Love in Exile

(WARNING: Women's bare asses below. "NSFW" but absolutely necessary here.)

For a good time, watch Kings/Bobcats on a Wednesday night. That which barely need be spoken: Kevin Martin is insanely underrated, quick on his feet and to the basket more like any other top scorer than "next Reggie Miller." Crazy unorthodox with every shot, and plenty of his movements, to the point where I think he confounds even really good defenders. His mechanics are their own language, like Sacramento were a basement he's been locked in for years, but chosen to continue his education nonetheless. Like a cross between dictionaries in jail, Kasper Hauser, and someone who assimilated our Periodic Table of Style on a micro-level. Plus his whole pre-hood, Fresh Prince-era look makes him all the more displaced, foreign, alien. Where else could he exist but the nether-place that is the Kings? That's a true original, or space beast hiding behind the cloak of "the artist" and our over-dependence on reading cues of appearance.

As predicted, Francisco Garcia is vital and just does it all when given confidence-through-minutes. Those announcers' whole "Nocioni and Gooden are the future" talk is serious back-sliding, though I'll forgive them since they obviously don't know shit about Gooden past where he was drafted. It was nice to see that Wallace, once unsung, can now have opposing teams shook from end-to-end after one or two possessions. And what's really funny is that, rather than stalking the floor as a possibility, the mature Wallace is a real presence, having finally married his non-stop grinder's grind with a quixotic string of applied highlights. No one else in the league makes you feel that splitting defenders for a dunk is as much "effort" as "skills," but that's what Wallace has finally become. He doesn't scrap, or hustle–he exerts. Plus, as much as it pains me to make analogies like this, he's become the Predator, right down to the vaguely shamanistic appearance and sado-masochistic tendencies. This is where country and funky opens out onto an atavistic future, impossible to trace far enough back or locate on the horizon. No shit this is the second Predator movie, which is like a combination of Dead Presidents, The Jerk, and Left Behind. I have watched it twelve times.

The point of this post, however, isn't to remind myself that there is joy in visiting old friends and finding out that, on some level, you kind of don't know each other anymore. It's to remind us all that, while Wallace became more guard-like and fluid over the last few years, it's under Larry Brown of all people that's he found some measure of consistency, or at least a way to remain constantly relevant rather than maraud when the chance presents itself. Brown didn't even want Wallace at first, but now, he's created a more focused GW—even if the numbers are down. You could chart a similar arc for Diaw, who irony of all ironies, has seen his career rescued by Larry. Once thought to be the ultimate SSOL player, Diaw's now shown that he's capable of taking advantage of his myriad point-center skills while holding down the middle with some authority. On paper and in person, he's more productive than with D'Antoni, the coach who invented him.

But let's not forget that this maturation is taking place UNDER LARRY FUCKING BROWN, who despite his tempestuous relationship with Iverson has never exactly been one to suffer dynamism or template-busters. It's almost as if, after the utter fail in New York, and the subsequent hit sustained by his reputation—at best, LB was over, if not permanently open to criticism—he's sublimated his outlook, made it less literal. Brown doesn't preach "The Right Way" as a serious of dictums or proscriptions, but as a way players can tailor their individual games to some of the abiding necessities of playing the game of basketball. Which is to say, he's gone from authority figure to mentor, trusted by players who want to win and want to get better because he uses who they are to run common sense basketball.

This may be premature, and based entirely too much on two players. And yet in Charlotte, Brown has the chance for a new beginning; over-sensitive nut-case that he is, or subject to burning out/mellowing with age as are all men who push themselves and others too hard, it's not implausible that he's had a change of heart. It certainly beats phoning it in, which is certainly impossible for a coach like Larry Brown. You could say he's compromised, but I prefer to see it as a great basketball mind having finally discovered the principle of compromise. Or as the ultimate proponent of coach-centrism coming to terms with a player's league, something that's kept Popovich on top for as long as it's been.

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At 2/26/2009 4:32 PM, Blogger Anthony Wilson said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 2/26/2009 6:22 PM, Blogger Anthony Wilson said...

Excellent final pic.

I always wanted to know: Are the pictures you guys use in your posts just random, or in some abstract way related to the prose?

At 2/26/2009 8:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is obvious and as always much less profound than your statements...but GW is the Cats AI. Brown meets him half way and finds out that he can harness his internal thunder while balancing him with some "Right Way Guys." Had Jordan traded Wallace thee would be even more egg on his face, which is hard to fathom (GM Jordan that is). Now all Charlotte has to do is challenge for a title and history will repeat itself.

Re: Wallace. The man scares the hell out of me. There is not one single player who tears into the Celtics like this man. Nobody (I am sure there are tons of stats to prove otherwise,. but the Cats always give the C's fits and it is due largely to the Wallace Hurricane.

Wilson...dude in mouth symbolizes Larry Brown's ego coming out to take a look around.

Naked butts equals Brown's Compromise. Shoals wanted to post nude breasts but thought better of it.

