By our house is a golf course, and I often watch the golfers while eating lunch. Watching the golfers approach in their cart, grab a club then take an average of 17 seconds to go through their pre-shot routine, it dawns on me that watching a golfer is like watching an NBA free-throw.
It was wonderful to watch this documentary. Allen Iverson was fun to watch and frankly heroic – if racist hillbillies put me in prison when I was a teen for being black and famous, and if educated talking heads were always judging me after I’d survived the projects, I’d be resentful and pissed with a huge chip on my shoulder. But I’ve always thought he seemed pretty loyal, fair, scrappy and wise when I listen to the message he is actually delivering. So it was a great video to watch in my opinion, although I’m sure the people who need the themes the most will miss the point 🙂
When I watch games from 20 years ago from the 80s and even into the 90s, it’s hard not to think that basketball was better — and a lot more interesting — then.
Teams ran more, they passed better, they dunked more, there were more “oooohhhh” type moments where a person would make an impossible move and shot, and it was just more interesting.
Teams passed to the post more, then when defenses cheated they took longer shots, and the goal was to race up the court before a defense could set up. Some teams had a physical center, some teams had the fast break and most had a mixture. There was (ironically) more action and more variety.
Now teams penetrate, kick it out to 1 of 3 or 4 players posted along the 3 point line and fire up three pointers.
It’s not much more interesting than watching a shooting clinic, in my opinion. When all shots are 2 pointers, and when the shot clock is 45 minutes, it actually generates more diversity and creativity.
Easter, 1978. A freakishly nice Spring day. My parents treated the entire family – grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins — to a Seattle Supersonics Game at the Seattle Center Arena. It was my first NBA game, and generated my first true interest in the Seattle Supersonics, who made the NBA Finals that year. For the next 20 years (until Howard Schultz destroyed them), I would truly love the Seattle Supersonics and the NBA.
But more than the game, I loved that day with my family. I remember everyone dressed up for church, the post church brunch at our house, and playing basketball with my older cousins before heading to the game (my cousin G swears that is why I developed such a good outside shot, since it was the only way for me to compete against my much older and much bigger and highly competitive cousins). And I remember cheering with my cousins when they announced Gus Williams had scored 32 points.
It was nice to be young. When the warts of my extended family – the depression, anxiety, underlying resentment — were not yet visible to me. As I type this, I am grateful once again for my dad, whose unyielding energy and optimism (and success at work) helped me to avoid the demons and co-dependency that would inflict my cousins.