May 18, 2008

stop looking at the Jumbotron!

I watched a few games of the Celtics-Cavs series, interested mostly because my bro-in-law is a (now disappointed) Cleveland fan. LeBron James was incredible in games 3-7, but incredible wasn't good enough to win on the road.

One thing I noticed: NBA players spend an inordinate amount of time gawking at the Jumbotron. I started wondering if it affects their concentration. Consider this quote:
It wasn't Wilkins' day on May 22, 1988, even though he outscored Bird in Boston's 118-116 win over Atlanta at the old Boston Garden. Wilkins finished with 47 points, 16 in the fourth quarter, and Bird had 34, with 20 in the final period.

"I'm very aware of the game," Pierce said. "They don't ever let you forget it when you look up to the jumbotron."
Players are always checking the instant replay, the close-ups of the cheerleaders, the booing schlub in the nosebleeds, the opposing coach's pit stains... if I were an NBA coach, it'd drive me batty.

"Keep your head in the game," I'd tell 'em before the contest started. "Anyone who cranes his neck toward the television to check his style points on a dunk gets five minutes on the bench. Anyone who bets on that stupid boat/car/airplane race graphic sits for the night."

Could the JumboTron be solely responsible for the NBA's explosion of preening narcissism?


TeacherRefPoet said...

1. No. Even if the Jumbotron were banned immediately, YouTube and ESPN would pick up the slack. They'd still be narcissists.

2. General Franco is still dead. Remember World B. Free? He of "I'm so good, even I couldn't stop myself" and "That shot [a teammate's game winner] was so good, that for a moment I thought I took it"? Larry Bird's incredible smugness? Scott Skiles saying to an opposing coach "Will you put anybody on me who can guard me"? All from the '80s and '90s. Narcissism is at least as old as Narcissus, and at least as common.

You sound like the elderly man next door talking about "these darned kids."

I do believe, however, that there is less classiness, and more of a tendency to be louder about one's narcissism. Maybe that's what you mean. It's louder, not more frequent.

Jim Anderson said...

1. I am the elderly man next door, and it's "damn kids," no -ed.

2. I think you're right: it's just louder. I will turn off my hearing aid.

TeacherRefPoet said...

Did I really write that narcissism is "at least as common as Narcissus"?

Please, somebody burn my diploma and revoke my poetic license.