Tuesday, December 11, 2012

NYK: Dangerously in Love

(Author's Note: I initially wrote this about a month ago as a sample for a content farm. Hopefully, they'll keep taking my stuff. I'll let you know how it goes!

But for now, enjoy this. This is pure id, the praise from a maniacal Knicks fan for his team.)

I love the New York Knicks. But I am in love with this Knicks squad. 

This year, I’ve decided to jump in head first. Maybe a nice swan dive into maniacal praise will erase the pain of losing LINSANITY to the guys who beat Ewing and the boys in ‘94. I mean, look at Ray Felton! He’s lost almost all of the baby fat! Knicks rule!

Cautious optimism is for the birds.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Black Tennis: Ashe's Living Legacy

In spite of the obstacles, I decided to proeed with the book because I became obsessed with so many unanswered questions. How did black America manage to create such a favorable environment for its athletes? Why did so many blacks excel so early on with so little training, poor facilities and mediocre coaching? Why did the civil rights organizations of the time complain so little about the discrimination against black athletes? And why were white athletes so afraid of competing on an equal basis with blacks? I just had to have my own answers to these and other puzzling sets of facts.
- Arthur Ashe, VIEWS OF SPORT: Taking The Hard Road with Black Athletes (1988)
He was a union president, a college professor, an author, a father, a Grand Slam winner, and an AIDS victim. However, there is one word that can best describe the late Arthur Ashe.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Arrested Development

Two years ago, following a personal choice to face the nation and answer the poignant question about his future, Lebron James wanted to know what we thought. He came to us without prosthetics, puppets, or Pussycat Dolls. He spoke through a viral video, succinctly and deftly, with a plea to his followers.

Should I be who you want me to be?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The System Works

I was caught watching USA Basketball last week. Women's basketball.

Well, not exactly. My job is to make DVD copies of certain TV broadcasts. These are used for a variety of things; scrapbooks, banquets, PowerPoints, broadcast training. I am the "reproduction of any part without the express written consent of the NBA is prohibited" guy. A pending request was in for the women's basketball gold game, and I was in the midst of filling the order. And I was entertained.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Beauty In Details

There are many reasons I love basketball, but here's one:
The game was designed with beauty in mind.

The story of basketball goes like this: Dr. James Naismith was obsessed with physical fitness and wanted his students to exercise during the winter. Dr. J had a few soccer balls lying around unused (too cold outside to play). Dr. J hung a peach basket on his gym wall, gave his students a soccer ball, and told them to run. And the beat goes on.

I, along with 99% of you, discovered basketball via jams and Jam. My chronological basketball memory starts with an impressive human being denied multiple times by the world's most incredible athlete. If Dr. Naismith's game began as pastel, ours was augmented by watercolor.

The mistake, of course, is to define basketball solely in pragmatics. There is more to the game than acrobatics and athletics, just like a painting is more than just wall art for a den. As Confucius once said, everything has its beauty...but not everyone sees it. But if the game is beautiful and there's beauty in its details...how can we excavate this inner beauty?

In other words, how can I convince my girlfriend that she'd like the sport? (Kidding.)

(Aside: Basketball is the easiest sport for anyone, including the fairer sex, to appreciate. Football is rigidly constructed, a 3-hr baseball game has about 15 total minutes of movement, and hockey is violent in a way that disrupts common sensibilities. Try hoops first. You're welcome.)

The answer, of course, is to take your time. Watch. Pay attention. Notice how much attention one player gets over another. Notice those adjectives in action: laughter, dispair, hubris, gloom. Ignore the stat graphics.

Also, I don't suggest using March Madness as your theoretical framework. Learning hoops via March Madness is like learning how to roll out of a moving car on a freeway. You will learn, but you'll probably die first. You'd be better off watching your cousin play in the park.

Before football takes over in four months (or earlier, if your fingers type E-S-P-N.com), watch some hoops. I'd suggest the NBA. Why? Because of something Edgar Allen Poe would say:

Beauty, of any kind, in its supreme development, excites the soul to tears.

