Mr. Liver's Sunday Memo
One thing I've learned while working on this book: I like memories. I prefer players as I remember them from day-to-day than the fussy business of paying attention. So sue me.
I also cannot overstate the importance of the purely outrageous in my view of basketball. Writing about Josh Smith and Gerald Wallace over the weekend was like a spiritual experience, exactly because I took off the shackles and restored them to their rightful place beyond the sun. I'm sorry, I can't fake it—my skin shrivels when I hear NPR commentators dip their feet in the "poetry of this Super Bowl match-up" waters, but I'm always going to tend toward basketball as transcendent spectacle.
That's why I'm totally stoked about this year's Dunk Contest, which is beginning to take on surreal features. Green, Howard, and Gay are currently debating, McLaughlin Group-style, over just how high the hoops will be raised. Are you stealing my silver? This is outright mutiny, taking all the pageantry of the post-Vince artifice and pretending it's just not there. The judges, the system, fucked up by wronging Dwight. Time to take matters into their own hands, and do so with grand, public, possibly insane bragging that the NBA is powerless to guard against.
Gerald Green is like the NBA's verison of a suicide bomber right about now. I still don't get how his scoring and flash can't help some long-suffering franchise, but whatever, he's fast slipping away. So he stakes it all on the impossible, and just dares the league to calm him down, or his foes to back down first. I was bummed about trading Rudy Gay in my fantasy league, until I found out that John Salmons has been spending time with his wife's tricky pregnancy, which is TOTALLY KINGS, going all the way back to Webber. Plus I now have every single Atlanta Hawk on my team.
What really rips this all to shreds is if Howard gets some small-man mobility and flexibility going. Say he duplicates J.R. Smith's around-the-back dunk from 2005—most criminally-unheralded entry in the ritual's whole history. That would indeed, as the gophers state, change the game.
Things that would make the Super Bowl: If Google bought Tom Brady and Plaxico Burress accidentally sat on his mixtape collection. Other than that, I'll be busy making the perfect salad.
Damn people don't respect the Dunk Contest enough. There is most definitely a trickle-down effect from what happens out there to a players' on-court juice. Another reason why J.R. got robbed.