I live with his decisions because he has a pure heart.” The terrible thing about losing is that it makes you sentimental. Winning makes you sentimental, too, but mostly because it fills you with an exaggerated love for the people who helped you along the way. Losing makes you want to defend the people you love who’ve disappointed you. But you can’t say that stuff, because to the people who don’t feel the loss the way you feel it, you’ll sound like a moron, or worse, a mystic. When you lose, I thought as I joined the crawl toward the on-ramp, and you want to hold on to the past that you’re afraid is about to slip away from you, you have to say the opposite of what you mean. What Brooks should have told the media was not “Kevin Durant is pure of heart”; it was “sports is the worst and it sucks and I hate it.
Any sane basketball fan should be mourning for the Thunder and for themselves. Not because they look shaky without Westbrook; what team doesn’t lose a bona fide superstar and then experience some aches and pains? Instead, we should allow ourselves to admit that Durant/Harden/Westbrook was a glorious thing and miss it profoundly.
Worked on this new Kevin Durant Nike ad. Directed by David Gordon Green!
Worked on two Foot Locker spots that dropped today. Here’s one of them.
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!
Kevin Durant KILL KILL KILL. In 2007, I did a SLAM feature on Durant when he had yet to find his way in the NBA. Stumbling, I asked if it bothered him that some folks worried he was too low-key. I got an answer that sounded a lot like this one, especially in the tone. He’s been one of my favorite players ever since. Durant, for all his mildness and good manners, is unmistakably real, even abrasive, when he needs to be. And in the end, that KD can be a jerk makes him that much more endearing.
Russell Westbrook’s glasses. I think they’re on par with THE JACKET; the Recluse begs to differ. Certainly, when coupled with Durant’s backpack, they come off as blipster Halloween get-ups. Also, they’re an awesome metaphor for where Westbrook—the player I can’t and won’t stop writing about this spring—is at right now. From GQ.com:
Sacrificing none of his explosiveness, or even his signature unpredictability, Westbrook nevertheless acknowledged a team concept and the need to make friends in public places. He became even harder to figure out—more options in the basketball sense makes for more options, metaphysically speaking, which means, really, anything could happen. Except Westbrook also seemed to also embrace the possibility of control, or maybe just agency, as a way to stay tethered to his team, this planet, and the second before last.
A minor fashion statement, maybe not even the lasting meme I had hoped for. But it’s part of Westbrook coming into his own, and all of us hoping he ends up on the right side. This was some much-needed levity, and at the same time a reminder of why we care so much. Still trying to figure out how to tie this into Rashad McCants poem about glasses and soul (click here, scroll to the bottom). Help?
(Photo via @LBSports)
I really wanted to write about the Mavs today. Like that was going to happen. Today’s piece at GQ.com: Did Westbrook go somewhere uncharted last night, and should he find some new friends?
“Durant spreads love. Westbrook, just doing his thing, tried their patience, pulled them back in, and finally, left them resentful. The team has never been known for its ball movement, a problem that doesn’t simply trace back to Westbrook. But for once, they felt fundamentally uncomfortable with Westbrook’s presence. Durant is reassuring, calm. Westbrook causes aneurysms on the spot. It’s not his behavior, or performance that threatens the Thunder—it’s what he stands for as a basketball player.”
I think I conclude that Westbrook belongs on the Grizzlies.
…while there is only one Durant—a frighteningly multi-dimensional player who can wreak havoc at just about any spot on the floor and from whom we have yet to see at his very best!—there are always a few guys like Westbrook kicking around. And those flashy point guards get traded when it’s time to actually win—just ask Jason Williams.
He said it, not me. And I love Westbrook.