There is a shortage of really good writing about the NBA.
I can prove it: next to my bed there is a book that's about a thousand pages long. It is the Greatest Sports Writing of the Century. Whether the subject matter is Wimbeldon (John McPhee is a master) or running rum, the articles all dazzle. You want to read them whether you are interested in the sport or not.
That's good writing.
There are a million articles about baseball, and a million more about boxing. But there are not any articles about basketball.
My list of favorite NBA writers, in fact, pretty much starts and stops with Gary Smith of Sports Illustrated, who writes about polo and shark attacks about as often as he writes about the NBA.(But did you see his incredible article in 2001 about Allen Iverson and Larry Brown?)
Anyway, I digress, and my point is this: Neal Pollack is a great writer, and a few days ago at Slate he turned his talents to NBA basketball and his native Phoenix Suns. Pollack explains rather convincingly how it is that the Phoenix Suns have saved the NBA:
These guys were cool. Steve Nash, the league's MVP, is a longhaired Canadian who spoke out against the war in Iraq and reads The Communist Manifesto. Quentin Richardson declared after a game-winning shot that it "was like Hamlet. It was a suspense thriller, and I killed them at the end." Amare Stoudemire, when asked to comment on a 22-point third quarter against the Kings, said, "I've got a tendency to jump over some guys' heads and throw it down."
That's just the tip of the iceberg. Click on over to Neal Pollack's article and you'll see what I mean, and don't stop reading until you get to his incredible nickname for Coach D'Antoni.
And if there are people in your life who do not understand why you want to stay home to watch the Western Conference Finals, have them read it too. They'll get it, because that's the power of good writing.