Scoff and File
First, feel the rage of Dr. LIC's nightlife. And before this post gets any further, know that I don't agree with him that Garnett is "secretly boring", but am proceeding from his "KG has become hardened and humorless" line.
Last night's game changed many people's lives. I was not one of them, and as such feel like I should recuse myself from these Finals. Not because I'm some abject Lakers homer, or even blinded by my allegiance to Kobe Bryant (a purely invented one, right?). It's just become clear to me that the swirl of emotions I'm dealing with here have little or no relationship to ways and means of the 2008 Finals. So allow me to air these grievances one last time, take my lumps, and then disappear unless we end up going seven (we won't).
-My better half and I were supposed to go to some hot film festival ticket about Indians and human trafficking. Then she remembered grad school, and I was left driving downtown with a choice to make. The series wouldn't come back to life unless the Lakers one, but I didn't want to miss something important. So I drove to Jamal Crawford's bar, where I got to hear a bunch of Boston fans shout "Jesus" (Spanish pronunciation), "HAAAAAAUS", and not much else, and the Lakers contingent exhort LA to "shut 'em down," as if that were the reason for the collapse. I don't drink, and in a bar, really all there is to latch onto is the broad, basic endeavor of watching the scoreboard and bitching about fouls. It's hard to take in the game on any more subtle, informed, or non-hysterical level. That's why I kept nodding off during the third.
-Kobe Bryant is fascinating and supremely talented, but I wish there would be a gag order on him. Like Iverson once was, he gets people talking at length, which I guess is good. But it's always so tense, tendentious, and boring that I just don't care. Face it people, arguing about Kobe is like arguing about religion. It's never going to be a friendly, rational conversation. It's the grown folks equivalent of boo/yay, or Republican/Dem (circa when that mattered). I am beginning to realize that the Celtics are like this too, and the Lakers in general. I guess hatred is a solid emotion, but that's message board shit. And at the risk of sounding like an out-of-touch sports snob, I'm simply not that interested in that thick, poison air.
-I've been strangely oblivious to how hard it is to talk about the Lakers without falling into those tarpits. People, Kobe is a weird human being. As athletes go, try and find who better fits the old Greek stories. Lamar Odom is as close as this site gets to a patron saint, assuming that the expensive ones are all taken. Gasol/Odom is truly a thing of beauty. Farmar is an athletic Jew. I could care less about Los Angeles; I've never even been there. And it's not even like I relished every moment of the Shaq/Kobe dynasty—fine, I liked seeing Kobe win, because I selfishly like feeling like I'm witnessing greatness. But if anyone thinks for a second that I had more emotion invested in them than I did those Kings teams they vanquished, they need to check the archives. Webber belong in the same class as Odom and pre-Boston Garnett, the players whose plight fueled this blog for years.
-About Boston, again: It's true, I've spent a lot of time there and don't like it. And the Celtics endless history lesson annoys me, as I'm sure the Los Angeles one does, too. But admit it, that's not played up, exploited, even, in quite the same way. Here, though, I really just don't like this team. The defense is absolutely freaking amazing; what they did during the comeback proved that it doesn't take Josh Smith to land on the right side of my creative/destructive binary. That was like the anti-matter triangle, a system so forceful that it made the Lakers into scavengers.
But here's what really gets me, as articulated by someone who has seen only a few Celtics games this years: Except for the truly transcendent stretches of defense, this isn't a "greater than the sum of the parts deal" team. It's everyone involved, slightly muted, pieced together like a puzzle. Really, does this team scream "chemistry" to anyone? That's my team/individual beef. Teams should be about chemistry from beginning to end, not functionality. Again, I get that from the defense when it's really on, but the rest of the time, this team just does nothing for me.
And then there's the most flimsy, and maybe pathetic, reason: As I've said a zillion times already, three players I once really liked seem changed to me. Maybe it's the above stuff about the style, and what it's done to their games. Maybe it's the all-business attitude, or the corporate sheen that the 21st century Celtics were born to emit. I just know, however puerile this may sound, that Garnett's about to get a ring and I feel nothing. Actually, last night when he hit that wise-intelligent floater over Gasol down the stretch, I looked up and realized I was sitting under a signed KG Wolves jersey, with a photo of the younger, more vital Garnett bending and flexing all limbs at once mid-air. No shit that sounds like an objectification of the black body, except I could care less about him getting to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the honor of Hondo.
At this point, I really don't give a fuck who laughs at this, dismisses me as only liking obscure players, or claims it's all in my mind. Also I find it fascinating that I had no interest in Paul Pierce when he sunk into utter infamy, or now when he's riding totally high. Go take that one apart. But please, for the sake of my sanity, take a look at these videos from The Big Three before they existed, and tell me if you don't think some of that personality is gone. Sacrificed in the name of teleology, when I really wish they could've survived, on and off the court, with style intact. There is nothing wrong with a little frivolity or excess, right?
Also, fuck everyone.