You know me.
Or you know some things about me. I write about basketball. I try to do it with a sense of humor. I try to show how the game and its foibles are a microcosm of the world at large. Like Bill Simmons, I probably use my Dad as a narrative prop/character waaayyy too much. So when you, dear reader, clicked on this link for my take on the acquisition of two obscure players who were throw-ins in the Tyson Chandler deal, you probably had a good idea what to expect. And your expectations aren’t unfounded. I had this whole bit ready to go where I was going to mock Ahmad Nivins because his nickname is “Slim” which seems as archaic as “Rusty” or “Skippy” and conjures up an image of some Davy Crockett hat-wearing adorable moppet straight outta 1950’s nostalgia. I also had some glib musings about how Giorgos Printezis’ name is impossible to remember, pronounce or spell and thus makes me recall Mr. Mytzlplk, Superman’s (not Greek) nemesis who could only be defeated if Superman tricked him into saying his own name backwards – which is possibly what Mark Cuban did to Glenn Grunwald to get him included in the trade.
Truth be told, I was going to go the wiseacre route because, like most of you, I know very little about Ahmad Nivins and Giorgos Printezis. The only interesting tidbit a brief scour of the interwebs provided was this nugget from friend-of-the blog, Seth at postingandtoasting.com:
Incidentally, Nivins is a St. Joe’s big man who was drafted in ’09 and has been playing in Spain ever since. Printezis is Greek and was picked by the Spurs in ’07, but stayed in Europe. His nickname is apparently “The Big Fish”. He is now officially my favorite Knick of all time.
So vaguely relevant pop cultural references and an aside about my own time living abroad seemed to be the best way to tackle this story and it might have been good for a mid-morning guffaw. But then I thought, Jeez, what if (and I know the odds are slim [Nivins] to none) one of them actually read what I wrote? I know what I’d think if I were either of them:
“Who is this arse and why is he using me and a very important event in my life as a thinly veiled excuse for what he assumes to be witty and droll (but is actually just self-congratulatory) observations? Silverman can’t even hit a jumper to save his life! Where does he get off mocking me, who, Euro League status notwithstanding is in the top 1% of all sentient humans who play basketball. Eff that guy!”
I just didn’t want to do that today. Because for all our mockery of fringe NBA players, it’s good to recall that those selfsame fringe guys – even…dare I say it…Jared Jeffries – are so good at what they do that you and I can’t even begin to comprehend it. And in order to be that good, they’ve had to work like monastic fiends, despite the false stereotype of the baller who’s rocking the gym one night and then partying at the 40-40 Club the next. In order to achieve the level of success that they have, they’ve often had put aside things you and I (or at least I) may take for granted: friends, family, or any semblance of a normal social life. They’ve traveled the planet looking for work and busted their tuchuses to a greater degree than most of us will ever be able to fathom, let alone do. They’re constantly hoping against hope that some NBA team will give them an actual shot, because truth be told, once you get down to the 13th through the 15th spots on a roster, there are a lot of guys who could competently fill that role. Who gets those spots is as much about luck, being in the right place at the right time and who you know as opposed to actual ability. It’s blindingly cruel if you think about it – knowing in one’s head and one’s heart that you’re good enough to achieve your dreams and realizing that they may never come true, all because of the whim(s) and/or whimsy of fate.
Anyway, please forgive my overly sentimental mood/take on the addition by the Knicks of the rights to two mildly (to put it mildly) athletic ‘tweener SF/PF-types. This morning I just didn’t feel like ragging on two people who probably saw their names in print (in the US at least) for the first time in ages and maybe are thinking, “Wow. There are roster spots open on the Knicks. Mike D’Antoni coached and played in Europe so if I can just get a camp invite…”
Good luck guys.
PS: Not to fear, Knickerbloggeristas. I’ll be back to my usual snide self, tout suite.