Open Question

21Feb10

Allow me to pose to you an open question – a hypothetical.
Let’s say you were eight feet tall.  Let’s say that you were eight feel tall, but not the sort of eight-footer that goes on TLC and requires long-term, intensive medical care; you’re not Guinness Book of Records eight feet, you’re National Basketball Association eight feet.

Let’s also say that on top of your eight feet in height, you were four hundred pounds.  Again, your god-given physical gifts are not granted to you with an unfortunate catch, even in this department – your weight is almost purely muscle.  There’s little to no body fat on you.  You’re lean, mean, and you look like your triceps muscle could fuck a cement wall so hard it would travel thousands of years back in time.

Let’s say, thirdly, that, as I hinted beforehand, that you’re involved in basketball.  No, not merely involved – you’re in the fucking National Basketball Association.  You’re stomping around in the footsteps of the various greats of the game, and so prodigious is your talent, your natural ability, the sort of synapse-firing that leads to dunks from the free throw line that you are not merely following in their tracks, you’re obliterating what little evidence there is remaining of their presence.  That’s how big your feet are, in a manner of speaking.  You’re perhaps the most talented professional basketball player on the planet, in short.  In your mid-twenties, when the vast majority of your Earthly peers are still gauging whether or not they can afford groceries on a weekly basis, you’re nailing shots from ten feet out of bounds and setting fire to the public’s memory of Magic fucking Johnson.  You’re that good.

You’re Lebron James.

So, assuming all of the aforementioned – you’re a physical giant and you’re immensely talented – as well as other things not deemed by me to be worthy of superfluous explanation – you’re freakishly fast and unstoppable off the dribble, let’s say – let me get back to the initial query, which I have yet to pose.

If you’re all of these things…

WHY.  THE FUCK.  WOULD YOU EVER NOT TAKE IT TO THE FUCKING HOLE?

I was watching the Cavaliers play the Nuggets a few nights ago (side note: I’ve missed watching basketball at night.  Adulthood concerns have robbed me of that simple, solitary joy), and at the end of the game, Lebron began behaving in a manner that puzzled me.  No, strike that.  Lebron began behaving in a manner as a basketball player that infuriated me.

After spending the prior three and a half quarters shredding the shit out of the Nuggets’ defense by getting anywhere he wanted to on the court at any time, by driving and mercilessly racking up three-point-play after three-point-play, Lebron decided to start…shooting long, contested jump shots.

Now, again, this is after he’s been mercilessly attacking this team for nearly forty minutes.  He’s put up right around 40 points, and double-digit rebounds and assists, too (not looking up the numbers, but he finished with the much-overrated triple double).  Nothing can possibly be done short of a prolonged campaign of napalm bombing within the arena to keep him from dunking on each trip down the floor.  Lebron is playing so dominantly as a slasher that when the other team scores, it’s automatically credited to him.  People’s hearts are exploding our of their chests in the crowd.  Holy men, several countries away and blissfully slumbering, are spontaneously developing Nike logo stigmata.  Dude is playing out of his goddamn mind.  And yet…

Here’s Lebron, launching a twenty-footer over Carmelo’s outstretched fingertips.  Front iron.

Here’s Lebron, pulling up for a three pointer from the left wing, over Carmelo again, after a few half-hearted jab steps (as if he needs to fake).  This is probably a 28 foot shot.  Same result – clang.

“Lebron,” I’m saying from my couch.  “Lebron, what are you doing?  That was not a tomahawk over three players.  That was not a high-percentage field goal, my friend.”

Before long, despite the fact that I truly dislike Lebron and the Cavs, I am feeling personally offended by this display.  Lebron has spent four consecutive possessions pulling up for contested shots over multiple defenders.  Again, this isn’t a problem for someone as good as he is, but if you’re going to do that, why not do it from five feet away, so that you can launch yourself at people like a fear-seeking missile?  The man shoots something like eighty fucking percent from close range, and there’s not a player or a team or a tactical nuclear weapon on the planet that can keep him from getting whatever shot he wants.  And if that’s the case, why in the name of all that is fucking holy would you be settling for jump shots in the fourth quarter of a tight game?

And that’s the other thing – it was tight.  The Nuggets were probably down somewhere between three and five the first time Lebron jacked a top-of-the-key shitfuck, and by the time he had done it three or four times, Denver was ahead by two.  I’m left to wonder: does Lebron realize what he’s doing?  Is he so far removed from Earthly concerns due to his talent that he can tinker with horrific shots that he knows he won’t make in the middle of a close game, just because he can?  He can sacrifice a game at his whim, like a goat upon a pagan altar, and feel nothing, feel no guilt that would compel him to stop playing like a fucking idiot and drive to the fucking basket because no one can do anything to stop you.

I’m stunned by either the arrogance or ignorance that this suggests – he’s either so good that he doesn’t give a shit that he’s doing things that are hurting his team in a winnable game, or he’s so stupid, so socially disconnected from what’s happening because of how good he is that he truly has no idea that seven or eight shitty jump shots in a row is the sort of thing that can stop a run for your team and build one for your opponent.

Lebron, do you have a wordpress account?  You will need one in order to comment on my blog entry about you, and I’d love to hear what you’ve got to say.  Maybe you could start your own wordpress blog account, and we could write blogs back and forth to each other, like twenty-first century pen pals.  Write back soon.

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