Historicizing Hoop Dreams / "Their inextricable link to a bunch of lower cased gods you've never heard of or have already forgotten about" [video]



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The NBA Playoffs are my favorite postseason in professional sports. Sure, March Madness has its frenetic upsets and Cinderella stories, and National Football returns us to America's postindustrial wastelands in the midst of winter and treats us to a type of violent beauty that culminate into one of the great spectacles of Modern American capitalism.

But, Pro Basketball treats us to something altogether different. It's the tragicomic sublimity found at the end of a winner-takes-all system. Having been part of the Amateur Athletic underworld, I have visceral memories of the high school seasons that turned into spring exhibition tournaments that culminated into the endless summer of hoops tournaments. Four and five games a day against hundreds of other black boys who spent hundreds of hours mastering their games so that their own style would shine bright enough to earn the admiring approval of one of the scouts in the audience.

The most amazing thing about the performances of Zach Randolph, Kevin Durant, and Derrick Rose and others is not just all-world skill and superhuman feats of athleticism. The most amazing thing is their inextricable link to a bunch of lower cased gods you've never heard of or have already forgotten about.