Archive for September, 2010


So we’ve heard all the yakking that can be yakked. It was almost enough to last a full year, and yet it was only the beginning! The good news is that this season, talk simply isn’t going to go very far at all. Surely Mister Colangelo has some inkling that some kind of lasting foundation needs to be firmly in place by this time next year. By then, there had better be a sense of what kind of direction this team is going in, with a culture of some sort in place, or he might finally be held accountable by the fans. So far this season, he looks to be satisfied to offer a grab bag of false hopes, citing the season now a mere dot in the rearview mirror, when critics supposedly guessed at a 12th place finish, and they actually finished 3rd. I know I had thought they would win more than 45 games that year, and I don’t remember many that didn’t think they might at least have a chance to fight for a playoff spot. There was some really positive press about Bargnani. Bosh had established himself. There was some optimism regarding TJ Ford returning to his original form. The biggest question surrounding the team back then was Mitchell’s continued employment, and mostly because he was signed on before Colangelo’s arrival. The situation does not look to be parallel in any way, and even Bryan himself had to make sure nobody thought he was suggesting anything quite as successful as a 3rd place finish was going to happen this season. So what was he saying exactly? More of the same I would propose. He has been living off that award-winning season for quite a while now, and a truckload of disappointment has come down the highway since then, which we are supposed to forget as if it was in the distant past.

It’s quite a trick of perspective, but like I say, there are going to have to be some tangible results that use those tricks of perspective in painting a picture that would seem to have some kind of lasting effect. There is more than just false hopes that he is able to point to. He’s got the TPE at his disposal. He did free himself of the Turkoglu contract, and can look at some financial flexibility in the near term. We might all be looking at one of the franchise’s better draft picks by this time next year. So he’s definitely got something to work with to avoid all the same talk from looping through the streams come next media day.

This time around though, like too many of the last while, media day was a little too much like seeing Zsa Zsa Gabor on Merv Griffin. She was always on there with her “oh dahlink”, but every time it played out like an obnoxious couple on their first date, and no matter how flirtatious they tried to be, you just knew it would never go anywhere. By this time next year, I expect, and would demand if it made any difference, no more Zsa Zsa. It’s gotta be Charo. She always had a lot less to say, but she always backed up every word with some action. A simple coochie-coochie-coo, with the right shimmy and shake, was plenty enough way back when, and it would work for me now, although I’m not sure what cleavage would necessarily represent in this analogy. Hell- it’s cleavage. Let’s just leave it at that. The thing with Charo is this – she would go on to to show off some flamenco guitar playing skills following the goofy coochie-coo routine. And even though mediocre, it was fun and enjoyable all the same, and if you tried really hard, you might feel like you’ve been culturally enlightened and ready for something really heady. She knew how to follow through on a sales job.

So here’s hoping that the big guy figures out what kind of tune we’ll eventually hear, and be able to make all the talk short and sweet without offering false hope alone. I don’t need We Are the Champions to be on the playlist just yet, but I would like some selections I might be able to fool myself into thinking are more than just a collection of songs by the kids that didn’t win American Idol. With this season, there is just no way of knowing what we’ll get, so maybe he gets a pass for being all over the place with his sales job, since it would only reflect on him simply having no way of knowing.

Finally, to round everything out, let me go from the song and dance (with cleavage), to food, because I’m sure there was something to digest in all that chatter, and if Merv Griffin was back in the stone ages for you, then maybe this can help get you through the season. This season is simply going to be like eating dim sum. Every little piece is pretty tasty. You feel like nourishment isn’t of foremost importance. And you just can’t be sure what will be coming on the next tray that gets wheeled your way. The odd time it can be a little dim, and altogether the sum of the parts will never add up to more than the sum of the parts. But you can be pretty sure that there will always be a dumpling filled with ground pork somewhere on your table, and that’s not great, but it’s something. So here’s hoping for that much. A little luck going forward would be nice, and what else are fortune cookies for? Luck or no luck, Colangelo will have to be held accountable, and stop putting lipstick on anymore cooked pigs. He’s going to have to upgrade the pork dumplings for a main course of barbecue in a year’s time, and point us all in the direction of some beefy offerings from there.


I get hung up on the meaning of words sometimes. OK – pretty much all the time. Like the other day I hear a news report about an “alleged” shooting by an unidentified person. Can you make an allegation against someone that was not seen and cannot be identified? What’s the point? Can’t they just say there was a shooting and nobody knows who pulled the trigger? Or is the allegation referring to the existence of the event itself? A shot rang out. There was a bullet left behind. But maybe all of life is just a dream cooking in the mind of Quetzalcoatl after imbibing a little too much peyote juice. Or maybe all of reality is just a simulation created by sentient machines. But c’mon – neither a whacked out feathered god, nor a bunch of rabid supercomputers is going to come up with such a snoozefest. Just stop messing with me with this “alleged” shit already.

Which brings me to our “alleged” basketball team. And the league nixing any use of the Young Gunz. Why? If it’s because of the “z” then I can understand. It reinforces the misuse of the english language (lolz), and if there is any discussion as to whether it’s a zed or a zee then that’ll just be one more fire for Colangelo to put out. But we know it’s actually about the reference to the weapon, as if it wasn’t a matter of whether guns kill people, or whether people kill people, but whether the word kills people. Anyone who would associate what the “Young Gunz” do on the court, with the antics of Gilbert Arenas off the court, is a little loopy, and making words into a problem in this case just draws further attention to shit that I already forgot. Why magnify stupidity with more stupidity?

How does this play out if they take things further? I’m thinking that Andrea already got uncomfortable doing his GQ photo shoot, because they called it a photo “shoot”. What happens when he has to shoot the ball? The guy is still learning the language. Why mess with his head like this? I can just see him guarding Dwight Howard with the clock winding down, when he hears Stan Van screaming “SHOOOOOT!!!!SHOOOOOT!!!!” and then ducks for cover behind the uprights. If there is any mention of a run and gun style of play he might pee himself. It’s just not right to be doing that.

All the same, I’ll be just as happy if the young ‘uns on the Raptors end up being Jungians. Those are they guys that are going to need to develop their games, and develop an archetypal persona for the team, so that for some time to come, anyone who plays here will know who they are and how to play while on the floor. That’s something that has never happened here, and it’s time that it did. I don’t suspect that Bargnani or Kleiza or Barbosa are going to be able to summon up revelatory synchronistic experiences, or it would have happened already. It’s going to be about the kids pushing and shaping this team into something, somehow by season’s end.

What will that be, and what will that mean? Who knows? Triano and Colangelo will have their say, but it’s going to have to be something that ultimately comes out of the collective unconscious (if not conscious) of DeMar, Sonny, Amir, Ed, and from there among the rest of the players. Every single one of them looks to be faced with needing to prove themselves in a bigger role than they’ve known before. There will be a crisis or three. But that is where an identity can be shaped and shared, and with that this team can move into the future with some sense of direction.

Meanwhile the marketing team came up with the idea that the Raptors plus YOU equals the perfect equation. Except that isn’t a complete equation. And I would think that that the “perfect equation” would be Raptors+every diehard fan that’s waited 16 years for something really good=82 wins. All they’ve given us is some circular reasoning that sounds like some stab in the dark. Stab? Maybe I should just say it’s a random attempt to grab our attention. There is a little bit riding on those Jungians.