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.
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.