Hornets Hype

In a basement. In our pajamas.

About Us

New Orleans is reborn, and David Stern is our overlord. That is all you need to know.

Get The Latest Hype

The New Orleans Hornets are currently one of two teams (the Oklahoma Thunder being the other) that start each game with an Arena-wide, pre-game prayer.  This strange occurrence is a hybrid of religious zeal and moneymaking, as the Hornets sell this slot of proselytizing to the highest bidder.   While I’ve been told that anyone can pay for the privilege of delivering this prayer, and, indeed, we’ve heard Jewish Rabbis come forward multiple times, nine times out of ten it’s a Christian prayer. In contrast, I have yet to hear an atheist step on the hardwood and dedicate a few moments to reason and logic, wish the players well, admit that each player’s health is a motley mix of conditioning and pure chance, and wish them the best. Instead, we are subjected to a game day prayer to Jesus (no, they rarely say his name, but they almost always say something similar to “In Your Name We Pray,” it’s not hard to read between the lines) to  ask the big guy in the sky to bestow good health to the players on both sides of the floor. What’s missed in the well wishes is the excessive entanglement with religion in a place where it is simply out of place.

The Hornets, as opposed to, say, LSU, or Benjamin Franklin High, are a private institution, not run by the state or any of its many subdivisions. This means, strictly speaking, many Constitutional provisions that would guarantee freedom, equality, and non-discrimination do not apply to the Hornets; that is, unless the team determines that such values correspond to its corporate mission. Private institutions, otherwise, are, in part, free to espouse whatever values they want. For example, you’ve no doubt seen Chick-Fil-A around town. They have an expressly Christian value-system built into their corporate ethos, and have even been known to fund anti-gay causes. The New Orleans City Council can’t do that, but Chick-Fil-A is free to hate whomever they want.

The rub is that the Fourteenth Amendment allows Congress to prescribe prophylactic remedies, such as Equal Employment Opportunity (“EEO”) laws, and these statutes can touch even private institutions. The basic gist is that employees cannot be discriminated in the workplace because of race, religion, sex, nationality, etc. There is a “religious organization” exception, i.e., if the organization’s purpose and affiliation is overtly religious, such as a church, or if the company’s or charity’s articles of incorporation state a religious purpose. The NBA is not one of these groups. As such, its non-discrimination policy reads:

Equal employment opportunity is a fundamental principle at the NBA. Accordingly, the NBA’s EEO Policy provides that all employment decisions will be based on merit and valid job qualifications and will be made without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, alienage or citizenship status, ancestry, marital status, creed, genetic predisposition or carrier status, sexual orientation, veteran status, familial status, or any or status or characteristic protected by applicable federal, state or local law.

I added the emphasis to the above quote.  So how is this relevant to the Hornets? Because the NBA owns the Hornets. Therefore, every single Hornets employee is an NBA employee.  Hornets’ blogger, Joe Gerrity, was recently brave enough to question the Hornets’ pre-game prayer. Although the poll Hornets247 ran concomitantly with that article is gone, approximately 65% of people were in favor of the pre-game prayer, about 25% were against it, and the remainder didn’t care. But that is precisely the point of anti-discrimination statutes: to preclude a majority of people from discriminating against the minority.

For Christians whose beliefs are in-line with the pre-game prayer, it is an innocuous blessing. For those of opposing beliefs, it may be less so. And for those that believe in no higher power, but instead rely upon science, logic, ethics, and reasoning to guide their lives, the entire thing is a travesty. The point is not which side is “right.” The point is, if it is opposed by as many as a quarter of the people who care, it should be done away with, regardless of NBA rules.  Why stir such strong sentiments when they are ultimately irrelevant to the product produced by the NBA?

Regardless, the NBA’s own anti-discrimination policy forbids the pre-game prayer. Similarly, if my private, non-religious employer decided to start the work day with a prayer, there is no doubt that it would violate the tenets of the EEO Act. It is harassment. Plain and simple. If you’re a Christian, it probably is not. If you’re a non-Christian it is. End of story. This is the part that is difficult for the dominant, Christian majority to get: some people are offended by your religion.

