Running around to Give you the Reacharound
Bawlin' Cawlin' 01-26-10: The Duality of Rooting
After the requisite 1.5 seconds of thought, I agreed with AI's decision. I mean, the rules are the rules, and Iverson's just following protocol. Plus, if you can name me a better example of a "fan's player" (in the same vein as the "player's coach"), you've got a free post in this space. No doubt, AI's reputation and well-documented icy relationship with David Stern may ultimately make this year the catalyst that alters the way All-Star voting is done. Of course, there's no way the NBA will completely dissolve fan voting, but partial fan voting is certainly on the table. In any case, Iverson has a right to start, and I agree with his decision to play.
But then, in this week's Sports Illustrated issue, it was revealed that Yao Ming - knowing that China's massive population and considerable NBA fan base would undoubtedly make him the top vote-getter once again - called up the commissioner's office before the season started to formally request the removal of his name from the ballot. Yao may or may not play a single game this season. It's unlikely. AI walked out on his second team in as many seasons and, while it's a great story of redemption, has done little with his one and only 76ers.
1.5 seconds was way too long to consider this one. With this decision, Yao Ming has become one of my favorite players in the NBA. Maybe it wasn't even his idea. Maybe it was his publicist's. It CERTAINLY wasn't China's, who will lose their 50% stake in Yao's potential All-Star bonus. Props to you, Yao. Also, I miss your Ultimate Sad Face, which has entertained me me for years.
This entire situation raises one of the great conundrums of sports: how can we root for two opposing ideas at the exact same time? How can I root for the Saints to win their conference championship game with an interception from the opposing quarterback, yet still feel enough respect that I feel bad for Brett Favre? How can I be a Yankees fan and still feel even a morsel of sanctification from seeing the Red Sox finally win the Series (this was before the fans became so unbearable, obviously). Even though I don't give three uncomfortably squirty shits about tennis, my obvious and only rotting interest is with any American. And yet, if I find Roger Federer in the finals against anyone BUT an American, I actually have a degree of interest in seeing the Swiss-born player when. It's the same with this situation. In opposites on nearly the exact same table, I find myself respecting both of the players.
This is truly one of the greatest things about sports. The duality of rooting interest cannot be quantified or otherwise explained. It just, is. I would almost go so far as to say that any true sports fan, when all is said and done, hates to see ANY entity lose. No matter how much you hate a franchise, or even a player, anyone who's ever played sports knows that losing the big one is more heart breaking than finding out why your wife's been spending so much time with your house's renovation crew.
So, without seemingly any logic whatsoever, kudos to both Yao Ming and Allen Iverson, for doing precisely opposite things. On to the games!
Joe Friday: 1-1
After careful consideration, Friday and I have decided that we'll keep it simple this year. Hey, I don't know what your portfolio's looking like, but we're using ours for toilet paper.
So, tickets to a Braves game and all the beer the victor can drink is on the table. At this point, a 50% off price tag on a bottle of Mad Dog 20/20 due to the cap seal being broken would excite me, so this is just downright mind-boggling.
Starting out much the same way as last year, we are neck and neck. Not to spoil your tension, but I'm going to pull away and take this like a sprinting midnight hooker clutching a wallet.
Joe Friday 1: Milwaukee/Dallas OVER 197
Joe Friday 2: Golden State/Sacramento UNDER 220.5
OBJ 1: Lakers (-8) over Washington
OBJ 2: Phoenix (-5) over Charlotte
The Suns are abysmal in the second of back-to-back games this year. After failing at the sentimental pick yesterday, if Phoenix doesn't come through for me tonight it's the last time I bet on them all season.