In this week’s SportsFeat column, I marvel at the internal contradictions of the Bird/Dirk comparisons, then say some stuff about German identity. Though @thatkidiacrus may be right—hard to say that Serbs don’t have as much, if not more, to work through. And they are all over the NBA, being called soft.
Do these people still exist? If so, what do they make of the Heat and Mavericks this past week? I suppose you could have just tuned in to see them dismantle a late lead. The better teams won and all that; the youngsters collapsed, there was an air of inevitability about it, and everything that came before was rendered irrelevant. Except what if you care about process, context, or narrative, or more plainly, tension and release? In a way, an ending like tonight’s is even more dramatic. The Bulls had this game … until they didn’t, and the Heat swooped in to clinch the series. Same with the Mavericks on Monday. It was fun, scary, and overpowering. A nail-biter is one kind of story. This is another.
“As with the Rays and their unlikely journey from worst-to-first, the Celtics’ Process was sound, even in defeat. They knew their center wasn’t 100%, and they wanted a player they could keep beyond this season. They also surveyed the NBA landscape, and saw that their biggest threats were no longer the Magic and Lakers—two teams with dominant big men who required a stout interior defender to ward them off—but rather the Bulls and Heat, two perimeter-oriented teams who could best be countered by a big, versatile wing player who could help them at both ends.”—Jonah Keri, for GQ.com, on why the Celtics made the right move with Kendrick Perkins.
I feel like I have to write a think-piece defending the fact that I wrote an Odd Future think-piece, or scan in the Clipse think-piece I wrote for the Philadelphia Independent when “Grindin’” was first on the radio in 2002. Wait, that won’t work.
In this month’s Harper’s, Charles Bock (Beautiful Children) takes on FreeDarko’s Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History, George Dohrmann’s Play Their Hearts Out, and the entire landscape of sports journalism. We’re accused of “revisionism and hagiography”, and “tripping over our own ambitions”, but Bock suspects we may be fully aware of this. I can’t disagree on any counts—FreeDarko is one big inside joke that sought to make the world a better place, an absurd premise undertaken with the utmost seriousness. Depending on how you look at it, that’s either self-defeating or liberating. Anyway, Bock also has plenty of good stuff to say, and the essay is about way more than little ol’ us. Mostly, though, I’m just stoked beyond belief that we got written up in Harper’s. Top of the world!