Think about this: if we were talking about basketball at a public school, like either of the aforementioned LSU or Benjamin Franklin High, there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that an opening prayer would violate the U.S. Constitution’s Establishment Clause (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of Religion”), which is applied to the states and their subdivisions by the Fourteenth Amendment. There are a number of similarly decided lawsuits related to high school football games that are squarely on point.  This is because governments and their many subdivisions are precluded from favoring any religion over any other religion, or even favoring believing in any religion over believing in none at all.

If a pre-game prayer at a public school is viewed as religious coercion, excessive entanglement with religion, a message sent to a minority that they are outsiders, or an establishment of a “normative” religious belief (all language used by the U.S. Supreme Court), why, just because the Hornets are a private organization, would the team want to do something so blatantly discriminatory, when it doesn’t need to go there at all? Basketball should be inclusive, not decisive; sport is about bringing together people of all sorts to witness elite competition, to see others striving for physical perfection: not an opportunity for ecumenical proselytizing to a captive audience.

Arguably, sport is the antithesis of religion. It involves physical contact, facts, strategies, cause and effect. Religion involves intangibles, faith, and suspension of disbelief. Players cannot afford to trust in god they won’t get hurt; they have to stretch and condition. Players can’t just pray they make their shots; they practice, practice, and then practice more. Nor do coaches read the Bible in search of parables in lieu of drawing up X and O plays.  The prodigal son doesn’t know how to defeat a zone.  

Many players and coaches are religious, and that is fine. That is their personal belief. But in opposition to religion; where people are supposed to merely trust that their traditions, priests, and God have their best interests in mind and are subsumed by acquiescence to belief in a omnipotent benevolence, no questions asked; NBA players and coaches cannot afford to simply do what has always been done: they must evolve,they must innovate.  To be elite in the NBA, players and coaches have to watch game film, strategize, and think through each game plan and opponent: reasoning their way to success, practicing and honing those strategies on a daily basis, and executing them all at the highest level to achieve victory.  Thus, unlike religion, basketball is palpable, responsive, and falsifiable.

So even were the NBA not the Hornets’ owner, it is clear that religion has no place in the NBA. But seeing as the NBA is the Hornets’ owner, and all the team’s employees are Hornets employees, exposing them to religious prayer before every game is a form of religious intolerance; because, as the U.S. Supreme Court has made clear, religious discrimination is not just favoring one religion over any other, but favoring belief in religion over non-belief.  Twenty eight teams in the NBA get it right.  Two do not.  One, the New Orleans Hornets, is owned by an organization professing non-discriminatory principles. Yet, the Hornets’ pre-game prayer violates those principles every home game.

Forty-one times a year, the Hornets and the NBA offend me and many others.  Maybe more this year if the team makes the Playoffs.  It needs to change.

14 Comments »

Hornets Hyped in Brazil

By on February 2, 2011

Although Hornets’ fans have decried the lack of National TV games for the New Orleans Hornets this season, it’s obvious that anyone who has League Pass or watches NBA highlights still loves, at the very least, Chris Paul, who was one of two guards elected by popular vote to start for the Western Conference All-Stars in Dallas.  This is not just a U.S. phenomenon, though; Paul and the Hornets are followed worldwide.  We’ve pointed out in the past that the Chinese love CP3 (or “Small Cannon” as they call him–among other nicknames), and have linked to blogs and forums in China, as well as Germany.  Well, now we have one more to add from Brazil:

NoHornetsBrasil, which y’all can find at http://nohornetsbrasil.wordpress.com/.  You will need to be able to read Portuguese to read their posts, but I have it on good authority that they rock, and no doubt they are hyping the Hornets.  Or, if you trust Google, check out its page translator and input NoHornetsBrasil’s website.

I know the Hornets were popular in Brazil when we had Marcus Vinicius (pictured on right) as one of our young, developing players.  Alas, he never quite became the player we were hoping when we picked him up in the mid-second round in 2006.  By 2008, Vinicius was shipped out to Memphis as part of the trade that brought us Bonzi Wells and Mike James.  Soon thereafter, he returned to Brazil, and, ultimately, surfaced in the Italian League.  Also, if you watched the Worlds closely over the summer, you would have seen him representing Brazil.  Anywho, it looks like some people in Brazil still dig the Hornets.

