5.01.2009

The Gift of Metric Tons



I'm trying to think about comparatively huge moments in NBA history since FD's inception. For Kobe's 81, we went with a visual pun; there may or may not have been paeans to offer, or perhaps that was just the easiest way to avoid some bullshit "did it matter" debate. LeBron's murder of Detroit prompted a treatise on divinity's arrival. The Warriors upset of the Mavs had all sorts of ideological implications, at least for this site. I would provide links for all of this, but I barely have the wherewithal to type this much. Because at the end of the day, that game last night wasn't about one team vs. another, or individual players defining themselves. It was a long, varied, contradictory, increasingly strange and improbable, and then at the end, almost aimlessly miraculous series of basketball tableaux.

Early on, I was wrestling with my inability to criticize Rondo, from the wild foul at the end of Game Five right through the Hinrich assault. By the end, I'd forgotten all about him, and what seemed to matter most was Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah lighting the way to the future as much, if not more, than Derrick Rose had since the first half. And then there was Rose with that block, as iconic a play (and call) as I've ever seen (and heard)—an instant snapshot that set up his rivalry with Rondo way more than dueling stats ever could. In between, you had a stretch of Ray Allen, king, and then John Salmons, the possessed. This was the kind of game that defied narrative, at least the linear kind that works best with sports. What are the talking points? The conclusions to draw? All I know is that, when Rose sent that ball back at Rondo, the dynamic between the two was about so much more, and less, then their respective stories. Or even one team refusing to lose, as Rose put it. That, my friends, is basketball refusing to die, which leads it to contort, exploit, and transcend itself like the history of life on Earth.

Leave the tall tales to mankind. This was about a kind of gnashing, terrible, and magical story that's best explained by Darwin or a particle accelerator. For one day, FreeDarko respectfully, and necessarily, will pass the buck to men less tawdry than ourselves. If such a student of basketball does exist.



A couple other things:

-If you want to catch our most raw (pure?) live-blog ever, visit the Twitter record from last night.

-Another epic looms on the sports horizon: Boxiana has been exhaustively surveying this weekend's Pacquiao/Hatten fight. Here's part three; you are also advised to check out its predecessors. Seriously, I only know about three boxers, and this stuff has me considering dropping coin for this fight.

-Not to scare or shock you, but this might be the end of FD as we know it. I can't get into details quite yet, but in the very near future I will be getting a whole lot more busy. Also, this is my fifth season, and playoffs, writing about the NBA on FreeDarko. That's not to say that I'm out of ideas, or that new reasons to blurt out don't regularly present themselves. But I've got my favorites, my preferences, my blind spots, my theories. Intellectually, I would like to open up this space a little more—and keep a high level of content going, since I don't want to either spread myself thin or too often turn into a pale imitation of myself. In the past, we've had some remarkable guest lectures, from the likes of Dan Hopper, Matthew Yglesias, Brian Phillips, and The Dugout. That's also where we first convinced Tom Ziller and Joey Litman to become recurring members of the team.

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What I'm envisoning—and maybe this is hopelessly naive—is an incarnation of FD that is less a blog written by yours truly, more a venue for a new kind of sports writing loosely connected to whatever it is that this site has come to stand for. We're already moving in that direction with the podcast, which as you can see, is only partially me or other familiar names talking into the mic. I do occasionally try and reach out to people for guest posts, with mixed results. Here, though, I'd like to officially open up the floor for submissions. If you have an idea, pitch it. You don't have to have a track record, but it helps. It doesn't even necessarily have to be about the NBA—witness Ufford's ode to Adrian Peterson. But if one of the greatest strengths of FreeDarko has always been its lengthy comments, and our community seems to include an unusually high percentage of good writers . . . well, don't be a stranger.

-Finally, the Rockets. Artest might be the real story of these playoffs, and that makes me happy, but get ready for months upon months of T-Mac bashing. I have given up on defending the man, not because it's impossible, but because I obviously want to end up with a sympathetic view of the man. So instead of embarrassing myself, I'll close with a video of McGrady as I like to remember him. Like Sebadoh said, remember the good times.

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18 Comments:

At 5/01/2009 1:39 PM, Blogger Headless Chicken said...

I still believe the good times will come back.

 
At 5/01/2009 2:48 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

That video just ruined my day....

in the bittersweet sort of way.

 
At 5/01/2009 3:44 PM, Blogger Obsolete Venacular said...

Thanks, Shoals. I'd forgotten how good McGrady was back then, so explosive. I'd like to think he can come back, but it would be delusional to think that, at his age, he could fully restore the health of his body back to where it was when he created these highlights. Aside from the obvious Orlando connection to Penny, it's hard for me to shake the feeling that McGrady is in the same mold. Is there any reason to think that he's not washed up?

