It’s been the longest, coldest, loneliest winter, and every time I look up – usually to take my eyes off the screen for the requisite twenty seconds-per-twenty minutes of screen time, or about as much as my stop light eyes can stand in the middle of the afternoon – it gets longer. Once again, winter is and has been upon us, beautiful falling snow giving way to the malignant ice, which has never done anyone any favors and, really, just ought to melt immediately, in between Jack Frost’s cosplay as Punxsutawney Phil.
Even in New York City – we’re the lucky ones as far as the past two weeks have gone, and among places you’d expect to not be doing so well in a February winter – seasonal depression is self-evident in almost anyone you encounter, as far as “encountering” a person can go these days: there is the lady on the muffled phone call, pulling from a cigarette in between listening; there is the shop owner, only going inside when a potential customer directs her in; there is the man on the street, literally pleading with his corgi to please join him on the street corner.
Tompkins Harrison Matteson/Library of Congress
In theory, democracy is a relatively emotionally detached system, a utilitarian tool for selection based on preference which, at its conclusion, yields the most popular choice for a given role. In practice, of course, it isn’t so simple, as voting methods and the different weights assigned to certain swaths of the voting populace tend to skew results one way or another.
All of this is entry-level political science; you certainly don’t need anyone reminding you of the way things are, especially on this of all days. It seems overly simplistic to just say that sometimes things don’t break the way they should, the way most people think they should, but then, it becomes hard to explain other voters’ tendencies without reverting to childish name-calling and inflammatory rhetoric.
On Thursday, the NBA announced the starters for this year’s All-Star Game. Russell Westbrook, currently leading the league in scoring while averaging a triple-double, was not among them.
Both on and off the court, NBA All-Star Weekend always manages to provide once-in-a-lifetime moments and opportunities. This edition, held over the weekend in Toronto’s polar hellscape, was no exception, with a live reading of Space Jam and an all-time classic duel between Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon in the Slam Dunk contest° preceding a record-smashing Game on Sunday.
Amidst the revelry, it would have been easy to miss the announcement of this year’s finalists for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Along with Shaquille O’Neal, Sheryl Swoopes, Kevin Johnson and Yao Ming, Allen Iverson received a nomination for the players category, re-opening a dialogue which had somewhat flamed out since Iverson last played in the NBA in 2010¹. It stands to reason that Iverson deserves to be in the Hall, if only for the sake of his play and, subsequently, his influence not being so easily forgotten.
Short class this week, gang. The All-Star Break interrupts an intense Western Conference playoff race, and one of its most entertaining teams just made a key hire, perhaps in a case of too little, too late. Elsewhere, Carmelo Anthony seems destined for a shutdown after the break, and the NBA is celebrating the rich history of basketball in New York City. Which borough would you take?
Klay Thompson enjoyed a record-setting 37-point quarter last week against the Sacramento Kings, sending the internet into a frenzy and reminding people that Steph Curry is not the only #heatcheck member of the NBA’s best team. Not to be outdone, Kyrie Irving put up 55 points against the Blazers without the help of LeBron James. Elsewhere, Damian Lillard of that aforementioned Blazers team is thankful to his detractors for not being an All-Star, and DeMarcus Cousins, noted first-time All-Star, corrects a writer on Instagram.
The NBA announced its All-Star starters this week, with a certain pair of Spanish hermanos at the forefront. Interestingly but not surprisingly, Steph Curry beat out LeBron James and Anthony Davis as the highest vote-getter, and the Eastern Conference has an entirely new backcourt for the first time since 2000. Elsewhere, Kobe Bryant, destroyer of efficiency ratings, has become Kobe Bryant, destroyer of his own rotator cuff, and LaMarcus Aldridge’s injury has the Blazers reeling.
LeBron James made Mount Rushmore a trending topic earlier this week for reasons entirely unrelated to the giant presidential faces carved into the side of a granite slab in South Dakota. From coast to coast, people got all up in arms about who the four best basketball players of all-time are, if that is the criteria necessary to earn a spot there. Elsewhere, Carmelo Anthony wants to win a championship (don’t we all?), and Pierre the Pelican finally gets a makeover, just in time for All-Star Weekend in his hometown.
The halcyon days of Blake Griffin as “the world’s best dunk artist who just happens to play professional basketball” are over in Los Angeles. Without Chris Paul, Lob City has managed to go 12-6 without their leader and guide, Chris Paul, and Griffin’s magisterial performance in a losing effort against the Heat on February 5 was one of the most exciting and thought-provoking games of the season. Elsewhere, Dan Gilbert is doing his best not to foster a Steinbrenner-Martin relationship with Mike Brown, and the Lakers played out an near-video game scenario against those very same Cavaliers. Also, the Brow is an All-Star for the very first time, and Damian Lillard can destroy anything with a basketball in his hand.