It’s been a couple weeks since the Lakers’ hopes went whistling down a dark one-way alley. I’ve had a difficult time writing about it here, perhaps because it means moving past my own barrier. This marks Slava’s one hundredth episode, and I’ve have a fondness for the number nine all my life. It seems a silly thing to write about, but maybe not, considering the increased presence of metrics in today’s basketball observations. For me, number nine was simply lucky as a kid, and then I started liking threes and their multiples. As for this journal, I could either call it a day or push toward another one hundred, a completely unanticipated event when I first began this thing.
It had no planning and no direction home. It was simply a lark. The title was the only thing of significance to me and yet the seedling took root. Lately I’ve been wandering in other gardens and the earth here has become fissured and possessed of red fire ants and nettles, but life is mostly circular until it’s gone. Things that I may have written about came and went, time is the avenger in so many ways. Somewhere in a room in an office building with many other rooms, two men sat at a table with an oblong Lucite object in front of them, with trap doors and hopes. They may not have anticipated the virus of opinions that would spread like a seismic spiderweb. It’s doubtful that they cared.
David used an X-Acto knife to slice carefully into a ping pong ball. A tube of Daisy BB’s sat next to him. “This should weight it properly so as to propel our lucky number right down the chute. Damn it!” He winced and stuck the wounded digit in his mouth. Adam stood behind him, and without thinking, licked his own lips.
“Do we have band-aids somewhere?” I’m getting blood on the fucking balls.”
The man who would be boss trotted off dutifully, and returned with a medicine kit that was secured inside a knitted cozy. He opened it helpfully, and placed it on the table.
David waved him off. “Stop trying to mother hen me, Adam. I hate it when you do that.”
Adam stepped back, hurt. He clasped his hands together and pursed his lips.
David bandaged his finger and returned to his task. “Now where’s that hot glue gun?” Silver smiled just slightly, as the light glinted off his spectacles.
A recent article that I liked spoke of the appearance of impropriety, and how it takes on a life of its own. Which is true enough, but it never seems to actually sink in with certain people in positions of power. They may pay it lip service, but continue their single-minded journeys until they’re out of a job and have landed with a golden parachute and employ underpaid scribes to write false puff pieces with proper search term density that will filter upward, displacing truths that drift to the bottom of the ocean floor, there to be gnawed on by viperfish and grenadiers. And the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
Two weeks ago, before Game 4 of the second round, I began to write this post with the following: “I love the Lakers with the intimacy that any sports fan feels for their team, regardless of other opinion. But, they have been like the proverbial aging fighter, clawing through rounds on old legs, while their younger opponents have the ability to come back with blinding flurries. Yet, here we are. Handed a lifeline, and hope.” It didn’t happen of course, the end evetually came as it usually does, with a whimper, not a bang.
Where does it go from here? For the Lakers, I no longer hold the hopes of meshing three central cogs, the idea that Kobe, Pau and Andrew will function as one. That just seems like what’s left over when there’s no more bullets in the chamber. Not that it hasn't worked in the past, but the simple observation that sweeping changes were made last season, which would have been even more sweeping if David Stern hadn’t brushed the pieces from the table with one impetuous motion. Jim Buss’s background is horse racing and entitlement. And he’s a draft junkie. The most obvious opening gambit is to try and trade for one of the landed ping pong balls. He won’t get the one with the blood on it, and he may not get one at all. But he’ll try.
Personally, the meshing of parts continues, from the Ukrainian holy grail to other far off places. At some point, choices will have to be made, it’s simply not feasible to keep hoeing, row after dusty row. Sometimes our resources are finite. For now however, I reload the chamber and spin again. Readers beware.