Wednesday, June 04, 2008

my traitorous basketball life

much to the chagrin of some of my readers, I will bring up the dreaded topic of sports (sorry).

As you may know I am one of the few white people in America that defines himself as a fan of Professional Basketball (as in NBA, not NCAA- which is also professional). I am proud to admit my love for a sport in which I can watch 10 men run up and down a hardwood floor attempting to put a ball in a basket with the precision ofa longrange sniper, the speed of sprinters and the grace of ballet.

I make so apologies for this and I make no justification for its faults. The refs have too much power, flopping is too evident, certain players and teams get beneficial treatment from the refs, no traveling is ever called, the dunk is emphasized at the expense of the 20 foot jumper or lay up and too many flagrant fouls are called for things that used to be just good hard fouls. All bad.

I make no efforts to hide my disdain for Shaq, LeBron and Yannick Noah's boy. I make no apologies for my love of Timmy, KG, AI and Manu. I love Magic and respect Kobe. The Admiral is my alltime favorite and I don't particularly like MJ. I am an unabashed Spurs fan and would kill to have the Hornets or Sonics move to Tampa.

However, what I must confess to you is my disloyalty to the team of my youth. I became an NBA fan as a child watching Magic Johnson, Kareem and James Worthy (and the token white guy- Rambis) epically battle Bird, McHale and Parrish (plus the hated Ainge). I loved the Lakers as a child and hated the Celtics (and moreso the Pistons). For some reason I felt it was racist to like the Celtics. Plus, Magic was the greatest teammate ever and I still contend he was every bit the BBall player MJ was (even if he bugs me anytime I see him on TV). I even had a Magic poster on my wall.

And then something happened. Actually, 2 things...

1) The Spurs drafted David Robinson, the single greatest college basketball
player EVER. One of my best friends, with scholarship offers to many major colleges chose to attend the Naval Academy because of Robinson. However, he did not realize that the program was Robinson alone until his sophomore year, when Robinson was gone. But, he told me stories of The Admiral... his kindness to younger players and his tenacity on the court.

When he joined the Spurs, my loyalties were split.

2) Magic got HIV and retired. My team was gone. I had been loyal to the players (the NBA is a players league for good or bad). I tried to stick with them, but then the unthinkable happened. The picked up Shaq during free agency. I was done. I hated Shaq.

My loyalties we no longer split. I was now a Spur. And, the Spurs have been kind to me. They have given me more than a small market franchise has ever given a fan (besides Green Bay).

And then something else occurred. I moved to Boston. I went to the (new) Garden. I fell in love with Paul Pierce. I would endlessly debate my Associate Pastor, an Antoine Walker fan (oops, how is he doing?). I would root for them when my Spurs were not involved. I would mourn the destruction of the franchise at the hands of the dreaded Ainge. Until...

They picked up my favorite non-Spur in a steal. When KG came I knew all was good. I had 2 teams to root for. And one is still alive.

And I am a traitor. Not to the Spurs (I would root for them against the Celtics). But to the Lakers of my childhood.


Go Celtics. in 6


laci said...

rick, you are my basketball doppelganger. my love of the spurs knows no bounds. my favorite non-spur is KG. i don't hate kobe, i despise shaq, and i'm cheering for the celtics.

oh, by the way, have you seen this website? great spurs analysis -

murf said...

Grew up in L. A. Liked the old, old Lakers (Chamberlain, West, etc.) Have never liked them since. Especially do not like Kobe (great player, lousy person). Love the Pistons! Go Celtics!