So, no matter what language the folks over at NoHornetsBrasil are writing, or how you read their posts, we love having more and more people writing and reading about, watching, following, and just loving the Hornets.  Welcome to the extended Hornets family, NoHornetsBrasil!

4 Comments »

Chaos Effect

By on January 30, 2011

A while back, I wrote about the Chaos Effect that Chris Paul creates. At his best, he’s completely unpredictable and indefensible.  Will he roll the ball to half-court only to explode past an overzealous defender, dribble up lazily and run brutal pick and roll half-court sets, push the fast break, or wind around defenders, sanguine and unfathomable, with his patented fake-dribble, opposite shoulder juke, and thread a no-look pass past defenders to an open three point shooter?  Paul is leading all point guards in 3-point shooting, is a master of drawing fouls (with a correspondingly deadly 90% accuracy at the line), and can carve up your team with zero-to-sixty acceleration scoring drives or his unerring ability to draw defenders and dish it out for assist on easy basket after assist on easy basket.  That ability to do everything well, concomitant with the willingness to be cerebral and deceive defenders makes him difficult to guard in even the worst of his games.

When the Miami Heat started their 21-1 stretch earlier in the season, one of the observations made was that James, Wade, and Bosh were reacting to defenses and exploiting what they saw in the moment, rather than running straight sets.  That is, they were all deciding on the spot what to do and using their growing cohesion and athletic talent to take advantage.  One of the keys?  They became much, much more unpredictable.  When a team is predictable, it is easy to stop as long as you have the right defensive strategy and can execute it, which, in contrast, the early strugglesof the Heat, before that streak, showed.  Some commentators likened this evolution to Phil Jackson’s judo-like reflexive Triangle offense, which, by design, runs less straight plays and instead takes what it is given.  Jackson is the most successful coach in NBA history, so we don’t have to question the efficacy of his strategies.  Unpredictability, inherently, shares a link to chaos, in that neither can be controlled.

When I first proposed my Chaos theory, I asked what the second unit could do to replicate Chris’ unpredictable skillset, even if to a lesser degree.  At that time, I suggested Julian Wright might be able to produce chaotic effects to the team’s benefit, with his ability to shoot threes, long arms on defense, ability to run the break, and thunderous dunks.  Wright never developed with any consistency, however, and was shipped out to Toronto over the summer.  But what I wrote then still holds as true then as it does now: sometimes you have to stop trying to make players into your kind of guy and just free them.  Any coach that tries to make CP3 or David West into anything they aren’t is fooling themselves.  To his credit, new coach, Monty Williams, has done a superb job of building an offense around those two.  But there’s just one thing he still needs to learn is okay.

How to free Marcus “Lil’ Buckets” Thornton.

Say it again.  Free Marcus “Buckets”  Thornton.  Say it again.  Free Buckets.  The young second round draft pick has surpassed the expectations of most players picked in his position and has exploded over defenses again and again.  Most three pointers by a Hornets rookie ever.  Most points in a quarter by a Hornet (rookie or otherwise) ever.  Listen to announcers from other teams on League Pass.  They are always nervous when he enters the game.  With good reason.  Marcus has one of the quickest releases in the League and isn’t afraid to let it go.  One of the reasons he is so valuable is that he can score in any way, at any time.  How do you defend someone who is as likely to catch-and-shoot a deep three as he is to pump, pump, pump, and then explode past you to the rim, twist through your help defenders and contort around the rim for an impossible lay-in?  How do you game someone who is as comfortable coming around off-ball screens to fire an open look as he is to take the ball, drive to the next defender, and dish to an open teammate?  He runs the break with the best of them and can dominate defenders in isolation.  He’s an excellent ballhandler, who despite being a natural shooting guard rarely turns the ball over, even when pressed to play the point, such as when injuries reduced the Hornets to him as the only guard last year, or even just to help beat the press.  So the only question is what is causing Williams to give him less minutes than expected?

