Pram Magazine

Dark, dark times by the fountain of Shoals. For one, my laptop/couch set-up has finally caught up with my hands, arms, and wrists, and I'm trying to make a lifestyle change before it's too late. Also, I've been watching 2-3 episodes of Dexter a day, and now I keep hearing the "shit's ominous" music and a Michael C. Hall voice-over in my head. Hence the inactivity.

But let's not underestimate the degree to which the Gerald Wallace concussion has fucked with me. You think it's sad that Yao's out? At least he's not—gulp—being forced to consider retirement. The Pete Reiser-esque style points for this are off the charts, but let's be real. As a fan, this is really dismal. No less troubling is the "he must change his game" mutterings I've heard from the AP. Wallace has become far more rangy and guard-ish this season; it's not about that. It's not even about going to the hoop hard and inviting contact, the culprit in Dwyane Wade and T.J. Ford's respective stuttering careers. No, Wallace is being asked to turn off his motor. It's the only time in NBA history that it's been suggested that a player try less hard.

Oh, lest someone call me self-absorbed, GET WELL SOON GERALD!!!!!

Anyway, I know that with the Suns reconfigured and reeling, the Positional Revolution may no longer be relevant. But in a way, this Wallace injury is the dark side of that trend, what happens when it's stumbled into or falls into the wrong hands. Read this Rick Bonnell post, which turns Wallace's head problem into a question of his spot on the floor. Part of me wants to scream "reductionist" at it—both for the sake of GW's wonder and all that he represents—but this last, Moore-administered blow falls soundly in this category. Watch the tape: He's in the paint, guarding a big man one-on-one. Hitting the floor frequently is one thing, as is dunking a lot in the lane. I hope those don't have to go. Here, though, we have a plain example of why, on the most primeval level, small ball can be a terrible idea.

Speaking of which, the Rockets. Dr. LIC has already let us see his opinions on Yao; some of you commenters have me slightly amped about the Rockets going small, a lot because T-Mac's looked great lately. But let me make a true cofession: Rafer Alston drives me nuts. He alone keeps me from regularly watching Houston, even when I lived there. He's like a poor man's Jason Williams, or one of those nineties Knicks guards if he weren't on the nineties Knicks.

I wouldn't say I irrationally dislike the guy, like I do Shane Battier; if anything, he's one of the most gracious interviewees I've ever heard, and everyone I know who has dealt with him says he's great. It's just his game. It bugs me. Do any of you have a player who poses a similar stumbling block for your NBA consumption?

And I'll end with a very, very rough idea that might piss someone off. I've been thinking a lot about athlete's endorsements of Obama, and whether in this case, their voices matter more in politics. Oden's on board, Baron Davis has spoken up, and I suspect there will be more. Usually, athlete politics only get noticed if they're extreme. Otherwise, no one listens, and there's a functional church/state split in place. Also, I am by no means assuming that every NBA player will vote for Obama, or vote at all.

Here's the thing, though: Obama could be our real life FBP. Athletes are extremely high-profile African-Americans, in a business that, like it or not, is intensely racialized. I wonder if, for better or worse, they will have more pull—or at least have their endorsements taken more seriously, and them allowed the right to be political voices. Not because Obama plays basketball or whatever, but because an Obama election would, to some degree, end up being about race in America. And for many Americans, athletes are a big part of that puzzle.

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At 2/29/2008 12:39 PM, Blogger goathair said...

I can't stand Larry Hughes and Damien Wilkins. Those are the only guys in the league that I actively hate.

At 2/29/2008 12:40 PM, Blogger Ravi said...

Phoenix needs to get it together quick. Seeing them struggle like this wasn't unexpected, but it still hurts. I guess we'll have a more accurate assessment after 10 more games.

At 2/29/2008 12:42 PM, Blogger J.E. said...

Mike Bibby disgusts me.

At 2/29/2008 12:52 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...

Gasol, because he is so mincingly good.

