Of rivalries and lockout nonsense and no instant "classics"
This is an outstanding question and we should start with it ‘cause there’s precious little else going on, it seems:
Q: Hi Doug: I just finished reading your piece about Frazier, and it got me thinking. Surely there must be other 'combinations' of athletes where the "whole is greater than the sum of the parts." Can you think of any others, besides Ali-Frazier? Would Magic-Bird be one?
Thanks for keeping the great unwashed informed and highly entertained during this 'low' period in the NBA.
Tim H, Windsor
A: I think what makes rivalries like Ali-Frazier special is their talent and greatness so I’m not sure it’s that the “whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”
But let’s talk.
Sure, Magic-Bird is definitely one that resonates because it’s so relatively recent and was something to behold.
But how would you rank these and which would be your favourite?
I’m going with ...
Guess maybe one thing that diminished it was that the same guy always won.
Stoic, explosive. Two pretty diverse personalities.
Toss in the underlying Anglo-French thing and it was something wasn’t it?
I also think the one thing that makes rivalries special is that the athletes have to be in their primes. I guess there’s an inevitability to a “passing of the torch” scenario but when it really counts, you need them on the top of their games to make it memorable.
Be interested to hear what you folks think.
How did it take this long for them to toss that Shrill Nancy Grace off DWTS?
Now I can watch again. She’s stomach-turning.
If it weren’t so despicable at its base, with an untold impact on arena workers, bar servers, people who depend on it for their living, wouldn’t this NBA lockout make for high comedy? Or at least a nice farcical romp?
Now you’ve got the players turning the tables on the owners by saying they’ll take the 50-50 if they get some other things in the “system” issues; you’ve got a hard-line faction of owners seemingly hijacking the agenda on that side. You’ve got union lawyer Kessler talking about the players being “plantation workers” (which might be the most inflammatory statement of the entire episode) and David Stern replying that Kessler is “routinely despicable.”
There’ve been deadlines come and gone, Roger Mason’s “how u” tweet a month or so ago that made it sound like things were settled, Dan (I Need To Make More Money In Casinos Off My Ownership Of The Cavs) Gilbert’s “trust my gut” line.
You cannot make this stuff up.
And you know what? Normally in these things someone eventually emerges as the deal-maker, the guy who can massage both sides, his and the others, and the fellow who becomes the face and voice of reason.
That guy hasn’t come to the fore, don’t imagine he will and when this ultimately ends, no one will be feted as the guy who got it done.
So yesterday’s missive isn’t up on the web 10 minutes before I’m walking to pour another cup of coffee (something has to fuel you starting at 6 a.m.) and Super Wife says:
“You’re a dope.”
“Free Bird? Color My World? Stairway To Heaven? All nice but you left the best one out.”
Can’t remember who I was talking to the other day or the exact context of the discussion but it was a conversation about some game and the dude says, “that’s an instant classic.”
And I almost barfed.
I know we live in an era with a need for immediate gratification, where everything is hyped beyond belief, mostly by television networks or media outlets with a self-serving agenda.
But here are three rules that must be followed before any sporting event can be deemed a “classic.”
At least eight years old.
I could have said 10, or even 15, but you get my point. There has to have been some passage of time to put it truly into context.
It cannot be a regular season game.
The regular season can produce good games, maybe even great ones, and some drama every now and then. It cannot produce true “classics.”
A high level of play.
Yes, you can have “classics” that are poorly played, it helps with the narrative if someone screws up, but a real one has to be with everyone on the top of their game. Right?
What else you got?
Since we started with it, better end with it.
It’s getting to be that time of the week when we need to hear from you.