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!
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.
My most vivid memories are of that rookie season, when Westbrook had so little control over himself or the game, when he seemed convinced that logic was not an essential ingredient world domination. What we saw this season was a player who, in effect, learned his lessons from composure only to cast it aside. Inverting everything we think we know about how players grow, he started wild, paid his dues, and then came out on the other side less repentant than ever, but with mystique and an innate sense of how to trick himself, and others, into believing that he was still on the path to self-improvement.
That wasn’t Westbrook yesterday, at least not any of the ones I know. There was no glint in his eye, no ear-to-ear, dine-on-guts grin. His crossover was deliberate, heavy; the announcers calls it “hard” but it felt like a “smart basketball play”, not an impulse. In the fourth quarter, he snatched a steal out of mid-air, took off at something like full-speed, and then clanged the dunk into the stands. He didn’t even seem that upset.
Free Darko founder and GQ correspondent Bethlehem Shoals on Russell Westbrook, then and now.
I wanted to sleep, but this wouldn’t let me.
My soul left my body and hovered over it, watching, in the third quarter of Grizzlies/Thunder. I had to watch it off of DVR, and I couldn’t help but check the score beforehand, so this—not the last buzzer—was the reckoning I kept. Westbrook, whose demonism has gone from horror-movie chic to more ordinary menace, slowed at the top of the key, leaned in, and rocketed a pass to Durant for a straight-up-and-down dunk. Like an human exclamation point, set up by a blasted semi-colon. I didn’t cry out, cheer, or any of my usual reactions to this kind of play. Almost every single movement on the court by Durant or Westbrook holds my attention; for me, this should have been been the ultimate pay-off. Instead, I was just kind of annoyed. Not because I did or didn’t want to see the Thunder score, but for how frivolous it seemed in the broader context of the game. The play came across as a fluke—the difference between oasis and mirage. It wasn’t true or real, in whatever senses of those words you feel like deploying.
I still don’t even know if I like the Grizzlies, who batter the middle, chase ad hoc buckets, and come off as at once haphazard and grounded. It is, indeed, understandable smooth shit that murderers move with. On Friday, I wrote that Memphis’s win over the Spurs didn’t have the “prophetic tinge” of Warriors 2007. Maybe I spoke too soon, at least on a personal level. Or maybe, with the Grizzlies, the details are just finer, and less separable from the overall effect, than with the latest Durant/Westbrook air strike.