We’ve already missed two nights of NBA games, and now we’re all sad.
The NBA season was supposed to start two nights ago. Yep, the Mavericks, beginning their title defense, were to take on Derrick Rose, the reigning NBA MVP, and the Chicago Bulls. Alas, this game didn’t happen. Neither did the Heat–Knicks opener last night. These things did not occur because the functioning NBA does not exist. The owners have locked the players out since July 1. And without the players, there is no league.
But you know all that.
Since July, the NBA’s become some hyper-coagulated mess of three-letter labor terms, legalese, and a whole bunch of other things no one wants to associate with a league where things like this happen. That’s sort of been fine, though. At least for me, it has. There was no basketball, but there wasn’t supposed to be any. The labor talks replaced the offseason, but they hadn’t yet replaced the sport. Then November 1 came, and it was really depressing.
So, rather than sit in a dark closet with nothing more than a waxed-over candle, my Patrick Ewing jersey, and memories of Ronny Turiaf looking like he wants to either swallow me whole or ask to be my best friend, I figured we could all morn our losses together. I sent out an email to some basketball people (fans, writers, both, or other) and asked for one-sentence answers to the question: Why do you miss the NBA?
Here’s what I got.
“Why do I miss the NBA? Because John Wall told me we could hang out after his first home game.”
“I miss NBA games because…it’s getting harder to siphon Internet attention off the jealousy-steeped homoeroticism that is NBA fandom.”
“I miss nights of NBA League Pass: Not just the great nights, but the comforting fact that basketball was on from about 8PM to 2AM most nights of the week in the coldest, lamest part of the year.”
“I miss my NBA-obsessive friends having stuff to write about.”
“I miss the NBA because I miss the opportunity to watch men fly with a grace and severity that is unmatched by other sports or artistic endeavors.”
“The biggest loss for me is that we’ve gone from talking about step-back jumpers and beautiful assists to splits of basketball-related income and buyouts or amnesty clauses.”
“Because the easy flows, fragile tumbling crashes, and sharp crackling sparks of an NBA game make me feel like I’m watching a bonfire on a beach in front of the ocean, especially, I imagine, on the sweet new 42-inch plasma I bought just for this season.”
“I miss the NBA because I’m not sure what Tommy Heinsohn is going to do with himself now that he doesn’t have referees to complain about and young Celtics players to prematurely compare to all-time greats.”
“I miss the NBA because every minute of Kevin Durant’s career that is thrown away during the lockout is a minute when I realize that he and I will both grow old and die.”
“A happy, healthy sports fan can’t live on pucks and punts alone.”
“Because nights without Walt Clyde Frazier are depressing and joy-suppressing ”
“When I was 10, I poured milk and ate my cereal every morning with my left hand because my old man told me that’s how Larry Bird got so good with his left hand.”
“I really miss the NBA because as a college basketball fan I have no easy punching bag.”
“I miss the NBA because there are random Tuesday nights in the winter, when the New York City cold bites you to the core, and there’s nothing on TV but “Dancing with the Stars” and shows about burly men who auction things. Then, like a siren’s song, I hear a voice of an angel—the great Ian Eagle, doing Nets broadcasts on YES. I’ll miss not having that voice and that sarcasm, talking about Deron Williams’ tattoos or the latest Travis Outlaw news, getting me through those early sunsets and the frigid conditions this winter.”
“Because Clyde Frazier buys cow-skin suits when he has too much time on his hands, and I’m starting to worry.”
“I miss that quiet intensity in the fourth quarter that comes only after drinking for the previous three.”
“I miss the rookies in NBA 2k12.”
“Because the NFL is a socialist business model marketed to conservatives, and we need a sport with a ruthlessly capitalist economic model that appeals to liberals, just to balance things out.”
“There was no chance of an 80-foot alley-oop from Dwyane Wade to LeBron James tonight.”
“Because NYC winters are arduous and the energy, wit and diversity of Madison Square Garden is rejuvenating even when the Knicks are merely mediocre.”
“Wither Andray Baltche?”
“I miss the NBA because time goes by like hurricanes, and faster things, and Kevin Garnett’s knees don’t have that much time to waste.”
“What I’ll miss about the NBA is talking about it, thinking about it, and watching it, not necessarily in that order. And while I’m still doing all that (instead of watching it, I’m watching Tom Ziller’s column at SB Nation), I’d much prefer to be considering the weird geometries of Kevin Durant than the douchiness of Dan Gilbert. I’m sure there are some fans of vain mortgage-lender CEOs who’ll disagree with me on that, but I find basketball more fun than I do Chamber of Commerce hard-asses trying to prove some pitiable point about power. Like everyone else, I get more than enough vain billionaire hardassery in my feed just by following the news—I could really go for some athletic transcendence right now, is what I’m saying.”
“A few weeks ago I wondered how many people would notice if the NBA just ran the first two weeks of last year’s NBA season on TV. Then November 2 came and I found myself wishing I could watch the Heat-Knicks at the Garden. But the Wolves-Hawks at the Target Center? Not so much.”
“Big Baby’s facial expressions.”
“I miss the NBA because my Monta Ellis metaphors have lost their meaning.”
“I miss the NBA because there are only so many episodes of ‘Pawn Stars’ one can watch before Chum Lee’s antics start to become predictable.”
“That moment, it seems to happen every game, when Ray Allen comes off a curl and, as he’s shooting, some of the defenders, and even some of his teammates, start heading to the other side of the court, knowing exactly what happens next.”
“I miss the meaningless second game of the TNT Thursday night double header that I could fall asleep to on the couch—please come back to us, Portland at Denver.”
“Blake Griffin Kevin Durant #LeaguePassAlert The Mark Jackson Experience, making fun of the Heat Ricky Rubio + Kevin Love = no defense EVER awkward photos of Chris Kaman Kobe Bryant and Mike Brown pretending to work together LeBron James and Dwyane Wade pretending to work together Z-Bo and Tony Allen actually working together Jimmer and Reke and DeMarcus which should also be an UNDRCRWN shirt Derrick Rose after another summer of workouts healthy Chris Paul Inside the NBA, famous rappers sitting courtside next to confused white people Dirk’s victory lap healthy John Wall waking up to 15 minutes of YouTube highlights every morning—wait, this isn’t really a sentence, is it?
“I miss the NBA because you can watch what happens on the court, or on any single possession, and find the sort of indisputable truth you cannot find in lockout leaks, letters and slick media sound bites.”
“Because lockout news is ‘he said/he said’ … but the ball don’t lie.”
Why do you miss the NBA? Join the vigil and let us know in the comments.