While Shoals contemplates his potential indifference and while others express faux moral outrage, I shall arrive late to the Donaghy party, and said--hopefully not restating something that Shoals or our commentors have already said--that I for one, coudn't be happier with this whole story (and no, it's not because this incident has delegitimized yet ANOTHER Spurs championship). I mean, I know lives are at stake here, so I don't mean to be so flip, but how cool is it that this thing is going down in real life? Even Simmons couldn't resist turning it into a screenplay. David Stern on some 9/11-Giuliani shit? The FBI? Some nutcase jeopardizing a global billion-dollar industry...and, the MOB? I didn't even know the mob still had power like that in this country. I side with those who say that Donaghy's influence on the outcome of most games/seasons was minimal, and am no great harborer of some idealized "integrity of the sport." So therefore, I'm just happy that the NBA is back where it should be, stealing headlines from baseball's steady grind and football's fetal kicks.
I was talking with friend of the blog and lifelong Bucks fan, G-Sparks, this past weekend, about the tumult of the Bucks offseason. The shrouding of Yi Jianlian behind the red curtain of communism, the Schilling-like mouth excretions of Andrew Bogut, and the bumping of Mo Williams into an obscene tax bracket. Whether for good or for ill, Sparks was just so damn excited that everybody is talking about the Bucks again, a team that by his account, has essentially been irrelevant ever since Glenn Robinson missed that fateful shot. And then it all became clear--the NBA are the Bucks of AMERICAN SPORT. MJ's retirement was Big Dog missing that jumper.
Now we're back in the center of the sports universe where we belong. It may be for all the wrong reasons, but damn it feels good. I already feel like being part of the people who prefer the NBA to other sports leagues is like being in an exclusive club. Almost similar to liking some musician that the general public doesn't give a fuck about. So when headlines are made, we band together, we know that any exposure, even negative exposure, gives us a sense of legitimacy in the world. In 2004, I had girlfriends who all of a sudden new who Ron Artest was. That justified my existence a little bit more than usual.
The only problem I have with the whole thing is the NBA acting like it is cycling when it is actually boxing. These are the two genres of sport. Cycling sports wag their fingers when scandal occurs, and the masses are supposed to collectively gasp when a wrongdoer is outed as if to say: "This could NEVER happen in our sport." In boxing sports, scandal is expected, and in some ways embraced, just as the cute puppy who knocks over an antique vase and then stares with longing eyes. We shake our heads, but then give a knowing smile. And that is where the Donaghy incident falls. The NBA is a ridiculous universe, and so a ref shaving points is just another love handle. David Stern "let me unfuck this thing up" speeches at this point are like Lou Piniella or Bill Parcells press conferences. They are like R.Kelly videos or Marlon Brando interviews. At the same time they are to be taken seriously, you just know some ill shit is going to happen, and it's all part of earth's neverending samba.
Lastly, I would like to bless you with some gems that our friend Catchdubs sent me a couple weeks back. First is the disgustingness that is Gerald Green's new shoe:
That is just disrespectful to the kvetching ghost of Red Auerbach. The Celtics were already scraping the bottom of the FreeDarko style rankings, and now this. This shoe might be the single-best argument against letting high schoolers into the NBA. I'd rather wear Marbury's and biker shorts. Killing me here.
Next up, a photo of Fat Joe standing next to a comically oversized Larry O'Brien trophy.