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“Grantland East” – Rembert Browne

“Happy Thanksgiving!”

Decked out in a red flannel shirt, the kind that suggests a casual work environment, Juliet Litman enthusiastically welcomed her congregation, a throng of young dudes, mostly white, with a few willing and able women scattered about. These parishioners had come to Le Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village, site of the Madden lectures a little over a month prior, to pay final respects to the most important sports blog ever, the recently-deceased standard for longform pop journalism and the sort of offbeat topics you concoct in your dorm lounge late one night after several too many adult beverages. This was the Grantland wake.

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Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports

The 2014-’15 NBA season is now over, having come in like a lion and gone out like the exploding sun’s inevitable consumption of the Earth. The best team from the regular season capped off its run with a championship, and the best player in the world sulked away with a 2-3 record in the NBA Finals after posting one of the greatest individual series ever. LeBron James is the seminal figure in the movement which fell him in these Finals, and Golden State’s enthusiastic adoption of flexibility proved too much for Cleveland’s limited, defense-heavy rotation.

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Oath_Tennis_Court.jpg - "The Oath of the Tennis Court." Pen and ink drawing by Jacques-Louis David, 1791. This monumental work, designed to be a preliminary to a larger painting (never completed), was first displayed to the public in the Salon of 1791, where it met with great enthusiasm. In its meeting of June 17th, the Third Estate had declared itself to be the National Assembly, the representatives of the sovereign nation, and invited the Clergy and the Nobility to join it. Although some lower clergy accepted the invitation and crossed over, the other orders refused at first. On June 20, the king ordered their meeting rooms locked so the Third Estate and their clerical allies met instead in a tennis court in the nearby Jeu de Paume, and their members took a solemn oath refusing to leave until a new constitution for the kingdom was established. On June 27, the king orders the rest of the Clergy and Nobility to join the National Assembly.

The Oath of the Tennis Court, Jacques-Louis David

On June 20, 1789, a group of peasants, serfs and wage-laborers, representatives of France’s lower-class Third Estate, found themselves locked out of a meeting in Versailles which King Louis XVI ostensibly called to formulate strategies which could pull the nation out of a state-induced financial crisis. Outraged, the oft-ignored Third Estate reps decided to call a meeting of their own, which they held on a tennis court, and at which they signed an oath against the heads of state which eventually led to the French Revolution. Historians now cite the Tennis Court Oath, originally an act of desperation from an outraged people, as one of the most important events in European history, and we continue to feel its reverberations today.

On Wednesday, a different revolution from a different outraged person occurred roughly fourteen kilometers from Versailles on another tennis court. Its effects, while far less deleterious to the French government, could have a similarly wide-reaching impact on the status quo, particularly the oft-ignored, #1-ranked player and the reigning king against whom he staged his coup.

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One week into the SuperContest, and I don’t hate myself yet. Oh man, it feels like it’s going to be a good year.

After starting out 3-2, I am currently hypothetically in the upper half of the table (!) and in good standing to move forward in my hypothetical gambling. You may think that it’s easy to pick five games a week and come out looking like a champion, but let me give you some perspective: This past week, only 3 people went 5-0 on their picks, 58 went 0-5. Read More