- M.B., II

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Winter Solstice

[Editor's Note: This reads as a tongue-in-cheek critique of commercialism or a new-Age script for Soylent Green. I did not mean for this to happen. I like other sports, but there will always be a special place for true hoop in my heart.]

I love the winter. I am a weirdo.

Winter is defined by its kinetic energy. There's no time to consider feelings and thoughts. It's too damn cold for that. Summer is for contemplation and nostalgia, winter for precision and spatial reasoning. It takes mental ingenuity to turn your living room into a beach volleyball court. Especially when a family trip to Barbados is not an option.

Summer is, in contrast, literally and figuratively warm. It's easy to wait your turn, spread your limbs, and allow the action to slide in your direction. Even the season's definitive sport, baseball, insists on patience. Wait, and catch the ball when it comes to you.
Winter demands that you pursue action. Or hibernate, if you can develop an immunity to cabin fever. Catch the object in motion, or better yet, trap the object in motion that stays in motion.

If you want to escape the cold weather, try basketball. Basketball is always moving, always active. Don't worry about warming your hands; friction is built-in. Feel free to make erroneous analyses or suspend judgment. Basketball understands. Basketball is forgiving. Basketball is frenetic, and knows that mistakes will be made. At times, it may be a little hot to handle.

If you want readily digestible basketball, I'd encourage March Madness for starters. It's a whiz bang form of competition, no different than an three-legged race or an episode of Supermarket Sweep. March Madness meaning making is in the moving pictures and corporate memes. Despite what they say, no prerequisite learning is required. This makes it much easier to applaud faceless shooters making jumpers in a well-lit garage. And by the time it all ends, you'll need a stimulus respite.
You're welcome, baseball.

- MB, II

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


There is a poster of Allan Houston that hangs on my wall. It's tattered after its many hours in truck trunks and college dorm moves, with a hunk of Allan's jumper missing from the top-right corner. More than anything else, it signified my intense fandom for a popular but inept franchise.

In college, I bet my roommates that the Knicks would make the playoffs. That was freshman year. Something should have told me that gambling on Mardy Collins, the undead Anfernee Hardaway, and a guy who's best play is most conducive for NBA Bloopers than Inside Stuff was a harbinger for disaster. By senior year, I wore my Knicks shirt in the confines of my dorm, refreshed games on my laptop, and looked for hope in Allan Houston's crimped follow through.

But I did it. WE did. We kept hope alive. Enter Jeremy Lin.

Jeremy Lin is as much from China as I from Africa. He was born in Palo Alto, CA, same town as crazy James Franco, Condoleeza Rice, and the Grateful Dead. His Dad, a Taiwanese immigrant, saw the game, loved the game, and imported its core components. And we are all better for it.

On Tuesday night in Toronto, Jeremy Lin sat across from 75 reporters, 25 of Asian descent. Lin was given a stamp collection, and asked to record a message in Mandarin. He obliged. All of this happened before he took a dribble at the Air Canada Centre.Jeremy Lin is "WOW! YOOO! AHHHH!". Jeremy Lin is "BANG! BOOM! POW!". Jeremy Lin is young Busta Rhymes on a Tribe Called Quest track. I've never seen a city swoon so quickly for an athlete, so much so that folks are openly nervous over a certain superstar's return.

Does he have flaws? YES. Lin had 8 turnovers, and ranks second in turnovers during the month of February. But a closer look at that stat is telling: Lin is surrounded in this futility by Russell Westbrook (1), John Wall (3), Lebron James (4), and his prototype Steve Nash (5).

Can he improve? YES. Lin's got a ways to go before he reaches the rarified air of 50-40-90, the full realization of a guard's potential in the DiAntoni offense. Those are Steve Nash numbers. The gold standard.

I implore you: watch the man. Don't be afraid to cheer. And if at all possible, use words.

- M.B., II