Valentime’s Dey (2/14/21)

Photo by DESIGNECOLOGIST on Unsplash

I don’t have much content for you today. I thought I’d do something on theme like “5 Things I LOVE About the NBA,” but figured it would have redundancies I’ve either already written about or I’d most likely write about in time. Anyway, this blog of mine has essentially turned into a series of love letters to basketball, my one and only. I poke fun and I criticize here and there, but it’s all done with an underlying passion and appreciation for everything that makes up this game.

But if you have the time today and aren’t caught up on my posts, here are the links to those love letters. Light some candles, pour a glass of wine, spin some Teddy Pendergrass, and check ’em out:

To James Harden

“He is one of the best, most unique offensive players this game has ever seen…His game is very formulaic, but he has every detail mastered.”

To Chris Paul (and I guess 10 others)

“…it has been shown time and again that everywhere CP3 goes, wins follow. He has the highest basketball IQ this side of LeBron, and he willingly shares his knowledge to make all of his teammates better…I was a baby when Magic Johnson retired so for all intents and purposes, Chris Paul is the greatest point guard of my lifetime.”

To Adam Silver

“He’s absolutely the best current commissioner in American sports, and I’d be comfortable claiming the same in American sports history. He understands what it means to play peacekeeper. He understands how to build a brand. He understands how important it is to let his partners shine. He understands that having an ethical league is the same thing as having a healthy league.”

To Kyrie Irving

“Kyrie is one of the most skilled players of this generation, and he’s probably the most singularly talented ball-handler in league history. He’s a straight-up magic show with the rock. And I’m confident that if you gave pick-up hoopers a straw poll on whose game they would Space Jam Monstar steal, Kyrie would be at the top of the list.”

To Becky Hammon

“…the question asked every time her name is brought up: can Becky Hammon actually be a successful NBA head coach? Short answer is duh…”

To Kobe Bryant

“He meant more to me than I knew.”

To Bradley Beal

“…the aggregate of his skills make him elite in my eyes. His shooting stroke is pure — if you had to study one form in the NBA I’d choose his. He’s probably at his best on off-ball actions, but put the ball in his hands and he’ll get a good look…He’s one of those score-first shooting guards that knows how to make the right passing reads. And don’t let the box scores fool you, he’s more than a capable defender that would show if he actually had a functional system behind him.”

To Ben Simmons (and I guess 9 others)

“Ben Simmons’ game on the other hand translates to everything you could ask for…he also happens to be one of my favorite players to watch, so he gladly earns my vote.”

To Draymond Green

“Draymond is the best case we have that basketball isn’t about making buckets but rather getting buckets. He’s the best case we have that the stat sheet does not make the player…I think Draymond Green has my vote for the best defender ever. He’ll never be considered this by conventional standards, but he’s a top-tier superstar in my book.”

Heat Check

Yes I only watched two games this week and yes only because they were both Laker games. My excuse is I finally got around to watching Death Note and got addicted (can confirm it’s amazing go binge it); I’ll be back to more hoops next week.

2/8

THUNDER @ LAKERS

  • Lakers got out-hustled on every play in the 3rd quarter
  • 10–0 run by the Thunder in the 3rd to take the lead. 9–0 run by the Lakers in the 4th to force OT
  • Wesley Matthews didn’t get ready, he stayed ready

2/12

GRIZZLIES @ LAKERS

  • The story of this game is that you can do everything right, but it won’t be enough to beat the Lakers unless they help by beating themselves. And they only shot 6 for 30 from 3. Scary game for the rest of the league to watch.
  • LeBron probably had double digit no look passes
  • Ja Morant has my favorite quality I use when projecting stars: he’s fearless

Mailbag

Any thoughts on the Mavs not playing the national anthem pre-game?

Spiiiicy question. The issue has since been squashed by the NBA requiring it to be played. I sympathize with the position this puts Mavs governor Mark Cuban in, but I have 0 problems being blunt about my feelings on it.

First, I don’t think tradition for the sake of tradition is a good enough justification for anything. But I also tend to be an iconoclast at heart so I’m pretty biased if we go this route. I’m open to a good reason why the tradition should be continued, but I have yet to hear one. Like if it’s because its origin was to inspire confidence during wartime, what is our reason now? If it’s because of the amount of people assembled, then why isn’t it played at concerts? Why doesn’t it blare on repeat on the L Train?

In any case, I think the outrage over it is silly and rooted in a misunderstanding of patriotism. Most of the backlash was some form of “WHO DOES CUBAN THINK HE IS DISRESPECTING OUR ANTHEM” or “SO THE MAVS ARE ANTI-AMERICA.” It’s another classic case of a fallacy of the inverse, and I believe so many social issues in America could be solved if every citizen was required to learn basic logic principles.

I’m comfortable agreeing that playing the anthem is patriotic — I don’t think there’s any debate on that front. But the fallacy is claiming that NOT playing the anthem is UNpatriotic. That is an unreasonable conclusion in the literal sense. In other words, the anthem is sufficient to be patriotic but it isn’t necessary. I won’t even rehash the arguments we’ve all seen about dissent being the most patriotic thing about America, you either get it or it’ll fall on deaf ears.

But even if the inverse relationship did prove true, I still think a mandated national anthem policy is a form of forced patriotism that defeats the ideals it claims to champion. If anyone was listening, the official rationale Mark Cuban gave was that there were people in the organization that felt the anthem didn’t represent them. They didn’t ban the anthem, they just tried not playing it out of respect for those people. Playing it after an agreed consensus was reached would be a clear violation of that respect. I won’t use the f-word here (the one that ends in -ascism not -uck) because that would overshadow the larger point that American freedom shouldn’t be qualified with patriotic conditions.

So for those outraged critics, instead of forcing someone to accept a symbolic ideal, why not make that symbolic ideal ring true for them? Improve your country. Symbols have their place, but please stop prioritizing them over actual people.

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