At 2/26/2009 10:35 PM, Blogger Oz said...

Nice piece Shoals, was just wondering if you had seen the espn/truehoop story today - 'How is Josh Howard like global warming? How is Devin Harris like a Béla Lugosi flick? How is J.J. Hickson like Joe Smith?'

I couldn't believe this when I saw it. It isn't as blatant as the article describing shotblockers as different animals, but still a ripoff nonetheless.

do they have no shame?

At 2/27/2009 1:58 AM, Blogger Greg said...

Wallace and Diaw have both been great under Brown, but it's worthwhile to note that the largest improvement on the team this year has been by Okafor. He's shooting a career best 56% (which used to be even higher) and playing some of the best D of his career, all while maintaining around 11 boards a game.

The fact that he seems like the perfect player for a "right way" system kind of camouflages just how much he's improved.

At 2/27/2009 3:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


you speak a language that intrigues me. you have..."basketbility"...that is; you have hoops-panache. i like your evaluation. very FD. and the last comment, a bit too...perfect. a bit too visceral; too sly. your comments intrigue me far more than any comment i've read on this godforsaken wasteland for b-ball enthusiasts and over-killers. please, indulge.

At 2/27/2009 12:23 PM, Blogger The Other Van Gundy said...

@Oz: The FreeDarko crew doesn't have a patent on metaphors, man.

wv: affixed. What are the odds of that happening?

At 2/27/2009 1:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No Jamal tonight in a prime time darko matchup of the above mentioned Cats and the Golden State Jax's. Nellie-Watch is full on. What will the man think of next. The mascots can't play right?

Brian thanks for the love. I figure you must have been drunk and/or busting my balls perhaps both.

At 2/27/2009 3:34 PM, Blogger NEIL INTERNET said...

what coffee shop do you write at?

At 2/27/2009 3:39 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...

I thought the Williams sisters were Predator 2.

At 2/27/2009 6:20 PM, Blogger fil said...

I think players always liked Larry Brown if he liked them. They knew he could win. Not to say all of his shtick always made sense, but players played hard for him. And sometimes I wonder if he should really be blamed for what transpired with the Knicks. It's possible he was just trying to stay with sanity in what's determined to have been an insane environment.

At 2/27/2009 8:19 PM, Blogger Dave Fonseca said...

STEPHON MARBURY IS WEARING NUMBER 8. The Celtics are now the most FD contender, especially with Moore on the court with Marbury.

At 2/27/2009 9:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nary a note about the rendering of LBJ mortal last night by the men of Screwston? 7-21, no assists? We can still come together to praise great men when they, also united, humble a god. We are all witnesses to that too. This is the most excited I've been as a Rocket fan all year. Or, as Simba will put it when the streak gathers his attention, "The Rockets are like a really hot girl who could never get her shit together around some douche of a guy, but now that they're free of each other she's started combing her hair & wearing black pants."

wv: Keersa- the name of the hypothetical Simba girl

At 2/28/2009 3:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


....your evaluation is both profound and simplified - as much as I love a strong metaphor, please don't revel in your own talents as a metaphorous wordsmith; this post, friend-o, is majestically incorrect. first, consider the scope of the "rockets", that is; please consider all the facets of the rockets; are women that complicated? even so, (hypothetically) let us suggest women have this equally inherent depth; there is still a level of false-ness to the post you projected. Ah, I am far too inebriated to fully subject myself to protesting your post, but nonetheless I fell like you should lament your intuition. Perhaps I'm off base, however, I am a journalist and therefore I remain as objective as I can possibly be without sacrificing the human element within us all.

in conclusion:
1. @tredecimal - refrain from lofty metaphors.

At 2/28/2009 2:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


-if you're a journalist, thank god newspapers are dying. then again, journalist is right up there with "DJ" for things that make you sound less important when you announce yourself as such. I recommend you switch to your non-dominant hand for awhile.

luckily the brilliance of the defensive job on LBJ did not escape Krolik's notice.

At 2/28/2009 6:01 PM, Blogger O said...

i want the ass on the far right

At 2/28/2009 7:03 PM, Blogger wondahbap said...

Haha. I'm not the only one....

I always thought Martin looks like he still wears Cross Colors jeans and a HBC* hoody. Straight out of House Party 2. He definitely cuts his own hair. That early 90's sudden fade.

*Historically Black College

At 2/28/2009 7:32 PM, Blogger wondahbap said...

Discovered the principle of compromise?

Larry's been compromising since AI. Upon reflection, I think the job Larry Brown did in Philly was the ultimate compromise.

AI was the exact opposite of what LB wants in a player, yet the team was tailored and coached to fit AI's strengths and weaknesses. They made the Finals. Something AI has not had since. Denver was full of teammates too much like him, and now, he's with the carcass of LB's other compromised masterpiece, who were the opposite of him.

With the exception of Tayshaun, the rest of that team was on 2nd chances. Brown molded them into Champions and they promptly folded when he left.


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