8.13.2007

Cramp Sandwich



Look, I know I promised some important posts this week. This despite the fact that I'm still not yet fully settled. However, I started them all, and decided they were all bullshit. They included:

1. NBA snobbery is the new hip-hop, and the new Soviet avant-garde, in that it's both populist and elitist. This had something to do with moving to Seattle, but devolved into football-bashing.

2. "Badness," in sports and art, is played out, and only means something anymore if it's shot through with traces of decency. Then it can be both resilient and human. This theory explains both Freeway and The Wire. And actually, if you go back to the term's sixties origins, there always was that backward glance at optimism and productivity. Then I ended up attacking Allen Iverson and got bored.

3. Clay Bennett and his goons are beyond worthless, like if they were players this would be point-shaving and holding out combined in one. Oh, and they're also the professional athletics equivalent of Tom DeLay and will find hell accordingly. No one needs to hear me stick up for blue states.

Instead, here's the most profound words/image combo I've seen in a decade. Skeets (after I Heart KG) inadvertently made me look at Al Jefferson's site, which included his breathtaking logo. I'm sure some of you were in talented and gifted classes as children, so you remember tangrams real well.



And then I found this free-associative interview with Jefferson in the Pioneer Press. My thinking, which I might flesh out at a less defeated date, is that the key elements of this correspond to key geometric events in the logo. Any fool can see it spells "Big Al," but I'm trying to see how also encompasses key aspects of Jefferson's persona like dinosaurs, time machines, Mississippi, and a very cheery last supper. I like shit like The DaVinci Code and The Fifth Element; little did I suspect that Al Jefferson would lend himself most readily to this treatment of all the players in the Association.

21 Comments:

At 8/13/2007 8:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Jeffs' interview has been getting a little more attention than it probably should. The Pioneer Press runs one of these Twin Cities athlete interviews weekly, and the questions Big Al answered are the usual fare (An example, Vikings backup QB Brooks Bollinger:
http://www.twincities.com/sansevere/ci_6552084?nclick_check=1 )

I hope this provides some perspective, albeit diminishing Jeffs' bright shiny new MN star. Having said that, his Hefner answer was a bit more candid than most MN athletes tend to be.

 
At 8/13/2007 8:58 PM, Blogger David said...

Welcome to Seattle, Shoals.

Get ready for 4 months of non-stop NFL bandwagonery (I'm Seattle born-and-raised with past residence in LA, so I can vouch for the newness of these "fans" and the Seahawks threads they pimp.)

Love your work, and appreciated your brief thoughts on the OKC rapists. Looking forward to an Ode to Stern after he crushes this bourgeois subversion.

 
At 8/13/2007 9:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is NBA snobbery a new thing? I may sound stupid, but is FreeDarko the mouthpiece for a whole movement, or just the sum total of 50 random people the world over? It's hard to tell on the internet, and I've yet to find a mid-20's hipster that knows anything about professional basketball, much less obscure Euro's of the late 90's that washed out of the league. Apparently they are out there though, as the commenters here attest. Frankly, I want to be friends with someone who knows the ins and outs of Anthony Mason's post game, the steez of Marlo, and why and Freeweezy and the Microphones would be good remix material.

 
At 8/13/2007 10:38 PM, Blogger T. said...

anon@9:04 - somehow, I don't really see Marlo story as being central to season 5 - maybe I'm obtuse or something, because obviously the rise of Marlo was a key point of season 4. I'm thinking Simon might focus on Michael's rise within the Marlo organization as the anchor to the street story.

And Mase's real genius wasn't his post game - it was being a THICK ASS 6'8" power forward . . .who handled the ball. Aside from Magic's 1996 comeback - there's never been a player like that.

 
At 8/13/2007 10:49 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Word up, Mase was the point forward, but instead of Pippen/Odom's slim athletic build, he did it with pure power. It was unique, to say the least.

Shoals, if you don't start posting soon I'm gonna fly out to Seattle and unpack your sh*t for you.

 
At 8/13/2007 10:57 PM, Blogger J.E. said...

Anthony Mason was the 'Best Kept Secret' /
So shut the fuck up and peep it

 
At 8/13/2007 11:47 PM, Anonymous endtroducing..... said...

Shoals, if you rewrite the first idea, Ill give you a shiny nickel.

 
At 8/14/2007 12:22 AM, Blogger salt_bagel said...

I've never been sold on Mase's lore. He just never seemed like an inspired passer; his niftiest stuff still seemed forced. To me he was more on the level of "we can trust this guy to bring the ball up, and sometimes make something happen." Barkley could have done what Mase did if he didn't also have the power to score on everybody and everything. This makes me a party pooper, I guess.

wv: hdwvvvsf: hi def, west virginia; vice-versa, san fran.

 
At 8/14/2007 1:19 AM, Blogger goathair said...

