A.D. Vassallo Made Me Have An Epiphany
July 27th, 2009
As you might presently yourself fully be aware of, one of the specialist areas that this website focuses on is on the life, times, careers and skillsets of players on the fringes of the NBA. (The other specialisms are; the NBA salaries and all the technical aspects that go along with them, references to English things that you don’t really understand, overly complicated wordplay, and stealing jokes from Family Guy. So, something for everyone there.) The spectrum of the site runs broader than that, and tries to encapsulate everything NBA related, but those are the areas of particular focus. I try to bring you things that you can’t get elsewhere in the online NBA world, and ne’er more so is this true than in the scrub tracking.
It’s something that I love to do in life. Some men go to sleep at night holding their loved ones; I go to bed at night holding import player’s rebounding statistics from the last Chinese Basketball Association season. (Not really. But you get the idea.) Following the fringe is pretty much all I do, so much so that I had to visit Google to remind me of what the word “loved one” means. Oh and believe me, the internet carries that information.
Maybe it’s because of my nation’s jingoistic identity as a perennial lover of the underdog, but since day one of my NBA fandom, something has always drawn me to the players nearer the end of the bench more than the good ones. My “favourite NBA players of all time” list includes Rick Brunson, Fred Hoiberg, Chris Jefferies and Marcus Fizer, for God’s sake. I even have Fizer’s name on a jersey somewhere. Perhaps I should sell it back to him.
One of the most grating aspects of this devotion, though, is the fanboys. Every player, no matter how insignificant they are to the NBA landscape, has their fanboys.
Sometimes they’re hired help. They could be their business managers, agents, or friends who passed the bar exam that pretend to be agents. Sometimes they’re family members. Sometimes they’re just the guy’s road meat. But whatever form they take, every player has their fanboys, their defenders, their online entourage, people who take it upon themselves to tell you everything that player has ever achieved, everything they’re ever going to achieve, and usually (if you’ve been somewhat derogatory) how much of an uninformed twat you are.
It’s rarely fun, but it’s usually daily.
To be constantly told that you don’t know anything when you’re trying your best to know everything is deflating, but perhaps to be expected. It’s relatively easy to know everything relevant about somebody, and it’s impossible to know everything about everybody. But if you don’t, someone will bite their thumb at you, denounce your opinions and besmirch your family. They know more than you, and they need you to know that. And because they know more than you, you know nothing. No matter how hard you try.
Which brings me sluggishly to my point.
None of us really know anything. Us NBA fans, we have our opinions, and we shout about them to anyone who’ll listen. We’re convinced that we’re right, and we opine about this in arrogant, often condescending ways. We think we are right in what we think about all players, and we think that if we don’t know someone, they’re not worth knowing. And boy, are we confident.
But the reality of it is is that we don’t really know anything. We know a fraction of a percentage of the bits that we think are interesting, and we denounce the bits that we don’t. Rather than know everything, we know the bits that we want to know, and then tell the people who don’t care for the bits that we do that they are wrong.
This would be normal and tolerable if we were nice about it. But for some reason, sports discussions are only able to exist if one or all parties involved hold views and delivery that are suitably close-minded and authoritative. Regardless of the fact that we are passing judgement on a group of elite athletes having the kind of career that a microscopic minority of human beings can achieve, we are somehow the ones in the right. It would be like Ime Udoka and Ronnie Price denouncing your abilities as a lumberjack; it’s not their place to say anything.
In short, we’re all annoyingly self-assured in our own ignorance. And so I for one am going to start being a whole lot nicer about that.
I am continuously intrigued by the esoterica and minutiae of all the aspects of building a basketball team. I want to understand how to build the best basketball teams possible. No, I don’t know why, either.
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