Lately I've been developing a slightly unhealthy addiction to basketball. It's been a while since that's happened.
You'd think that, it being March and all, my madness might have something to do with the college tournament; you'd think that I would have developed my addiction as a response to the possibility of winning money in an NCAA pool. But you'd be wrong to have these thoughts, because, unlike in years past where I would leave work and head to a place like Jay-Z's 40/40 club, where I normally wouldn't be caught dead at, making sure my bracket stayed intact, I couldn't give two lovely lady dumps about college b-ball this year. Maybe there's a lot to be crazy about in college, but to me that's not where the action is these days.
Yes, friends, I'm here to say, publicly and on the record, that the NBA is back! And that I love it again!
Gone are the mundane, pass-dunk-pass-fade-away Shaq and Kobe years; consigned to history are the days when the San Antonio Spurs dominated with their rice-cake-bland game. Today, there's a new crop of young and youngish talent that's infusing the League--and I think the sport, really--with an amount of drama and excitement that's been missing from it since the days when John Starks was doing this or when Penny Hardaway was a God among men.
There are die-hard fans of certain teams and there are countless other bloggers who swing their b-ball loving dicks all over the place, touting their knowledge of this arcane fact or that post-trade analysis, but I'm not one of them. I don't even care that much about my Atlanta Hawks, though I'd like them to win something someday. What I appreciate above all else is virtuosity. I appreciate, to speak of the new generation of ballers who are making the game great again, the slow-burn minimalism of this dunk by Dwight Howard. I appreciate Monta Ellis's straight-from-high-school swagger (despite or maybe because of his countrified command of the language).
But this second outbreak, in my life at least, of NBA fever would never have been fathomable without the machine I'm currently writing on and you at some point in the near future (which is now!) will be reading from. Indeed, the NBA has benefited greatly, at least in terms of cultural capital, from Web 2.0. Besides the countless "freelance" mixtapes you can find on YouTube of your favorite players and their greatest moves set to Lil' Wayne's "Fireman" or some shit, the League has also been making the most of their YouTube stream (highly recommended), where you can catch all the highlights from the previous night's action and the Top Ten plays of the past day. I'll shut up now so that people won't think I'm some undercover shill for the League. (Fuck the NBA! See. I'm still real.)*
*Mik: Just kidding, NBA! :-)
The League is so much younger and savvier than I can ever remember it being, not only in its digital incarnations, but also the players themselves. It's only a matter of time before players, in the Gilbert Arenas mold, start blogging from the inside of locker rooms, thereby circumventing (and perhaps ushering into obsolescence) the gaggle of post-game sports reporters with their prodding microphones and cameras. These players grew up watching music videos on YouTube not MTV; they heard their first songs on Myspace, not on cassettes.
But, in all fairness, I think an important question I've yet to ask myself is whether I'm truly in love with the game again, or whether it's just the latest in a string of random fetishes that my computer helps me indulge in. (I guess I'm asking myself the question now. Ahem...Is, uh, "(d) All of the Above" an option?)
Finally, finally, after watching this (you gotta love the nonchalant "no big deal" walk away), I'm surprised homeboy hasn't challenged Hillary to a game of H.O.R.S.E. for the nomination. He'd have to take it easy on the mid-game jokes of course, especially after she gets the first two letters.