Respecting the League: Love's Botched Suspension

In a two part series, Adam and Aaron are going to examine two aspects of Kevin Love's 2-game suspension following the inglorious footwork he employed against Houston Rockets forward Luis Scola last Saturday. For today's half, we'll examine the hypocrisy of the NBA's incessant emphasis on "respect for the game" when a player mouths off to the refs that becomes curiously absent when the livelihood of a player comes to call.

When the NBA assesses technical fouls, how often does it cite "respect of the game?" Remember all of Dwight Howard's technicals last year? When asked to explain the one game suspension Dwight received for angrily chucking the ball at the refs, all we could hear echoing from the office of the Commissioner was “respect." Me, personally, I never really understood what agreeing with every call the refs make has to do with respecting the game. The refs are the authority, but even the best authority makes mistakes. The NBA's response to players trying to express their unhappiness in an emotionally charged moment is basically akin to the “Say what again!” scene in Pulp Fiction.

Nobody can forget the epic Sheed techs for virtually nothing, everyone's seen the infamous Duncan technicals, and we’ve all seen an aggravated Dwight have to leave the game early because he’s had it with the zebras. And I don’t think a single person among us knew what this all had to do with respect. And now the NBA has lost another part of it’s credibility, demonstrating how respect for another player has nothing to do with their particular definition of "respect." Personally? I'm a bit disgusted.

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A Light Before Sunrise: the View from Poland

We'd like all our readers to give a warm welcome to the newest member of our writing staff, Adam Koscielak. You may know his work from his excellent work at Sun-N-Gun. He's an incredibly smart, witty fellow studying law across the pond in Poland. I thought I had things bad -- I went to college in a non-NBA city, and now work in a city two hours from DC and terribly far from every other NBA city of note. Adam, of course, has no sympathy for me -- he's in Poland, roughly 6000 miles away from the closest NBA city. For his introductory piece for the Gothic, we asked him to explain what it's like being a fan of a sport that's so far distant. He blew us away. Without further ado, Adam's excellent introduction.

5:00 AM — I’m prying my eyes open, trying to stay awake. This happens all the time. And if it doesn’t happen, it probably means I woke up a mere few hours earlier. There’s something inherently unnatural about sitting out in the dark, trying to keep quiet not to wake anyone around you up. And yet that’s what I do, night in and night out. I sit at my desk, a game is playing on my 24 inch screen, and ESPN’s Daily Dime Live is flying down on my laptop screen, along with a Twitter feed. An empty beer mug once filled with coffee sits on the table next to my desk. Does it stand or lie or sit? I never know: for all I care it could be flying right now.

The first quarter of the night’s late game is just coming to a close. Continue reading

If Tim Duncan were a Hawk...

Eric Freeman of Ball Don't Lie talks about Tim Duncan's awesome, comic-book-vintage knee brace. Freeman reflects on Duncan's personality, and then on his marketability:

"The easy answer is that he doesn't want it to be out there. And yet Duncan did in fact star in several national ads in his first few years in the league, so clearly he's not totally averse to getting media attention. What's more likely is that Duncan's personality, as nerdy as it is, was decided to be too out there for a basketball star. His media anonymity might not have been self-imposed, but rather decided by the companies who need to project a particular image when they hire athletes as endorsers.

That's fine, obviously: Duncan's doing fine for himself. But it's a reminder that what we know of players' personalities often isn't decided entirely by them. Sometimes it's up to the corporate gatekeepers who decide which players fit their needs."

There are niche actors all over Hollywood that exist specifically to play a single role in commercials. Basically Freeman is telling us that professional advertisers can't find such a role for a nerdy, iconic (apparently willing) basketball player with MVP-type credentials for the better part of a decade with a more-or-less impeccable public record. According to this narrative, Duncan didn't tempt large advertising firms enough to offer him a big ad campaign because his nerdy personality is too out there. And that just doesn't add up to me. Continue reading

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