Sunday, July 5, 2009

Building a Narrative

Even though I'm coming to consider this year a wash, I want to address the assigned lens through which our team is perceived throughout the regular season - the regular season being the source from which I take the most pleasure. Leading up to the season, and all throughout it, the bulk of the national fan base for the league is bombarded with narratives that ESPN or whoever promotes and forces you to invest yourself in. You either side with the protagonist or antagonist of your choice... your choices being limited to the teams with their own narratives pre-established.

Take two years ago: the words "historic, dynasty, lakers and celtics" were so ubiquitous that your mind was forced to consider the two options, the Lakers or the Celtics winning, as viable, whether or not you have your own team to root for. I eventually sided with the Celtics, only to become disgusted with their pairing of this glen davis, 'ubuntu' crap with "the big three."

This last year's forced narrative was even more blatant and abrasive: Kobe vs. Lebron. The media's, and some people would say the league's, agenda came to a nauseating culmination embodied in unfunny and obnoxious puppetry.

So for this year, I can only hope for less constraining story lines that might leave room for, dare we dream, actual analysis. If the Shaq & Lebron merger or the Kobe & Ron stunt are premonitions, we're in for much of the same.

Our narrative's hopes are pinned to the fate of Yao's feet. While Aaron Brooks was building up enough hype in the playoffs to hope for some pro-Rockets spin this next season, the media seems to be content to prognosticate our inevitable deconstruction. The nation loves to doubt Yao: "He may have a better all around game than Dwight, but he can't stay on the floor!" As soon as bad winds began brewing in Houston, our team's future was promptly taken out back and shot. Who knows what narrative will be promoted for the '09-'10 season, but lets hope our team can construct its own - one based on youth and hustle and hope.

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