Thursday, October 23, 2008
NOTE: In one week, the NBA season tips off. In three days, I activate my NBA Season Pass. Sure, I didn't write about baseball all that much this year, and yes, I have been on hiatus for the past, oh, three or so months, but I'm (sort-of) back. Sorry to the five of you not looking for pictures of Jeter's head blowing up or tiny pictures of supermodels.
My breath was visible last night. This can only mean one thing: soon, friends, the men will play the basketballs. Oh sweet god, they will. Baseball is dealing the last of its deck, football is storming toward the middle of its parade and hockey trudges through the beginning of it's demanding schedule.
Oh, but basketball. The surreal and the simple, the speed and the grandeur, the squeaks and squabbles: they excite me more as each season approaches. While the sports world beckons the coming of post-season glory or the newest injuries to affect the championship bubble, the interest squares solely on the potentials for now:
Can the Celtics repeat without the elder bench-bound statesmen? --Not bloody likely.
Will Portland meet my heightened expectations this year or do I have to wait for them to realize that they need a damn point guard to win now? --Likely the latter.
How good are the Lakers? --Likely damn good.
Shall I predict a champion? --No, most likely.
The questions, the answers are all potential; likelihoods. In no other sport do the possibilities outweigh the probabilities like basketball. While baseball hinges on the statistical, football prays for the survivalist, and hockey awaits the unexpected, basketball moves with mood and functionality; a conduit into the soul of motion. Kobe and Manu's jumpers, Monta's speed and finesse, Oden's rawness in the post, Stuckey's likely transcendence, Garnett's waning hunger, CP3's first step: they all have the common allies and enemies. Each is contingent upon the flow of want in each night, each move, each thought. Left, right, jump, pass, no shot, take him, OH SHIT WHAT A PLAY, WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT-- it's all too quick to understand, but all too easy not to.
Now, more than ever, LeBron has to know his enemies and friends. Now, more than ever, New Jersey has to find a niche. Now, more than ever, the Knicks have to care about their physiques. Now more than ever, San Antonio, Dallas and Phoenix must fight clocks and aches. Now, more than ever, Philly must act like they belong. Now, more than ever, the middle of the pack must remember that all teams have weaknesses on any given night and that any team with a chance is dangerous. Sure, it's 82 games, but it's only one right now: opening night. Either 1.000 or .000.
And I can't wait to measure it all out. Who is relevant to whom and why? We shall see, friends. Each step is toward the goal-- even backwards and lateral. Each pass is calculated-- whether poorly or otherwise and each shot matters. I just can't wait to see which ones fall.