These past few weeks I have been scanning the Internet looking for any new scoop or fresh insight. I checked Flipboard; looking at the different perspectives each passing hour. It was allegedly one of the most exciting things the masses would bear witness to in recent years. And sorry, Gregg Popovich, it wasn’t your team’s stunning grasp of fundamental basketball and how they would fare against Miami’s White Hot Heat. It was Kanye West’s new album, Yeezus, and the rumors of a more experimental sound from the master technician of awesomeness.
Like many others, I have wondered for weeks what this effort would bring to the table. Would this change pop music as we know it? What would the landscape of hip-hop be like after seeing his performance of “Black Skinhead” on SNL? Weeks went by and there was no single. No video. No damn album cover. It was a minimalist’s dream that included, of all things, a Corbusier lamp. Yet, Mr. West’s album was fulfilling considering all the empty space Rick Rubin created. But, I missed something in the process.
As the end of May concluded and the march towards the beginning of the NBA Finals began, I started to turn my attention away from LeBron‘s ever present headband and towards Kanye’s portrayal of Trent Reznor. When it was announced that the San Antonio Spurs would be playing, I avoided as much of the coverage as I possibly could. “These are the same Spurs that a young Oklahoma City team handled,” I told myself. “And OKC was dominated by the Heat.” There was no way, in my mind, that San Antonio was in for anything less than destruction. They were just gluttons for punishment standing in the way of one of the best regular season teams in the history of the league.
Then, Game 1 happened. Tony Parker’s circus shot became the stuff of goosebumps, reaction, analysis and parody. The Spurs won by doing what the Spurs do: play hard-nosed (B1G?) basketball. Yet, I wasn’t really interested at any of the specifics, just the fact that the series stood at 1-0.
Game 2 came and went with a rout by the Heat at home. LeBron struggled a bit on offensive but led the team defensively. In one of the biggest plays of the night, he made Tiago Splitter look even more like an awkward, helpless victim of a schoolyard bully. It was the Heat being the Heat we had seen all season; ending the game 103-84. I shrugged. DID YOU SEE THE ALBUM COVER FOR YEEZUS?!
Game 3 in San Antonio revealed a team possessed. The Spurs lit up Miami. It took me back to January when Alabama shredded the Notre Dame defense to make it look like they were playing Western Carolina rather than the storied Golden Domers of South Bend. Danny Green and Gary Neal had games analysts gawked at for hours. Those threes. Those downtown shots. Those dial ins. WHATEVER – KANYE GOT HUDSON MOHAWKE ON THIS ALBUM.
Games 4 and 5 in San Antonio resulted in one Heat victory and one Spurs win, respectively. The Heat had a sizable lead in Game 4 for the duration of it all. Game 5 was somewhat back and forth. Both were evidence that this series could be taken to Game 7. Many basketball pundits were writing headlines that this was the most exciting Finals they had seen in a looooong time. Tim Duncan’s mild mannered to the point of hilarity reputation against the bruising style of play that LeBron used to make Tiago Splitter look like Roger Sterling at a Hollywood party. ‘YE IS GETTING RICK RUBIN TO REDUCE THIS THING. IT’S DUE IN LIKE TWO DAYS.
Yeezus dropped on June 18th and was lauded by critics as riveting and astounding. It was Kanye West at his most bleak, graphic, paranoid, and perhaps terrified. Steve Hyden of Grantland wrote a great piece about how this might be Kanye expressing his reaction to the realization that he’s going to have to care for another human being soon. A fear that Kanye uses to air out all of his dirty laundry in order to get something off of his chest before his daughter is born into this world. If this is Kanye’s last document of reckless egoism before he fully assumes the role of parent, bravo.
Game 6 took place on the night of June 18th. The series was back in Miami. I watched the first two quarters in a bar; I was more interested in listening to what my friends had to say about the public’s distrust of Nickelback than the game. It was back and forth. I was tired. I went home and went to bed. Whoever wins, good for them. Then, I woke up to find out that the two teams grinded until the 4th Quarter into overtime. The Heat gained ground on Tony Parker’s solo effort to win it all. Yet to certain Heat fans, the game was done. The Spurs were going to be the ones standing in confetti. The same team who sat there super stars and got penalized for it would be the same ones put on a series for the ages. The thought of Pop getting another trophy and smiling a shit eating grin probably enraged those exiting Miami fans. Or maybe they really needed to go a drink at the Fontainebleau with Rick Ross. But once they heard Ray Allen hit the three, they flooded back to the gates of American Airlines Arena like a scene from World War Z.
Tonight is Game 7 in South Beach, and just like the Miami fans, I want back in. I want to see this display of athleticism. I want to see Chris Bosh look like he suffered the worst insult when he doesn’t hear a whistle. I want to see Tim Duncan make that face at the free throw line like he’s just witnessed God sitting on the back iron. Like other human beings, I want to be able to be a part of something, an event. Yeezus was an event that I fully invested myself in that I didn’t allow any time to watch the Finals or multitask like a normal human being. I left myself out of a conversation. I won’t be making the same mistake tonight, and I hope you don’t either.