"The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age."
H.P. Lovecraft, "The Call of Cthulhu"
Greetings, my fellow Small Marketeers! Small Market Mondays is back! Today I'll be subbing in for Other Alex, who is currently lecturing about the evils of big markets at several prominent small-market universities. I'm told they're receiving him well, which is right and proper considering it's the gospel truth. Now, I'm a little bit different from Other Alex. Not in our approach, for we are both supreme craftsman with an eye to the hustle of scrappers and the grift of hustlers. No, we differ only in our ideologies, and even then, only slightly. But let's talk about it. See, whereas Other Alex wants as life mission to call attention to the wonders of basketball, the miracles of chessboxing, and the pleasurable communal experience of being a small market fan, I yearn for more, brothers and sisters.
I yearn for more than is coded in the San Antonio passes and their gradual, graceful struggle with age. I yearn for more than Marc Gasol's passing or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and his amazing length to block centers at the rim. I crave for more than Kevin Durant's sparkling offensive efficiency and always remembering to thank his teammates. I crave more than Boris Diaw and Ricky Rubio playing the passing equivalent of Starcraft against one another with the other 8 players to the scent of puppy breath and cinnamon crepes with Andorra at stake. I need more.
Unfortunately, unlike many sports fans content to fill in the void with large-market spectacle and crowd-sourced, manufactured large-market hype and debacle for the sake of itself, I must look inward, for more, and it is terrifying what I find. There are more things than are dreamt of in your philosophies, Horatio, but bless you sincerely for trying! Have you ever seen a shog'goth?
Anyway, one day several years ago, I looked inward in this manner. And then outward. And then shivered! Because I had walked into the rain while I wasn't paying attention. A hard rain was falling outside, and I beheld in a raindrop falling into my hand, for the tiniest instant, the smallest market. It was adorable, guys. Anyway, as is my wont, I immediately went to my Victorian-era loom and reproduced from memory all the jerseys and franchise history I had seen in this rain drop. 18-foot-tall centers. Point guards smaller than the transom above my door at Miskatonic. Small forwards with such a vertical that they actually went into geosynchronous orbit, never to return. I had discovered the Miskatonic Hard Rain Droplet Rainy Day Humans, Part #85 and #96. The franchise had won so many championships, you guys, but David Stern evaporated all of that with mean-spirited, chemical precision. I know they had attendance issues, I know a rain drop is barely bigger or more populous than Sleep Train Arena. I get that. But tradition, man! Apparently we can talk about Willis Reed, but before we can even get into Schiller Freed (real; played for Babylon in 8080 B.C.) we have to wade through all sorts of conspiracy theories. And that's just sad. All I'm saying.
I say this all much to my friend Other Alex's chagrin. He doesn't believe me about the franchise in the raindrops, the markets smaller than quarks, the markets larger than continents with untold aeons of tradition (and my hipster garment company's steady, perfunctory commodification of every drop of this tradition) . But no matter, Virginia. There is a Santa Claus, and he's an oversized power forward from one of the Baltic States. Other Alex doesn't believe me. But for this one week, I took over his column. I proverbially drank the oil of his content production, diagonally. I lord over all that I see. And besides, if I were just making all of this up, I wouldn't have been made a professor at Miskatonic University. Anyway, the game of the week is, oh, let's say, San Antonio and OKC tonight. That's pretty cool, especially if you only know about the traditionally-recognized franchises. All this is to emphasize something The Other Alex pointed out last week.
Chris Duhon: Not even once.
• • •
~ Lakers Talk ~
Anyway, my dyed-in-the-wool small-market heart almost (almost) feels a tug of sympathy for the drama unfolding in Laker-land. But then I remember that Los Angeles is such a large market that it can easily support not one, but two NBA teams. And the market's economic draw constantly threatens to drain even a third team from scrappy locales like Sacramento into the sinful clutches of the Anaheim (which I, unfamiliar, picture as marauding stampede of wild horses of metal and diamonds arranged in a horrifying Platinum Triangle of horse-flesh, a gigantic neo-urban redevelopment district that exists to surround Angel Stadium and host the siren Gwen Stefani who will sing the world to sleep one day, a redevelopment planned to be populated with mixed-use streets and high-rises that stretch to the infinite sky.) There are no Angels left on earth, no Mighty Ducks, no Kings or Fisher Kings left in Los Angeles. Go, all pretense of justice! Go, all sense of community deprived from the world! Go and let us make a large market for the sake of a large market!
But I digress slightly. To put it more bluntly, Steve Nash, a Canadian (for Canada is the ultimate small market) is literally the only thing redeeming about Southern California right now. I cannot pity the Lakers and their horrifying 11-14 start, I have trouble sympathizing for the people of Los Angeles. And the Lakers aren't even bad, they're just mediocre! Welcome to a fun season for the vast majority of the league! The Nuggets may not be thrilled with their 50-win course, but I somehow doubt Andre Miller is right now silently weeping blood into an empty cistern as an oblation to Cthulhu like Kobe Bryant surely is at this very second. Because Dre gets that there are worse situations than 50 wins, even for the perpetually unsatisfied professional athlete. Andre Miller is having none of these blood-weeping ceremonies. Andre Miller is just sitting in a comfy chair, chilling out and finding his favorite old cartoons on YouTube, ostensibly clad in loose-fitting clothes, a night-cap, and his perpetual, terminal case of bedhead. Andre Miller is chilling out. He will have none of your temper tantrums to the media.
What's more, even though the Lakers aren't great, the second team from Los Angeles is: thriving, exciting, and clearly in contention, the Clippers almost make you forget that they were forged from pure evil by Donald Sterling from the gigantic husk of the last Buffalo. So forget how sad the lowly Lakers' situation is: Even this season, it's unfair that one market can be doing so well. Even when the Lakers are mediocre, the Clippers seem to pick up the slack, and for that reason I have trouble feeling anything for the Lakers. All this is to emphasize something The Other Alex pointed out last week.
Chris Duhon: Not even once.
Thank you for reading.
• • •
[Ed. Note: ALEX ARNON COME HOME SOON WHAT IS THIS HELL]