Love and Basketball

Love and Ball

By Anthony Powers

It’s twenty three degrees outside this cloudy day in Chicago. Winter did not tarry getting here this year. But it could be worse. It could be Buffalo, currently buried… I mean literally buried…I mean folk trapped under snow inside their homes waiting for rescue by the National Guard buried. I know the climate change delusional deniers have an appropriately pseudo-scientific explanation for this. I’m waiting…

Anyway, am thankful and blessed to be in a warm home, while we await the grand jury down there in Ferguson Mississippi circa 1963 where they jailed Fannie Lou Hamer and beat her damn near to death Missouri to determine the current value of a large young black man’s life. This value, as you know, shifts like that of other publically traded commodities, although always kept artificially low except in various entertainment industries.

There is palpable fear in the air. The Nigras are getting restless. A state of emergency is declared in St Louis, and 400 National Guard troops deployed. National Guard troops are deployed around Ferguson because they must be contained. Ladies and gentlemen of these United States of America, this is the greatest gonna-be crisis since the Saudi Arabian oil scion orchestrated the destruction of the Twin Towers! Hide your valuables! Send away your daughters! Call out the troops! Call out Blackwater! Keep your military assault rifles trained on families engaged in anti- American sitting on the porch activities. Shoot to kill! Bring in the drones! Keep those niiii….urban prospective rioters and otherwise senselessly and irrationally angry Black People in their place at all costs!

After all, if Michael Brown didn’t want to get shot, he shouldn’t have run so fast. And who can blame a peace officer when confronted with a large black young man with a bullet in him and his hands raised? Don’t you know what damage a large black young man (LBYM) can do to an armed officer if he has a bullet in him and his hands raised? He’s a mad wounded beast!!! No wonder the District Attorney find the very notion of charging the officer profoundly and historically distasteful. That man was fighting for his life!!!!

Flipping back and forth between MSNBC and the game after coming in from the cold. The Kings vs. Pelicans. Boogie vs. The Destroyer. Boogie is a load. Boogie got crazy skills. Literally. Boogie gets down in the lane and pushes people around like Moses Malone. Big men tumble off his shoulders. He spends the first half…maybe three quarters of the game alternating from whupping that ass in the lane to channeling his inner Lebron…skying for the board, pushing the ball on the break, dishing to open teammates with precision. Boogie’s got 24 on 10 for 18 shooting, 17rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks for the upstart Pels. All appears to be well in Boogie World. And then…and then…well a couple things happen.

Anthony Davis gives his team exactly what it needs every time he’s on the floor. With his protector, Asik sidelined with a back injury, the team needed someone to match Boogie’s ability to wreck a defense. Enter The Destroyer with a smooth and totally in the flow of the game 28 points on 11-19 shooting, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals. Need somebody to bend space and time to create wide open pastures for Ryan Anderson to bomb away for 22? To extend rim protection out to the three point line? To turn away interlopers into the lane..I mean actually turn them around by suddenly removing the lane as an option..at critical moments in the game flow? To dive to the floor for a critical steal? Here’s the scoop: Anthony Davis is not from here. He’s from a place, far far away. Maybe the same planet or at least solar system that produced the Honorable Bill Russell, the brilliant underappreciated Kareem (I mean he had to advocate for his own statue in LA? What??? Did he really piss that many people off with his idiosyncricities, much having to do with his stereotype-defying intelligence), and the GOAT power forward /de facto center Tim Duncan.

And then…Boogie’s team collapses around him. Collison reminds everyone he’s not a floor general. He’s more of a floor private. They stop giving Boogie the ball. Unforced turnovers. Wild jacked up shots. Rudy Gay deciding to challenge Mr. Davis at the rim, giving Davis opportunity to go all Mr. Fantastic on him. AND THEY STOP GIVING BOOGIE THE BALL. After blowing a 24 point lead to the Mavericks, and a 26 point lead to the Grizz…do you see a trend? Nevertheless, man was this fun.

Some other random reflections on Love and Ball:

Kobe sets the record for most missed shots. This is great catnip for the Kobe haters, the MJ idolizers, and those who live in fear of intelligent confident gifted Black men. Yes Kobe has…um let me see just off the top of my head…feuded with coaches, high-jacked offenses with one on one play, destroyed teammates with his pathological competitiveness and ruthless intimidation, stormed out of practices, threatened to go to the Knicks, punched out Steve Kerr, and retired having gunned the fifth most missed shots behind John Havlicek, Elvin Hayes, Karl Malone, and Kareem. Opps…that’s not Kobe. That’s the lord thy baller Michael Jordan. And MJ played fewer years than all of the above.

Kobe was no different than MJ in his approach to the game. MJ was just better at it. And was a lot better in PR in an era before the onset of omni-media coverage of professional sports and sports celebrity.

Unless one is prepared to dismiss the careers of Hondo, The Big E, The Mailman, Kareem and MJ, one shouldn’t dismiss Kobe’s accomplishments over a cosmetic stat. The most missed shots is really an indicator of sustained offensive brilliance over time. And maybe we should

acknowledge the astonishing fact that Kareem was first in scoring all-time but only fifth in misses.

I agree with Noah. Everybody needs to chill the fuck out about Rose. In fact, Rose needs to chill the fuck out about Rose. Note to the fandom…it’s not the athlete’s fault if he is beset with injuries in the course of the game. If he needs to sit and be cautious for him to get to the playoffs in one piece…so be it! Grow up, Bull’s fans and keep the main thing the main thing. This is a team with a short window opportunity to contend for a title, dammit! I don’t care if Rose sits with a sprained ankle in November if he’s dive bombing to the rim come June. Note to Rose: nobody cares about your retirement plans. Just do you and everything will be alright. Or it won’t. That is the nature of sports, and of life. That’s why we walk by faith and not by sight.

I got love for Michelle Roberts. “I don’t know of any space other than the world of sports where there’s this notion that we will artificially deflate what someone’s able to make, just because,” she said, talking about a salary cap — a collectively bargained policy that, in its current form, has constrained team spending in the NBA since 1984-85. “It’s incredibly un-American. My DNA is offended by it.” Giancarlo Stanton just signed a contract with MLB’s Miami Marlins for $325 million over 13 years. That’s $25 million per. LeBron James’ contract is capped at $ 42.1 million for two years. That’s $21 million per, the max he is allowed to be paid due to the owners locking the players out and giving it to them up the collective bargaining agreement. Counsel rests her case. Nice to see the NBPA finally getting their shit together. This could end up being Chis Paul’s greatest legacy.

I love God. I love humanity. Let’s spread the real love in the global ‘hood. Got to get out here and go to work. ‘Til next time. Peace.

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