(I worked as a Sports Editor from late 2004 until the summer of 2006. This is one of the many columns I was able to save that were originally published in The Sun-Times of Heber Springs, Arkansas.)
I’ve often tried to describe to non-sports fans the drama inherent in sports, specifically the NBA. There are so many storylines converging and branching off into different areas in a regular season game, that when the playoffs start it seems like a David Lynch film played out on the hardwood.
Take Tuesday night for instance. The Sonics and Spurs were the only game on, and faced with that option, I chose to watch the much-promoted two-hour Law & Order: SVU season finale.
Well, the first hour was a repeat so I decided to risk falling asleep and tuned into the San Antonio game.
I don’t know what it is about watching the Spurs that makes me want to gouge my eyes out. Maybe it’s because Tim Duncan has as much personality as this keyboard I’m hacking away on.
Anyway, I tuned in and found out that Greg Popovich was going out on a limb and starting Manu Ginobili. Wow! What a brilliant coaching move! I never would have thought of starting a player that could make Ray Allen work on the defensive end of the floor.
While Barkley and Co. were announcing this mind-boggling move, the camera clued me into the first subplot of the night. It showed Ginobili going through warm-ups, and every time he started to stand still, he would pat the hair on the top of his head back into place.
Being a bald guy, I immediately started looking for a spot. I didn’t see it until halfway through the first quarter, when a replay of a gorgeous Ginobili flush revealed thinning hair on his crown.
Apparently, he wasn’t so concerned with his naked pate, due to the fact he lit up the Sonics for over 30 points and was instrumental in the Spurs game 5 victory.
The next thing that drew my attention was the Bruce Bowen – Ray Allen war. Allen criticized Bowen earlier in the year as being a dirty defensive player, then upped his whining when their playoff series started.
Bowen is considered one of the best stoppers in the game and everyone knows that defenses get tighter during the second season. No less than Mr. Push Off himself – Reggie Miller – said so.
It was interesting to see Allen trip himself on his first drive to the bucket.
Ray-Ray has already let Bowen into his head, which means bad things for the Sonics and their one-dimensional star.
After Tony Parker made a turnover and missed his third straight layup I started wondering if he was pressing too hard because of a certain “Desperate Housewife”. The Frenchman started dating Ava Longoria a couple of months ago, and now he looks like he’s afraid that Longoria will start dating his gardener if he doesn’t make SportsCenter.
I then noticed practically every Spur taking center Nazr Mohammed to the side and giving him instruction. A mid-season trade brought Mohammed over from the Knicks, so it’s understandable that he probably hasn’t experienced the nuances of being on a winning team.
But you would think that after two or three months on the team, he would know what he’s supposed to be doing. He gets by on a natural instinct and a long, athletic body. If he ever got his basketball IQ up to speed, the Spurs could have a terrible twosome for decades to come.
The most terrifying subplot involved Seattle’s Reggie Evans. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about that guy that freaks me out.
He looks like the kid in school that would have been voted ‘Most Likely to be Institutionalized’.
Every defensive play and every time he’s whistled for a foul, I halfway expect him to turn into ‘Crazy Eyed Killa’ and just start thugging out. Luckily for the rest of humanity, I think Nate McMillan has him in check.
I’m sure there were probably more subplots and weird happenings, but I tuned into the REAL season finale of SVU at 9, and then watched a requisite repeat viewing of Attack of the Clones.
Now that sweeps month and season finales are all but done, I’ll become entranced with the real-life drama of the NBA. All it’s lacking is the ‘Duhhhn Duhhhhnn’ sound from Law & Order.