I understand the argument that he can be your sixth man.  People like to compare his offensive game to Jason Terry, Jamal Crawford, and J.R. Smith.  I’m fine with that.  I wouldd prefer Paul and West get the largest percentage of first unit shots.  So bringing Thornton off the bench makes sense.  Kind of.  I am also partial to starting your best players.  But, regardless, Thornton is playing 16 minutes per game under Coach Williams.  Terry plays 32 minutes a game, Crawford 31, and Smith 24.  So what is it that Williams sees in those 16 minutes or at practice that he would prefer Willie Green at the two-spot?  With three less minutes a game, Thornton is averaging more points, rebounds, assists, and steals per game than Green, while shooting the deep ball 6% better.  Is it that defense thing?  Monty would have us believe so.  But I don’t buy it.

Thornton is a chaotic defender, who, though he can get lost from time to time, can also disrupt opposing offenses.  He cheats the lanes, gets steals, and leads or participates in more fastbreaks than any Hornet on those turnovers the Hornets are so good at creating.  And where does Thornton get the idea to play like that?  Surely other Hornets don’t do that.  Unless you’re talking about Paul or Trevor Ariza.  Our two best defenders.  Of course Marcus is not nearly as good as a defender as either, but he’s cut from the same cloth and he’s way better than he’s given credit for.  Another factor is MT5′s speed.  Green can’t match that; neither can Jack for that matter, who also sees some time at the shooting guard spot next to Paul.  A lot of faster players can blow by a slower Green, while Thornton has the ability to keep with those guys.  For that matter, I submit Thornton is as good as a defender as the Hornets’ starting two guard, Marco Belinelli, who has never been known as a stout defender (though has he has done reasonably well under Coach Williams).  Does he have techniques and strategies to improve on?  Of course.  He’s a second year player.

But not always knowing whether he’ll be a frenetic devil on defense or a lost-in-screens, over-cheating two guard are not reasons to bench Thornton.  A guy who can easily put up 16 points in 17 minutes on 70% shooting (with one of his misses being a half court heave) is not the guy that should be in a suit or getting a DNP-CD, just because he might go 2-10 instead of 7-10.  In the NBA, every shooter has off nights.  But most nights, Thornton is shooting lights out.  If he’s not starting next to Chris Paul, he should be the first one off the bench, with heavy minutes in crunch time.

Coach Williams talks a lot about trust, and of young guys needing to learn at actual game speed.  So how about it, Coach?  Ready to sit back, take a deep breath, and be okay with not knowing what Buckets will bring your team?  I’m not denying his performance will create chaos.  But what I am saying is that it might be a good thing.  Chris Paul creates MVP-quality chaos.  Marcus Thornton could easily create sixth man of the year chaos, laying waste to NBA second units.  But Williams has to go to him first.  Not just when he’s desperate to stage the best comeback in team history.

4 Comments »

Help Save the Hornets. For Real.

By on December 27, 2010

Sure, we joked about buying the Hornets. But low and behold the guys over at Hornets247 have organized a real charity organization, the Save Our Hornets Foundation, which is accepting donations to help put people in seats at the Hornets game, to help ensure the attendance benchmark is set and the Hornets are locked into several more years of their lease, making it much more likely that the next owner is someone who wants to keep the team in New Orleans.

This Foundation is for real and sends schoolkids to games, so it’s a great cause in more ways than one.  No one need be rich to help.  Twenty bucks here, ten bucks there (or more), and with all the different donors, it will add up.  So this holiday season, take the time to give a little (or a lot) to help keep the Hornets in New Orleans.  Prove wrong the world who thinks New Orleans can’t support more than one championship team.  It’s the right thing to do.

3 Comments »

Stern is a Genius

By on December 8, 2010

If you were in the middle of a public relations war with a powerful union, and had thus far failed to convince the public at large that your claims about NBA teams losing money was true, what would you do?  If you were David Stern, you’d buy the Hornets on behalf of the NBA and present them as Exhibit A to that skeptic public.

Leaked financials?  Tales of woe?  A steadfast determination to prove that in today’s economic climate the only way to survive is to slash player salaries?  Stern has hit a home run with this one.  By opening up a team to public examination in a way that would be impossible with an owner-owned club, Stern has laid bare the problems that can plague a franchise, and possibly even cause a fanbase to lose their loved team.  What fan wants that?  He’s put it all out there, plain as day, evidence of how your city could lose their team too.  Unless, of course, the collective bargaining agreement is severely altered.

