On Memory, Charles Barkley, and the NBA Lockout

An old friend called me the other day, someone I’ve known for more than thirteen years, and during the course of our conversation, he brought up a girl I used to date. I should stress here that this wasn’t a casual, three month girlfriend; I was with her for eight of the thirteen years he and I have known each other. But when he brought her up, for a moment, he couldn’t remember her name.

At the time, he suggested that he’d been very forgetful lately and claimed that this must be the cause of his clumsy recall, an excuse that seems unlikely as he’s barely 31 and has rarely, as long as I’ve known him, participated in any sort of activity (alcohol or otherwise) that is often blamed for such memory lapses. It seems to me that the reason for his forgetfulness in this particular instance was a much more understandable one: he hasn’t seen or spoken to her in almost four years and so is just simply, naturally forgetting.

I bring this up not to blather on about my personal life but to make a broader point about memory. Last week I was sick with the flu and, thus, had a lot of time on my hands to troll around the internet and, in the process, inevitably ended up watching a bunch of old highlight clips.

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The 5 Most Frustrating Players in Recent Rockets History

This was a very difficult list to make.  I’ve watched roughly 95% of the Houston Rockets’ games since 1994 and have seen a lot of bad basketball and a lot of extremely bad players.  I was there the year Matt Bullard and Walt Williams started in tandem at the forward spots.  I was there when Scottie Pippen fell down in a series-ending Game 1 and again present when Mo Taylor found Krispy Kreme.  I’ve seen it all or at least as much as any other adult living in this era.  Nevertheless, I’m confident in the validity of these rankings and confident that true justice has been served.  Without further ado, on to the list: Read More »

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On the NBA: Why LeBron Terrifies the Old Guard

They’re the new you, and it’s damn near inevitable they’ll experience déjà vu too. Fight, and you’ll never survive; run, and you’ll never escape. So just fall from grace.

Jay-Z, “Fallin’”

Anyone’s who’s ever felt that terrifying, inevitable twinge that accompanies one’s own replacement intimately knows the fury that can quickly replace the deep, excruciating pain of being deemed yesterday’s news or, even colder, obsolete. “What does he or she have that I don’t?” “Why am I not good enough for them anymore?” Most of the reproach thrown in the general direction of a successor seems petty, as much a product of the past’s sudden confrontation of its own mortality as genuine disdain for the new, but then there’s the very real, exposed vitriol: “I’m getting replaced by this lame?” Read More »

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Dreaming Through Free Agency’s Seven-Footers

Moving on from the horrific car accident that is the NBA’s current labor negotiation, here comes some casual dabbling in the always fun world of speculative free agency predictions. As we saw happen when the NFL finally came to its peaceful resolution, the splurge of signings, trades, relocation, and bag package quintupled in a condensed period of activity. It was as if God crammed all the blizzards, freezing rain, and icy roads usually reserved for November through February into a single week, then declared it winter. Read More »

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How Cancelled Games Affect Houston

Whether it be financially, physically, emotionally, or all three rolled into one seismic disaster, every player, on every team, is bruised by the lockout. Guys really want to play ball, and a shortened season not only hurts them individually, but it’s a backward step for their teams as a whole—which doubles as a backward step, once again, for them as individuals, by way of their contribution towards a lower product.

A few aging groups, built on creaky knees but veteran skill and experience—the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, and Dallas Mavericks to name a few—are hurt less than others for two reasons: 1) A shortened season means less opportunity for old man injuries to occur. Guys like Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, and Kobe Bryant aren’t sighing relief that games are being missed, but when they look at the glass as being half full, all three recognize their possible one last hurrah is easier to grab now that energy from October and November can be translated to May and June, when they do things people remember them for, and 2) The continuity/chemistry factor isn’t a concern. For the most part these groups are well versed with one another, and the key instruments that make their orchestra hum on cue are all in place and ready to go. They should hit the ground running as soon as the season starts, with even greater motivation to see the regular season as somewhat of a mini-marathon or full on sprint to the finish, instead of the tedious 82 game regular season.

Unfortunately for Houston, the Rockets aren’t one of those teams. Read More »

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