Give it up for our boy Lux, who has come down from on high to grace all of us with his splendor and glory. This is the first guest article ever written, and is, without a doubt, the best one up to this point.
- The Prophet of the Almighty Baller
Here’s the thing.
I’ve been watching baseball. As basketball season approached, the MLB postseason crept up to fill the empty space in my life. It was the optimal time for baseball to strike. I was vulnerable. I let myself squint at the random assortment of disconnected events that make up a baseball game and see something meaningful. I don’t mean to be rude. Lots of people like baseball. They are braver people than I am. They peer into a shrieking abyss and assemble knowledge out of whatever fragments of Lovecraftian lore they can scrape together. I don’t do that shit. I let it come to me.
So, I was watching baseball, and then basketball charged back into my life. Instantly, I saw baseball for the thinly disguised nonsense it is. In no other sport is there such an imaginable range of outcome as basketball. In no other sport is there such variance between the ways every player does the same thing as in basketball. Most importantly, and maybe the only important thing, no sport is so human as basketball.
You know all that shit though. You’re on the website. You’re here to read something interesting. Allow me to present my unfiltered observations on opening night presented in no particular order. Some of these observations may just be based on my mood tonight. Others might be pervasive stories for the season. Literally no one knows! Not even me! So stop reading this intro and get to the good stuff!
“The Good Stuff”
1. During the third quarter of the Warriors’ game I texted my friend and told him “Steph Curry is a neutrino.” He glides through space unimpeded by any obstacle. What I forgot in this description was a simple thing. Neutrinos have no impact on the things they collide with. Steph very much has an impact. He destroyed the Pelicans from the inside out. He shattered their souls and then when they had no more hope he took their bodies apart. By the third, he was like a super virus. The Pelicans just tried to wait him out while a scientist played by Paul Giamatti types furiously in search of a cure.
2. The Bulls’ game against the Cavs was jam-packed with stories both happy and sad, but there were two that stood out as decidedly the most profound. Let’s start with Taj Gibson. He’s an athlete! He’s a rebounder! He plays GRITTY DEFENSE! Dude’s got fucking heart. That’s all undeniable. It also makes it hard to take it as he watches his team leave him behind and zip. As the other four Bulls were trying to kick Hoiberg’s motion offense into gear (and when that baby was humming, boy was it humming – just ask Tony Snell), Gibson was sprinting around the low block calling for post-ups. Hey! Hey! Remember the good old days? When we used to move slow and take shitty inefficient shots? Those were great days right? No? Well let’s just do it one more time for old time’s sake! They look at them and shake their heads. He knows their judging, but he refuses to be left behind.
3. On some brighter Bulls news, Hoiberg has let slip the pups of war! Tony Snell and Doug McDermott looked great. They didn’t try to do too much, but they showed that they are capable of playing basketball, and thusly shattering Tom Thibodeau’s expectations. Snell in particular was thirsty for the spotlight. My dude was flying to open spots for threes and even took a few to the rack.
He’ll be starting for a few months while Mike Dunleavy Jr. recovers from a back injury. Snell smells blood. This is his chance to be somebody. He will not let it get away. Meanwhile, Doug McDermott seems pretty confident, but his face looks like it fell off the back of a loaf of bread.
4. Tonight was supposed to be it. AD was in the lab all summer cooking up something fresh for the real heads. He was going to unveil an arsenal that would turn everything before it to ash. I was ready to die! I was ready to be cleansed by his purging flame! My transcendence was, as usual, postponed. He shot 4-20 from the field and 10-15 from the stripe! Gross! Terrible! Disappointment was inevitable, given that AD is human and not a digitally programmed hellbeast sent to obliterate basketball aesthetics as we understand them, but Jesus Christ this is garbage water. Davis is trying to go mainstream this year, and his transition will be successful. He’s too good for it not to be, but the single he just put out? Trash.
5. Klay Thompson is great. That is obvious. Steph Curry is better. That is also obvious. Klay Thompson does not want to accept this. He thinks that if he can teach the people how, they’ll love him like Steph. Somewhere in the back of his mind he knows they’ll never learn to see him that way. Sometimes he runs straight into the defense like he just learned that they stole his Lunchables. Now I know where that rage comes from. Basketball can be very sad.
6.There is something dark and destructive inside of Festus Ezeli. It must never, ever, ever, be released. This shouldn’t be a surprise. He has the same name as an evil wizard from a fantasy story I wrote in ninth grade.
7. Eric Gordon is a tragic hero. He emerged with such potential only to be derailed by injury. Now he’s overcome his injury and thrown his lot in with the rising god Anthony Davis. What happens? Everyone else gets injured. I’m slowly becoming convinced that he is destined to struggle and never reach that mountain he strives to climb. He may be an albatross that keeps Davis weighed down to Earth. Maybe with Jrue and Tyreke back, they’ll be able to overcome fate together.
8. Atlanta and Detroit are two cities that are very important in terms of musical history both for the world and for me as an individual. Both cities also have basketball teams. They were on a second screen for me so I didn’t follow too closely. I did see the Hawks worrying about expectations when a pass to start a fast break landed about ten feet in front of Al Horford.