Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Lucky, Good, Etc.

So the Lakers won last night, if you weren't paying attention, by three points, on a non-call on a foul by Derek Fisher on Brent Barry. The only reason I know it's a foul is because the TNT guys told me it was, otherwise I wouldn't have known. Also they told me that Barry didn't deserve to get the call because he didn't dive into Fisher and he didn't sell the foul and he put the ball on the floor.

Anyway, I don't have a particular problem with the non-call because, as Phil Jackson pointed out, the shot clock should have reset for the Lakers on an earlier play and then we wouldn't be having this discussion. Also, the Lakers played a lot better than the Spurs, and if the Spurs had played a little better we wouldn't be having this discussion.

But still I had flashbacks to that one game a while back against Sacramento where the Lakers got bailed out by the refs, and my friends, Lakers haters to a man (or woman), rode me unmercilessly about it.

I think I spent the aftermath in that game pretty much in denial. I wanted to believe that it was completely fair that the Lakers won, that they deserved each and every one of those calls.

It's been a few years, and I demand less of the world around me. I'm prepared to admit my team got a few calls, a few lucky bounces of the ball. I still kind of have an internal issue thought. Would I rather the Lakers win in a non-heroic kind of way, does the win mean that much, or would I rather they not win? How about if they didn't win in a super-heroic way? Would I rather root for a team of martyrs, or a team of plutocrats?

I don't know. It doesn't matter that much. I hate goddamn Tony Parker, though.

1 comment:

Octopus Grigori said...

From the perspective of a Mets fan, this is pretty simple. The Lakers, I'm sorry to say, are the Yankees. They are a revenue generating monster for David Stern and NBA Inc. Stern might as well be posting on the Drudge Report that he fervently desires a Lakers-Celtics finals, with all of the marketing bonanzas that would spawn. And what is up with the NBA now announcing that Fisher's bump was indeed a foul?

Now I'm going to digress. Since this is the NBA, we have to talk about race. Can we talk about what it would mean to see the likely finals matchup of the Lakers taking the floor against the Celtics in 2008? The Lakers would field Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryan, Lamar Odom, Pao Gasol, and some combination of Luke Walton, Vladimir Radmanovic, and Sasha Vujacic thrown in. The Celtics would have Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kendric Perkins, and some combination of Sam Cassell, James Posey, Glen Davis, and P.J. Brown. The Lakers are coached by Phil Jackson, and the Celitics are coached by Doc Rivers.

We can make the laughable claim that race just doesn't matter in the league, and that NBA teams are built solely with regard to talent, with no eye to race and the marketing appeal of "white" players (see, e.g., the Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks of yesteryear, the Boston Celtics of the 1980's, Wally Szczerbiak), etc., but I don't know how seriously we'd be taken. Actually, maybe the current majority on the Supreme Court would take us seriously and affirm us.

In a country flush with basketball talent, does it mean anything that NBA teams will scour the earth (Eastern Europe, Turkey, Baltic states, etc.) for quality "white"- looking players -- even if their names are unpronounceable to the target audience of upper-middle class white fans who buy tickets to the Staples Center and other NBA stadiums -- that young Johnny from Brentwood (or his dad the hedge fund manager) can identify with? Who's to say? I'll make a totally unrelated allusion to the steely determination with which white American parents will find white or Asian babies in other countries to adopt despite the glut of African-American children in orphanages and foster care here in America. Does that matter? Is it relevant? Is Yao somehow equivalent to Charlotte's adopted Chinese baby on Sex & the City? Again, who knows?

What's my point? Simply this: in a Lakers-Celtics match-up this year, the current Lakers would be playing the role of the 1980's Celtics, and the current Celtics would be the Lakers of the 1980's. Unless we are making claims of "colorblindness," there is no denying that the current Celtics are "blacker" than the current Lakers, and vice-versa (viz., any team that features a player with a Grateful Dead dancing skeletons tattoo is by definition "whiter" than the current Celtics). Does that matter? Do we care? What's white? What's black? Etc.

We could get even more crass and get into gradations of blackness, comparing Kevin Garnett's blackness to, say, Jordan Farmar's, but perhaps it's best to just leave that for another day.

In closing, I'll just note that the great, fantastic historical irony in all of this is that the current Celtics team was brought to you by Danny Ainge.