After months of agonizing anticipation, during which we filled time with other allegedly important sporting events and Mad Men binges on Netflix, the 2014-’15 NBA regular season begins tonight. A three-game slate eases us back into basketball this evening, and there are many important questions surrounding each team, the answers to which will dictate the course of the season. How will the new-look Cavaliers fit together? For how much longer will Rajon Rondo remain a Boston Celtic? When will Kevin Durant return from injury, and what will he look like? [Insert literally anything] Derrick Rose? What about Kawhi Leonard’s contract situation and “the Spurs way”? Is the triangle a total crock of grade-A bull fertilizer, spread below the floor of Madison Square Garden ahead of the stadium’s demolition and the subsequent establishment of an actual garden in its place?
All that, we will know in due time. What we won’t know is what we don’t think about. Let’s take a moment to consider the impossible, that which could never conceivably happen in today’s National Basketball Association. Then let’s never think about any of these things again.
1. “I’m not a Miami Heat fan. I’m a Mario Chalmers fan.”
2. Taylor Swift dishing and swishing as Jose Calderon’s backup with the New York Knicks, her unselfish play and stylish hustle calling to mind the halcyon days of the early 1970s Knicks teams.
3. Paul George holding a press conference at which he renounces his past and pledges an oath of abstinence. At the same conference, he reveals that he has given some of his earnings to an exiled Ugandan prince who emailed him “out of nowhere” asking for assistance and his Social Security number.
5. Giannis Antetokuonmpo not toasting to feeling good all the time, as Jason Kidd personally monitors Wesley Edens’ and Marc Lasry’s finances “just to make sure.”
6. A “Life is good” decal to appear on the rear windshield of Gregg Popovich’s car.
7. Andrew Bogut finding his three-point stroke and insisting to Steve Kerr that he play the 2 in “big” lineups. Steph Curry finds time on the bench relaxing, as he feels that chewing on his mouthpiece unleashes what he calls his “inner Thomas Paine.” Klay Thompson fills multiple Moleskine books with scenarios from the NBA Trade Machine.
9. Kevin Durant’s scooter to replace Kendrick Perkins in the Thunder’s starting lineup, unfortunately.
10. Basketball of any discernible, recognizable form in the Wells Fargo Center.
11. LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard taking Nicolas Batum on a rum-fueled excursion to Key West, forcing ancient secrets of the French military out of him while stealing coasters from Sloppy Joe’s before tying him to the Southernmost point in the continental United States. Batum returns to practice a week later, claiming to remember nothing from the trip except the exceptional Grand Slam breakfast the three ate at Denny’s on Duval. Terry Stotts tells the media that Batum was suffering from “a minor contusion in his left leg.”
12. The organist at Phillips Arena playing the Rich Gang mixtape featuring Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan in its entirety
13. Dirk Nowitzki abandoning his trademark turnaround fadeaway jump shot because “it got too easy, too predictable.” He begins shooting free throws underhanded as recompense, much to Rick Carlisle’s dismay.
14. “At least I gave it 110%. Right, Kobe?” – Nick Young
15. Gerald Wallace: All-Star.
16. Jeff Hornacek revolutionizing the NBA with the so-called “ultra-small lineup,” comprised entirely of what we call guards, featuring Goran Dragic, Zoran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe, Tyler Ennis and Isaiah Thomas at center. One rumored play includes Thomas going the length of the floor, spinning the ball on his finger and running under the legs of much larger defenders, while the other four eat ice cream in a make-believe timeout huddle in front of the opposing team’s bench.
17. The word “dummy” noticeably removed from Charles Barkley’s vocabulary on Inside the NBA; Barkley instead refers to those who fall out of his favor as “philistines”
18. Sam Hinkie shopping future assets while desperately trying to add a big-name star at the trade deadline.
19. Gordon Hayward missing a game-winning three-pointer while double-teamed and overlooking a wide-open Trey Burke, his hands poised as if to accept a political endorsement from a failed competitor, before whispering into Quin Snyder’s ear on the sideline, “It’s not your fault.”
20. Rufus Lynx. Keep on scooting, old friend. We’ll always have TWELVE MINUTES OF BOBCAT ENERGY.
21. A phone recording to surface on Deadspin of Chris Smith telling his brother, J.R., “Maybe they’re right. Maybe I wasn’t good enough…” while audibly shooting exclusively with himself on NBA 2K15.
22. Mild-mannered Marc Cuban, working his way through a particularly challenging Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle while lounging comfortably in his owner’s box, entirely disengaged from the action on the court
23. Mild-mannered DeMarcus Cousins, whose gentlemanly play and friendly demeanor garner him praise and the NBA Sportsmanship Award, which he politely refuses before handing to an entirely disoriented Ben McLemore.
24. The revelation that Chris Broussard’s sources are actual human beings with first-hand knowledge of team machinations and not NBA spam bots on Twitter.
25. Craig Sager wearing a simple, gray suit with a sensible black tie and sharp, polished shoes.
26. James Harden’s defense (Editor’s Note: Total cheap shot, but we’re balling on a budget here)
27. Rodney Stuckey leads the Indiana Pacers to the league’s top-rated offense, as Roy Hibbert averages 30 points and fifteen rebounds a game. High atop the Bank of America Corporate Center, Lance Stephenson sips a tonic on the rocks, muttering to himself, “Born ready? AM ready!”
28. Dion Waiters taking the last shot, ever. Even during scrimmages in practice. Same goes for you, Anderson Varejao. Coach Blatt said so.
30. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh saying, unsolicited, that they aren’t bothered by the people who were rooting for them to lose at the press conference immediately following the Heat’s five-game loss to the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference semi-finals, right before Bosh takes Wade into his arms and cradles him like a newborn child.
31. Adam Silver to break up the Clippers “for basketball reasons,” sending Chris Paul into an epileptic fit and compelling Blake Griffin to enlist in the Marines. Taylor Griffin willingly volunteers to go as tribute, envisioning war heroism, many vague medals and a welcome home parade sponsored by Budweiser, but ends up stationed at Fort Bragg.
32. Kevin Garnett, softening up with age, calling Sam Casell and Latrell Sprewell to reportedly tell them, “We were always the only Big 3 in my heart.” He then sends a strongly-worded but concise letter to a particular senior editor at The Players’ Tribune reprimanding him for leaving the good people of Minnesota to go chasing championships.
33. Kobe Bryant wondering where all the cowboys have gone. Kobe is the only cowboy he needs. He is the rising sun and setting moon. No longer must he look for the ball; the ball will find him. Into garbage cans everywhere, from dorm rooms and offices to two-story Chipotles and restaurants in Koreatown, crumpled textiles will fall, and for just a little while longer, maybe one year, maybe two, the wrists behind them will hang, lingering for a brief and beautiful moment. Then you will hear the truth, out of the mouths of babes and directly into the ears of God: “Kobe!”
Special thanks to James Vasiliou, who contributed research for this piece