2.11.2009

Vain Gray Ovens



Real quick, and maybe better designed for the Twitter: When they first announced HORSE, I was deathly afraid this was going to turn into some racial bullshit. I mean, what gave that away harder than the "no dunks" rule, buried deep in the press release? The reason I objected to everyone's jittery Kevin Love nomination is that, like it or not, trick shots are the result of practice. That's (EDIT:) self-fulfilling gym rat shit, and it's almost unreasonable to expect anyone else in the field to pull off your ace in the hole.

Now, to draw an analogy I absolutely hate myself for, it's classical music from a score. Putting Durant, Mayo and Johnson in there, is—arghhh—improvisational. Instead of all aspiring to a set-piece one dude knows like his own hand, you'll have weird combinations of elements emerging on the spot. Okay, so maybe these three will do some preparation, but not like how the Other Horse would go down, or how they would do for the Dunk Contest (P.S. the "white" HORSE with, say, Love, Miller and Dunleavy would be the white Dunk Contest). Am I falling victim to stereotypes here myself? Maybe. Durant could very well decide he has to win this one. But given the kind of players, and personalities, these three are, you know they're not going to come with anything corny, or a shot that it's clear they've spent their whole life working on. I'm thinking lots of high-bounced, backboard use, and range. Like the Dunk Contest of consummate scorers. Now that's got a solid ring to it.

Keep those contest entries coming!

Sorry for the sloppiness in the beginning that makes it sound like I don't believe in African-American gym rats. I hope you all got my drift.

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17 Comments:

At 2/11/2009 3:14 PM, Blogger spanish bombs said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 2/11/2009 3:15 PM, Blogger spanish bombs said...

I also hate you for your metaphor, but am slightly (although not entirely back up to a neutral level) endeared by your deserved self-loathing.

Maybe the description would have been better served by a pencil and paper analogy (ie tracing vs freehand) or drafting (ie Auto-CAD straight lines vs Frank Gehry's curvy shapes...although then of course we run into Frank Gehry architecture being closer to trick shots than these hyper-competent shots of which you speak, but that sounds like a contradiction that would be right at home at FreeDarko!).

 
At 2/11/2009 4:23 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...

http://www.nba.com/hawks/feature/Preview_021009.html

 
At 2/11/2009 5:36 PM, Blogger mdesus said...

more blog posts that use my rapper/blogger name please

 
At 2/11/2009 7:31 PM, Blogger Will G. said...

at the mi ami show in pittsburgh last night the bass player was wearing the jackson for mayor tshirt. i'm kinda embarrassed how excited i was to see that.

 
At 2/11/2009 7:35 PM, Blogger appel82 said...

the only problem with your analogy is that good improv isn't purely spontaneous, and interesting concert music isn't always exactly the same everytime; how are you so confident that these three aren't going to pull out an old trick for the event? Yeah, i'm sure they'll try something new on the spot, but kind of hard to prove that it's not just a variation of a shot they practice, even if not too often.

 
At 2/11/2009 8:24 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

the only problem with your analogy is that good improv isn't purely spontaneous, and interesting concert music isn't always exactly the same everytime

Of course you're right, and I probably should've mentioned that. I guess I wanted to run away from the analogy as fast as possible, or was delivering it in its most laughable form so it didn't get too attached to me. But don't think I don't know this: I wrote my undergrad philosophy thesis on improvisation, time, identity and tradition in different genres.

That said, even if the contrast isn't so stark, and we're dealing with a spectrum here, I'm pretty confident we're still dealing with points quite distant from each other.

 
At 2/12/2009 12:11 AM, Blogger Mike Benjamin (TTK) said...

I agree with your comment about the improvisational quality that this H-O-R-S-E contest brings with the selection of Mayo, Durant, and Joe Johnson. Your comment made me think about those John Coltrane/Miles Davis combinations, that's for sure. I do agree with the above comments as well. They may just go ahead and just do some end-of-practice stuff anyway. I just hope they don't get bored with it and start shooting free throws or something to force misses from the other guys.

By the way, big fan of your stuff over here at Howard University. Keep it up!

 
At 2/12/2009 12:43 AM, OpenID tredecimal said...

@ Will G. I don't know what band you're talking about, but I will confess to also having thought "I am so wearing this next time I play live" when I ordered my own Jackson For Mayor tshirt.

wv: ovenesp- that shit Simmons has when he gets one of his french bread pizzas right like a NBA roster or whatever overbaked analogy he used...

 
At 2/12/2009 12:48 AM, OpenID tredecimal said...

nevermind, I'm an idiot, and wow, I think I have a new favorite band.

 
At 2/12/2009 6:25 AM, Blogger guidetokulchur said...

this is the moment, finally, when freedarko became the voice of self hating honkeys. the implicit acceptance of an essential racial divide is as much present in this post as it is in the countless t'wolves message board posts calling o.j. mayo a shiftless criminal and praising the love-mayo exchange for reasons of character.

 
At 2/12/2009 11:43 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

Can you be a little more specific, less self-important, and possibly read the exchange that took place above you in the comments section?

 
At 2/12/2009 12:11 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

Oh, and to clarify, I'm not saying that Durant, Mayo, and Johnson don't practice. Just that this isn't what they'd spend their time perfecting.

 
At 2/12/2009 5:43 PM, Blogger Robert said...

I typically feel like any comment I post on this site is amateur, mostly because I'm not a "liberated" fan (Go Nuggies!) and I am a basketball fan of only a few years, though I've taken to the whole blog universe because of sites like this (baseball is for statisticians, bball for alchemists). And it's also that thing where the internet has allowed me to burst into what seems - on a computer screen - to be a pretty ingrained little club. So I feel like a poseur, and I'm calling myself on it. Also, I'm not much a philosopher.
But honestly, I got exactly what was being pointed out about the depressing nature of a "practiced" H-O-R-S-E shot without thinking about race or all that. I think you'd have to be looking for it to get offended, and that sucks. Because it's something that I hadn't thought about, and I'm more stoked on Joe Johnson than I was initially.
The one thing I do wax philosophical about in basketball in J.R. Smith, because I am obsessed with his game and on-court parable. So I have to ask if you think these same improvisational dynamics will be helped or hampered by his last-minute selection, because he can seem to get in his own head sometimes - he may end up trying too hard. He's great because of his spontaneity, and I hope he doesn't watch the video from last year and think he needs to come up with some gimmick in three days (but the cupcake dunk was sweet).
See? I type stuff like that, and I wonder if I'm even getting it. Whatever.

 
At 2/12/2009 5:49 PM, Blogger Robert said...

The implicit being that the nature of the Dunk comp isn't really hurt by practice.


...Practice?!?!

 
At 2/12/2009 7:54 PM, Blogger Jim said...

Sorry to get away from the racial discussion and back to H-O-R-S-E, but...

What are the rules on foreign objects in this competition? I have a friend who was a semi-pro baller, and upon trying wheelchair basketball she said she was amazed how difficult it was. One idea for competitors might be a wheelchair shot, be it a 3 or even a layup. 10 minutes of practice and you could get it, and if your opponent has never done it, you're golden.

 
At 2/15/2009 3:56 PM, Blogger O said...

right on...maybe it's just me, but pistol pete looks dorky as fuck in those old school horse competitions.

 

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