Line ‘em up. Lots of good stuff to read this week.
Essay: Trolling Lakers Fans
Spencer Tyrel (Spencer Lund)
Here’s the thing: the Lakers don’t even suck this year. There are ten teams with worse records than the Lakers, and three other franchises last year. Within the last two season, almost half the league has been worse than the Lakers! And yet, everywhere I look I see Lakers fans bitching, moaning and groaning. Lakers beat writers act like they’re in Syria dodging bullets, rather than reporting on whether Dwight looked a little too happy during a loss. It’s not that I want to laugh at other’s misery, it’s that I want to laugh at other’s self-righteous misery. As Spencer Lund writes in his beautifully wordsmithed essay, “The same way a bourgeois dandy looking around nervously in my Kingsland Avenue bodega allows me a small chuckle at their flustered interaction with my lower income neighbors, so do your endlessly entertaining eruptions of woe on Twitter after a single loss.”
Pain: Defining our Future One Injury at a Time
Dancing With Noah
In this melancholy trip into the painful past, Fendo takes a look at the All-Pain team; former high draft picks whose pasts, presents and futures have been deeply altered by catastrophic and chronic injuries. He uses his imagination, and a nifty little graphic, to provide an interesting dreamscape about how the NBA would look if players like Gil Arenas, Brandon Roy, Greg Oden, Andrew Bynum and Eric Gordon had careers that were defined more by their exploits on the court rather than rehab and setbacks in the training room. In his discussion, Fendo offers perhaps the best metaphor for how we, as fans, regard acute injuries to our favorite high-profile players: “it’s a massive boulder being tossed in a kiddie pool and me and you, the fans and writers and hoop heads are the little kids sitting around in our swim trunks, wondering what we’re going to do now since the water’s all gone and that boulder simply can’t be moved—because we can’t, with all of our will power and technological advances, make Greg Oden get well soon.” Well put, Fendo.
Blazers’ Lillard is Just a Little Kid from Oaktown
The other night, when Portland lost to Golden State, Damian Lillard was the only Trail Blazer to show up. Lillard scored 37 points on 60% shooting: the rest of the Blazers scored 60 on 30% shooting. Just another stellar game for the Portland’s rookie PG? Not if you saw the copious shots of the deliriously happy luxury suite crammed with Lillard friends and family. In this wonderful article, Candace Bucker chronicles Lillard’s homecoming, how he went from East Oakland to presumptive Rookie of the Year favorite. As a man who loves Oakland more than I can properly explain in words, I will always root for Lillard to succeed.
Sunday Musings: A Stern Solution to Seattle and Sacramento’s Battle for the Kings
Emotions have been running high since Wednesday, when the news broke that the Maloof brothers were close to selling their team, the Sacramento Kings, to an investment group of billionaires that intend on moving the team up to Seattle to replace the departed Sonics. There has been ample sniping between Sonics fans excited to get a team back in their city and Kings fans (and Sacramento residents) who rightfully feel they aren’t being given a proper chance to voice their opinions and save their team. As such, Cowbell Kingdom founder James Ham (and director/producer of “Small City, Big Heart”, which all should watch to get a firsthand, subjective view of the relocation situation) offers his idea: get David Stern involved, and have him grant Seattle an expansion team. Ham does not think that Seattle’s wrong needs to be righted with his city’s team, and that the most cost effective solution that will please all parties involved will be to allow local Sacramento owners to buy the team, and for Seattle to get a team with no prior baggage to ruffle through, and no previous history to ignore and change. It’s a great thought. I hope it can happen.
Sheed and Stack in the Big Apple
Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace are two of the oldest players in the NBA, and have been a part of the league for nearly twenty years now. They were teammates on the same high-profile UNC team in college, and were both lottery picks in the 1995 draft. Both of their careers have had major highs and lows, but the important thing is, as players and professionals, they have survived and thrived. Jonathan Abrams does what he does best: access multiple sources and a litany of opinions from different people who interacted with both Sheed and Stack throughout the years to create the fullest, most contextualized view on these two guys possible. In the end, we are left with a wonderfully illustrated image of how a player redefines themselves to survive in a cutthroat league, and make personal and professional changes to keep getting work in the National Basketball Association. This, I think, is the best article I’ve ever read about “getting old” in the NBA. I’ll say it as many times as I need to: whenever Abrams writes an article, a long-form angel gets its wings.