Took this on my way down Highway 1 last week. All I can say is, if you take a shot on this hoop, you’d damn well better make it.
I’m told that this has been the shortest offseason in Warriors history, and I believe it, since the last time they went to the Finals was 1975, and the season was a lot shorter then. But it has seemed awfully long to me, partly because I’ve been extraordinarily bored at work lately. The various vacations were a nice distraction while they lasted, but now it’s officially fall, with Thanksgiving just a tiny blip on the horizon. Sigh.
Thankfully, the NBA circus starts up again on Monday with the media day that marks the beginning of training camp. I’ve written not a word about the Warriors since the end of the Finals, and what really has there been to write about? After the fulfillment of a long-held dream, there inevitably comes a bit of a letdown, and this offseason has been one long victory lap with little in the way of news. Draymond Green signed a big new contract, as we knew he would. David Lee was shipped out to Boston and, through a roundabout series of transactions, replaced with Jason Thompson, who will play a similar role for much less money. Steph Curry continued his charm offensive on Planet Earth with a trip to Asia and an appearance on the new Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
It’s all been fun, and well-earned, and frankly a little dull. I look forward to the start of the new season, the first that My Golden State Warriors will enter as defending champions. They will face opposition from the reloaded San Antonio Spurs, the formidable Cleveland Cavaliers, the rested and rejuvenated OKC Thunder, and the always-annoying Los Angeles Clippers, among others. It will be a challenge, but I think they’re ready for it. I know I am. Let’s play ball.
We lost one of the greats yesterday: Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra, who shuffled off this mortal coil at the age of 90.
It’s a little shocking to me that Yogi was only 90. He seems to have belonged to a prehistoric era of baseball, a contemporary of ancient Olympians like Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. It’s strange that he survived into today’s world, with its Twitter feeds, advanced metrics, and multi-multi-million-dollar contracts.
Yogi was a great baseball player and manager, appearing in 21 World Series, but an even greater philosopher. I’ve already written about him once, and there are plenty of good obituaries and collections of Yogi-isms out there today, so no need to belabor the point. But it was Yogi who taught us that “It ain’t over till it’s over,” and this gives me a wedge to bring up once again the Greatest Comeback in the History of Wiffle Ball, where we went down 16-0 in the top of the 1st, then battled back to win when yours truly crossed the plate for the 33rd run with two outs in the bottom of the 5th.
I’d like to retroactively dedicate that victory to Yogi Berra, a truly one-of-a-kind human being, a man who lived a long and eventful life and leaves a legacy that shan’t be forgotten. Let’s observe a moment of silence, then later take a two-hour nap from one to four.
So yesterday I read an article celebrating the 30th anniversary of Love and Rockets’ Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven. That means that the following are also 30 years old:
Camper Van Beethoven: Telephone Free Landslide Victory
The Cure: The Head on the Door
The Jesus and Mary Chain: Psychocandy
LL Cool J: Radio
Meat Puppets: Up on the Sun
Minutemen: Three-Way Tie (for Last)
New Order: Low-life
Run-DMC: King of Rock
Shriekback: Oil and Gold
The Sisters of Mercy: First and Last and Always
Sonic Youth: Bad Moon Rising
Talking Heads: Little Creatures
Tears for Fears: Songs from the Big Chair
Tom Waits: Rain Dogs
Back to the Future
The Breakfast Club
Desperately Seeking Susan
Into the Night
The Sure Thing
And here we have hard evidence, in case anyone needed it, that time is passing entirely too quickly. In 1985 – the year I started college – 30-year-old music would have been things like Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and so on. Ancient relics, so we thought at the time.
And yet 1985 doesn’t seem so long ago. I can well remember the feeling of Friday afternoon in Santa Cruz, when after my last class ended, I would put Seventh Dream on the stereo, indulge in certain substances, and sit looking out over the Pacific Ocean in the distance. That marked the beginning of the weekend.
There were some good weekends back then. But this last weekend was no slouch either, featuring good company, ample food and drink, and a wiffle ball game for the ages that ended in a final score of 33-32. I can’t tell you where I was, but it rhymed with “Bite Nub” (and that’s probably what Buckwheat would have called it). As always, being back in workaday reality is a bit of a shock to the system, but I shall bravely carry on. Over and out for now.
In an odd coincidence of timing, Moses Malone passed away this weekend, just a couple weeks after Darryl Dawkins, the man who he replaced on the Philadelphia 76ers. Darryl could never get the Sixers to the Promised Land; Moses did it his first year there, leading the team to a championship and finally getting Dr. J his long-overdue ring.
Unlike the colorful Chocolate Thunder, Moses was all business on the court. He played with a perpetual scowl, and always looked like someone you definitely did not want to mess with. But he seems to have been a good guy off the court; Charles Barkley, for one, credits Moses with helping him learn how to be a professional.
Moses is generally considered the best offensive rebounder ever to play; he would often get two, three, or four on a given possession, and eventually put the ball in the basket. He was sometimes accused of padding his stats by missing on purpose, but it’s hard to say how true that was. What we do know for sure is that he was relentless on the boards. His philosophy of rebounding? “I goes to the rack.”
Moses was a man of few words, but managed to express a lot nonetheless. Now he is off to the Great All-Star Team in the Sky, allowing Darryl Dawkins to slide over to power forward.