At 2/29/2008 1:06 PM, Blogger New Orleans Nation said...

K-Mart: fraud.

At 2/29/2008 1:06 PM, Blogger The Hypnotoad said...

Bruce Bowen, Manu Ginobli, Tony Parker, Robert Horry, Michael Finley, Tim Duncan, and Brent Barry.

At 2/29/2008 1:48 PM, Blogger Sweat of Ewing said...

Tony Parker. I can't stand his game for some reason, not sure why, but maybe because I don't like to be proven wrong when layups that have no chance of going in, go in.

At 2/29/2008 1:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DeRon "Darren" Williams is really the only thing stopping me from having a thing for the Jazz.

At 2/29/2008 1:59 PM, Blogger The Cruise said...

Mid-90s era Jordan.

Clear out back to the basket at the 3 point line pound the ball for 10 seconds fucking boring ass bullshit.

At 2/29/2008 2:01 PM, Blogger paper tiger said...

on obama, there are things about the campaign that at times scream hoberman. like, the media attention that was given to his basketball playing, and michelle obama having said that it was important to her to find out whether or not he could actually play. there definitely seems to have been an emphasis on showing him to be a "serious" player, which i think contrasts with clinton's saxaphone as just a goofy hobby.

so on those hoberman lines- i'm with shoals on wondering what kind of weight the endorsement of actual players could have. and whether any actual effect from their support is just "evidence" for hoberman. won't he just see pathology there? "these are basketball players, not politicians- their support should not matter. um, the black community is damaged!"

At 2/29/2008 2:06 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

I really want to get a blurb from Hoberman on the book saying "this doesn't piss me off."

I don't think that their support should matter more. I'm wondering if, because it will, people might be more inclined to see how big a role race plays in sports (and vice-versa). No value judgment, just that it does. Hoberman can take it from there.

At 2/29/2008 2:16 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

@PT: I think Michele actually wanted to see how Barack played, not whether he was good or not. Like, whether he played defense, or whined about calls, or whatever.

At 2/29/2008 2:30 PM, Blogger josh said...

Although much of the blame is on Nellie for playing them out of position, Al Harrington and, especially, Mickael Pietrus fucking kill me with the inconsistency of their games.

Obama to the rim!

At 2/29/2008 3:19 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Gerald Wallace is about to become the first basketball player to retire with a football injury. Unless they let him wear a helmet on the court, I don't see how the hell he'll play again. That elbow from Moore wasn't even that vicious or abnormal in the game of basketball; if that can cause a concussion, then for Gerald's sake I hope he stays off the court. He's made his money, please retire.

And any of you who might argue otherwise are being selfish. I can dig that he might want to keep playing, and that's cool if he wants to give it one more chance. But otherwise there isn't any reason for him to jeopardize his future, to spend his 40's in a depressed suicidal inbalance mental state, just to play a game that he doesn't need to play anymore.

Sh*t is ridiculous, though. 4 concussions in 4 years playing basketball?!? What's next, Josh Smith having Tommy John surgery?!?

At 2/29/2008 3:22 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

BTW, I can't believe we made it through 12 comments (including Skeets!) without a single person picking Vince Carter. Especially when we aren't picking guys based on style or lack of skills, just pure hatred.

I personally kinda like Vince Carter, though, in an engimatic way....

At 2/29/2008 4:13 PM, Blogger paper tiger said...

@recluse- yeah, i think you're right, but i think even in that there still is an emphasis on one's basketball stylings as determinant/evidence of character.

@shoals- if there was any demonstrable yield from player support, i kind of imagine that it would be less likely to get people thinking about the importance of race to basketball as the importance of basketball to race, if you'll excuse the sloppy inversion.

i'm also not saying any of this out of a value judgment, it's just that i do see how the topic could be mobilized by a hoberman type.

At 2/29/2008 4:35 PM, Blogger goathair said...

