Sunday, April 26, 2009

Violent Crime: The Helter Skelter Dismantling of a Writer and a Laker Fan

by: Justin Walsh

Kobe. Dear Kobe. Of course it's you, who else would Phil send, who else could be trusted? I... I know it's a long way to the court, and you're ready to go to work... All I'm saying is wait, just wait, just-just-just... Please hear me out, because this is not an episode, relapse, fuck-up, it's... I'm begging you Kobe. I'm begging you. Try and make believe this is not just madness because this is not just madness. Two hours ago, I came out of the press room, okay, I'm running across the gate signs, there's a deadline waiting, I got exactly 24 minutes to get to the damned word-press and I'm dictating.

There's this, this panicked beat writer sprinting along beside me, scribbling in a notepad, eyes scanning the lines separating the text like that New York Times writer looking for excuses to call Battier the god of hoops because of some crackpot equation, and suddenly- she starts screaming & I realize we're standing in the middle of a cluster-fuck of ticket holding Laker fans, the flow of the horde has sped up, there's this wall of people rushing into our pathetic excuses for athletic builds- serious groups of sketch looking people coming toward us in a hastened gait, and I... I... I freeze, I can't move and I'm suddenly consumed with the overwhelming sensation that I'm going to be witnessing a 5-25 outing by you, I feel a shroud of that playoff series I've been attempting to block from my mind, the one where you air-balled 3 straight clutch jumpers...

It's in my eyes, when I blink it's etched on the inside of the lids. It's like a coating of despair and loss and... at first I thought, oh my god, I know what this is, this is some sort of... This is what it must be like to have been a Cavs fan during the Jordan over Ehlo era... This is some sort of guilt stricken panic attack, where I remember how the Cavs could say "Oh well there was a time we won before..." Then they are pummeled by replays on ESPN Classic of Jordan murdering the humanity of Ehlo with a shaky jumper that rattles in. Nobody remembers that, do they Cleveland? They forget the rattle- they remember the fist pumps, nay, the jerks of his fists like Helen Keller back in the day... That's what this is- I'm panicking because you missed a jumper last game. And I realize oh goodness, I'm being ridiculous- this will all be fine. But then my irreverent misplacement of sanity was drowned out by the movement of feet, the chatter, the cheers, the hustle and bustle of the cattle drive to the gate entrance. This is not realization of hope, this is some giddy illusion of reassurance that happens in the final moments before LeBron comes out of nowhere, much like in this rant, and blocks your jump hook against the glass.

And then I realize no... No, no, this is completely wrong because I look back at the building and I had the most stunning moment of clarity. I, I realized Kobe, that I had emerged not from the doors of the Los Angeles Lakers media room, not through the portals of our vast and powerful press area with the horde and the wi-fi... But from the asshole of an organism whose sole function is to excrete the... the poison, the despair, the air-balls, the reminders of bullshit perfunctory let downs, the ammo of dissent. The defoliant necessary for other, larger, more powerful rosters to destroy the miracle of a parade route in Los Angeles. And that I could have been coated in this patina of shit for the best part of my years as a basketball fanatic. The stench of it and the stain of it would in all likelihood take the rest of my life to undo. And you know what I did, Kobe? I took a deep cleansing breath and set that notion aside. I tabled it. I said to myself, as clear as this may be, as potent a feeling this is, as true a thing as I believe I have witnessed last outing, it must wait. It must stand the test of time. It must stand the career of a player with 3 NBA titles, an MVP award, and enough balls to give each testicular cancer patient an even set... It must stand the test of time. And Kobe, the time is now.

Kobe, score. Kobe, fucking humiliate him.

And after the thoughts left my mind, the game began. And sitting in my dark leather love-seat, it took all of 17 seconds for Kobe to score. and he scored again, and again. He scored 11 straight points. He scored 13 of the first 15. In the first half he had 18 points on 8 of 11 shooting. In the second half, he didn't just beat Brewer, he obliterated his dignity. When shooting guarded jumpers over outstretched arms got boring, he crossed Brewer over 4 times in a row, then picked up his dribble... Waited for Brewer to get close enough to tell the world what flavor of gum Kobe enjoyed, and pumped once... Pumped twice. One pivot, fade away jumper. Wet. And in that moment, I called my mom- she has no idea about the nuances of basketball - & I say to her, "Mom... Put Brewer on your prayer list, call your local city councilman in Dallas to fly the flag half staff, get his mother's contact information- you need to tell her to bake her son his favorite meal. I'll call the Jazz to get him a contract extension within the week. Have dad call the suicide hotline to have Brewer put on suicide watch in a hospital. Kobe Bryant just took his heart out and pissed on it during a live broadcast of an NBA game with millions watching."

And you know what my mom said? "Doesn't Kobe do that all the time?" And there it was, realized completely. LeBron may be the MVP. Tim Duncan may be the best player in his position in the history of the league. Chris Paul may very well be one of the best PG's ever. But Kobe Bryant is Shiva, the god of Death.

Note by the Author: While watching Michael Clayton, at the beginning there is a gorgeously insane ramble at the beginning. This entire post is basically my insane 5:00 a.m. rant to try and emulate that madness into a reflection of the emotions I felt just before Game 4 of the LAL/UTAH series, and what I felt during/just after. Obviously, I give credit of the idea to the movie Michael Clayton, but hopefully reading this, you notice my thoughts


Justin Walsh said...

