May 27th, 2011

"It was me. Turnovers. I guess fouls—if you call it that." Rose showing us something in last night post-game presser. It’s not Durant’s fury, but it was good to see him get a little snide. That can be part of frustration and disappointment, too. Self-flagellation isn’t the only way to be.

May 27th, 2011

That’s what a “kibitz” is, according to Google image search. Here’s an excerpt from what it means, on GQ.com, when it’s David Roth and I gettin’ deep about the NBA Playoffs:

Shoals: You know how they say “all politics are local?” Well, all Bulls ads are local.

Roth: The thing with Rose, if I can put on my Brand Manager Cap (it has earflaps!) for a moment, is that the Chicago connection works for him. LeBron is from no-place at this point. Spiritually, he has apparently always been from a gated community near Miami. I think you’re right that the thing that works about the Rose commercial, and maybe doesn’t work for you about Rose, is that he seems to mean it—it feels like he cares because I guess he’s repping his stuff. All the best sneaker commercials have that. There was a Melo one in Baltimore I remember really well that way, with a creepy cameo by a nodding Jim Boeheim.

Shoals: “His stuff”. That sounds like you are saying he’s earnest about his balls.


Next week, the Finals!

April 10th, 2011
I have to be careful what I say about Derrick Rose. My opinions on him are heterodox, stubborn, and probably relevant to no one but myself. Basketball is sometimes best kept to one’s self, like shit you tell your therapist or your cat. However, today something dawned on me: How much of the Rose-for-MVP narrative is about him being the anti-LeBron? Derrick Rose has emerged as the Good Son figure, over the summer, Kevin Durant was being groomed for. Oh high irony, that Rose was there, all along, in Durant’s shadow in Turkey. Now Rose is everybody’s favorite player, a new kind of point guard, and the flash point for the stats vs. gut war that I though the NBA got over before it started. Rose can seemingly do no wrong—if he’s less than perfect, well, damn it, he deserves credit for improving or trying. Durant, on the other hand, is looking less like a transformative figure, and more a very tall, classic SF who scores a lot for a very good team.I wonder, though, if the Chicago-ness of Rose gets in the way of his filling this (prophetic) role in quite the same way Durant was meant to. Durant could belong to everyone because, in a sense, OKC as a basketball town remains a work in progress. Especially to the outsider looking in. LeBron was a league-wide villain; Durant was ideally positioned to counter that, showing great faith to a small market that, to many, was more symbolic than anything else. Rose’s South Side story perhaps gives him an even closer bond to the team, but it also makes him much more the the property of that city, those fans. And let’s not forget, Rose came to the Bulls a decade after Jordan left, with some good, if ultimately disappointing teams, in between. Chicago can’t help but be in the equation; Chicago may also be standing in the way of Rose’s ecumenical appeal. Rose couldn’t possibly be more adored, and yet who is he fighting for: NBA fans writ large, or the Bulls, who will then make converts of the world just like they did under Jordan? 

I have to be careful what I say about Derrick Rose. My opinions on him are heterodox, stubborn, and probably relevant to no one but myself. Basketball is sometimes best kept to one’s self, like shit you tell your therapist or your cat. However, today something dawned on me: How much of the Rose-for-MVP narrative is about him being the anti-LeBron? Derrick Rose has emerged as the Good Son figure, over the summer, Kevin Durant was being groomed for. Oh high irony, that Rose was there, all along, in Durant’s shadow in Turkey. Now Rose is everybody’s favorite player, a new kind of point guard, and the flash point for the stats vs. gut war that I though the NBA got over before it started. Rose can seemingly do no wrong—if he’s less than perfect, well, damn it, he deserves credit for improving or trying. Durant, on the other hand, is looking less like a transformative figure, and more a very tall, classic SF who scores a lot for a very good team.

I wonder, though, if the Chicago-ness of Rose gets in the way of his filling this (prophetic) role in quite the same way Durant was meant to. Durant could belong to everyone because, in a sense, OKC as a basketball town remains a work in progress. Especially to the outsider looking in. LeBron was a league-wide villain; Durant was ideally positioned to counter that, showing great faith to a small market that, to many, was more symbolic than anything else. Rose’s South Side story perhaps gives him an even closer bond to the team, but it also makes him much more the the property of that city, those fans. And let’s not forget, Rose came to the Bulls a decade after Jordan left, with some good, if ultimately disappointing teams, in between. Chicago can’t help but be in the equation; Chicago may also be standing in the way of Rose’s ecumenical appeal. Rose couldn’t possibly be more adored, and yet who is he fighting for: NBA fans writ large, or the Bulls, who will then make converts of the world just like they did under Jordan?