SML - It's hard to hate watching Vince because there's a pretty strong chance your going to see something incredible. I'd guess it's easy to hate rooting for the team he's on, but the wow factor of his game is incalculable (no Michael Scott).

At 2/29/2008 4:38 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

@PT--I don't think that's sloppy at all. Let me try a different angle: If players aren't being given preferential attention, and are in fact just one group of African-Americans advocating for Obama, wouldn't Hoberman be for that? That's them using their position for something positive without overstepping it.

Fuck it, I'll just email him.

At 2/29/2008 4:50 PM, Blogger paper tiger said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 2/29/2008 4:52 PM, Blogger paper tiger said...

well, i think you'd know his position better than me, but what i think he'd be looking out for would be a situation like, say, an obama endorsement from a group of black nba all stars being given more credence than an endorsement by a group of black college professors. obviously you can't just judge "impact" from the volume of press coverage, and importance to the media is different from importance to the "community," but that strikes me as the kind of thing he'd be looking for.
also, just as an aside, i find charles barkley to be an interesting figure in this. on cnn saying he endorses obama because he believes that black children need role models that aren't basketball players (i can't remember his exact language), but running for governor on the strength of his popularity as an athlete.

At 2/29/2008 4:53 PM, Blogger Dan Filowitz said...

I can't watch any game that Mike Dunleavy Jr. plays in.

And I've come to loathe Zach Randolph, too.

At 2/29/2008 4:58 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

PT--Right, I just think he'd be all for an NBA endorsement that was kept in perspective. That sounds really inane, though.

At 2/29/2008 7:00 PM, Blogger John said...

Jason Terry's headband.

At 2/29/2008 7:58 PM, Blogger Andrew said...

It used to be I couldn't stand to watch John Stockton, but then, one day, not long before his retirement, something clicked in my head and I saw the beauty in his game.

Something tells me I won't ever see the same thing in Desmond Mason's game. Or Bruce Bowen's, Kirk Hinrich's, Stephon Marbury's (OK, the Knicks minus Nate Robinson, RayRay Balkman and David Lee), Kwame Brown's or Andre "Invisible" Iguodala's. There are others, but those are kind of the focus of my hate.

Oh, and Dwyane Wade. UGH.

At 2/29/2008 9:06 PM, Blogger T. said...

Dirk, Kenyon Martin, Francisco Elson, Troy Murphy, Mike Bibby, Jason Terry, and Richard Jefferson.

At 2/29/2008 10:25 PM, Blogger T. said...

I didn't even realize it . .. I guess I hate the University of Arizona.

Who knew the Houston Rockets would be the new positionless revolution banner carrier? They're currently running a lineup where the tallest player (McGrady) brings the ball up and shoots it, while Bobby Jackson, Battier, Landry and Alston run around and get open for shots or rebounds.

At 2/29/2008 11:35 PM, Blogger Caleb Tyler Adam said...

andrew, you're so right. dwyane is a horror to watch.

while we're on it, isn't will oldham trite these days?

wv: hedda - turkoglu ripping a bowl

At 2/29/2008 11:58 PM, Blogger Amphibian said...

I want to reach through the screen and slap the shit out of Dan Dickau every time I see him play.

I think it's the shoe/sock combo.

Let me disregard general apathy and organizational mandates for a moment.

I ask: Is the general silence of athletes the result of an unwillingness to step into a realm where the reporters and media are more in control and possessing of the facts or an interest in expediting the interview process with blandness?

At 3/01/2008 3:43 AM, Blogger gordon gartrelle said...

Antoine Walker!!!!
Bruce Bowen
Zo in his prime
Larry Hughes
Steve Francis
Jamal Crawford
Eric Snow
Kobe from 2 years ago.

At 3/01/2008 5:15 AM, Blogger breene said...

