The past couple of weeks have been nothing if not special. From a rollover on the expressway to unyielding heat, from insurance companies to blogger debates - owners versus players and the shell game called ‘hide the profits’. The NBA summer is usually idle boredom, buoyed by the knowledge that we’re just passing time - we’ll always have the countdown until training camp except this time we don’t. This time it’s the long drift, sliding slow-motion across three busy lanes. One of my earliest posts mentioned prescient automobile dreams. I don’t know what the frequency is anymore.
When I was a kid you’d build a team from bubble gum cards and a couple of stat lines. Sports has a different language now, advanced metrics and abbreviations in 140 characters or less. The game is blurring like a defect on film. It’s late once again, I flip past coverage of a child murder trial, finding color-faded dunk contests - Michael Jordan battling Dominique Wilkins, Kenny Sky Walker’s towering jams and the incomparable Isaiah Rider, a soaring through-the-legs power slam. Afterward, the Bulls/Seattle games, Rodman’s explosion of hair dye and tats, backpedaling down the court, uncanny ball tracking, like some crazy sonar savant.
No one knows what the season will look like, or if it will look like. It could be a barnstorming tour though China, it could be playgrounds and gyms. Deron Williams is already headed to Turkey. Our second round drafts picks don't have the same options. Bereft of official contact or facilities, their threads are gossamer thin - they may never get their moments in the sun. I take the dog out, the half-moon has fallen, almost below a hill. The ambient glow of headlights, slinking past in the near distance.
Late afternoon, the heat causing ripples in the air. Inside a cavernous dealership sitting area, the serpentine dance of salesmen, scattered customers consulting printouts and scribbled notes, arriving and leaving without closure. My friend has put aside her work deadlines to ferry me through gridlock, the conversation turns to siblings, drifting on a sea of old heartbreaks. Erkin the salesman comes smiling at us, asks me to sign something and says it’s nothing. We wonder what country he’s from. Our asphalt angels slip away, their whispers fading.
The arctic air functions fully as advertised. Driving my daughter to the barn, reassuring her, we’ll start off slow. The accident wasn’t your fault. Dropping her off and heading back to the highway, sealed away, checking mirrors warily. And turning on the radio. Chris Whitley knew about drifting in Texas.