Tuesday, May 08, 2007
The Basketball Judas
Woke up this morning to this text message from "The Official Brother of From Bryan's Office":
"Read blog. G-state? Judas!"
Why in the world would my own flesh and blood - the one who as a child I took to the arcade, movie theatre, and amusement park, the one who learned about Jesus as a child in my youth group, the one who learned how to ski at my knew and developed a love for the NBA because I took him to his first game - call me a Basketball Judas?
Well, he has good reason.
See, I think I could safely speak for Andy and I when I say that in the (L)Eastern Conference, our favorite team is the Cavs (me cause they've been my favorite team since I saw World B. Free light it up at the Richfield Coliseum back in the day, and he because he's been a fan since the post-Shawn-Kemp-pre-LeBron era) and in the Western Conference our favorite team is the Utah Jazz. Why Utah, you ask? Well, we have an aunt, my mom's sister, Beth, who ended up moving from Lima to Logan, Utah after meeting the guy who became our uncle, Dennis. Ever since then, the big family trip has been making the trek out to Utah to go visit the fam, and enjoy the recreational aspects of that part of the world.
Well, years ago, when Andy was but a lad, Aimee and I took him out to Utah to do a bit of skiing. One night, when we had nothing else to do, we discovered the Jazz were playing the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Delta Center, and decided to take a chance on finding some tickets on the cheap. Thus, Andy, Dennis, our cousin Jen, and I piled in the Riggs mobile and headed down to Salt Lake. Back in those days, virtually all the games at the Delta Center were sellouts (as the duo Stockton and Malone were rising in prominence, and there's nothing else to do at night in Salt Lake City) so we're out on the street talking to scalpers looking for a deal. Fortunately, that was Kevin Garnett's rookie season, and the T-Wolves could beat their way out of a wet paper bag, so we are able to get our tickets for face value.
And what tickets they were! Six rows up from the floor midway between the baseline and half-court. We were so close we could hear the players talking trash. I remember A) being surprised at how big the players (particularly Mark Eaton, who is 7'4") were, B) that John Stockton was actually taller than my dad (he looked smaller on TV... Stockton, that is), and that C) Antoine "The Big Dog" Carr could put up more shots per minute than any other basketball player alive. Anyhow, the Jazz won in a walk, and we had the time of our lives. I've been to a number of games in a variety of arenas since that one, but I've never had those kind of seats since. You just don't know how big and fast those guys are until you see them live and down on the floor. They are gifted freaks of nature.
Hence, our undying allegiance to the Jazz, even post Stockton-to-Malone, and even after Carlos Boozer messed over the blind owner of the Cleveland Cavs for a bigger contract out west. I mean if that doesn't kill your loyalty, nothing will.
Thus, you can imagine my brother's dismay when he saw that I was pulling for Golden State to win it all even though they are facing our beloved Utah Jazz. He misinterpreted that statement to mean that somehow I wasn't rooting for Utah, even though I'd like to see the Warriors keep going forward in the playoffs.
Well, it's like this... even as I sat at my computer last night and listened to the game (as per our act of spiritual discipline we as a family are going without cable during our sojourn here in Wilmore) I was rooting for the Jazz... but as far which team would make the playoffs more exciting to watch, you'd have to take the Warriors, hands down. They run and run and run. They let 3-pointers fly with no conscience. Every guy on the team can take it to the hole and dunk with ferocity. They gamble on defense and much like the crazy team at the YMCA that never loses but always seems about one more profanity from a major brawl, their behavior is totally unpredictable.
Do you think any member of the Jazz would lose their mind for a moment and randomly, say, take a bite out of a photographer's leg or flash some sort of obscene gesture at Commissioner David Stern, knowing they have to face Jerry Sloan on the bench? No way. Sloan is a classy guy who runs a class outfit, and takes no funny business off of anybody. He's like, 67, and still is still best fighter on that team. Don Nelson, on the other hand, during a game looks like he's wearing a pair of pants that don't fit quite right while deciding where he'll be going to dinner afterward. The team has no discipline, and could run off the rails at any moment.
It's like this: Some people watch NASCAR cause they like seeing guys turn continually turn right, and some people watch NASCAR for the wrecks. Of the eight people still watching the NHL, two watch it cause they like hockey, and the other six because of the fights. Some people watch football cause they like football, and others watch it to see a wicked hit.
So, basketball purest and true fan in me would love to see the Utah Jazz move on to the next round of the playoffs. There's no question about that. But for pure entertainment value, because they are fight or wreck waiting to happen.... who wouldn't want to see the Warriors keep playing? And if that makes me a Basketball Judas, then so be it.