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#BallIsLife: A Basketball Thanksgiving

November 25, 2015


Thanksgiving is tomorrow. I am in New England. The leaves seem to be already off the trees. My wife is at the grocery store with her father. Her mother is at work. I could, if I wanted, annex the house, but that would be silly. They’ve already been far too kind and welcoming, so while a group of men pound away at reconstructing the deck out back, I’ll round up some basketball links and simply say, have a good Thanksgiving and embrace your families—it’s wrong to treat in-laws like Putin does the Ukraine.


This week has been a blur. We still had two days of work at the high school where my AP students corralled documents from the presidencies of Thomas Jefferson and James K. Polk into conversations with Luis Alberto Urrea’s The Devil’s Highway about the ever-changing interactions between the United States, Mexico, and, at times, unclaimed territories. Meanwhile, my English 11 students practiced annotations with passages from Sherman Alexie, who I should mention my employing county is thinking of banning from the curriculum. Nonsense and political correctness run amok! Anyway, at BallerBall this week, I imagined an epic board game night between two great NBA centers: Greg Oden and Yao Ming. The pivotal event being a rousing and inexplicable game of Jenga.

Meanwhile, Jason Gallagher went inside the head of Lance Stephenson. I read this, and I’m still not sure if I have escaped the depths of the Stephensonian labyrinth. If I have, I did not do so unchanged.

Also, if you haven’t seen realized already, BallerBall is the headquarters for Ricky Rubio’s presidential campaign. SteveMcPherson wrote this. I wrote this. I really think he has a chance, if given the right platform.

At Hardwood Paroxysm, I wrote about anearly season meeting between the Portland Trailblazers and the MemphisGrizzlies. I am, admittedly, a Spurs fan, but the ethos of these two franchises have always struck a chord with me. I was sad to see the Blazers starting five split up in the offseason, even with LaMarcus landing in San Antonio. Meanwhile, the Memphis march has long held sway over me, inspiring a series of posts comparing them to Norse gods. With all that said, I couldn’t help wondering if the time has come for the old laws and ways to be split asunder. Maybe it’s time for something new in Grizzly blue. (Sorry that rhyme was awful.)

I’m not the only one thinking this, and I’m definitely not the only one writing about it. I felt good about my piece, but then I read Evans Clinchy’s “Is this the beginning of theend for the Memphis Grizzlies?” and thought, Wow! That’s everything I tried to say but better and with more proof.

Lastly, I try to teach my students to base their opinions off empirical evidence. You know, proof. But I, too, struggle with letting go of my own opinions and by-laws. I could never write anything positive about Chris Paul—he’s a gutless nutpuncher! Then again, I don’t have to because someone who’s better with evidence has already done the job. Kirk Goldsberry’s “Chris Paul is a Point God.” If you haven’t read this piece already, it’s really good. All of Goldsberry’s stuff is really good. It made me change my description of Chris Paul from what I stated above to the more accurate: Chris Paul, god of nutpunching.


I could go on. There is so much good writing about the NBA and basketball and life, because #Ballislife. And for all these things to exist in a world that is so often cold and blustery in its violence, I am thankful.

Bryan Harvey is even more out of context @LawnChairBoys

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