Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Life or Death or Basketball

As The Black Converse lies writhing on the ground, mere breaths away from a finally being being freed from this cruel world, there are some around the NBA wondering if their fate is somehow running parallel to this blog. There are others (cough...Spike...cough) who are wondering if their fate on this blog is tied to an NBA roster. Indeed it is a strange time for all things basketball and blogs.

In a matter of weeks we might see the passing of an entire generation of champions. 17 of the last 21 championships are in the hands of Phil Jackson, Shaquille O'Neal and the Spurs. All may have had their last rodeo. Or they might be back like one sequel too many in an action series, complete with "I'm getting too old for this @#$%" quips and all the grunts and groans that come with aged bodies. Its also fair to say that these upcoming Conference Finals may contain 17 of the next 21 champions. Or they may fail to yield put anyone ahead of Adam Morrison on the NBA rings ladder.

It’s this uncertainty that makes sports so great. We actually get to see it happen rather than some grainy YouTube video or contradicting third hand accounts or Hollywood reinterpretations.

I'm a homer. I probably always will be. I like all things Heat and resist most things not-Heat. But I am trying to enjoy how things are playing out in these playoffs. I was fixed on every Lakers game that "was headed for a terrible wreck, and like good tragedy it’s what we expect*." I found myself, along with Spike, being able to fully enjoy Chris Paul like we were listening to Dashboard Confessional — in a sound proof, hip proof room and turned all the way up, singing along. I have loved the tension and brilliance between Westbrook and Durant and I can't help but feel like they are going to give us a Yankee Hotel Foxtrot before painfully splitting up a la Tweedy and Bennett. I have especially enjoyed seeing Wade and LeBron play beautiful basketball without the weight of the world on their shoulders. I have unexpectedly enjoyed Memphis' improbable run like I unexpectedly enjoyed seeing Animal Collective live (and with the same parallel of not being interested in anything else the Grizzlies ever do).

*Josh Ritter "Thin Blue Flame"

I had a big long post about how the Heat have done things their way, regardless of the second guessing and criticism, and have been successful in doing it. But I felt like that took away from the spirit of excitement around every game, every night. Maybe LeBron can't do it alone. Maybe Wade can't either. Maybe winning a championship is such a heavy task that it can't be done alone. I'm struggling to find a player who won it all with a team of 4th graders. Heck, Frodo couldn't even throw a ring into a volcano without help. Who really cares? This isn't life or death. It's basketball. There is a month of basketball left this season, and regardless of who is playing I am going to enjoy the hell out of it.

Especially because the Lakers are out.

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