 
At 5/01/2009 4:29 PM, Blogger David said...

Add to all those T-Mac highlights the "13 points in 35 seconds" show in 2004 against the Spurs, just one of the most amazing things I have ever seen on court. The highlights from the Magic days are largely athletic feats, but his court vision & awareness, and his passing skills, should allow him to come back successfully if he can accept that his game will have a different basis. If he can do that, and come back in shape, then he could return as a sort of pass-first shooting guard, if such a thing exists. And obviously he could run the point late in games, but as a pure point guard I don't think he cold cope on the defensive end with the speed of Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Tony Parker et al.
Much as I have enjoyed the Rockets' success since hid mid-season departure, I would welcome him back.

 
At 5/01/2009 4:37 PM, Blogger djturtleface said...

T-Mac throwing the oop to himself in the All-Star game was the moment that got me completely hooked on NBA.

 
At 5/01/2009 5:08 PM, Blogger ronald james davis said...

Reading various accounts and watching highlights of last night feels like walking over the battlefield the day after trying to figure out what the fuck just happened. Unbelievable. If the Bulls somehow win this series, is "The Block" one of the all-time plays in NBA history? I realize its only the first round, but still.

I don't even know if I'll be ready to watch basketball again by the time tonight's game starts. I feel like I took mushrooms or some shit after watching that.

 
At 5/01/2009 5:39 PM, Blogger Andy Feldman said...

Agreed, what a surprise to be graced with almost six minutes of Magic T-Mac.

I had remembered some very impressive string of seasons with TMac leading the Magic in numerous statistics.

After a little research via basketball-reference, I confirm T-Mac about led the Magic in four categories (points, assists, steals and blocks) each of his years, coming in second to rebouding to Grant Hill all but once, when Pat Garitty led the Magic in rebounding.

What a sad state he is in now. After watching the verocity he often summoned in Orlando, I am inclined to believe his claim to have a nagging injury.

 
At 5/01/2009 6:22 PM, OpenID whataboutrob said...

Is it just me, or was Reali wearing a FD shirt today on PTI?

-Rob

 
At 5/01/2009 8:29 PM, Blogger Ben said...

I'm still having a tough time envisioning THE Bethlehem Shoals leaving FreeDarko. The posts were so much more than simple journalism, but I'm sure this is only the beginning of better days.

My mood right now, just like the site, is definitely "crestfallen".

 
At 5/01/2009 8:37 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

Who said anything about leaving?

 
At 5/01/2009 10:07 PM, Blogger David said...

Apparently Rondo won't be penalized any further for his elbow shot at Hinrich. But Dwight Howard was suspended a game for his. Hmmm.... makes ya think don't it....

 
At 5/01/2009 10:42 PM, Blogger Ben said...

From what you wrote, I assumed "busy" would mean not enough time for the blog. Relief to hear I'm wrong - and that Skeets and Abbot haven't monopolozied the blogosphere quite yet.

 
At 5/02/2009 2:15 AM, Blogger Queso said...

I don't often contribute to the comments section but I want to show my gratitude. My grandfather was a writer and I have the fortune to meet the people who used to read his column and books and they are always so grateful for his writing. I think it is important that I express my gratitude for freedarko because of all the times it has eased my mind to find my feelings about the NBA.

 
At 5/02/2009 6:09 AM, Blogger Alexander J said...

I want to pat everyone on the back who thought that Shoals was speaking directly to them, and perhaps them only, with his most recent loving soliloquy.

It's really great to see Artest and Yao having such a country club atmosphere when discussing prior incidents involving everyone's favorite PETA spokesman. The fall of one Tracy Mcgrady is directly tied to some fatal gene that he and his cousin Vince must share; Rick Adelman is doing his thing from Arco to SingSing. It's kind of like Joy Division turning in to New Order; maybe that's a tad morbid, but there is something so goofy about these Rockets. Yao would definitely be Peter Hook.

 
At 5/02/2009 6:59 AM, Blogger Abe said...

try again troll

 
At 5/02/2009 10:43 AM, Blogger David said...

T-Mac as Ian Curtis? I never saw that connection before.... Next week the Rox may well have a Blue Monday.

 
At 5/04/2009 12:36 PM, Blogger Tony Christopher said...

Way back before photography existed, artists would paint pictures of flowers in full bloom. The McGrady video feels like the modern version of that idea.

 
At 5/10/2009 3:11 PM, Blogger tray said...

I don't think that noting that T-Mac is completely washed-up today and had become a net minus to his team detracts from what a great player he once was. It's just kind of elementary math that if you subtract a player who takes a ton of shots and shoots 38% from the field and plays little defense, you're going to get better. But that doesn't say anything about his career as a whole.

 

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