(Sports Network) - What would you rather have? Analysts and fans micro-
focusing on mundane, soul-draining considerations, like whether LeBron James
should compete in next year's NBA Slam Dunk contest, or truly great basketball
For example, what took place in Madison Square Garden on Feb. 27 is what
sports are supposed to be about. Competition, exhilaration and fun. Golden
State Warriors guard Stephen Curry put on a show with 54 points, including 11
On the other side, the New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony dropped 35 points,
J.R. Smith had 26 off the bench and, lost in all of this, Tyson Chandler
pulled down 28 rebounds.
What they did in basketball terms is like pulling a rabbit out of a burning
hat, wrapped it in Egyptian linen, sprinkled crushed lavender dust on
it and made it float through the air. Somewhere Penn and Teller are
clapping their hands and yelling "Bravo."
The fact the Warriors lost is irrelevant, or at least for the night it is. For
Warriors fans -- who are double-checking playoff seeding every 48 hours --
each game is something to consider. Or for Knicks fans -- trying to beat
Indiana for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference -- each win gets them
closer to potentially their best postseason in this century.
So, yes, of course, for them, it was an exciting game. However, for the rest
of us, it was must-see TV. It ended up being one of those rare occasions when
the game is just a game, and then, somehow, more than just a game.
It was one of those best-case scenario moments where there are no politics, no
talking heads pontificating senselessly, no bizarro writers in old shoes and
oversized pants criticizing a player's postgame wardrobe. This was just
sports fed intravenously right into the blood stream. It's not about
reconnecting to your childhood or appreciating sports for its lessons
on teamwork and dedication. It's about stripping it down to its building
blocks. Fans need games like that every once in a while to be reminded why we
Sports have always separated into two categories: A distraction from the daily
grizzle of everyday life, where the stresses of work, school and family can be
compartmentalized for a few hours and you can disappear into another world, or
a vehicle to discuss and expound upon serious issues that, bogged by the
monotony of heavily insular language, would otherwise go ignored due to the
magnitude of the subject.
It's a powerful way to take a bite out of issues like gun control or socio-
economics and bring it down to a level where understanding these things
doesn't require a doctorate. I'm still trying to figure out a way to discuss
the sequester without the dryness so prominent in the suit and tie networks.
But when sports are dominated by 40-yard dash soap operas, sex scandals and
small-mindedness, it can lose its exuberance. There's no escaping and there
are no lessons learned. It's just an onslaught of bile that eventually leaves
you jaded and corrupted. You can argue who is at fault here, but really, we're
all culpable in different ways. Journalists, writers, producers, editors,
businessmen, consumers and fans, we're in this together.
Some of you are going to read this and lament about the downside of
idealizing. You have that right. It doesn't matter since much isn't likely to
change anytime soon. There's always going to be more of "them" than there are
of "us" and the professional haters out there will always have their audience.
However, when these moments do happen, we have to appreciate them. Take a step
back and breathe deeply. The Feb. 27 game was awesome, and even Knicks players
commented on how great Curry played. There was no name-calling and no fake-
drama moments to sizzle the tabloids. Just entertainment, straight, with no
This story is courtesy of "The Shadow League." For more sports stories, go to
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