I wouldn’t have thought giving someone a vanilla nut-tap on national TV and in front of 18,000 was actually a media conspiracy. I’m glad Memphis’ Dillon Brooks taught me better.
Ja Morant’s Instagram Live Debacle
It feels like the Grizzlies are a little unclear on the role they wish to play. They rose to popularity and success based partially on a swagger and defiance to convention. Most of it was their skill, but they added an extra verve to everything with a kind of sneer that drew people in. They didn’t want to be conventional or play by our rules, which is cool enough.
They lost some luster with whatever it was Ja Morant went through toward the end of the season, but the Grizzlies have been bitching about how they’re perceived by media and fans alike all season. Which is a wrong turn for a team that wanted to convince everyone it didn’t give a fuck what everyone thought not so long ago. It’s one or the other, kids.
Embrace being the bad guy or shut up about it
So there’s Brooks, who the game before wanted to puff out his chest and wax poetic about how he’s a professional bear-poker (not to be confused with a habitual line-stepper) and he doesn’t give a shit about LeBron James and he’s an old fart anyway, who is suddenly whining that how the media perceives him is why he got tossed from Game 3 for his knuckle-salute to James’ pills. Somehow, the reputation the Grizzlies, with Brooks at the fore, worked so hard to carve out is now a problem?
Hey, if the Grizz don’t want to be the villain anymore, that’s fine. If they’d like to be left alone, that’s cool too. But you can’t be the don’t-give-a-fuck guys and then two days later decrying all the indignities that are put upon you. You’re either the guy who is gonna call out LeBron James (and then reap the whirlwind) or you’re going to be the guy who says everyone’s out to get you and you’re misunderstood. If you’re poking the bear, you’re not really supposed to be too worried about perception. Otherwise, you’re a poser.
Memphis has bigger problems, like how they’re halfway to being a two-seed getting kneecapped by a Lakers team that was monkey butt all season. Whining about your reputation isn’t going to engineer a comeback either.
That’s why you put up with Draymond
Whether the wheezing Golden State Warriors can finally get their deeply-entrenched thumb out of their ass on the road, where it has resided all season, to actually win their series against the Sacramento Kings is a serious question. But they did tie up the series, and they did it in large part to Draymond Green doing Draymond Green things. The good kind of Draymond Green things.
Yeah ok, he went 3-14 from the field, but that’s kind of his thing too. But playing harassing defense against everyone on the floor, a willing screener and always making the right pass on the other end, and of course one of the league’s premier help defenders.
As most will say, this the deal you make with Green, he’ll do all those things that will pull a team’s ass out of a sling in a game like this. And occasionally he’s just going to dance with the devil in the pale moonlight and get tossed and egg the fans on like it was all part of his plan.
It is a strange juxtaposition that Green is actually the ultimate team player on the floor, doing all the things that glue a team together, and yet can go on incredible streaks of selfishness, like taking justice into his own hands with that stomp on Sabonis or already whipping a rabid Sacramento crowd into a frenzy simply because he wants to cover for his silliness or, y’know, drifting a teammate.
Maybe it’s best not to try to explain it, because we’re eight years into this and he’s got the hardware that caps a lot of arguments. Sometimes guys are both of those things. Seems tiring.
Welcome to the show, old-timer
I’m always a sucker for these kinds of stories:
Drew Maggi is 33, and has played over 1100 minor league games without setting foot in a MLB batter’s box or in the field. He has bounced through six different organizations, starting with the Pirates and swinging back to them on his journey. He’s almost certainly played in some pretty out there outposts beyond an age where that would be normal.
Perseverance can be a hell of a thing. It would be hard not to notice when you get to your 30s and you’re still on the buses and have watched maybe dozens of guys, some bordering on 10 years your junior, getting that call or making you expendable or have to catch on with another team and basically start over. You’re that guy in the clubhouse, and no matter the mantras about team and being a role model for your hard work and dedication, there have to be moments where it’s pretty damn awkward.
That’s not to criticize those who wave the white flag, to say that they are deficient or lacking something. Maggi is clearly just built differently. He probably won’t be around Pittsburgh long, he only got the call after Bryan Reynolds went on bereavement leave. But he’ll have the moment his manager in AA told him he was going up, and the moment he walked into PNC Park as his place of work, even for just one day.
There must’ve been times when he dreamed of more, and had to keep paring that down to something within reach to keep going. But to be ever be called a Major Leaguer is still a pretty exclusive club in the grand scheme of things. I’m sure he’d tell you those 1100+ minor league games were worth it just to walk into the ballpark yesterday.
How can you not get romantic about baseball?
Follow Sam on Twitter @Felsgate.
Original source here
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