Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Best Versus The Favorite

Walk around Los Angeles over the weekend and you would find an inordinate amount of Kobe Bryant jerseys. Its obvious many of the people are wearing them in support of the Lakers playing in the Finals but what isn't so obvious is why they chose to wear Bryant's jersey over many other more likable Laker's jerseys. Magic, Worthy, Divac, West, Baylor, Van Exel, AC Green, Karl Malone, Mark Madsen, Irwin M Fletcher or even Kurt Rambis. I'd even settle for someone slicking their hair back with Riley Grease of donning some of Jack's amber tinted sunglasses. So why does the majority chose a Kobe jersey over anyone else? Its because he is the best. The debate about whether or not he is the best player in the league is still open, but he is clearly the best player on the Lakers even though he is the least likable. Pau-bacca gives him a run for his money at times, but those are few and far between.

Come with me for a moment as we shift away from the hardwood and put on the headphones. The reason I'd like to explore the topic of best vs favorite isn't another ridiculous Kobe Bryant debate. It has to do with music. Specifically Josh Ritter.

The best song on the newest Josh Ritter album, So Runs The World Away, is undoubtedly The Curse. The lyrics show an acute attention to detail and are constantly folding back on themselves making the song deep and rich. The waltz piano places the story in a time where people who fell in love had a penchant for dancing. The story is unique, unforgettable and timeless. Everything about the song elevates it above the other songs on the album. Yet its not my favorite song, and maybe not even top 3 on that album. (Lantern, Change of Time and Folk Bloodbath are its fiercest competition) So why don't I like the best song on the album? Its nothing personal nor is it a personality trait where I have the undying need to always dislike the best. The Curse just doesn't connect with me like the other aforementioned songs. I can clearly see why it is the best song, but that isn't enough for me. Just like knowing who the best player is doesn't make me join his leagues of fans.

I'm not comparing The Curse to Kobe Bryant. I would never do that to anyone or anything since Kobe has no equal when it comes to loathsomeness. But its an easy, relatable example and I had to tie this back into the NBA Finals somehow. We are a music/sports blog after all and have failed to mention even once that the Lakers and Celtics are playing for all the marbles.

The thing about wearing the best player's jersey or even rooting for the best player, is that often it is the easiest. Its the easiest jersey to find, you know more about that player than any other, you are force fed their highlight reels. This is not always the case with the best songs, unless you stick to top 40 radio. This is also not the case with The Curse. Nobody is making it any easier or harder to like it. It comes down to my own personal choice and preference. It comes down to me choosing my favorites instead of making the best a part of them, and not confusing them.

Clearly this is an issue throughout sports and music. Just look at all the people on the Rajon Rondo bandwagon now. Not that he hasn't had some great moments in the playoffs but are we really forgetting about Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker, Steve Nash and Derek Fisher that quickly? (one of those is a joke...I'll let you decide) There is no way any of those guys no show in game 1 the way Rondo did. I do think Rondo was one of the funnest games in the NBA and i prefer watching him over a lot of those other guards, but in no way do I think he is the absolute best.

I'm going to start using the word favorite a little bit more and the word best a lot less, and I hope you do too.

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