Remember how we had that one series, a long time ago, where we'd entreat our writers to scribe short vignettes on the previous night's games? We've consistently discovered there's no way for us to do that every night, but with the capsules done and Aaron back in the saddle as a more active managing editor, we're hoping that we can bring the feature back as a weekly Wednesday post. Sometimes Thursday, like today. As always, the vignettes may not always be tactful, tacit, or terse -- they'll always be under a thousand words, though, and generally attempt to work through a question, an observation, or a feeling. Today's short pieces are as follows.
- UTA vs OKC: The Forgettable Utah Jazz (by Jacob Harmon)
- POR vs LAL: The Worst Outlet Ever Written (by Alex Dewey)
And yes, this does mean that the next episode of Fallout: Phil Vegas comes Friday. Alas. Read on after the jump. Continue reading
Fans' emotions are vacillating between unreasonable optimism and abject panic on a nightly basis, so you know what that means: The 2012-2013 NBA Season has officially begun! And with the return of the season, comes the return of The Outlet! You might even say we're back in the swing of things. Usually we preface these posts by reminding you not to call it a comeback, but go ahead. Call it a comeback. The Outlet is officially back, whenever we see fit to publish one, and recently that seems to be more often than ever! It's truly a bright new age of semi-regular Dadaistic sports interpretation. Get ready, fansketball.
- OKC vs ATL: A Brief Examination of the Perkins Play (by Jacob Harmon)
- LAL vs DET: Mike Brown Minutes and the Essence of Comedy (by Alex Dewey)
Wow. What do you even write about what Team USA did to Nigerian basketball last night? Do you start with addressing Carmelo's 37 points in 14 minutes? Do you talk about all the threes? The 80+ point margin of victory? There's very little of substance to be said about the obliteration that took place on the London hardwood last night.
Oh sure, there's already plenty of talk about sportsmanship, or about whether Team USA should be considered bullies, or that this might be a strong argument for the implementation of an under-23 rule. This talk will continue as the tournament goes on, even though these discussions are well played out, just like the talk continued and the played itself out before in 1992, as The Dream Team rattled off their campaign of dominant performances bordering on mockery. I have no doubt that better, and more interested writers than myself likely have much to say about these topics, and how this game does or doesn't play into the grand narrative of something or another.
So I'm just going to talk about tennis instead. Continue reading
Narratives are a powerful thing. For whatever reason, that seems to be a controversial statement, particularly in NBA blogging circles. Stats are king, you see. My kingdom for the purity of the game. Efficiency, ball-sharing, teamwork. But like it or not? The narrative -- lacking in substance though it may be -- is important. It’s the truth. Sports are entertainment, at least as a commodity. Professional athletes are for most of us as unknowable and inscrutable as a famous actor or politician. They’re caricatures, into which we plug the stories we’ve heard, the way they act on the court, and the individual components of their game. At times we project upon them our own personalities, our own flaws and sympathies, our own feelings on what’s important to the game, and in life.
Everyone give a warm welcome to Jake Harmon, one of our two newest contributors. Jake will be contributing odd fictional tales and reflections of an NBA fan living in the depths of the United States, also known as Alabama. It's tough out there for an NBA fan. He's a political science major who'd much rather major in "deep thoughts about basketball." We enjoy those thoughts, so we'll endeavor to give him the platform to do that. Have at his first piece, an excellent muse on a dreamlike Bobcats game, and the last part in our trilogy of independently written Jordan posts that were -- somehow -- happened to all be connected anyway.
Sometimes I fall asleep at night, and I dream about watching a Bobcats game. And they're just getting blown out, the camera cutting around looking for the perpetually visibly frustrated Jordan. The camera finds him and fixates on him, and he just looks livid, wringing his hands, tongue out a little bit, eyes intent. The Bobcats turn the ball over and get dunked on again. The crowd is silent, the only noise in the stadium the low murmur of disinterested small talk between the odd fans scattered around the arena's stands and the squeaking shoes, the pounding of leather on the hardwood. There's no talk between the beaten Bobcats, they shuffle up and down the court seeming mentally checked out. Going through the motions. Another botched possession, fastbreak, dunk. Bobcats down 30 in the third. And just then, Jordan knows he can't take it. The camera maintains its focus on him, seemingly for an inordinate amount of time. As though the cameraman senses the man in the stands will be more significant to this game's outcome than anything currently taking place on the floor. As I sit and become transfixed by the prolonged shot, that surreal mixture of timing, imagery, and silence, something magnificent happens. And somehow, much like the cameraman, I watch it unfold and question if I ever really thought it wouldn't happen. Jordan is overwhelmed, he stands up from his seat; not in anger or exasperation, but with an intense focus and steely gaze that, while different cast upon his now aged visage, seems somehow intrinsically right. As true and compelling as phases of the moon, not a mask of indifference but a revelation of passion that millions and millions of people around the world forever have burned into their memory. Continue reading