April 5th, 2011
From a piece on the Knicks and Jewish identity that I did today for Tablet:"What made the Ward Affair especially jarring and sad was the team it  involved. For reasons historical, allegorical, and even theological, the  Knicks are without question the most Jewish franchise in American  professional sports. It’s not just the New York City thing. It’s that  the team, more than any other, represents basketball’s increasingly  distant Jewish past, projected onto the present."The Charlie Ward Affair, one of my favorite episodes in recent NBA history, figures prominently. Sadly, a gut-busting line about Larry Johnson’s membership in the Nation of Islam (“at least if it had come from Johnson, it would have made sense”) didn’t make the final cut. Grammar was the culprit, but it does raise the larger issue of whether it’s unfair to make Nation of Islam jokes at Johnson’s expense. The Nation has, at times, espoused some rather outlandish beliefs about Jews, and has never really succeeded in a convincing about-face; granted, Johnson himself has never been a part of this, so you can’t really accuse him of anything directly. But right to kid is different from proof or guilt, and this opens up an entirely different can of worms: The familiar “identity-through-persecution” could be reborn as a bloggy, stylized “who has the coolest repression references”. Knowing someone might be out to get you is, I suppose, a great way to show you’re down. It certainly worked for Isaac Babel, didn’t it?

From a piece on the Knicks and Jewish identity that I did today for Tablet:

"What made the Ward Affair especially jarring and sad was the team it involved. For reasons historical, allegorical, and even theological, the Knicks are without question the most Jewish franchise in American professional sports. It’s not just the New York City thing. It’s that the team, more than any other, represents basketball’s increasingly distant Jewish past, projected onto the present."

The Charlie Ward Affair, one of my favorite episodes in recent NBA history, figures prominently. Sadly, a gut-busting line about Larry Johnson’s membership in the Nation of Islam (“at least if it had come from Johnson, it would have made sense”) didn’t make the final cut. Grammar was the culprit, but it does raise the larger issue of whether it’s unfair to make Nation of Islam jokes at Johnson’s expense. The Nation has, at times, espoused some rather outlandish beliefs about Jews, and has never really succeeded in a convincing about-face; granted, Johnson himself has never been a part of this, so you can’t really accuse him of anything directly. But right to kid is different from proof or guilt, and this opens up an entirely different can of worms: The familiar “identity-through-persecution” could be reborn as a bloggy, stylized “who has the coolest repression references”. Knowing someone might be out to get you is, I suppose, a great way to show you’re down. It certainly worked for Isaac Babel, didn’t it?

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    probably my favorite finals series….wait, playoff series ever. EVER.
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    GRANDMA-MA!!
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    Strong Arm…
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    LJ , 4 point play
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