It’s why Stern’s in no rush to sell the Hornets.  I mean, if a bunch of Nola-purchasers show up on his doorstep, he’s sure to sell the team back. But, either way, he’s had the ability to parade about his example of NBA finance, and what is wrong with it; he’s made his argument to the public that players are paid too much.  And for one, I’m buying into it.

Guaranteed contracts have to go.  Max caps need be lowered.  The only other options are increased game tickets and concessions.  And I can tell you which path gets my vote.   In the end, Stern’s game is public relations.  He’s won this round.  He also gets the moral high ground of having saved the Katrina-plagued Hornets.  Which, in part, is why Stern won’t let New Orleans lose the Hornets.   He wants this win on his record.

So for all the nay-sayers out there.  Keep talking.  I’ll keep doing everything I can to save the Hornets.  And along the way.  I might even find myself grateful to David Stern.

3 Comments »

Change The Mojo For Fuck’s Sake

By on December 7, 2010

Hornets have lost their damn minds.  As most of you know by now, the Hornets have announced new, alternate, gold uniforms. From Hornets.com: “The alternate uniforms will be worn for the first time on Friday, Dec. 10…[and] will also sport their Mardi Gras gold uniforms for every Saturday game throughout the rest of the season.”  So we’re pre-planning when to wear them?  I like, instead, the idea of changing the unis to change the mojo.

I mean, the Bees played the preseason in only the “Creole Blue” uniforms as part of the “Believe in Blue” campaing to restore Louisiana’s coast.  But after a 1-7 preseason, I couldn’t wait to see the traditional whites at home.  For that matter, I didn’t really want to see the blues on the road.  Only then the Hornets started 8-0.  Then 11-1.  At that point, anything looked good.  Even on Willie Green.

But then came a rough 2-6 stretch.  So you know what?  I’m back at square one.  I really don’t want to see our team in white or blue the way they’re playing right now.  So, shit, why not break out the golds?  It’s not like we have anything to lose.  Other than players to injury.  So, maybe keep the same shoes.  Please.

Other than that, I’m eager to see the golds in action.  And if you want to make Jac Sperling happy, go buy one.  I will.

1 Comment »

You Buy It, You Don’t Break It.

By on December 6, 2010

So far, the popular reaction to the Hornets’ takeover seems to be that if when the NBA buys the Hornets, the management’s hands will be tied and the team will be in terrible bind, akin to a torrential downpour when the water’s already high on the levees.  Not necessarily.  While the reality is that the obligations of the NBA will likely be contractual, at a base minimum, the NBA will have a fiduciary responsibility to treat the Hornets as if they were an impartial owner, and as if winning a championship was all that mattered.  To be any less would violate the integrity of the sport and may even be illegal.  This is why the NBA has hired a hockey executive, Jac Sperling, to run the team on an interim basis: the NBA needs someone who can be seen as impartial and honest, yet driven to succeed, and who’s capable of succeeding.  And as a bonus, for us, he’s a New Orleans native.

The other issue is the potential conflict of interest between the NBA and its collective group of owners having a piece of the Hornets.  By default, the other owners want the Hornets to fail, as, inversely, they all want their own teams to succeed.  Yet, the NBA must avoid the appearance of any impropriety.  So not only do I believe Sperling will be authorized to make his own independent decisions about the Hornet’s finances–without having to consult the NBA–but I would assume the NBA is prohibited from influencing his decisions.  Sperling will have to make his decisions based on what is best for the team, because, ultimately, that is what will make the Hornets more marketable, and hence, sellable.

So when if Dell Demps tells Sperling that he wants to move David Anderson and the team’s full trade exemption for Melo in a sign and trade, I think Sperling doesn’t blink.  I believe that if Demps wants to trade Banks, Green, and Mbenga for Iguodala and his massive contract, Sperling will have the ability to sign off on it.  Whatever comes to the table, Sperling will have to make based on what is best for the team, and no other consideration.  Demps is likely not done tinkering, and it seems that the last trade with Toronto was really just setting the table for another trade before the deadline.  Sperling is used to building a winner; I don’t see him wanting to do anything different here.  Besides, who doesn’t believe Stern wants to hand himself the Larry O’Brien trophy at the end of year?

