I’ve been reading the above book lately, and while I don’t generally make a habit of getting involved with subtitles like Essays on Art & Democracy, I might have to start now, because the following paragraph struck me so solidly that I spontaneously read it aloud to my long-suffering wife. Here goes:
“…it has always seemed to me that the trick of civilization lies in recognizing the moment when a rule ceases to liberate and begins to govern — and this brings us back to the glory of hoops. Because among all the arts of disputation our culture provides, basketball has been supreme in recognizing this moment of portending government and in deflecting it, by changing the rules when they threaten to make the game less beautiful and visible, when the game stops liberating and begins to educate. And even though basketball is not a fine art — even though it is merely an armature upon which we project the image of our desire, while art purports to embody that image — the fact remains that every style change that basketball has undergone in this century has been motivated by a desire to make the game more joyful, various, and articulate, while nearly every style change in fine art has been, in some way, motivated by the opposite agenda. Thus basketball, which began this century as a pedagogical discipline, concludes it as a much beloved public spectacle, while fine art, which began this century as a much beloved public spectacle, has ended up where basketball began — in the YMCA or its equivalent — governed rather than liberated by its rules*.
I don’t know shit about art, but I know I love basketball very much, and have been curious for a long time about why so few people nowadays seem to care about art, whereas so many care about basketball. And these words seemed to propose a reason.
* my emphasis
There’s been so much to say about these NBA Conference Finals that I’ve been shocked into some kind of paralysis. It’s like when you’re trying to write an essay for school, become too interested in the topic and just keep reading so much that writing becomes an impossibility. With that said I feel like I should just throw it all up:
OK, so Dave, Justin and I were chatting NBA Playoffs over the bar the other night, talking about the teams and players we liked and disliked. The usual. Also, earlier in the day Duncan had told me that he had decided that liberated fandom was all well and good, but that a man needed a team for life, a team to rise and fall with, to laugh and cry with, and that he had decided that the Portland Trailblazers would be that team for him.
While none of us went that far, it became somewhat of an issue for the three of us. Who were our favorite teams? Continue reading
Wow. Things change. And fast. Here’s what I was writing while watching the first half of the Spurs v Mavs game yesterday:
Last year I thought the Spurs were the epitome of boring Basketball (if that was possible). The Spurs are the team you would show tapes of to your team if you coached high school basketball. No point in showing them the Cavs or Kobe. Watching the Spurs is attending a lecture is the fundamentals.
Turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong. Continue reading
So, I just saw that David kindly covered much of this information, so I’ll skip the Dunk Contest (the photo above says it all). Okay, let’s break it down:
The Celebrity Game
I admit, I did not actually watch this. I fast forwarded through the player intros just to see who was playing and the first five minutes just to see what the standard was like. It was a mix of TV stars, Harlem Globetrotters and WNBA players. Kind of offensive to have current WNBA player participate in All-Star Weekend, especially someone like Lisa Leslie, who is a multi-MVP legend of the league AND STILL PLAYING. The Dallas Cowboy’s wide receiver Terrell Owens won MVP.
Ok, so the Obama and basketball thing has been dissected from every possible angle – his cool demeanour on the court, the “urban” nature of the game signaling a change to the ruling class of America, the fact that he’s willing to lead but also stand back and assist, how his jumper is solid and he won’t shy away from physical contact to get the rebound – it all serves to prove he has the court vision we need to take us out of recession and bring the troops back home. Or not. I’m not sure exactly why it’s a revelation, perhaps because basketball is such an every-man’s game, but we’ve all had our minds blown by seeing Obama spotting up for three (John Kerry is quietly crying right now as he carefully waxes his windsurf board). All the same, the next president likes to shoot hoops and at some point we need to come to terms with that.
Every so often a new player emerges who forces you to reach deep into the bag for new superlatives, and renders traditional criticism moot. Ken Mink is such a player. It’s tough to know where to begin, but his immaculate positioning, lightning fake and cool finish in the clip below will tell you all you need to know.
Ken Mink is 73 years old and playing college ball. Continue reading