Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The NBA Playoffs

I know this isn't the usual subject matter of our blog but I thought we might benefit from a slight change of pace. We also happen to live in the same general area as the big underdog team who have been getting all the press lately, The Golden State Warriors.

If you're like me, you had no idea the Warriors played in Oakland until a week ago. I always knew they were from somewhere around here, after all, the miles of imported Spanish grass along Interstate 5 continually remind me that we are indeed 'The Golden State'. But why aren't they named after an actual city? Does Oakland have such a heinous reputation that they wanted to avoid that particular proper noun like some moldy orange sitting in California's juicy flavor-filled crate? Do people in South Dakota buy Warrior jerseys to bring some modicum of happiness into their frigid lives?

Whatever the story is, the Warriors did live up to their Oakland heritage by beating the Mavericks, the team with the best record in the NBA, in the first round of the playoffs. You kinda got the feeling that if the Warriors had been playing any other team they wouldn't have tried as hard. But if you come from the city known only for being insulted by some literary hanger on a century ago and for having the best joke team in sports (I'm sorry but the Harlem Globetrotters have nothing on the Oakland Raiders) you probably get a special delight in beating the best team in the league just by smashing into them and running really fast.

The other team I enjoy watching is, of course, Phoenix. They play like Tarantino directs-fast, efficient, and fun. Some criticize their defensive skills, but defense, unless you are Dennis Rodman, does not make for good TV. Interestingly, Phoenix is also from a shitty city known for sprawl, heat, and...well, its basketball team. Now that I think about it, I naturally tend to root for teams from lousy cities. I could never be a 49'ers or Giants fan. I dislike all teams from New York instinctively. But when the day comes that a winning team somehow rises miraculously from the war-torn streets of post-apocalyptic Detroit--the original Oakland--I can't help but get excited.


Little Earl said...

Is that a real photo?

yoggoth said...

That is star swingman Stephen Jackson.

"You know you're doing something right when Stephen Jackson is one of the faces of your team and the nation comes to love you." - Bomani Jones,

Little Earl said...

A face like that kind of makes them easier to love actually.


"But when the day comes that a winning team somehow rises miraculously from the war-torn streets of post-apocalyptic Detroit--the original Oakland--I can't help but get excited."

Perhaps you were not aware that such a day has arrived! The Detriot Tigers made it all the way to the World Series last year, and are kicking ass so far this year (after setting a new record for losses in 2003, no less). If you're talking baseball, there's an endless bounty of great teams from shitty cities at the moment in addition to the Tigers: Cleveland Indians, Milwaukee Brewers, hell even Oakland's very own A's always seem to make it to the playoffs one way or another. On the other hand, we've got the Kansas City Royals.

Q: What "literary hanger-on" are you referring to? What did he say about Oakland?

yoggoth said...

Oh come on you must know what I'm referring to.

Little Earl said...

Jack London? I really have no idea.

Herr Zrbo said...

Um, I don't know what you're referring to either. The legacy of MC Hammer?

yoggoth said...

Philistines! Gertrude Stein famously referred to Oakland with the statement, "There's no there there."

Little Earl said...

Are you serious? I always thought that was a quote about Los Angeles. And I never knew Gertrude Stein said it first. I think you're make this up. But she certainly was a "literary hanger-on." I was trying to think of how many people would actually fit that definition. Neal Cassidy, perhaps?

yoggoth said...

Yes, I'm serious. She's always seemed like a curious public figure. I know nothing about what she actually did, but I've heard her name quite often. The only description of her that I've read is in "A Movable Feast."

I don't think of Neal Cassidy as a literary hanger on. My understanding is that he was actually a big part of that circle of friends and that only later did they all use him as a character, and only later was it thought of as a 'literary' circle.