Thursday, December 09, 2004
So, I went to the Bulls game last night. Now, I don't like the NBA, and, well, I don't even like basketball at any level very much (I have many friends who love college ball but not the pros--I don't really care about either). But, they were playing the Cavs, a team of erstwhile fandom of mine (I'm not sure that dependent clause is grammatically correct--in fact, I'm not even sure it's dependent, but I'm sure my mom can clear that up for all of us in comments), and the Cavs have this LeBron character, so I figured it was worth taking the free ticket and going.
Well, the game truly sucked. But, at halftime, they had Celebrity Simon Says, which was clearly the highlight of the night, and maybe the greatest halftime diversion ever. The NFL powers-that-be should take note before they book another halftime show with a band whose guitarist is Richie Sambora. Some participants were
- White Sox outfielder Aaron Rowand
- Bears defensive back Jerry Azumah (he of the same surgically corrected vision as yours truly)
- Bears DB/Punt returner R.W. McQuarters, whose hat was pulled down Mush-Mouth style so you couldn't really see him
- Bears WR David Terrell, who got booed like he deserved to get booed, which was both nice and funny and really mean
- Harold Ramis (yes, that Harold Ramis)
There were several others, including a White Sox player I've never heard of, which is a bit odd.
In any event, it was really funny, and R.W. beat out David Terrell at the end of the competition.
A couple of other race-related NBA points:
- At the beginning of the Bulls game, the player whose introduction engendered the most applause was...Kirk Heinrich. Now, he was the Bulls Player of the Year last year, and he is leading the team in scoring, albeit by 0.1 ppg. But, he's also shooting a paltry 37% from the field. My point? The only reason he got more applause than, say, Luol Dang, is because he is white. When I pointed this out to my two friends (one of whom is black and one of whom is white), I didn't get much a response, but they seemed to agree after I pointed out the "Danny Ferry still getting cheered at Gund Arena in the 1990s even after his sucking could have easily been proved in a court of law" phenomenon. It happens all over the NBA, and it shows that there is as much or more tribalism among white-collar whites than any other race or ethnicity in this country.
- I heard on NPR that they're filing charged against the people involved in the Ray Artest what-have-you. Good. The prosecutor said he wanted the most punishment for the guy who threw the original beer on Artest, because that's what started it all. He's probably right, but I've no dog in that fight. My interest lies in what will happen if the case goes to a jury trial. Will a mostly white jury sympathize with the fan mainly for some race-based reasons dealing with the "animalistic nature of NBA thugs"? Or will a mostly black jury sympathize less with the fan and more with the players? (None of this is to absolve anyone of culpability, but the whole point of this trial would be to assign relative levels of culpability--as in, "yeah, my client threw the cup, but come on!" vs. "The defendant started it all with his throwing of the cup!") Of course, it also will be interesting if the jury is racially mixed 6-6 or something. We shall see.
Remember, if anyone tells you that it's not about race, it probably is.