Two Silly Basketball Columns for the Weekend

by Bryan

It’s Memorial Day weekend, which means it’s time to read Losing the War and fire up the grill (in that order). Before that, here are two silly basketball columns I wrote this week. One is tongue-in-cheek; the other isn’t. I’ll leave it up to you to determine which is which.

Stupid Time

Over at Cleveland Frowns, it’s Stupid Time. Stupid Time has a 1:1 relationship with the LeBron James free agency period. If Stupid Time gets an ice cream, the LeBron James free agency period gets one too. They’re identical twins, or whatever it is you see in the mirror.

There’s nothing inherent in the LeBron James free agency period that renders it Stupid Time. No one makes New York Magazine throw together a slapdash sales pitch as an excuse to remind its readers that basketball is a thing that in fact exists; they did it anyway. No one forces Jeff Pearlman and Buzz Bissinger and other New Yorkers to throw meaningless platitudes about a city toward a basketball prodigy: They do it for themselves. They might be right about everything they say. Does that mean they should say it?

The sports cliché is: Act like you’ve been there before. Barry Sanders in the end zone. The more you have to do to get attention, the less sure you are of yourself. Endzone dances: fun as shit. Handing the ball back to the ref like that shit was nothing? Badass. Also, it’s the way I try to live my life. Being the best and knowing it and leading by example. It’s hard, and it doesn’t work most of the time. But when it does, like when I look at her and know, immediately, yes I actually did say the right thing, it’s when I feel alive.

And yet in New York, we have a little contest going with who can be the city’s biggest suck-up, a throwback to the Bush era-ethos that bigger is not only better, it’s bigger and louder and bigger and louder. I don’t think New Yorkers have a clue about how unbecoming it is to talk about themselves in such lofty terms. Would it be great if LeBron came here? I don’t know, would it be good for Cleveland?

Ah yes, the Cavaliers. The only team LeBron has ever played for. Frowns argues that LeBron’s ties to the area make the player/team bond something heretofore unseen in sports—the amusing part is that the most obvious corollary is playing for the Minnesota Twins right now and is named Joe Mauer and just signed an obscenely lucrative extension to play at home for the next decade. He made the choice right away. LeBron waited on the offers. No matter what happens after this, that won’t change. I think he’s staying with Cleveland. But still.

If I was trying to woo LeBron to New York… wait, why would I do that? I’m not that selfish yet. Maybe I’m too young to understand that part of the equity of living in New York is never having to say you’re sorry for chirping about it. I’ve always found it to be the exact opposite. I’m constantly apologizing: on the subway, on the street, in restaurants, people on top of people, trying to assure them I mean no harm. It takes up no more than five seconds of each day, but it’s worth the investment. You never know when you’ll run up against the crazy ones.

So to the people of Cleveland: I’m sorry. New York has its ups and downs. It has a lot of both. What it doesn’t have is anyone who’s really being fair. LeBron might come here, but as far as I’m concerned, New York can speak for itself.

Eddy Curry’s America

Think about the sheer amount of money that’s in sports for one second. For instance: think of what you bought today for lunch, or what you bought the last time you bought lunch. You were thinking about the price, right? Eddy Curry made $273,000 per minute the last two seasons. Per minute! Just imagine it. Yeah.

Here’s the thing about Mr. Curry: he’s decided to pump all of his money back into the economy. Like, he’s literally broke. He pays $1,075 per month for cable television service, and he’s broke.

So this money went somewhere. It’s not like Tiger Woods’ money, which is getting its running shoes on behind closed gates. Tiger Woods is rich, and what do rich people do? They make more money. That’s their defining feature. If they spend money, it’s to protect the establishment that will allow them, in the long term, to continue being rich, which, again, is only about making money. And if you like being rich—if you like making money—that’s fine! But if you have money, spend it—or—just don’t be a dick. Doing one of these two things shouldn’t be hard. Mike Bloomberg has said he wants to die without a dollar to his name. We can dig that. PAY ME, MOTHERFUCKER!

Seriously, Bloomie making it rain on America, and I’m opening the window with my net on a stick.

It would appear Eddy Curry was, and is, the typhoon of making it rain; free, by his choice, to be a dick, I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether or not he has been one. But make no mistake: the man is generous. $6,000 per month for a personal chef. Six thousand more dollars pumped to the working man every 30 days, and that’s just for eatin’.

The truth is that Eddy Curry is by some means an American hero of the recession. People, even rich people, are cutting back. (Making money can wait.) Bailouts polarized the nation. We don’t like the idea of just giving money to people who have wasted it. You might say Eddy Curry is overpaid. I say he’s not wasting the money. I say that, in general, he should be celebrated. That he’s taken it too far is merely a character flaw. You think your heroes are perfect? You think you are?

Eddy Curry didn’t make more than $1 million while you read this. His beekeeper did. With even bees disappearing, who else is going to support the beekeepers? Eddy Curry: Eddy for America. Eddy Curry’s America. America America.