 5 times last season, i think your points make sense. how can you be physically gifted, hard-working, yet overly determined to be a role player? he fits but he doesn't/shouldn't. i'm glad NO didn't overpay him to stay, yet curious to see if he leaves a hole in the team's character--itself all about "hardworking" yet not quite there on the Jazz level.

 
At 7/17/2007 11:57 AM, Blogger salt_bagel said...

I say big whoop to the Bogut comment. You could put it in so many different contexts that it has no value as a window into the guy. He blames American me-first culture just as much as he blames the actual players, and although you can read into the interview and believe he's talking about blacks (because he's white? because he uses the term bling?), he never actually uses any racial terms.

So basically, culture drives the paychecks up as well as the arrogance, as well as the bitterness by people who work regular jobs over those who are lucky enough to make millions and then flaunt it. Sounds to me like two Aussies having a ho-hum talk about American class struggles. I'd only be mad at Bogut for letting his guard down.

Granted, all the Aussies I've known have been educated, but none of them could give a shit about racial stereotypes.

I found most interesting the fact that Bogut likes to go to the poker room because people don't treat him like an NBA star. I wonder whether he wins or loses.

And I'm still reeling at the Scotty Nguyen flameout.

 
At 7/17/2007 12:14 PM, Anonymous Laphonso said...

Bogut's comments are ho hum because he's a no-talent ass clown calling out the big names in the league (Who's Raja Bell?), not because he never uses any racial terms. It's naive to think that he's not talking about race. Any general comment regarding NBA players, be it positive or negative, is about black people, or at least includes a large number of them. One could also argue that "bling" is, in fact, a "racial term," given its etymology.

Bogut may not be an outright bigot, and an indictment of the conspicuous consumption that exists in American culture may be spot on. However, I think that it takes some mental gymnastics to come to the conclusion that race does not figure in his comments.

 
At 7/17/2007 12:37 PM, Blogger salt_bagel said...

I think you could easily imagine a situation where Bogut is just making a comment about what he sees without indicting anybody. It is possible to point out a negative observation you made and not take a stand or judge someone in the same sentence.

Any general comment about NBA players is about black people? You really think human beings can't produce thoughts more complicated than that? That statement is utterly wrong; you can't even qualify it by saying "Any stupid person's comment...", because even an autistic kid has the ability to understand more than one meaning in a sentence.

Feel free to ascribe the deepest moral biases to every word you hear out of every person.

 
At 7/17/2007 12:47 PM, Anonymous Laphonso said...

I think we can all agree that the majority of the players in the NBA could be identified as black. If a person makes a generalization about NBA players, it's almost impossible that that statement is not about some black people.

 
At 7/17/2007 12:54 PM, Anonymous Steve J said...

Laphonso-Poor logic.

 
At 7/17/2007 1:07 PM, Blogger salt_bagel said...

Yes; statistically speaking, it's very likely that the statement then holds true for some black people, but it doesn't mean you're intentionally making the statement to include all the blacks in the group, or that you're using one group (NBA players) as a stand-in for another group (blacks). Which is how most people would read your original statement.

 
At 7/17/2007 1:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If someone makes a disparaging comment about Americans in general, are you saing that it indicates some bigotry against white people just because America is mostly white?

 
At 7/17/2007 1:31 PM, Anonymous Laphonso said...

I actually went out of my way to say that Bogut's comment did not indicate bigotry. I merely stated that I think it's a stretch to say that a statement about "a lot of NBA players" (Bogut's words) is not about black people. As Salt Bagel said, statistically speaking, the players he is talking about are most likely black.

But you guys are right. He was probably talking about Jared Reiner.

 
At 7/17/2007 1:32 PM, Anonymous davey d said...

This comment thread is reminding me that I have to go to LSAT review class tomorrow.

 
At 7/17/2007 1:33 PM, Blogger salt_bagel said...

Actually, I want to get out of this logic argument and get into what I originally was trying to say, which is that the comments alone don't entirely incriminate Andrew Bogut.

If I say "It's tough for kids from the ghetto to know what to do when all of a sudden they make millions," of course that becomes a statement primarily about blacks. But does that mean I'm a racist, or that I think blacks are lesser people? It could, but Louis Farrakhan could make the same statement and you'd know he meant it differently. I just feel like you or I could say the things that Bogut said in a non-racially charged conversation and people would not suddenly have to take us for ignorant. Unless they choose to. Thomas chooses to, and he has some good points, but some of it is kind of high and mighty for me.

Maybe Bigot is an outright bogut. Maybe he's being real smart and But to vilify him immediately I think is a knee jerk reaction.

 
At 7/17/2007 1:41 PM, Blogger salt_bagel said...

Whoa, lost part of a sentence there. To finish: Maybe he's being real smart and covering his words, although that wouldn't be so smart at all because it's too easy to see through. That's another reason why I think he's either stupid or just talking off the cuff.

Lastly, I hope you're not saying that Jared Reiner is a prototype of any kind.

 
At 7/17/2007 1:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darkofan: Read the whole interview from the Aussie press.

It is if somebody here where to tell the US press that Paul Hogan's old TV skits of boorish , drunken Australian footballers and their boosters, really are "true" representations, not only of a league , but also the country's culture.

 
At 7/17/2007 1:48 PM, Anonymous Laphonso said...

Jared Reiner is FD.

 
At 7/17/2007 2:01 PM, Blogger salt_bagel said...

I read the Sunday Morning Herald version of the interview, which is the fullest I could find. I tend to agree with his sentiments on what drives the culture of flash in America. Granted, hoops culture is an extreme version, and the whole country isn't like that, but don't tell me a soccer mom in a Porsche Cayenne isn't being affected by the same mechanisms.

 
At 7/17/2007 2:13 PM, Blogger William said...

America and the culture encapsulated by the term is a very complex phenomenon. No off-handed comment in an interview should have so much read into it. Bogut is not publishing a treatise about his conception of social phenomena. He just said something that sort of seemed like the thing to say at the time.

 
At 7/17/2007 2:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darkofan: It is caricature. Look up on google : Jacko, the Australian footballer , featureed in Everyready battery commercials of a few years ago, shouting : Oi! ; Unfortunately, bias makes reporters and some of their readers receptive to acceptance of the image as being a true generalization.

 
At 7/17/2007 3:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Desmond Mason isn't very good. Check out his Win Shares or his Wins Produced. It's fair to say he was one of the worst players in the NBA last year who played more than 2000 minutes

 
At 7/17/2007 3:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its cos I is black? Great stuff Mr Thomas. A thorough analysis. Jemele will be worried.

 

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