Happy Memorial Day! Great to see you! So, now that you’re here, it’s time to attack: Do you ever think about instigators, or why a lot of people die unnecessarily? Did you see the BARRY finale? What do you fear the most, and why is it the mirror? Anyway, haha, *high five*, let’s honor some of what we thought were the dead, but they’re still living.

Jimmy Butler has fulfilled his mission and obligation as The Man for the Miami Heat. Via the way the game is played today, et cetera, he found himself at the foul line with three seconds to go, the exact three seconds and three shots he needed to close out the Boston Celtics and end any speculation that the best-positioned team in NBA history to recover from down 3-0 would do so. He nailed all three, Michelobs surely on the brain.

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Prior to the penultimate round of the NBA playoffs kicking off, a matter of only negligibly less importance took place in Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center. Mere steps from the closest stop off the CTA’s green line, the future of the NBA began to reveal itself. Several sweaty executives, a handful of younger NBA players and the odd nostalgia act rolled in as representatives of the fourteen teams eligible for lottery picks in this offseason’s draft.

The prize at hand? What we’ve known for two years, at least, if not longer: French prospect Victor Wembenyama, a 7’3” stir-fry of Kevin Durant, Kristaps Porzingis and Anthony Davis, if the scouting reports and highlights are to be trusted. Behind him, Scoot Henderson, along with several other players of varying overt Christian influence. But Wemby was the target, even for the teams with barely 1% chance of getting him. Twenty years after LeBron James’ draft lottery, a prospect of perhaps even greater repute has entered the chat.

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This past Christmas, I was in Oklahoma with my oldest, not older, brother, taking in several of the NBA games that were on TV. They were there at my request, but several of our fellow patrons got into it; suffice to say, we identified a Kobe Guy. Two days later we would be at Paycom watching a Thunder-Spurs game that you’ve already forgotten; I doubt we ever will.

For what ended up being my family’s ad hoc Christmas celebration three months later, we descended upon South Carolina, my parents once again hosting a St. Patrick’s Day party featuring a lot of people I don’t know that well. One of them, a New Jersey transplant and lapsed Knicks fan, unfortunately found herself in a conversation with me, all but yelling at her about Jalen Brunson. 

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A tied game becomes a different thing when you know the other team can hit their shots, and then they start hitting them. Against a Finals-proven (and Kevin Durant-aided) team like the Phoenix Suns, it is only so much more demoralizing to watch a ball clink-clank-clunk through the rim than it is to watch a swish, but the shorthanded Los Angeles Clippers experienced both on Tuesday evening.

In one of the more entertaining series of a wildly entertaining first round, the Clippers, already without Paul George, took it to the Suns in the two games featuring Kawhi Leonard, in which he scored over 34 points a game. It began to fall apart when Leonard’s knee reminded him of some pain. That pain, which we all felt with him, meant that the Clippers were in the hands of one man, at least to start.

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Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva narrowly defeated Jair Bolsonaro Sunday to reclaim the Brazilian presidency. To the casual onlooker, it might seem like a joyful refutation of Bolsonaro’s pugnacious authoritarian streak, but mostly it reminded me to dig up this pitch for the short-lived but much appreciated Pastime that was (rightfully) rejected in early 2019 just after Bolsonaro had won the last election. I hadn’t looked at it since then, but while it weakly tries to unite too much and I never did figure out an ending I liked, it may also serve as a timely reminder of how much still needs doing down there, or anywhere, and of how much it takes to make dreams a reality.

To wit: Bolsonaro is out, but Lula is back in. Eric Granado finished second in MotoE in 2022. Diogo Moreira is currently eighth in his rookie season of Moto3. There are no signs of a Brazilian MotoGP round for the foreseeable future.

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He wasn’t the inspiration for the logo – he couldn’t have been, not at that time, nor under those circumstances. That was inevitably going to be the territory of less outspoken, likely fairer-skinned players, the kind who bowed knee to the ownership class and played into media narratives about themselves at a time when the league needed characters.

Even after eleven championships as a player, including two as the first Black head coach of a team in the four major North American men’s sports, Bill Russell was never destined to be what the league wanted the logo to be. By the time of its introduction in 1969, Russ, who passed away Sunday at the age of 88, was already so much more.

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William Hamilton

Over a week later, the question everyone was asking before the playoffs is now one that continues to lurk: what becomes of these Brooklyn Nets? Steve Nash’s team has lit itself aflame once again, but who threw the match? They, of the highly touted scoring tandem, once briefly of a threatening trifecta that no team could think about stopping, could shudder? They could seek fate?

A 116-112 Boston Celtics win on Monday night sent the Nets packing. While they were busy making love with their egos, Ime Udoka was leading his continually resurgent squad to a sweep over a team many once considered to be NBA Finals favorites. It’s worth asking of this iteration of the team: do they seek fate, or does fate become them?

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