It's early September and we all just did our fantasy football drafts as if it really mattered. Student sections across the SEC have busted out the sundresses. ESPN is revving the mighty gridiron hype machine again. On Saturday night, I could barely muster a tomahawk chop to support my defending champs.
Football season is too loud, too chaotic, too many "top five fantasy guys to watch!", too many former players defending locker room culture and football's masochistic machismo, incanting to our television screens that you've gotta be a MAN to play in this league!
So I've been going out to the court near my house, putting up jumpers, breaking a sweat, finding peace in the rhythms of dribble, dribble, dribble, shot. I love the skipping cadence of basketball, the lively miniseries that is the NBA season, the quirky community the game affords. I just miss basketball.
Here are 25 things I miss about basketball season.
1. Marc Gasol shaking his head while backpedaling downcourt, nearly always after dropping in one of those shimmy-fake, mid-range set shots that are like plopping a lollipop into a pool.
2. Dave Joerger's suits. I miss these the way I miss writing papers in college. The papers sucked, but remember that one time you stayed up all night writing that 25-pager on Frederick Douglass and had that amazing conversation with the girl in the library? Did I dream that? Are Joerger's suits making me hallucinate?
3. Tuohy math. "If we can just cut it to eight by halftime..."
Sean Tuohy Math Time dot tumblr dot com— Kevin Lipe (@FlyerGrizBlog) April 27, 2014
4. Mike Miller! He's open! Pass it to Mike OH NO HE'S GONE ISN'T HE I FORGOT HE'S GONE
5. The giddiness emanating across the Volunteer State after someone knocks Z. Bo's headband off, for we know what's coming next.
6. The way that Grizzlies logo at center court looks when you first turn on the TV.
7. Marc Gasol crossing himself, invoking a deity to divine justice upon the foul column.
8. Booing Chris Paul.
9. Booing Blake Griffin.
10. Booing the Clippers.
11. Having a beer and re-watching the game through the 140-character'd eyes of @mattyp90, who DVR'd the game and is watching after work.
12. Bill Walton. The great Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, in his gorgeous and delightful poem, "Music, When Soft Voices Die," writes: Music, when soft voices die/Vibrates in the memory. And in my memory, I hear the bubbling vibrations of a golden-hearted and golden-voiced Romantic, Bill Walton.
13. Tony Allen flexing.
14. Tony Allen wandering the baseline when he's not in the game.
15. NO, TONY!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?! NOOOO YAY TONY!!!
16. Watching the bar graph labeled "My Hatred of James Harden" continue on its vertical soar.
17. Mike Conley's righty floater, and watching the game with someone I've never watched with before so I can explain the Mike Conley ambidextrous experience. (Mike Conley Ambidextrous Experience! Band name. Called it.)
18. Marc Gasol's inevitable and annual humiliation of Dwight Howard.
19. BANGO! (Copyright: Pete Pranica)
20. Laying in bed at night, searching for sleep, counting my sheep and my blessings, and -- oh! There's one! Rudy Gay doesn't play for the Grizzlies anymore! #blessed
21. My text thread with my Dad during basketball season: "GRIZZ!" "MARC!" "TONY!" "TAYSHAUN?" "ZBOOOOOO!!!"
22. Brevin Knight's inability to comprehend why Grizzlies players keep leaving opponents open for threes.
23. Excavating four years' worth of Growl Towels and arranging them around the TV in a semicircular tabernacle of prayer.
24. The automatic friendship pass you get when you see someone wearing Grizz garb in Nashville. It's like swiping right on Tinder: donning Beale Street Blue in public enables messaging.