The last word in macrophenomenal improvisation
Tue Oct 14 2008
My father hasn’t watched an NBA game in at least 20 years. Whenever I press him to check out a game, he scoffs and enumerates the reasons that won’t happen. Lazy defense, religious extremism, an ubiquitous me-first mentality, big egos and too much dunking usually sit near the top of his list. Sure, the league has all of those things and more (see: shady officiating, bad Americans), but I still not only contend that the NBA today is worth watching, but will go so far as to call it the best professional sports league out there. Instead of trying to clumsily articulate why I think this is so, I’ll direct you to the forthcoming book from the crew at the highbrow, McSweeney’s-endorsed basketball blog FreeDarko. It’s called The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac, and when it is released on November 11, it will reshape the way that the casual, Boethius-quoting fan will view the game. Details after the jump.
Colorful Wizards guard and sometime blogger Gilbert Arenas writes the foreword to the book (unsurprising, considering how much time he has on his hands because of that bum knee). The FreeDarko Collective—namely Bethlehem Shoals, Big Baby Belafonte, Brown Recluse Esq., Dr. Lawyer IndianChief and Silverbird 5000—all contribute to this Emersonian analysis of today’s NBA. They neatly break up their test subjects by idiom—the "Master Builders" (Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett); "Lost Souls" (Lamar Odom, Tracy McGrady, Joe Johnson); and "Phenomenal Tumors" (Ron Artest, Vince Carter, Stephon Marbury), to name a few. The book is peppered with dry asides and charts, complete with lists that include Tracy McGrady’s spirit animal (monitor lizard), Tim Duncan’s relationship to the Visigoths and a study titled "Kobe Bryant: A Life of Ambivalence." The book doesn't, unfortunately, shed any light on the true identities of the writers (the bio section in the back informs us that Shoals was, back in his days as a reporter, "feared for his absolute monopoly on Newark's dry-goods beat"), but baseball analysts clearly have a ton of work to do if they hope to equal this level (or this level) of cerebral, lovingly scatological reduction for their own earthbound sport.