Bigger Than the Game Itself

Many of you woke up to the news that the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted today’s potentially series-clinching game versus the Orlando Magic. In turn, every other playoff game scheduled for today was postponed. The NBA’s official press release states that “Game 5 of each series (today) will be rescheduled.” That would be good news on any other day. Today, it seems irrelevant.

Watching team staff pulling name tags and gathering draped towels from players’ designated chairs felt both familiar and surreal. We’ve seen this movie before. Regular season games were already cancelled for four damn months because of Covid-19. Then came the NBA’s restart. Although games have been hit or miss, for the most part they’ve been pretty good (albeit a bit sloppier than usual). At the very least, they’ve provided a glimmer of hope that some sense of normalcy was lurking just around the corner. But the games have been taken away yet again and the uncertainty has returned.

The Bucks boycotted in protest for the shooting of Jacob Blake in the team’s home state of Wisconsin. Blake – an African-American – was shot seven times in the back by police officers while his kids watched from the family car. Thankfully, Blake didn’t die. But the fact that he is alive doesn’t make this event any less horrific. It simply highlights the systemic racial divide that has pervaded American society for centuries. I didn’t understand the enormity of this issue until I came to live in the US. The wounds caused by racism cut deep and the players’ decision to boycott has shone a spotlight globally on an equally deep-seated anger. If just for that, they’ve earned a W without ever stepping onto the court.

“Who cares?” you may say. “None of that concerns us. We have our own problems here in the Philippines.” Maybe. But the parallelisms between the US and our country are quite clear. We have similar issues not driven by race but by class: between the uncaring powerful and the powerless; between abusive authority and tired masses; between those who twist the rules to perpetuate societal imbalances and those who can do nothing about it. Just like the US, we are a nation divided and it’s painful to see, especially during this pandemic when many of our countrymen are struggling big time. 

Only a handful possess the global platform that the NBA does and many of us aren’t capable of enacting systemic change in our country. But in our own ways, we are definitely called to do what we can to make the world a better place. I get it. It’s hard, especially now. These are unprecedented times and we are all navigating uncharted waters. Some of us have found a way to keep moving forward, some are stuck, while some can barely manage to keep their heads above water. And some (like me) are really, really tired. Believe me, I get it.

Maybe we can’t make grand statements like the NBA players did today. But at the very least, we should always try to do good in this world, whatever state we find ourselves in.

If you’re strong, good for you. Go and make a difference.

If you’re exhausted, rest and live to fight another day (puwedeng mapagod, bawal sumuko).

If you have surplus, share.

If your family has pressing needs, focus on them.

If you have talents, sing, or speak, or write, or paint, or dance.

If you have skills, lend a helping hand.

And for God’s sake, please stop the hatred, the violence, the pettiness, the lying, the stealing, the insults. Instead, be kind and respectful. And once you are able, continue the fight for justice and the common good.

I’m sorry. My first post for Basketball Exchange and it’s only marginally related to the game. What’s more, I may not even get another chance to write because who knows if the restart will — uhm — restart again? But with everything going on now, cancelling the season may actually be what’s best. And if the playoffs do return, remember that it is entirely possible to enjoy the games with a passion and simultaneously accept the fact that there is much more to life than basketball.

Ladies and Gents, your NBA 2010 All-Star Starters AND Reserves

East
Allen Iverson
Dwayne Wade
LeBron James
Kevin Garnett
Dwight Howard
West
Steve Nash
Kobe Bryant
Carmelo Anthony
Tim Duncan
Amare Stoudamire

And now The Reserves, featuring no less than 7 first timers.

East
*Al Horford
Joe Johnson
Paul Pierce
*Rajon Rondo
*Derrick Rose
*Gerald Wallace
Chris Bosh
West
*Kevin Durant
Pau Gasol
Dirk Nowtizki
Chris Paul
*Zach Randolph
Brandon Roy
*Deron Williams
* – First timers

You know what I like about voting the All Star Selections? It’s an exercise in democracy the way it’s become in the modern age – a popularity contest. Except this time it’s out in the open, unlike when we’re voting for our leaders, where we pretend we’re doing the right thing.

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NBA's A-Comin'

Yup this blog’s been quiet. Blame it on working on my other blogs and stuff (yada excuses yada yada). But hey why not let’s get right back into it, starting with a vid re the top 10 plays of the 2009-2010 season!!

I gotta say that Kevin Durant (#10) dunk is damn exciting. It’s great to see someone whom was all just potential finally coming up and playing like an All Star like we all expected him to, and not racking up hospital bills or doing other stuff not happening on the court. And yes I’m talking about Greg Oden.

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Jordan vs. Russell Again?

So as everyone knows MJ shot his mouth off about how Bryon Russell ‘threw wood into his fire’. Well guess what. In recent news, the Utah Jazz NBA D-League owner is offering a $100,000 donation to the charity of the winner’s choice to see MJ play Russell play one on one.

Even earlier than that, Russell already said how willing he’d be to take him on, saying “I’ll play his a— right now, This is a call-out for him to come play me. He can come out here in his private jet and come play. He’s got millions of dollars. He can pay for the jet. He can meet me at the Recreation Center in Calabasas.” to Yahoo Sports.

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Best John Stockton Link Yet

In preparation for the oncoming Hall of Fame weekend in the US (Sep 10-12), I’ve naturally been privy to all the hype, particularly when I go YouTube-ing (which I tend to do when I’m working bored). It’s hard not to be. You can always tell what the NBA’s trying to cook up if you notice an inordinate number of NBA sponsored YouTube videos re a particular player or event. For example, if it’s All-Star weekend, nearly every basketball video on YouTube’s front page is showing All-Star games, interviews leading to All-Star games, etc. (assuming of course, that you have a YouTube account), and so on.

At any rate, the one thing I know that’s hard to find on YouTube are John Stockton related material, but since a few weeks ago, that’s been radically changed. Highlights and more highlight reels abound, but today I think I’ve found the best.

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