Saturday evening. Roughly 5:15 p.m. EST. I am sitting in a coffeeshop watching choppy Ustream of the Drew League games in LA when 36 year-old Joe Smith shows he can still get up and throw down. Immediately, I get a gchat message from @outsidethenba: “If that was an NBA game there’d be all sorts of age jokes on Twitter.”
<Insert sad face here>.
I miss the NBA. I know it’s still the offseason and we haven’t missed any games and things really aren’t that differentâ€¦yet. I know these things. I know that the NFL sorted things out. I know that there are lots of people who are enjoying the break from the hustle and bustle of the season. I know that bodies need to rest and batteries need to be recharged. I know. It doesn’t change the fact that I miss it.
It’s been 111 days since I’ve been in an NBA arena to cover an NBA game. You’re lucky I appreciate you all or I’d list 111 things I’m longing for.
That’s 111 days since I’ve heard the high-pitched squeal of shoes squeaking on hardwood, or the slap of a foul committed in the post or the shrill pitch of a referee’s whistle refusing to be silenced by the drone of a crowd that disagrees with the call.
I’m itching. Antsy. Beyond ready.
And I know I’m going to have to wait. I’m going to have to wait to see Kenneth Faried make Denver fall in love with him, followed by fans everywhere. I’m going to have to wait to see Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo make me tune in to every single Bobcats game. To watch DeMar DeRozan’s first 40-point game and to hear Mark Jackson mic’d up in the huddle, to see if he says “hand down, man down” and to watch the reaction of his players when it does inevitably slip out.
I’m going to have to wait to see how Kobe’s knees are feeling after a summer of rest and alternative treatment. To hear KG say dirty words that make people angry. To watch DeJuan Blair continue to amaze, impress and inspire those of us with our ACL’s still intact. To get frustrated with DeMarcus Cousins when he gives people extra ammunition to use against him and to be elated when he drops a 25-point, 13-rebound, seven-assist night.
I want to watch John Wall and JaVale McGee. I want to be relieved that McGee left planking behind in the depths of lockout hell. I want to see Brandon Jennings put on a dizzying show and then flip the channel and see Russell Westbrook playing his game, yeah, the one that often causes him to be compared to television villains because people forget how much he’s still got left to learn.
I want my Twitter to be blowing up with silly hashtags for each and every Blake dunk. I want to see Blake dunk. Over cars, over Mozgovs, over everything.
I want to be able to tweet “all blocks everything” while delighting in the joy that Serge Ibaka brings. I want to see James Harden’s beard and Kevin Durant’s backpack. I want to watch Durant drop 60â€¦On NBA defenders. I want to watch Eric Maynor nail buzzer beaters from half court and know Zach Harper is freaking out with me.
I want to watch Tristan Thompson in Cleveland and Cory Joseph in San Antonio and then I want to enjoy watching each of them experience their hometown debuts against the Raptors in Toronto.
I want Tristan to give Kemba a run for his money when we’re talking about best-dressed rookies.
I want to see Paul George take another big step forward. I want to see Lance Stephenson take the first step. I want to see Jeff Foster get hyped and Tyler Hansbrough get offensive rebounds.
I want to see Steve Nash be Steve Nash. I want to see if Raymond Felton is in shape. I want to see Jrue Holiday and Lou Williams and Andre Iguodala make Doug Collins give super long, over the top compliments in his postgame pressers. I want to see a sophomore Ekpe Udoh. A veteran Raja Bell. A healthy Brandon Roy.
I want to see Udonis Haslem playing without ‘rows. I want to be instantly put at ease when I hear Hubie’s voice emitting from the television set. I want to tense up when I wait nervously on Thursday night to see if I’m going to be stuck with Reggie Miller’s. I want to see Shaq on TNT.
I want to get excited for Kyrie’s first double-double, emotional for the championship ring presentation and proud for Mark Cuban and Dirk Nowitzki, still smiling after this stupid wait that is keeping them from their banner. I want to see Mike Brown in LA, Dwane Casey in Toronto, Lawrence Frank in Detroit.
I want to extend my best wishes to Frank in Detroit. As much as I miss the game, that roster still makes my head hurt.
I want to see Chris Paul. Remember the playoffs? Yeah, you do. God, do I ever want to watch Chris Paul play basketball. Give me Aaron Gray and Jason Smith and Chris Paul. He’ll make it work.
I want to see Ricky Rubio.
I want to see Jonny Flynn in Houston (where he is hopefully playing well).
I want to see Dwight dominate and I want to hear us debate how good he could he if he would just <insert suggestion here>. I want to see if he stays in Orlando. I want to see Melo and Amar’e continue to get comfortable in New York. I want to see Derrick Rose continue to make Brenda Rose proud and the rest of us speechless. I want to see Jeff Teague get buckets, Jamal Crawford rack up 4-point plays, Xavier Henry get burn and I want to talk with OJ Mayo because he rewards good questions with great answers even if the team bus is leaving in five minutes.
I want to see Tony Allen go Tony Allen and play defense with his hands behind his back. I want to see Doc Rivers coaching his team.Â I really want to watch Rajon Rondo continue to prove why he’s an iron man and to show why he is my favorite player to watch (minus the free throws).
I want to watch Rajon Rondo shoot free throws and Shawn Marion shoot jumpers and Jose Calderon play defense. That is where we are right now.
I want it all. I don’t want to wait. I think it’s foolish that we’re on the verge of losing actual games because people can’t sort this stuff out. It depresses me. It frustrates and infuriates me. When you’ve got a good thing, don’t let it slip away. NBA, you’re coming off an incredible season and I haven’t even mentioned the boys of Miami yet. Don’t mess this up. Don’t push us away. Don’t play dumb. Play games. Please. Soon. On schedule.
In the meantime, I’ll be Ustreaming and Youtubing my life away, watching skinny, shirtless boys singing songs about Brandon Jennings and his money. Please, give me more than that. I promise I’ll give you back my full attention.
Before my internet bill is through the roof because I’ve streamed too many streetball/euroleague/national team friendly matches, before we lose Nate Robinson to the NFL, before you lose me to the dark side, let’s figure this out.
It’s been 111 days. Please, don’t make me endure 111+ more.