Are NBA fans really witnessing a transition from the Old Guard to the New? Lots of talk about that in the sports pages, radio, TV. I wouldn't go so far. Consider the teams that made it to the finals of the eastern and western division finals: Mavericks vs Thunder and Heat vs Bulls. Of all the players on the four teams, there are only three bona fide new super stars: Rose, Durant, and Westbrook. You can't really call Lebron, D Wade, and Bosh youngster any more. Wade is 29, Bosh and James are 27 and they've all three played over seven years in the NBA. Go back into all the teams that made the playoffs. You can't call Dwight Howard at 26 one of the New Guard. Nor can you say the same for Amare Stoudemire at 29,or Carmelo Anthony at 27. So tell me who among playoff participants, aside from Rose, Durant, and Westbrook, are the New Guard? Serge Ibaka, maybe? But I doubt it. I suppose all this New Guard fuss must include players from non playoff teams like Tyreke Evans and Demarcus Cousins of the Kings. The jury is still out on both of them. Tyreke can't shoot and Cousins is still in need of a good therapist. Blake Griffin, of course. But again, he doesn't have a complete game - yet. But I won't quibble as he is a true future star as is Rajon Rando. There is no doubt we are saying goodbye to some stalwart supers in the 4th quarter of their careers: Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, and maybe Manu, but the players filling the gap, are certainly not the young guns, at least not yet. The super stars of the NBA are the stars that we have been enjoying for awhile, those who are starting the 3rd quarter of their careers and still have quite a way to go before their retirement.
Damn brave of Rick Welts of the Phoenix Suns to revel he is gay. The NBA has been leading the charge against immigration discrimination (Los Suns), and recently against gay and lesbian discrimination (It's not cool to use the word Gay pejoratively). Right on. Perhaps some of the NBA's gay players will come out of the closet. You don't believe there are any? Really?
I've always loved Carlos Santana's music. So I was delighted to see he admonished Alabama and Arizona for their immigration laws when he was awarded the Beacon of Light Award before the Phillies-Braves game.
Stanford Women's Water Polo team won the National Championship against the University of California Bears. Am I mistaken or are we talking about two teams from Northern California going Uno and Dos for the National Title. Imagine the publicity a match up like that would generate if it were basketball or football. The Big Game for the BCS Championship, or the Bears vs Cardinals winding up in the NCAA Finals. Would you think that news of those events would be stuck in a lower right hand column on page 2?
The history of the Golden State Warriors first round and second round draft picks is nothing to be proud of. Not that other NBA teams histories are that much better, but as an ex Warrior and fan, I'm not interested in other teams. I want our front office guys to do a better job. I want to see a break with the past. What do I mean by the past? Since 1985, the Warriors have selected only four quality players: Chris Mullins, Mitch Richmond, Jason Richardson, and Stephan Curry. I would include Chris Webber but he is one of my least favorite players, and he let the Warriors down with his selfish performances. Of the four, only Mullins can be considered a game changer. And if you go to the web site, Golden State of the Mind, you can log on to all the stars the Warriors missed out on, a list that makes me wonder if the family parakeet wasn't making our team's selection. The following players were available, but the Warriors passed over: Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Trancy McGrady, Dirk Nowitski, Andri Kirilenko, Tony Parker, Amare Stoudimire, Carlos Boozer, David West, Josh Smith, and Joakim Noah.
So, what does it take to make shrewd and knowledgeable draft choices? Lots and lots of hard work and plenty of assistant coaches on the road watching tons of college games. I also suspect those coaches and scouts better have a first hand knowledge of the NBA, not just of college ball. It might be too late to make changes, but whoever has been doing the scouting for our team, well, can our new owners trust them to make better decisions this year and into the future? Track records speak for themselves, don't they?
For all you fans who like good basketball stories, I recommend Counting Coup by Larry Colton, a true account of a high school girl's basketball team on the Crow Indian reservation. It is funny, tragic, intelligent, and loving.
Here's a poem by Sherman Alexie, a Native American writer and basketball player.
I remember sun-
days when the man I
call my father made
me shoot free throws, one
for every day of my life
so far. I remember
the sin of imperfect
spin, the ball falling in-
to that moment between
a father and forgive-
ness, between the hands reach-
ing up and everything
they can possibly hold.
What my musings are all about...
Blogging might well be the 21st century's form of journaling. As a writing teacher, I have always advised my students to keep a daily journal as a way of organizing their thoughts for future writing projects, a discipline I have unfortunately never consistently practiced myself. By blogging, I might finally be able to follow my own good advice.
The difference between journaling and blogging is that the blogger opens his or her writing to the public, something journal- writers are usually reluctant to do. I am not so reticent.
The trick for me will be to avoid cluttering the internet with more blather, something none of us need more of. If I stick to subjects I know: sports and literature, I believe I can avoid that pitfall. I can't promise that I'll not stray from time to time to comment on ancillary subjects, but I will make every attempt to be interesting and perhaps even insightful.