Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Theoharides On the Literary Landscape of the NBA Playoffs

Welcome to Wednesday, my Puddlers. In a break from tradition, I won't be making fun of the 4:20 holiday, so congratulations to you all.

Since it is Wednesday its time to let Alex Theoharides take the spotlight with his own look at things. Since Mr. Theoharides and I are such big basketball fans and the Playoffs have been phenomenal so far, some of you lesser sports fans will have to sit through another basketball post. However, the good news is that Alex's post is much more entertaining than mine and also features some great literary tie-ins.

So, I leave you for now with Mr. Alex Theoharides.

Theoharides on the Literary Landscape of the NBA Playoffs
 Where Literature meets Basketball and … We all win!

Alex Theoharides

Well ladies and gents, it’s been quite a start to the NBA playoffs. In fact, according to my Facebook page it was the best first weekend in the history of the NBA. Of course, my Facebook page is written by an idiot.

Two weeks ago, before our esteemed editor, the Lord of the Puddle himself, Mr. Matthew Domino, left his blog untended to visit, what I can only assume was, some ungodly region of the world, I teased you with the promise of under hyped story lines and fearless predictions heading into the heart of the NBA Playoffs. However, after the aforementioned Mr. Domino’s stellar work outlining the NBA playoffs, I’ve decided to come at you with a slightly different take. Today, I’d like to separate the pretenders from the contenders, while comparing each team in the playoffs to the best and worst of American literary classics. In other words, in the following lines, two titans will collide in an epic battle for control of my mind. Literature meets Basketball. But will we survive?

Let’s go worst to first:

The Pretenders aka (Domino will kill me but...) the John Steinbeck Division

Philadelphia 76ers - Call of the Wild
A team of gentle pups enters the savage world known as the NBA playoffs, only to go all rogue and leave their wizened leader scratching his head as to where he went wrong. Whammo!

Indiana Pacers - The Grapes of Wrath
Long, seemingly tough players, who aren’t afraid to get dirty and at times can compete with the best teams in the league, but ultimately unravel in long tangents, in which they don’t score, don’t defend, and make everyone want to change the channel. Oh yeah, and they don’t know how to finish. Done and done!

Atlanta Hawks - Catcher in the Rye
Angst ridden young men, who seem good at first glance, but always leave you with a bitter taste in your mouth. Bam!

Denver Nuggets - On the Road
Ironic in a way, considering Denver plays much better at home. However, just like Kerouac's rambling novel, this team makes little sense on paper, somehow manages to over-exceed expectations, but ultimately doesn’t have much to say about anything.

New York Knicks - Catch-22
The only way you can win with D’Antoni is if you don’t play his brand of basketball, but if they don’t play his brand of basketball the Knicks won’t score enough points to win.

 New Orleans Hornets - Lonesome Dove
An aging gunslinger, slowed by injuries, discarded in a barren wasteland, seeking one last hurrah before his knees go out and with them his career. Alright!

Portland Trailblazers meets Sometimes a Great Notion
A big, sprawling, hopelessly flawed team that plays in the Northwest? Shnikes!

Memphis Grizzlies - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
A young, gifted team floating downriver, trying to overcome a history of failure, influenced by a coach and GM, both of who seemingly tricked their way into their jobs? Okay, so perhaps, it’s my biggest stretch.

The Contenders aka (Domino might agree) the Robert Penn Warren Division

Orlando Magic - Moby-Dick
A maniacal mad man at the helm, desperately searching for the whale that got away, a team that seemingly has no control over its own destiny, a strange, Middle Eastern man watching over everything … okay, okay …  it’s a stretch, but if you’re casting the role of Ahab you could do a lot worse than Stan Van Gundy

San Antonio Spurs - As I Lay Dying
A team of castoffs and sinners trying to come together to carry their dead leader to his grave. Oh yeah, and they’re boring to boot! 

Dallas Mavericks - The Great Gatsby
Let’s see, who does this remind you of? Man always wanted to be good at sports so that people would love him. Man isn’t good at sports. Man is good at business. Even though no one knows how he made his money or who he had to kill to do it. Man buys sports team and pretends to be one of the players, hoping to be loved. Man puts together the best team money can buy and gives them a shiny new stadium to play in. Man comes up hopelessly short.

Boston Celtics - A Farewell to Arms
A battle they’d thought they could win until they lost their beloved friend, and with him, their desire to fight! (God, I hope I’m wrong).

Miami Heat - All the Kings Men
A little poem I wrote:
Pat Riley made a bold call,
Pat Riley had a great fall,
All the Heat’s money and all the Heat’s men,
Couldn’t win Pat Riley a championship again.

L.A. Lakers - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
A schizophrenic man sets off on a journey across America, trying to reach the promised land. All he has with him is his best bike and his knowledge of how to fix it. But is it too late? Has he already burnt too many bridges?

Oklahoma City Thunder - All the Pretty Horses
A duo of talented young guns rolls into the west, guns blazing, for a romantic adventure. They come away just short, half-alive and scarred by what they’ve seen.

Chicago Bulls - Native Son
A man born on the mean city streets, trying to overcome a giant shadow, surrounded by weak men trying to save him from himself … okay fine, so I only made this comparison because the title was perfect. But it is!

Fearless Prediction:

This is the end of basketball as we know it. All the old boys, the Spurs, Magic, Celtics, Mavericks and Lakers will all go down before the finals. Who does that leave to duel it out? The young guns. Thunder vs. Bulls. Bulls take it in six. Followed by the self-combustion of the evil psycho robot that is David Stern, because he yet again missed out on the LeBron vs. Kobe NBA Finals he wants so badly.

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