This week, The Nation magazine is running a special double issue about sports. It contains this pretty good piece by author of the classic What’s My Name, Fool?, Dave Zirin, an all-time great of lefty sportswriting and one of the broader field’s few big shots who know/care much about good old-fashioned political economy. A representative passage:
It’s obvious to me that what stands in the way of a logical financial agreement is Stern himself. His intransigence is the logical extension of a decade of dress-code dictates, bullying officials, and even changing the material on the basketball […] He has created a logic that no one dares stand up to and say, “This guy has to go.” He has become like Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s dictator in the novel Autumn of the Patriarch.
You might want to just go buy the whole issue, since those good people are losing about as much money every year as the NJ/bk/USSR Nets pretend to.
While I’m at it, I may as well make this a full-on Required Reading entry, since we’ve been going all derelict on ya lately. Check out this dutiful – if not quite beautiful – overview of the coming FIBA/Olympic men’s basketball qualifying season from the seriously considerate, wonky yet nourishing blog The Painted Area. It’s the post from July 29th, fyi; I couldn’t find a permalink. Writes blogger jay aych:
It’s past due that this [Oceania] “zone” should just be absorbed into the Asian zone. And ideally an Olympic berth would be transferred over to Europe to give them three auto bids. Australia would arguably be the top team in this reformed Asian zone, but at least they would have to go through a full tournament to earn their title.
In EuroBasket for example, a team has to go through a gauntlet of quality teams and has to slog through a brutal schedule of 11 games in 19 days to win the title. By contrast, giving an Olympic bid to a zone with two teams is laughable.
That’s what I’m sayin’!
Our good friends over at Negative Dunkalectics – your Other home for theoretically-informed b-ball vignettes – recently had this to say about another of our good friends, Metta World Peace. Truly a tour de force of athletic realism. David Hill bequeaths to us this lapidary anecdote:
Some drunk fan standing behind him was going at him. “You suck Ron. I’m glad we didn’t draft you. You sucked at St. Johns and you suck now.”
Ron held the ball. He turned around and stood face to face with the heckler, staring him down with the meanest of mugs. Hypnotized, the fan slowly sat down in his chair. Everyone erupted in laughter. My friend and I were incredulous. We stood up and screamed. “Don’t let him punk you! He can’t do shit! He can’t do shit!” Ron looked over at us with that same icy stare. Slowly he curled up the edges of his mouth in a wry little grin. He turned and inbounded the ball.
Perhaps even in his rookie season Ron Artest knew that one day he was going to have to whip a fan’s ass.
That’s all for now I think. Peace be upon you, Metta!