I would never tell Kwame Brown that he sucks to his face. The guy's 6'11". A friendly back slap from this guy would put me in the hospital for weeks.
Yet tonight, I felt perfectly comfortable lobbing this insult towards him from not very far away. (He was also informed that his perpetual sloth and lackadaisical attitude towards his occupation resembles a co-worker of mine named Rupak, though I'm thinking that sort of inside reference would go right over his head. If such a thing were possible.)
Through a benevolent act, 20 co-workers and I managed to get into one of those luxury boxes at Staples Center to see the hometown Lakers (sometimes known as the "Gay-kers" to those who insist upon hating on popular basketball franchises AND homosexuals simultaneously) take on the Portland Trail Blazers. It was, in a word, awesome. In two words, it was "totally awesome."
I am not a basketball fan in any sense of the word. In fact, going into the Staples Center tonight, I realized (to myself, of course) that I could only NAME two active Lakers. Kobe Bryant, who is a celebrity icon and alleged rapist first and a famous athlete second, and Lamar Odom. I have no idea how it is that I have come to know of Lamar Odom, and not only to recognize and remember his name but to know his team affiliation. It must be some kind of holdover from my days of living with rabid sportsman Matt, who would take advantage of my perpetually stoned collegiate inertia and dominate the television for weeks at a time.
Matt's theory went something like this...All I wanted to watch were old TV shows like "The Simpsons," most of which I had seen and all of which would surely be re-run at some future date. He, on the other hand, wanted to watch live sporting events or sports recaps, programs that could only be seen and enjoyed at that exact moment in time. (Recall, these were those horrible, dark days before the advent of TiVO and the DVR. How did people manage to entertain themselves?) Most of the time, I was too spaced out or lazy to argue.
I thought I had forced all of that "SportsCenter" information out of my head and replaced it with rock songs, film theory and shrill anti-Bush blog posts, but some random scraps have remained.
For what it's worth, I also remember that this guy looks creepy:
...was arrested in 2001 with 213 pounds of marijuana in his van.
Which is hilarious on many levels. Who breaks traffic laws when they're driving around with 213 pounds of marijuana? Who even needs 213 pounds of marijuana? I mean, obviously it wasn't for personal use. Even Nate couldn't be that many tokes over the line. But being an NFL player, you're already making a lot of money and, even worse, you're extremely visible. Which is the last thing you want to be if, you know, you're a fucking drug dealer!
Anyway, despite the above references being pretty much the extent of my sporting knowledge (okay, I also know that Barry Bonds is a dick and that Ice Cube can get a triple-double, even when he's just messing around), I had a great time at Staples tonight.
And it wasn't only the free booze and food and the kickass suite, although that stuff never hurts. A fridge full of Heineken keg cans, some garlic french fries, pulled pork sandwiches and Snickers Pie will, in fact, buy you several hours of my time and not a small amount of loyalty. But beyond the sybaritic delights, I actually enjoyed just watching the basketball game. Perhaps all this time, I have been bored by basketball because it is on television, which consistantly renders live events as flat and uninteresting, or because of bad views in horrible seats. Really, I'm not sure I've ever attended a sporting event before and had what anyone would reasonably consider a good seat. So, like, of course I've always found them boring.
Well, not baseball. That's genuinely boring. I mean...come on...There's a liesurely game and then there's a bunch of dirtbags spitting and scratching themselves and sometimes trotting around in a circle. It's not even a particularly fine line. The only people capable of really getting into baseball are seriously confused nerds. See, they should be focusing all that energy on exciting careers in accountancy or in the high-growth field of Star Trek memorabilia collection, but instead, they have become obsessively focused on compiling and arranging meaningless statistics. Reading an intense baseball fan blog is pretty much identical to reading an advanced academic paper on String Theroy. Except in the latter case, brilliant minds are struggling to answer the grandest, most significant questions our species has ever posed about the universe, and in the former case, a bunch of douchebags are trying to figure out which left-handed sluggers are the most consistant in windy conditions. Otherwise, though...it's uncanny...
In fact, I think there's very very little chance I could ever become a fan in any way, shape or form of any sport aside from basketball. I prefer it to all other sports because it is well-paced, the games and seasons are short enough to remain interesting all the way through (though the Playoffs take too long) and because it is not baseball.
My infrequent opportunities to watch and enjoy basketball is no one's fault but my own, of course. I don't like sports and would never set aside any resources of my own to attend a sporting event. If I go, I go because someone else invites me, and why would they shell out hundreds of dollars on my non-sports-caring-about ass?
Think of it in these terms. If you had only ever seen Lawrence of Arabia on a video iPod, or projected on a bedsheet 100 yards away, you probably wouldn't think it was a terrifically interesting movie. But check it out in 70mm widescreen some time.
I'm bringing up this theory as a remote but intriguing possibility, not because I firmly believe it to be true. I mean, I know that one reason (among many) that I can't get into hockey is because it's too taxing to follow a tiny little puck as it races between the legs of hulking guys wearing body armor around a big white rink for several hours at a time.
No, it's far more likely that the beer, the chicken fingers and the lively, enthusiastic company made the game compelling. That and the newness of the experience. (I had only been to Staples once before, and it was for a Crosby Stills Nash and Young concert, and I was in a normal bleacher seat. I believe the last time I watched a professional basketball game was when I was 8 or 9 years old, back in Philadelphia, checking out a Sixers game at the Spectrum. I could be mistaken about that, but I don't think that I am.)
That and the fact that it was an abnormally involving match-up, fairly close almost the entire night and notable for a startling, barely-human feat of strength from Kobe Bryant. Probably all of the above.