Chris Herren, former Nuggets and Celtics guard, and son of the Boston metropolitan area, has a new memoir out called Basketball Junkie. His hometown of Fall River looks pretty nice, so I’ll refrain from pulling out references to The Town, and I’m sure his last name is an unlucky accident. There are plaques around Seattle (a major dope town) to commemorate famous herons, and no one laughs about those. There are two kinds of people in Seattle: oppressively healthy, and virulently unhealthy, and never the twain shall meet. Anyway, about Herren’s book: I read an excerpt in SLAM, and it was gripping enough. The title, though, opened up (ahem) an old vein for me. “Basketball junkie” or “hoops junkie” have always been two of the sillier bits of lingo in the sports lexicon. I wish someone could tell me that they sprang from the streets, where drugs were a real risk.
Alas, I suspect they’re an absent-minded usage in the finest post-Trainspotting/heroin chic tradition. But whatever, I DID NO RESEARCH. Just thinking out loud on ye olde Tumblr, which is way safer than that beastly Twitter. So while this is something of a wake-up call to that expression, it’s also an irony that never should have been possible in the first place. It also makes me that much more uncomfortable at two of my favorite business names: “Bath Junkie”, a national chain, and Seattle’s “Thai Junkie”. Do these people even know what “junkie” means? Didn’t they see the movies? Bathtubs have a very literal place in the literal world of real junkies; it’s where they’re put in case of near-death. Similarly, Thailand is lousy with smack, as both a pipeline and a place where tourists can cop for their pleasure. I get that these are meant as innocent word-play—”What? Us, sleazy?”—but instead of divorcing themselves from reality, they’re sunk in deeper than I think they’ve ever considered. Oh well. At least it’s not “Tie Junkie”, which is what I initially assumed it to be.