There has been much lamentation in the mainstream hyper-socialist media about the demise of the sports nickname, but here is the truth: In this year's likely NBA finals matchup, the two best players are likely to have such distinctive first names that they do not require nicknames at all. In fact, I recently asked myself, who is the second-greatest basketball player named Dirk? In retrospect, suppose the answer is obvious, but it is at least a little strange that a large percentage of the world's best athletes almost seem to self-select by their own unusual nomenclature. Did the fact that Dwyane Wade's mother preferred unconventional spelling propel him to greatness? Were LeBron and Eldrick part of some grand cosmic plan? This is a ridiculous question, I realize, but then again, if, in 1991, Renny Harlin were asked to devise some sort of German superhero to combat Hans Gruber in a Die Hard sequel, there is at least a 53 percent said superhero would be named "Dirk." That's all I'm saying.
2. Heat Revisionism
There is a difference between appreciating the way a team plays and appreciating it as an entity. Charles Pierce appears to conflate the two here, and this seems to have become the conventional wisdom among hard-core basketball geeks--that somehow the Heat deserve our support because they are now living up to their potential, that somehow we should forgive LeBron because he was simply acting in his own self-interest. But here's the problem with that: Before The Decision, I always had this notion that LeBron was more self-aware than we realized, that among the mega-stars of the athletic universe, LeBron was at least 3.8 percent Andy Kaufman, that he was almost willing to toy with our perceptions of him (remember the puppet commercials)? I can't even explain where this came from; maybe it was just something as facile as the way he grinned. But now I have come to realize that LeBron is none of that, that he may be the greatest athlete to ever play basketball, but he is not a particularly interesting character at all. So faced with a choice between him and a superhero named Dirk, I will choose the German every time, even if said German's boss is a budding Donald Trump.
3. A Brief Observation
Waiting in line for a marriage license is one of the strangest experiences I've had since the entire process began, largely because we bided our time in line judging and evaluating every single couple in line with us. And since this was Brooklyn, there were Orthodox Jews, hipsters, and pregnant Ukrainians--it was a reality show waiting to happen.
A Visit From the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan