3.20.2008

Mayo/Beasley IS HERE



First of all, SORRY DAVE BERRI. It's true, you recognized that scoring means something—even if you'd still prefer it be expunged from the earth. I was just perplexed by your insinuation that "these might have been valuable players" that went directly into "but they wanted to score, so we have to be offended by their lack of scoring opportunities." It seems to lend itself to a "they were the ones playing real basketball, even if they didn't know it" formulation. Even if Berri gets that the cultural valence of scoring was as important as win shares here.

Other Black Magic thoughts: Chris Paul's friendship with Clarence Gaines puts his FBP-ness, through the roof. If only he were a little taller. Also, having two Stovall Sisters songs on the soundtrack is a weird combination of esoteric and lazy. I hate that Steve Miller is the backing band on those.

My real big issue with the series is in fact that same old Nelson George versus John Hoberman conflict. George feels that style is a socio-cultural masterwork, one that grew out of black institutions, official and otherwise. Classic NYC street ball is kind of the dilluted, or subcultural, or vernacular, version of that. And when Jordan starts terrorizing the league, or the post-Jordan era happens, there are still some vaguely political, or at least principled, ideals present in the choice to play like that.



Hoberman, of course, thinks that it's anathema to read too much into mere athletic performance. However, I think he would look sympathetically on, say John McClendon, who built a network of acolytes playing his "shoot every eight seconds" style. It's not that the fast break itself meant something, but that it came out of a McClendon's institutionally-supported originality, which went on to create its own network. This was style as infrastructure. That it was incomprehensible to whites, and seemed to embody some vaguely evocative qualities of "black culture" is nice but not essential. And if it does turn essential, then the romanticization of style takes place.

Which is what made Black Magic so weird: It couldn't decide whether it was the story of these networks, or of individuals who passed through them. Or maybe the point was that every player who went through these programs was an agent of this legacy. Still, it's hard to square the "style as personal expression" logic with the "vessel of original institutional thinking" angle. Also, the star turn given to Pee Wee Kirkland really undermines the latter, especially seeing as the whole hidden history had an undercurrent of respectability and Dean Smith-like reach.

Okay, a few other things. Did I mention that we're in the home stretch of the book, and that it will blow your mind, and that my hands have me this close to becoming the Gerald Wallace of amateur NBA writing?



Some outside links I find particularly useful. All written by us:

New Quotemonger
This TSB post I did about whether this season's lacking in charisma.
Dr. LIC Deadspin column is on the horizon.
DESHAWN STEVENSON APOCALYPSE

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15 Comments:

At 3/20/2008 1:22 PM, Blogger Ghost Deini said...

I can't wait to get a copy of the book and go door to door with it Jehova's witness stylee. PREACH.

 
At 3/20/2008 2:37 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

The Deshawn Stevenson post had a throwback vibe to it... back to the days of social commentary masked in irrelevant basketball talk. Man, that was a beautiful post Shoals. Reminded me (subtly) that one of the foundations of FD was Billups (of admiration of Billups).

 
At 3/20/2008 4:18 PM, Blogger Ryne Nelson said...

From the 47:29 minutes I've seen of Black Magic, it's a civil rights school video that I'd actually stay awake to watch.

 
At 3/20/2008 4:32 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

I wish their names were Mayo Beasley and O.J. Michaels.

 
At 3/20/2008 6:56 PM, Blogger Pooh said...

I wish I had never heard the name Dave Berri. Snake oil salesmen hear his stuff and are like "wait, you're buying THAT shit?"

 
At 3/20/2008 7:59 PM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

If I had the name "Ovinton J'Anthony" I would never shorten it and make everyone call me by my full name. Just saying.

It's also great that the referees decided to put Beasley out of the game early. Great choice.

 
At 3/20/2008 8:27 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

Fuck this shit. Because I live in Seattle, I have to watch Washington State if I want to use an actual television. So I'm using this bullshit internet player, which, unlike the NBA League Pass one, can't be made full-screen. Whatever, I can still tell this game blows.

 
At 3/20/2008 8:40 PM, Blogger Bstone said...

Feel your pain, Shoals. I at least get to see my Belmont over Duke prediction have a shot in hell because of the NC locale, but the cable feed I'm getting for the other channels is the absolute worst quality I've ever seen.

How is it that CBS doesn't buck up and make six HD channels available for digital subscribers during March Madness? Or, even easier, just make sure ALL OF YOUR CAMERAS ARE HD. PLEASE.

 
At 3/20/2008 9:05 PM, Blogger Nate Jones said...

I'm sorry, but college basketball with all of it's structure and all of its zone defense and ticky tack fouls is just not entertaining at all. I'd much rather watch the Kings play the Warriors than spend my time watching this sort of basketball.

 
At 3/20/2008 9:13 PM, Blogger Abe said...

how about switching from Belmont 70/Duke 69 with a minute and change, to WSU 71/Winthrop 40 for the fucking last minute of the game.

 
At 3/21/2008 1:49 AM, Blogger Ronnie said...

the iverson return feature on inside the nba after the games tonight: saddestfuckingshitever

 
At 3/22/2008 5:03 PM, Blogger Leonardson Saratoga said...

not that G'Town is totally not right-way, because they are in the sense that any team in college (R.I.P. the Drake) is, but if they and Wisconsin both win today/tomorrow, we are headed for a riveting white v. black, Right Way v. Ewing Jr. matchup of the century. I am maddened by college ball as much as anyone else on here, but that would be a game the FD crowd would certainly need to have its collective finger on the pulse of.

 
At 3/23/2008 8:27 PM, Blogger Leonardson Saratoga said...

well then, we get to see Stephen Curry (who I would constitute as FD simply because HE'S ONE OF THE ONLY FUCKING PLAYERS IN THE COUNTRY THAT CAN ACTUALLY MAKE A FUCKING BASKET IN CRUNCH TIME [i'd say CD-R too but he can't hit a free throw]) take on Brian Butch, aka the spawn of basketball satan

 
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