I agree with salt_bagel; Mason never particularly impressed me. It always seems more like he was handling the ball because he could and not because he did anything extraordinarily well. Kind of like how Black Thought is with the Roots. Sure, he's technically skilled but he mostly just bores me.

 
At 8/14/2007 1:46 AM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

I've been watching a ton of Knicks games (okay, maybe only five at most) off my backlogged DVR lately (I've got Game 7 of Rockets series on now, actually) and I haven't really been that impressed by Mase. Certainly unique, but I think the idea of him is more interesting than the actual player, which may be why his legend seems to have grown with time. The best thing about him in this game is the "Mase" and "M" shaved into his head and eyebrow, respectively. I will admit, though, that I'm not really into what I'd consider the prime Mase years yet.

 
At 8/14/2007 3:25 AM, Blogger T. said...

I'm wondering if my memories of Mase are colored by the fact that he shows up in two Beastie Boys lyrics.

 
At 8/14/2007 9:47 AM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

anthony mason certainly had a unique game, but i think his being on those knicks teams has elevated his stature a bit (unpack that, SML!!!). salt b. nailed it when he said barkley had the same handling and passing ability, but combined it with a superior scoring and rebounding package. i'm still a mase fan, though, but making him into more than he was is kind of like saying that ini album was on par with "mecca and the soul brother": revisionist history.

 
At 8/14/2007 10:46 AM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

I agree with ya'll (even Brown Recluse, begrudgingly) - Mason's reputation as increased over time. I don't think he ever topped 5.3 apg in a season, or ever was anything more than a 6th man type or a 4th scoring option.

But don't forget that having a big man handle the ball was still an abnormality at the time - only Pippen had ever done it, and Pippen-Jordan was obviously understood to be a once-in-ever combination. Seeing Mason (a poor man's Oakley) doing it, without the athleticness of a Pippen... well, it inspired bigs everywhere. That's how you get your Kevin Garnett (who averages like 5 or 6 apg every season, or better than Mason's best season).

Sometimes you don't have to be great to be influential. Tim Wakefield ain't winning Cy Youngs, but I wouldn't be surprised if there aren't a ton of young pitchers right now saying "F*ck that, he's lasted 20 years throwing a knuckleball? That's how I'm going to make to the bigs." And in 10-15 years, you might see a crop of knuckleballers in MLB, because Wakefield showed it can be done.

Mason showed it can be done. His stats aren't impressive because his game wasn't really impressive. But his influence is probably greater than anything he actually did on the court.

 
At 8/14/2007 12:45 PM, Blogger J.E. said...

Didn't Mase lead the 'gue in minutes played one season? That’s pretty impressive for a man of his stature.

 
At 8/14/2007 1:08 PM, Blogger Andy Geneslaw said...

Yeah, Mason was thick-as-mentioned, but it wasn't fat. The guy was jacked to all hell, and in phenomenal shape for someone that big. I remember watching the Knicks warm up at a game when I was little, and I was blown away because Mason could move so quickly.

 
At 8/14/2007 1:25 PM, Blogger EL MIZ said...

here is a good trivia question. does anybody know who anthony mason considers his brother?

A: jay fiedler, the white, jewish, NFL quarterback.

apparently they grew up in the same foster home or some shit.

 
At 8/14/2007 1:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Mase and Fiedler as brothers is totally FD.

 
At 8/14/2007 6:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darkofan: Mason is recalled as having lent his name one summer to a summer camp in Eldred NY, a Castskill Mountain foothills area, a few miles from Barryville (which is by the Delaware).

It was during a time when he had cases pending in the criminal justice system and had fallen out of everyone's favor.

The camp was a kind of forlorn, under maintained , deserted place. It was strangely appropriate that it would have Mason as the featured basketball instructor.

 
At 8/14/2007 8:25 PM, Blogger salt_bagel said...

I'll defend Thought as part of my reflexive urge to rep Philly: He's not typically a mind-blower, but he can certainly integrate with the groove, and there's something to be said for that.

 
At 8/14/2007 10:31 PM, Blogger Nate said...

I haven't seen the video since it happened in 93. But during one of the Knicks home games in the 1993 Conference finals vs. the Bulls, Mason scored on a break away lay in and then got in (i believe) Scottie Pippens face and proceeded to stick his tounge all the way out. I have no idea why he wasn't called for a technical, but after that play the Garden got jacked. If not for Charles Smith...

On another note, it's not like Mase was NBA innovator when it came to carving messages in his head. Wasn't the worm the first? Can we please get an FD post about him?

 
At 8/15/2007 3:49 AM, Blogger rebar said...

the importance of baskeetball snobbery cannot be understated. being from the northwest, i can honestly attest that i have A. no interest in seahawks football (or football in general) and B. believe that anon 9:04's stroke of remix genius would only be improved upon if we could somehow remix stephen jackson with the beatles song "i wanna hold your hand"

 

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