In My Write Mind
11.03.2004

HAPPY BASKETBALL NEW YEAR...


I can see it now. Me, ready for my close-up, being fitted for my costume as a giant basketball in the R&B version of the Association’s “Happy Basketball New Year” commercial. I’d be surrounded by the Knicks City Dancers (all of ‘em, it is a union gig, after all), two of my favorite Laker Girls (to add some East-West balance) and one of the Miami Heat Dancers (can it really be a party if Miami is not involved?).

The advertisement, of course, would be touting the new NBA regular season, and would feature cameos from all of my future cohorts, including Jack Nicholson in L.A., Shaq’s bodyguard in Miami, Dr. J in Orlando and fans disguised as an empty arena in Jersey. And me. I’ll be the common denominator, cheesing it up with all of those celebs (except the costumed arena fans, of course, for obvious reasons) at all of their teams’ venues. Hell, even if they aren’t there, I will be. Every night. All season long. You can count on it like a Chris Webber early season injury.

Now, before you start thinking that I’m quitting my job and heading out on the road collecting bumper stickers and accumulating credit card receipts from all these cities, aimlessly following around a basketball team for the next six months like some sort of crazed fan, nope. Please. Not gonna happen. What, do I look crazy to you? I don’t have to quit my job to do that. In fact, I don’t have to leave my house. The sad part is…I probably won’t.

And that’s because, thanks to digital television and the NBA, I’ve been exposed to the greatest invention this side of the breath strip. It’s called NBA LEAGUE PASS, and it allows me to peer into up to ten different arenas at the same time watching the league’s best (and worst) ply their craft. For the past five days during its free preview week, it’s been more addictive than Red Bull, calling me like an ex who wants a second chance.

And I can’t see it stopping anytime soon.

I’ve always loved the NBA. However, now, I can literally “love it live.” Sure, there’ll be plenty of games on ESPN, ABC and TNT--the marquee games that feature the Pacers and T-Wolves, the Spurs and Heat. But what about the other “off-Broadway” games, the classic match ups between the Clippers and Wiz on a Monday night in DC? What about Dwight Howard’s jump to the “bigs” straight from high school? Will he be able to play in front of more than 1,000 fans every night without peeing his pants? Can I miss finding out for myself? I think not. And what can be said about the hometown announcers that openly root for their teams? This is Master Card commercial-priceless.

I wanna follow the rookie seasons of Sebastian Telfair (Portland) and Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia) just to see how many people mispronounce their names; to see if Grant Hill can walk again, let alone play again for Orlando; if Derrick Coleman and Antonio McDyess can actually help the Pistons or just take up space next to Darko on the bench up in Detroit. And oh, Emeka? You betcha!

I’ll be there for every LeBron James press conference, every Shaquille O’Neal hamstring pull, every addition to a Portland Trail Blazer’s rap sheet, every Brothers Van Gundy match up (yes, I know there will be only two). And wait…there’s a black owner in the NBA now?!?!? Sure, next thing you’re gonna tell me is that Kerry couldn’t carry the South even with John “Carolina” Edwards as his running mate. Yeah, right.

(Wait…skip that last part.)

Of course, this will require more flipping than a high school cheerleading squad, more schedule adjustments than Fox’ fall lineup during the baseball playoffs—and I’m willing to make those sacrifices. Maybe I’ll have to tape Third Watch while I’m at the Garden with the Knicks for a Friday night tilt with the Sixers. I’ll VC-“ER” while on the road in Phoenix with the Hawks. This can work.

So as I plop down my $159--a virtual steal for six months of airplane-free travel--I can’t help but yell out HAPPY NEW YEAR! I know, I know…it’s only November, but hey…the NBA is starting up again. And after the meltdown that was the Yankees, at least now I have 30 teams that I can cheer for. And the good news? One of ‘em has to win. How cool is that?

Yep. I love this game. Every night. Live. Who could “pass” that up?

scribbled by Will at 11/03/2004 08:45:00 PM
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Mind Droppings

I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. (Joan Didion)



The Write One


Will. Lefty. Since Summer 1971.
Over the next six months, I'll be saying some hellos, some goodbyes. Living, laughing, growing. Don't.miss.a.word.
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