As for all us Hornets fans?  We can’t sweat it.  What we need to do is keep buying tickets to games.  We fill seats through the end of the year and all the talk of moving the franchise is moot, as we’ll be locked in for several more years.  By then, we win a championship, the city and state won’t let us leave, and hordes of locals will be fighting for the right to buy the team.  Also, after his retirement, CP3 is voted governor by 99% of the popular vote.  Right?  Right.  All right then.

2 Comments »

Help Hornets Hype Buy The Hornets

By on December 5, 2010

By now, the rumors are everywhere.  The Hornets ownership situation is in chaos.  George Shinn wants out.  Gary Chouest wants out.  Maybe the NBA wants in?  Perhaps this is why the Times Picayune dug up the little nugget warning folks that if the Hornets don’t average 14,214 in attendance through the end of the year, the team can pay a $10 million exit fee and walk.  No big deal with either Shinn or Chouest involved: Shinn doesn’t have the extra $10M and Chouest has no incentive in moving away from his home.  But if some billionaire from St. Louis, Seattle, or Kansas City wants in, that $10 may be chump change.  So what’s a fan to do?

Buy the team.

That’s right.  It’s not that hard.  Hornets Hype will incorporate and start selling shares in a private stock offering.  Fellow #twittersection friend, @snavetrebor, correctly points out that all it takes is 17,000 investors willing to pay $17,000 each.  Symmetry.  I like it.  So what say you, folks, want to own an NBA team?

It’s the American way; the power of many accomplish what individuals alone cannot.  Plus, there’s no reason, if y’all want, that you can’t buy more than one share.  Spend $34,000 and you get two shares, $68,000 for four.  You get the idea.  So for all you millionaires out there, you can get 59 shares for just over $1 million.  Not a bad deal, right?  We can share a luxury suite or two, with the largest investors to get the floor seats.  Any unsold floor seats can go by lottery if unsold by gametime.

Don’t worry about how it all works.  Hornets Hype’s lawyers will draft a comprehensive set of by-laws to govern HornetsHype, Inc.; but, for the sake of parity, we’ll try to set up most decisions by majority rule.  Although, Chouest owns 35% of the team now,  51% of our ownership own the remaining 65%, and so will be able to override anything he says or does.  Unlikely anyone would personally own more than half of our corporation, but who are we to stop investors from helping buy the Hornets and keeping them in New Orleans?

So, if you have $17,000 or more burning a hole in your pocket, hit us up.  If not, well, buy some goddamn tickets.  We’re not that far off the attendance mark that keeps any potential out-of-state investor from swooping in and stealing the team.  The Hornets, despite their recent swoon, are 8-2 at home.  That’s some good percentage of happy basketball.  So go watch.  In person.  Support your team.  Even if you aren’t committed enough to help buy the team, show some love and help give someone else local a reason to do so.  It’ll be the best money you’ve spent in a long while.

7 Comments »

I know you are f*@#ing with me here. Putting a kid who does not look completely unlike Devin Brown’s little (thinner) brother in Devin Brown’s jersey. Here I am, innocently going through the Media Day pictures, until… BWAAAAA!!

I almost had a heart attack.

DEVIN BROWN WHO IS NOT DEVIN BROWN

DEVIN BROWN WHO IS NOT DEVIN BROWN

Now, in addition to being freaked out, I feel like I have to apologize to DJ Strawberry or whoever this is for momentarily thinking he resembles Devin Brown…

8 Comments »

I have decided to go on blogging hiatus for the next several months. This might end up turning into semi-permanently. I honestly don’t know. I’ll re-evaluate after the season starts. What you can expect:

  • No posts from me on this site until at least November 1st, although it might be more like December 1st because November is National Novel Writing Month and I will be participating in that for the 4th year
  • Less commenting and involvement elsewhere
  • Less of me on Twitter (look, this one is more of a guideline than a rule…)

This is not a huge loss, considering I haven’t been posting much anyway. But I just don’t want the feeling hanging over my head that I should post, when X news happens or X rumor comes out. This past month and a half, I feel like I’ve known too much. And it wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t interesting. And yet I followed it with this weird sense of almost-guilt, of not wanting to miss something. I found myself arguing because of how much I like arguing, rather than because I actually cared. I didn’t even feel evil glee when everyone else decided LeBron was the douche I’d thought he was for years. I just felt bored and somewhat dirty. See, because it starts, “I want to know about the Hornets.” But then it balloons into, “I want to know what everyone else is saying about the Hornets. I want to know about players on other teams. I want to know what everyone is saying about players on other teams. I want to know what everyone is saying about what everyone is saying about the NBA and I want to have an opinion on it.” But you know what? I…. don’t.

