I did a piece on Joe DiMaggio and Stephen Jay Gould for the Hardball Times annual (which should be out soon.) To give their readers a taste of my stuff I also sent them Gashouse Hillbillies for their website. It ran today.
Tag Archives: basketball
I got back into basketball pretty organically. It just sort of happened one summer. Once it took over my life, it wasn’t long before I wanted — or saw that it made sense to be — a generalist. Year-round sports, more material to mine, and the ability to hold my own in any basketball convo that, you know, veered off into another pastime. Comparisons are the devil, but if it weren’t for parallels, life would have no movement to it. If I’m being totally honest, and tired, I’ll have you know that the rush of fantasy sports had something to do with it, too. But I was lazy, uninspired, and it didn’t stick. I don’t think I got that every sport was special in its own way — perhaps too special.
I don’t always agree with Beth Shoals, but I like him as a writer more than any other sports guys. Someone should do a Free Darkoesque blog on baseball. I’ve tried, but failed. One could argue that baseball used to be more Free Darko in it’s glory days, but became less so as athletes with Willie Mays like qualities veered towards other sports. (Mays was a triple threat back in HS. He was a QB not unlike a Vick or Pat White and his best sport may’ve been hoops.) Why did this happen? This wouldn’t be the whole reason, but maybe the AFL and ABA bidding for the services of players showed high school stars that they could make more money playing those than baseball. Joe Namath was a more pivotal figure in sports labor history than I think folks give him credit for.
A new, clearer, Free Darko Manifesto? This was an aside in an entry on Ray Lewis.
There’s a misconception floating around that FD likes underdogs. We don’t. We like star players, weird players, and players who aren’t afraid to be candid. We are also huge snobs who all cut our teeth in various realms of music snobbery. When players we jock, like Julian Wright, turn out to suck, it’s an embarrassment. We’re looking to catch the next big thing before you do, celebrate the unjustly ignored forces, or pick up on the glorious outliers who just might sneak in and transform the sport in small ways. We love potential. But potential, as it should be, is a burden — for players in real life, and in terms of the way this blog views them. We don’t root for lesser souls; we’re all about those who deserve to be, or become, something rare and cunning. A screw-up or drop-out isn’t FD, he’s the antithesis of it. This isn’t Slackerball, it’s about making sure we’re up on the best the league has to offer. J.R. Smith? He’s not a patron saint, he’s the prodigal son.
The bolded part was sort of where I was going with regards to Maranvillains. I guess I am not enough of a music snob to pull it off like these guys, though. Been reading more James Burke lately, though. He’s probably a better role model for me. Sports aestheticism is a tricky thing to write about.
I’m getting a bunch of folks dropping by to look at this post.
Just wanted to give a heads up to you about this series. They’re up to #16 right now. I’m curious where UConn will end up.
Drew is the one who talked about mixing and matching offensive and defensive assignments in hoops. Here’s his latest. It’s about intangibles and probbly applies to teens playing other sports besides basketball.
I guess I’m just as guilty as anyone else of writing read and react pieces when I’m pressed for time.
Free Darko talks about a positional revolution in hoops. I think that’s what Drew Cannon is talking about at Basketball Prospectus, as well. But he’s talking more about how to mix and match offensive and defensive roles. FD was more about bigs shooting from the perimeter and quick guys banging inside. At least that’s how I read it. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.
I alluded to this essay when writing The Underground Cult Of Slugging. Here it is, in Google book form. It originally appeared in Esquire back in 1975. They had an issue dedicated to sports. It must have been anthologized elsewhere, because I remember reading it and I wasn’t reading Esquire when I was seven. Unfortunately, only part of the excerpt is available, but I was able to read the whole thing a couple of years ago at the Bridgeport Public Library. They keep periodicals there forever.
Spencer Haywood was an interesting cat. Dig. He was husband, at one point, to the supermodal Iman. Wikipedia includes her in a list of mononymous people like Cher or Madonna or Prince. Mononymous! I wish I thought up that word. Anyways, Iman went onto marry David Bowie.
Bowie is an interesting connector. He’s collaborated with all sorts of folks like Mick Jagger, Bing Crosby, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Niles Rodgers. He worked with John Lennon on “Fame.” Lennon was once interviewed on Monday Night Football by Howard Cossell. This was before they started to have celebrities on every MNF game, so it was a special occasion. And Cossell was the first person to announce Lennon’s death on TV. Cossell is intertwined intimately with Muhammad Ali. But this is a cul-de-sac. We need to go back to Lennon.
It is true that Lennon was in a band before the Plastic Ono Band. They were the Beatles. On the White Album, there’s a song “Dear Prudence” that was written by Lennon and Paul McCartney. It was written about Prudence Farrow, who went to India with the group to meditate. Prudence has a more famous sister named Mia. Mia lived for over a decade with Woody Allen. Now,this is the weakest link, but Allen wrote an article for Sport about Earl Monroe that I’ve mentioned here. He never interviewed him for it or anything. They did meet during the filming of Annie Hall, but the Pearl’s scene was cut. Monroe and Haywood were teammates from ’75 to ’78.