Shoals All Around You


-I'm covering the Bonds trial for The Daily. Will be in the court room next week; for now, here's one of my preliminary columns. Let them know if you enjoy my work for them!

-For TheAtlantic.com, a piece titled, simply, "Deconstructing Jimmer".

-The formidable Jonah Keri had Eric Freeman and me on his podcast, and we brought with us some haunted spirits that messed up the technology. Nevertheless, a spirited (ha!) and thoroughly enjoyable conversation.

Got a few other things in the works, too.

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At 3/24/2011 7:18 PM, Blogger 7.5 PSI said...

I actually was thinking today about Jimmer and race, and wincing at every Maravich comparison, and thought, I bet Shoals will write a barnburner about this, but you went all sneaky and respectable instead. The Gil comparison is both interesting, and a beautiful bit of trolling, though.

It really just is an uncomfortable moment for basketball: it's embarrassing how big he's gone, that he's exposing how much happier the nation is watching a pretty white kid. But I have to admit, I'm enjoying the highlight reels anyway.

At 3/25/2011 9:22 AM, Blogger W2 said...

So are the ratings through the roof for the NCAA's due to the opportunity to watch "Jimmer's Tournament" or the opportunity to watch whatever game you want.

Love the Gil connection.

At 3/26/2011 9:09 PM, Blogger Henry Bemis said...

I am commenting on your Fredette article here because the comments section over there seems overrun with what one can only assume is the cult of the Bright MorningStar, the second coming of the Mormon Jesus. Of course this is all about race. I can't even think of the word Mormon without it feeling heavily weighted with the subject of race. Whether it be the LDS's history of blatant racism, or their current forays into hard right-wing populism.

Fredette (to his detriment) will become the Messiah for the woebegone, downtrodden (and notably almost entirely white) "used-to-be" fans of the game. A few years ago when college ball was overrun with pure talent (Oden, Durant, etc) not a peep in the mainstream news/topical conversation shows. Yet now, his name is everywhere as if The Jimmer will save us all from the evil realm where basketball currently exists. That is my FAVORITE line that is always pulled out; the one that is always some permutation of "it takes it back to the way the game is SUPPOSED to be played. Fundamentals and good defense." For instance, in Rob Kirkpatrick's article (3.23 HuffPost) about how Duke hating is reverse racism he gives his version "I can't help it; I simply enjoy watching Mike Krzyzewski's team win year after year by playing disciplined, fundamentally strong basketball while avoiding the showboating and individual-over-team play." This wanting of a more pure game is hardly a whisper away from wanting a more "pure" player base; as if by setting more and more inhibiting modifiers on how the game is played can lead to a culling of some of the "less-than-desirables" that play the game. Why would anyone want to make the game more bland unless they wanted only the bland style of play to succeed.
In the comments on numerous recent Fredette stories online there is always that attempt to place the limitations in order to prove his greatness.
Who else scores like that?
-Who else guns the damn ball like that?
What other white player takes over a game like that?
-Steven Nash, Dirk Nowitski, Manu Ginobli
OK, um, well… what other white, American born player….(the "white, American-born" modifier is the clue to the fact that this is primarily a problem within the dominant paradigm of white American culture)
And so it goes.

Race, in this conversation, far less about the game than it is about life in contemporary America. It is not the problem, but a symptom.
Because white middle class America spent decades isolating itself from all forms of minorities in this country, most actively the African American communities.
Because beginning in the high-flying, white flight era of the late 60s until the mid 80s, there has been very little cultural interplay, and thus increasingly less inherent familiarity and comfort with styles that erupt and adjust within these hermetic communities.
Because this can't even be rationally discussed, without some insane emotional revulsion erupting.

At 3/26/2011 9:12 PM, Blogger Henry Bemis said...


This is not to attack Fredette (the player) but Fredette (the cultural psychosis). Have we completely forgotten that each of these highly productive players in the NBA are all YOUNGER than Fredette : Tyreke Evans, Evan Turner, Brandon Jennings, Jrue Holiday, John Wall, and Blake Griffin. Fredette is essentially a varsity player racking up points against the JV team. The 7th grade practice team for that matter if we are to follow the comparison and to also continue to support the premise that he is an NBA caliber superstar guard.

Is he fun to watch, sure. So was the Oden & Connelly combo, or Kevin Durant for that matter. I don't remember ANYONE without a sports show mentioning them. Were those Duke teams that are still so worshipped really that much better or more fun to watch than the Runnin' Rebs or the Fab Five?
That may be the past, sure, but what about the many other overlooked players right now. Personally I think Kemba Walker is going to have a FAR more productive career than the potential NBA's Tebow.

Fredette may be good, even great now; everyone sings well in the shower and hits threes on their driveway hoop, that is what comfort zones are all about. Or is this just another Bobby Hurley, Danny Ferry, Damon Bailey? Remember the promise of Damon Bailey?

(PS I do see the Gil connection, Fredtte is a gunner, quite often PAINFULLY so, this complete unpredictability is what makes him fun to watch. I don't think the focus is on whether or not his play is "white" but that his skin is; and this provides formerly disenfranchised whites to feel vested once again.)

At 3/26/2011 9:14 PM, Blogger Henry Bemis said...

Ha. I accidently typed Steven Nash. (among other rambling shit)
Just thought it seemed paternalistic of me though I am much younger than he.

At 3/28/2011 12:34 PM, Blogger W2 said...

All those who have been sleeping on the NBA while college hoops has been rolling, have missed the most amazing Memphis Grizz fighting hard to there playoff lives. I post this here because the juxtaposition of Fredette and Tony Allen seem to make tons/non-sense!

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I will be bookmaking its podcast. It sounds interesting that you were there with those people.

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