I do realize this post is going to piss off Jazz fans, people who hate Kobe and shit like that. But when you get in a mode, you have to do it. you have to write a piece in 5 minutes at 5 in the morning and show a bit of insanity. Because that's what being a fan is- insanity; spewing word after word stabbing upon itself each time with no real cohesion, begging the question "is this guy fucking mentally ill?" To which I reply- "yeeeeeeeeeep."

Hursty said...

Absolutely loved it man. That was great :D
Seems like you were really in the z.o.n.e there.
1) Nobody likes the Jazz except my sister because she likes their uniform colours, matt the jazz fan, and Ryne- who only likes Deron- like me.
I luuuuve this post. A Perfect Insanity? Yessir.

Moose said...

Justin, this was the shiiiit. Great stuff. Yes, I'm a Kobe hater. But it was still great, my respect is almost there for the man anyways. I think that nobody likes the Jazz because of their fans. They are mean, cheat (with whistles and stuff) and they're just jerks. And, there is no JAZZ in UTAH! They should go back to NOLA. Anyways, I have an idea for a follow-up piece. I think that it would be really cool for you to show or convey your emotions when your star player that you were counting on DOESN'T show up to the game and gets started on a cold streak right away and it looks like the game begins out of reach. I have just one question: You didn't actually call your mom, right? I assume that that part was just for journalism purposes, but it would be frickin ILL if she really did say that. Nice work, JRW.

Justin Walsh said...

that phone call really happened. It made me so happy that it happened that I kept repeating it on facebook- ask DP

Justin Walsh said...

and I plan on a follow up. On a time when Kobe or someone else plays greatly, then totally fucking fails the next game

Tariq al Hayder said...

Your mom is cold-blooded.

Justin Walsh said...

for real. my mom= thugnaasty.

Hursty said...

Why is Moose up at 5am? What is wrong with that poor child?
Oh, and I can claim to see Justin's rant on facebook. Proof!

Moose said...

8am, Hursty. The clock on the comments is on West Coast time, so it's three hours behind where I live, on the east coast. Justin, congrats. Wish I were there to see your rant, haha. And that is awesome stuffy your mom is hilarious.

DP said...

What more can you say? this is fuggin dope and all I can say is this makes me proud as a laker fan. someone please go give brewer a hug and let him watch "house of payne" on tv. horrible acting always makes me feel better about myself.

BET said...

you did a good job making a point but Kobe's dirty tricks (ex: flying elbows, bumping into people intentionally, slapping people on defence/reaching in and not going for ball) and the fact that he is involved in the biggest girl fight in NBA history make me dislike him. If he stops his petty tricks (which he doesnt do as much anymore, although he did elbow Paul Milsap intentonally after dunking on him in the 4th quarter of game 1 and stole the ball from Sasha Vujacic on the fast break in game 4, but to his credit Vujacic was out of control and was about to do something stupid) and squashes the beef with shaq by re-teaming up with shaq, then i could be a 'kobe appreciator' not a fan, but i would appreciate him.

And you know i am gonna spam this up now: PLEASE READ MY WORDS IF YOU HAVENT, STILL LESS THAN 48 HOURS OLD!!

BET said...

and kobe can be Shiva, but Micheal will always be the immortal G.O.A.T

BET said...

" They are mean, cheat (with whistles and stuff) and they're just jerks. " So do Celtic, Laker, Spurs, Knicks, Kings, or any other team with a winning tradition. Utah just has more hardcore fans and less fair weather 'all in good sports/just another day at the races' type fans that sit in the arena quietly for 90% of the game, and at the end they walk out silently if the team loses or clap and say 'good sport gentlemen!' if they win.

I would rather have 1 Jazz type fan then 3 fair weathered fans.

BET said...

if you want a great example of fair weathered fans, look at the Miami Heat or even my bobcats (when they began to heat up towards the end of the season).

"America loves a winner, and will not tolerate a loser, this is why America has never, and will never, lose a war." - George Patton

Some fans show up for every game no matter what, like Jazz fans (look at their lesser seasons for proof) or Kings/OKC Thunder fans, while others only come if the team is winning like Heat fans or Celtic fans (not you or JB particularly but they do have a huge fairweathered base)

End of rant, for now.

Eboy said...

I'm glad Justin enjoyed himself......'cause the best player in the world will be waiting to make an example of Mister LostAStep in about 6 weeks. Believe THAT.

Justin Walsh said...

Eboy- I did say that LeBron was the MVP didn't I? I have said LBJ is the best in the league didn't I? All I'm saying is, he still has MANY nights where you just sit back and say "this fuckin guy"

Roy said...

I'm no Lakers/Kobe fan but great piece Justin. One of your best ones to date.:D

Jameyb said...

I am no Lakers fam either, but am a big fan of writing like this. I've seen Michael Clayton twice and that is a great flick-if you haven't seen it, take it in on a weekend or after the playoffs are over-it's worth it. You said it best Walsh-being a fan is insanity-hell, it's more addictive than any drug, drink, cigarette or cup of java. Good piece.

Justin Walsh said...

JameyB- no lie, that movie is ballin.

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