The Roc’ – a free-for-all for expressions and digressions on all things sports. Lace up, ’cause its gonna be a ball!
Rohan Raghavan: Let me hit you with some straight up blasphemy – the death of basketball as we know it! Not some Barkelian bullshit about the death of the big man, I’m talking about the extinction of the addiction as we know it. Is there a limit to the evolution of the game, an unbreakable wall that no Lebronian specimen can hope to break through?
Meerae Park: The sport as a whole? We need to go to 4000 A.D. for this one. Where’s the funeral? Tell me how about how it died!!! Death by natural causes or Silver?
R: Can’t be Silver, only because the Silver Age would be long gone by then. There are only so many accessories one can hang upon a game that is bound by ball and a 94 by 50 foot court. Human evolution – mentally and physically – can only do so much over the span of a 100 years. Let me call it right here – basketball will die in the next 100 years if not sooner. Hope I’ll be alive to bump L’il Kobe’s “Basketball is Dead” – actually, strike that, I ain’t listening to anything by anyone who name-drops Kobe!
M: I disagree, basketball never stops. Didn’t you read the t-shirts? Actually, I take that back. I think we need to look at other extinct sports. Let’s start with the gladiators.
R: Let’s – Russell Crowe and cohorts don’t flay men and animals alike but in our dreams anymore. The inhumanity of it all might explain that to some degree, but my money is on boredom – sheer boredom of the possibilities of the “sport.” And I say sport in quotations ‘cause basketball won’t even be considered a sport in the future – it will be a bonafide drama, regardless of our own personal feelings. But let’s make a u-turn and get back to the big problem – how will our dear basketball die?
M: Gladiator games ended because of Christianity. Barbarism didn’t align with the Bible – expectedly so. With the Silver Age, the NBA should resemble ballet in a 100 years. So, I don’t think it will be excommunicated for violence. Possibly death by another social force? What do you think is that force?
R: Who’s to say our religion, our social circumstances, our cultural desires won’t change with the way ‘ball does? In essence, we’re just a bunch of weak and weak-minded junkies latching onto the ideal like remoras on sharks. We feed off the excess adrenaline and meaning that our dutiful sharks don’t need – the lottery hopes of my Jazz for instance. Soon we will die, and a new iteration of the sport will take hold. But what happens when that new iteration ceases to be allowed to exist? We see it in football, the terror of concussions, and maybe we’ll see it in basketball, the terror of knowing that you’re just watching a bunch of men jacking off – that in the end, the game is nothing but a vacuous form of pleasure that can’t approximate the joys of a new form of expression.
M: That sounds about right. The tankapalooza masturbation marathon seems underway right now. The Philadelphia 69’ers are leading the way in their quest for the lottery. Wiggins, Parker, Randle, Embiid – how can you blame these general managers?
Isn’t this a familiar dialogue? We’re just like general managers – always looking for the next fix. Whether it’s alcohol or Mary Jane, whatever gets the job done is what survives.
R: Ain’t that the truth! But just like the hippies of yester-year, even us addicts will eventually turn into yuppies that run after the money of different leagues. While I do believe that the necessity of tanking to become competitive will eventually be done away with, will such a change be enough to turn around the decay of the sport as a way of life? I think not, my good sir! Tanking may be the flavor of the month when it comes to how to make a team better, but eventually what gets the job done won’t be able to be done – you hit a ceiling (kind of like how Olowokandi did – did I hit a nerve Clippers fans?). How in Antoine Walker-Hell will we be able to make our players simultaneously understand and act upon the success rates of possible plays? And if they could, would we even deign to watch a sport that is so mechanical, where plays and movement are necessitated by not passion, but what our then-current paradigms of physics and biometrics demand?
But still, I wonder, how will our beloved ‘ball look in its death throes, for as everything else – our mountains, our lovers, our notions of progress – so too will basketball squirm and quake, eventually surrendering to the times.
M: We see seasons everywhere, mountains lose snow, lovers come and go. Is basketball like my ex-girlfriend or an impermeable mountain? I’d put my money on the first. Troy fell and so will basketball – give it a hundred seasons.
I can picture it already. We’ll wake up one day and realize basketball is not fun. “The revolution will not be televised.”
R: Well I think the Turner Television deal, and others of its ilk, will ensure that it will be seen – but us diehards won’t be able to see it for what it is. But you know what, I think I’ll have to recant my earlier statement of basketball dying in a 100 years or so. We are stuck in our own paradigm of thought. How can we know when it shall perish, how can we hope to know how it shall perish?