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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.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Hss Small Ball Maxed Out?

 It is not a Tsunami change as the one that turned the game into a Small Ball game, but a wave of some significance that is breaking back on itself and renewing the importance of the Center, The Five, the Post, the Big to the NBA.

To begin with, here's the history: Professional basketball started out Small Ball in 1925 with the creation of the American Basketball League with a bunch of vertically challenged swift Jewish and Irish guys in constant motion, passing and cutting. By the end of the Forties, along came George Miken of the Minneapolis Lakers. Small Ball turned into Tall Ball. Back to the basket Bigs dominated the game: Chamberlain, Russell, Lanier, The Chief, Jabbar, Shaq, etc. This trend had a long life span, until the Heat put together King James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosch and introduced the NBA to Small Ball. The Warriors took small ball to its logical conclusion, with Draymond Green often playing the five and protecting the paint and, perhaps, every other spot on the court.

As the world turns, it is my belief that the league is finding its way back to the Bigs.  

Really, you say. How is that? you ask. 

Yes, it is, with the following caveat: The Bigs must be athletic, some will be able to shoot threes, all will provide scoring. In the Western Conference, for example, there is Cappela of Houston, Adams of OKC, Gobbert of the Utah Jazz, Cousins (he's a lot faster than he's given credit for) and Davis with the Pelicans, Karl-Anthony Towns of the TWolves, DeAndre Jordon (I wish he could shoot freethrows), Jokic of Denver, with reservations, and Willy Cauly Stein if he grows into his potential.

In the East, there is Joel Embid who certainly fits this model. In addition, it appears that there are a number of athletic Bigs (6'11", 7', 7.1") in this years college draft - young though they are - guys that can run, not lumber, shoot from distance, protect the rim, grab boards, and in general make things very difficult for penetrators. For example, if the Warriors had any of the above mentioned Western Conference Bigs, such as Adams, they would be NBA champs until Curry grew a gray beard?

NBA teams will not be able to win Championships much longer playing Small Ball. The future champions will have to have at least one significant athletic seven-footer.who can provide some scoring and lots of paint protection and muscle.Even in some cases shoot threes and play perimeter D in the case of a switch.

It's Black History Month and a poem written by African American Quincy Troupe

poem for My Fathers; for Quincy Troupe, Sr.

father, it was an honor to be there in the dugout
with you, the glory of great black men swinging their lives
as bats at tiny white balls
burning in at unbelievable speeds, riding up & in & out
a curve falling off the table, moving away screwing its stitched
magic into chitlin circuit air, its comma seams spinning
towards break down, dipping, like a hipster
bebopping a knee-dip stride in the charlie parker forties
wrist curing behind a "slick" black back
like a swan's neck, cupping
an invisible ball of dreams -

father, & you there regal as an african obeah man sculpted
out of wood, from a tree of no name no place origin
thick roots branching down into cherokee & someplace else lost
way back in africa, the sap running dry
crossing from north carolina, into goergia, in grandmother mary's womb
your mother in the violence of that red soil, ink blotter
gone now into blood graves of american news sponging
rococo truth dead & long gone as dinosaurs
the agent-oranged landscape of former names
absent of polysyllables, dry husk consonants there
nor, in their place, flat as polluted rivers
& that guitar string smile always snaking across virulent
american red neck faces scorching, like atomic
heat mushrooming over nagaski & hiroshima
those fever blistered shadows of it all
inked into sizzling concrete

but you there father, a yardbird solo riffin on
bat & ball glory, breaking down the fabricated myths 
of white major league legends, of who was better
than who, beating them at their own crap
game with killer bats, as bud powell swung his silence into beauty
of a josh gibson home run, skittering across the piano keys
of bleachers, shattering all fabricated legends there in lights
struck-out white knights running the risky edge of amazement
awe, the miraculous truth sluicing through
steeped in the blues, confluencing like the point
at the cross between a fastball disguised as a curve
sliding away in a wicked sly grin, posed as an ass scratching
uncle tom, like satchel paige delivering his hesitation pitch,
then coming back with a hard high fast one
quicker than a professional hit-
man, the deadlines of it all, the strike
like that of the brown bomber's or sugar 
ray robinson's lightning, cobra bite

& you there father, catching rhythms of chano pozo
balls, drumming into your catcher's mitt
fast as "cool papa" bell jumping into bed
before the lights went out

of the old negro baseball league, a promise
of harbinger, of shock waves, soon to come.

1 comment:

DTB-56 said...

I hope you're right about the paint protection part. Being 61 it grieves me to see guys drive the lane with impunity. I loved watching Nate Thurmond, in particular, play that role. But I wonder if a big guy could still provide lane protection when the rules on traveling have changed so much. Thurmond was trying to stop a guy taking two steps to the hoop but today it is three steps plus the momentum the player has off the dribble from the three point line or deeper. You have to be willing to take the impact of that, hoping the officials will call charging when it occurs. And it is harder to block the ball cleanly because the human cannonball being shot at you has lowered their shoulder to initiate contact. But again, I hope you're right. Some guys love to see a dunk. I think a blocked shot on a drive is even more exciting.