Raja Bell

At 3/01/2008 8:38 AM, Blogger rebar said...

i hope to god for the gerald wallace rule: helmets. it could become his trademark. like rippy ham w/ the facemask.

steve nash
patrick ewing

At 3/01/2008 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Delonte west (I think it's the neck tattoo), Dwayne Wade, Donyell Marshall, and Mike Dunleavy Sr. I know he's a coach, but the man is absolutely repulsive. I eventually had to turn off the Clips-Nuggets game because of him.

At 3/01/2008 2:11 PM, Blogger Martin said...

Wally Sczerbiak!, also back when he still used to play I fucking despised Rick Fox and Samaki Walker- basically everyone on the 2000-2004 LAL team not named Shaq, Kobe and Horry.

At 3/01/2008 2:55 PM, Blogger Ryan said...

Michael Redd is the John Edwards of Basketballitics.

There's something very pretty about their game, but they constantly teeter between insuperable egocentricity and self-destruction.

At 3/02/2008 5:19 PM, Blogger JTExperience said...

Larry Hughes.




Tony Parker.

At 3/02/2008 9:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


derek fisher



deron williams

At 3/02/2008 10:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot stand Carlos Boozer.

His annoyingly high arced shot irks me, as well as his caterpillar sized eyebrows.

I find the Jazz in general nearly unwatchable...
I would also add Matt Harpring, Antoine Walker, Damon Jones, Robert Horry and Maggette to that list.

At 3/02/2008 11:45 PM, Blogger BW said...

Bruce Bowen. Everything about him.

Alonzo, too.

They both have aggravating facial expressions.

At 3/03/2008 4:58 AM, Blogger Tom said...

Completely agree about Rafer. I throw him into the same boat as Jameer Nelson. Do these guys have any qualities you want in a point guard? I guess they're pretty respectable at dribbling but what the fuck is that.

Also, i'm personally insulted by Marion's jumper. It's cringe worthy every time.

At 3/03/2008 10:45 AM, Blogger Nicholas said...

I haven't actively hated a player since Karl(y) Malone. That guy was bigger than a Mac truck and used to flop worse than Ginobli. He especially loved to fall down if someone tried to run through one of his screens. What a punk.
Also hated Danny Ainge, but that was a while ago.
Bill Lambier and Kevin McHale were hateable, but they were the NBA equivalent of professional wrestling's "heels". You were supposed to hate those guys. I never really hated them, I was just entertained by their antics.
I challenge anyone to name a player with an uglier offensive game than Mutumbo. I love Deke, but he is absolutely worthless on the offensive end of the floor. I don't know how many times I've seen him miss 2 foot putbacks.

At 3/03/2008 1:52 PM, Blogger americanmidwestsamurai said...

The significance of the black athlete in the context of race in America is undeniable. Alongside Oprah and Hip Hop, it's the most accessible African-American institution to "mainstream/white" American culture.

So when a dynamic politician as compelling as Sen. Obama enters the conversation--and he establishes a public relationship with other power brokers in Black America including the likes of NBA basketball players it's a hell of a phenomenon.

We can only hope that this isn't merely a political transformation, but a cultural one that can in some small way, inspire a new positivity in the identity of Black America.

At 3/04/2008 11:51 PM, Blogger josh said...

Heretofore ambivalent, I'm beginning to hate Pau Gasol...talk about your ragged-ass Bolshevik whiskers.

“And stop pointing that beard at me, it might go off!”
–Groucho in A Day at the Races

At 3/05/2008 8:10 PM, Blogger Bigman Shoes said...

Friends won't watch Spurs games with me anymore as I have a tendancy to lose my shit anytime I see Manu and Oberto out on the court. I have actually begun to hate the entire country of Argentina simply because of these two. I find myself trying to convince friends planning trips there not to go simply of their game. At least Vlade the flopper was good for a few laughs and generally ineffective. The problem with Manu is that he wins games along with driving me nuts.
Wade falls into this catagory as well along with any guard/sf that simply throws themselves at a defender every possession and gets foul shots.


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