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05 March 2006

What's With Intellectuals and the NBA?

Tyler Cowen likes to blog about the NBA, Matthew Yglesias is obsessed with it, and now Malcolm Gladwell is going on about it. Who are these people? I don't know one person who gives a defecation (I'm trying to maintain the intellectual theme) about anything that goes on in the NBA except when a bunch of players jump into the stands to beat up drunk fans. In the Gladwell discussion he and the ESPN commentator discuss how a lot of stars seem to phone it in after they sign a huge contract. Ya think? The whole league is a joke - no one can take seriously a league where a large percentage of the players are indifferent towards winning on any given night - and that's the playoffs - the regular season you can just completely forget. So what is the appeal of this charade to the intellectual class? Is it because their feelings of athletic inferiority find some consolation in thinking that it's only their failure to be 6'7" that kept them from being great basketball players themselves? Does the heavy African-American dominance give the sport a kind of cachet sort of in the way that Howard Cosell and Dick Schaap were mesmerized by the young Cassius Clay? Or are they just so dorky they can't tell a real sport from a fraud?

30 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It might be a process of elimination more than anything else. Baseball's already been overanalyzed to the most extreme degree. Football might not lend itself to analysis quite as well given the way it involves called discreet plays and a limited number of games per season.

Peter
Iron Rails & Iron Weights

March 05, 2006 11:21 PM  
Anonymous gcochran said...

Those guys are intellectuals?

March 06, 2006 1:53 PM  
Anonymous daveg said...

The NBA is sportstainment. It is somewhere between real sports and pro wrestling.

The disparity between the treatment of different player by the refs, and of the home team and big market team, is all designed to provide the best story and TV line, no a real competition.

There is some amazing stat that out of the last 20 years 19 had two teams from the top 6 largest TV markets - NY, LA, SF, Detriot, Houston and Boston. San Antonio and Indianna broke that streak, but other than them it has been dominated by large market teams.

March 06, 2006 2:17 PM  
Anonymous ziel said...

Those guys are intellectuals?

Of course - just ask them!

March 06, 2006 4:40 PM  
Blogger C. Van Carter said...

I think they envy the NBA players leaping ability, as most intellectuals (with the exception of Irish ones) are terrible leapers.

March 06, 2006 5:00 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

Ok, I usually get Carter's jokes but it's not gelling...I googled on "irish leaper" and found this article featuring the ironic statement "Carter is a good leaper and averaged 3.5 points a year ago.
"

March 06, 2006 8:44 PM  
Blogger C. Van Carter said...

The basis for my remark was an anecdote about Samuel Beckett jumping. Or so I thought, upon re-reading I realize I misremembered it:

"We had a game, whoever could stick a stamp highest on the wall got a free round of drinks. Beckett was tall, but he wasn't the tallest. We had a heavyweight boxer in Ireland called Jack Doyle who used to come there. It was a foregone conclusion that he would put the thing [highest], and when he came, he put his stamp, of course, beyond our reach. The rule was that you couldn't take your feet off the ground, naturally, yet when it came to Beckett's turn, Beckett put a stamp just higher than Jack Doyle's and yet we never saw how he did it"

So no one knows if Beckett jumped or not. It's a mystery as to how he did it.

I was also thinking of Flann O'Brien's At Swim Two Birds", where some fellows in the bar discuss how the Irish are the best in the world at leaping, though thinking about it now if I recall correctly they were discussing the Irish ability at the standing broad jump.

March 06, 2006 11:15 PM  
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The NBA needs a white superstar like the NFL has. A Peyton Manning, a Tom Brady or Bret Farve.

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