Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Designated Basketball Scholar.

A few months ago, at a friend's birthday party, I had found myself a corner to sit in, which is my basic party philosophy: ensconce myself in a corner, preferably on a sofa, and let the party come to me. A couple of my basketball-knowing friends wound their way around to the Utah Jazz, conversation-wise, and said that there was basically no way they'd make the playoffs. This was well before the All-Star break, by the way, in case you're trying already to ascertain the probability that they were taking into account all the available evidence.

The hell you say, I said. It's too soon to say!

Nah, they said. Statistically possible, but highly improbable.

This made me huffy. However, it's also true that, as a basketball cognoscenti, I have limitations. Let's examine my basketball CV:

  • never played
  • have watched many basketball themed movies
  • love love LeBron James
  • started my fan career when I was at BYU during the Danny Ainge years
  • continued my fan career when Danny Ainge started to play for the Boston Celtics
  • took up my calling as a Utah Jazz fan during the latter part of the Adrian Dantley years
  • had my peak years as a Utah Jazz fan during the Karl Malone/John Stockton years, which, let's face it, were golden, golden years
  • nursed a deep and wide hatred of the L.A. Lakers
  • hoped like crazy that Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams would be the second coming of Malone/Stockton
  • a sketchy period when the historian watched all the games, and I listened to him watching them from the other room
  • now, when the Jazz are on the precipice of making the freaking playoffs, O Ye Of Little Faith

(Basically, I whispered that last bullet, so as not to jinx their chances.)

I recounted this whole anecdote--where my friends were so certain the Jazz wouldn't make the playoffs--to my son, my youngest, today while we were visiting my folks down in Payson. 

"Have you rubbed it in their faces?" he said. 

"Not yet," I said. "I want to wait just a little longer." (So as not to jinx their chances, as you do.)

"You should rub it in their faces. I would," he said, with finality.

My son is a scholar of NBA basketball. My Friends Of Little Faith, who had statistically improbabled the Utah Jazz's chances in the playoffs, include a person whose basketball CV is much more estimable than my own, but when the chips are down, I trust my son's read on NBA basketball overall more than just about anyone's. His scholarship is deep. I can never, literally never, forward him an article or a tip or a rumor that he is (a) not already aware of, and (b) verified or dismissed based on two or three additional sources. 

Moreover, he is uncynical about basketball. For instance, he hopes, as do I, that LeBron stays in Cleveland despite all the rumors of possible destination teams, and thinks it's possible. I love that, even though there's probably no way to know this, he thinks it's possible, and thus I do too.

"I don't believe in cynicism," I said, apropos of some of the cynics (of little faith) I know who follow and opine about basketball.

Well, although I have many strong feelings about basketball in general, and the Utah Jazz in particular, and also LeBron James, I am perhaps a little less than sure of my own basketball bona fides. But I do believe in my son's. He is the philosopher king of basketball. Also, he won his NBA fantasy league. 

1 comment:

  1. Srsly I think of you every time I watch the Jazz. Which is whenever I can. And like I have said many times here in this blog space, you write like a dream. Thank you.



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