What Will Leitch wrote after the LeBron “Decision” special aired really spoke to me. It’s been in my head ever since, and the more I thought about it, the bigger it grew.

We cheer because sports is, ultimately, harmless. And we trust that they will at least pretend. We trust that they will recognize the ultimate ludicrousness of this whole enterprise, that these are grown men wearing tank tops, throwing a ball up and around, running on wood, that this all exists because we allow it to exist, that the illusion must be maintained…

That trust felt broken tonight.

…[N]ever has it been laid more bare, and never did it feel so empty. It felt like a break, the moment when the tide crested, when we looked at the games, and their players, and ourselves, and wondered: Why in the world are we watching these awful people?

This is tricky, because I love social media, and this great, sprawling NBA blogosphere of ours, but I do think it’s responsible for the cracks in the illusion. The more I know, and the faster I know it, I’ve realized… the less I need to know. I can’t deny the information overload is making me sick of basketball. Why can’t I wake up and read in the paper that Jeff Bower has been fired or Chris Paul has been dealt? Why can’t I just go to games because I have season tickets and take the offseason, you know, off? Like average people. On Friday night, I looked at the last 48 hours of my life and realized I’d spent it on Twitter, writing sarcastic stuff, and in comment threads. What some of you may not know is that, in addition to basketball, I write fiction. I’m trying to finish my first novel right now. Over that 48 hours I put exactly zero words into this project I really cared about. And what had really happened, in basketball, that was worth the squandering of those precious words and that time?

Nothing. A transaction was not made. A solid, tangible, indisputably factual event had not occurred. A game had not been played. I had spent 48 hours of my life talking and writing and thinking about… nothing.

If The Thing With the Rumors happens, I will miss out on the chance to write one of the biggest, most epic posts of my blogging career. I am aware of this. I am aware that the Hornets are having an eventful offseason. I am aware there are people who have come to care about my opinions. My awareness of this made me consider and reconsider this hiatus a couple of times. So, if The Thing happens, just know that the post I would have written (Is there even a tense for this situation? “I might would having written”?) would have been great.

Despite this post, this has a lot less to do with basketball than it does with other parts of my life. (“It’s not you, NBA, it’s me! Only, it’s sorta you too!”) I am in the middle of a big writing project, and having my head in 2 places (one of which is a big drag) is not working for me. I was on the phone with my mom last week, and she said, “You know, all your non-fiction is great. Why don’t you just concentrate on writing that and getting paid for it or published?” This is a good question. It is probably the question. I said to myself, “Self, even IF you got paid by someone to blog and got media access to all the games and were a basketball journalist…  but never wrote a book, would you be happy with that?” I wish I could tell you I had to think long and hard about it, but I didn’t: I already knew the answer.

What it comes down to is I love basketball, and I love the Hornets. But I just want this more.

Thank you all so much for reading and following. I cannot count the number of great people I’ve met through blogging. I never meant for this thing to be anything. It was just a domain I spontaneously bought when I was excited after a game, and I had to get that excitement out somehow. That’s what the “Hype” in Hornets Hype means: it means getting hyped up, getting really into it. It means the rush I get from being inside New Orleans Arena. There’s nothing like it. And that’s something I never felt guilty about spending words on.

But I would like to be able to just go to basketball games again, as a fan, without feeling the need to talk about or care about every little thing. And that’s not where I am right now. Right now I feel like there are only so many words inside of me per day, and I owe it to myself to spend them in a way that is more meaningful to me.

I hope you will all appreciate the vast amount of self-restraint it took for me to not make a “I have to do what’s best for my family” or “I have taken my talents to _____” joke during this post.

Basketball. Uncomplicated.

13 Comments »