Friday, June 26, 2015

Congratulations! And a Sad Obituary.......

I have to share both a an incredibly happy moment, and at the same time acknowledge an incredibly sad one.First happy: Congratulations to the Golden State Warriors on bringing the 2015 NBA Championship to the bay area. For those of us who have followed you for over 40 years and in particular following you through a magical regtular season of 21-2 that eventually led to67-15 and led to the 16 playoff wins needed for a title, thank you! I must admit having to radically shift my whole paradigm on what it means to be a sports fan to keep up witih you. You passed test after test during the 82 game schedule, then you capped it off with an incredible playoff run that had its anxious moments.

Probably my favorite playoff moment was game 3 on the road again New Orleans. You were trailing by 20 points going into the 4th quarter. Against all odds you came back. Stephen Curry's corner 3 tied the game n regulation and you went on to win in overtime. Also being down 2-1 against Memphis and in the finals against Cleveland and coming back with 3 straight in both to take both series. I must admit my faith was tested.but rewarded.

And what was the overriding theme of the season? Success built on sacrifice. There are many examples of this but two come to mind. First  a couple of seasons ago we made the playoffs and defeated a 3 seeded Denver team to advance. I remember thinking this one player was a real pest. Making shots, especially 3's. against us. Playing lock down defense. I realized he was a pest because he was so good. That was none other than Andre Iguodala. Well he became a free agent and because he sensed what was building here and wanting to be a part of it, he took less money to sign here. This is an unheard of sacrifice in today's world of professional sports. And this season he was asked as a former all star, a member of the NBA;s all defensive team, and a starter his whole career, to come off the bench, which he did. What was his reward? For playing defense against Labron James in the finals and stepping up offensively when needed, he was voted MVP of the finals. And all star Davit Lee willing to sit on the bench and contribute when asked to allow the emergence of Draymond Green was another example.

The commitment to defense, to sharing the ball on offense, and to playing a fun uptempo game on both ends was a fun alternative to the star power based isolation sets of the NBA. Hopefully this is a trend that will continue. And the Warriors will be good for awhile. If Stephen Curry concentrated strictly on scoring, taking more middle distance shots and getting to the free throw line, there is no doubt in my mind he might lead the league in scoring. After all he led the nation his last year at Davidson. But he is willing to be a more transparent superstar to let this team be the focal point. And to have both the regular season MVP, Curry, and the NBA finals MVP, Iguodala, is telling and indicative of team success. And fan enjoyment and pride.

And now for the sad. Yesterday Patrick Macnee passed away at the age of 93. He was John Steed of the British show 'The Avengers' to Diana Rigg's Mrs Peel..And the word sacrifice is important here as well. His portrayal of John Steed was revolutionary as well. Here was an intelligent, powerful male outwardly steeped in tradition, who was none the less able to allow an unforgettabe performance by his female partner literally steal the show. Steed and Mrs Peel were equals, but he was the established star. When first asked to play the role he was given the James Bond books to prep him. He found the violence and obvious sexism 'tiring' so he created a unique character. The recent gentleman spy film 'Kingsmen' owes a lot to the John Steed character. He didn't carry a gun, preferring his steel plated bowler hat and umbrella as well as his intelligence to solve problems..And when things really got tough there was always Mrs Peel to the rescue.He was a gentlelmlan and treated women well, and this was a sixties show. I don't think he really gets his due. He is more Andre Iguodala-ish in his contribution. Not the obvious. I will personally miss you. In 1988 I had a chance to meet him. He had written a book, an autobiography(Blind in One Ear') and was set to have a local book signing. A high school friend and I went but due to his wife's ill health he was forced to  cancel. Oh well. Steed/Patrick, I will miss you. And wherever Mrs Peel may be, I'm sure she is a little sadder as well......

Monday, June 01, 2015

A Very 'Radical ' View of the 2015 NBA Finals

I mean no real disrespect with this blog. Maybe this is just a Warrior fan having to wait 40 years to see his team once again in the finals. And projecting things and truths around this that have not merit. But that aside.....

The finals match-up between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers represents a clash between the old order and the new order that must come. If not in the finals later in some other form...Mainly this is reflected in the stars representing the two teams. Lebron James for Cleveland. Stephen Curry for the Warriors.

Years ago Carl Jung was happy to hear that to the holy trinity of Father/Son/Holy Ghost they were considering adding the Virgin Mary. First the Trinity is a 3. In Jumg's psychology 4 is the number of wholeness representing the Self.. He considered Western Spirituality to be overly masculine based and thus adding a fourth which was feminine made him feel like society was moving in his model closer to balance.Now my uses of the terms masculine and feminine have nothing to do with gender. Masculine could easily be Yang, positive, fire, heaven......and feminine easily yin, receptive, water, earth.....other metaphors could be used to describe what I mean to say. And one cannot really exist without the other so it's just a question of which one predominates. And we are due for the pendulum to shift. So, with that out of the way......

Lebron very easily represents thus what you would call the masculine element, which has ruled for a couple of thousand years. Remember the Goddess based religions which were based on the feminine were buried by the dominance of what  became Christianity. It is revealing that his nickname is "King' James........The basketball hierarchy is in love with size, speed, and power.......I'll make my battleship bigger, faster, stronger, more high tech than yours. The establishment(to use a sixties/seventies word) is about a power structure of haves and have nots.We see this especially economically in our society and culture. Labron has freakish physical gifts that he to his credit, through hard work, personal development, has parlayed into a very successful public image and playing career. But he is definitely a 'have'....
 I totally respect Labron the player, the person, the persona.......But in this way he is the old order......and of the establishment.

Contrast that with Curry. Whereas Lebron's high school games were broadcast on ESPN.......Steph was unable to get a scholarship to a major program and wound up at Davidson. And even though an outstanding high school player he was considered too small, too weak, not athletic enough........which followed him into his professional career for awhile. Even though he made a huge splash in the NCAA's taking Davidson to the elite 8, and led the nation in scoring his last year at the collegiate level. he had his doubters....Was he tough enough to make it as a pro? I found it revealing that he was the leading vote getter this year for the all star team. It seems we are ready to embrance a different paradigm. Curry embodies skills that embrace more the feminine, and again I stress this word has nothing to do with gender. He moves with a deceptive yet very skilled attack, using what Bruce Lee called a broken rhythm. In his movement phrasing he is very much like Chet Baker in jazz. Never in a rush. Seldom if ever forcing a shot or play. Sometimes seeming to play even too casually. Yet tough. As opposed to a 'King' we have a 'baby-faced assasin'. What other name would the basketball establishment give him? Both shooting and driving to the hoop he puts up floating shots which go in from great distance and over the reach of tall long-armed shot blockers at the hoop. We are seeing basketball moving back more towards an art form. Even though the way he plays does differ he reminds me of the great Earl Monroe. So Steph's power comes from an ability to mix his energies and to create basketball 'Magic'......He is Billy Batson/Captain Marvel's Shazam to Labron's Superman..

So I am waiting for the finals to start. Will the new order replace the old? Will the establishment win again or will we be treated to a new order? Let's tune in and find out!