Pump down the volume
By Tim Keown
Page 2 columnist

Recently exhumed Steve Kerr is drilling 3s, and the Mavericks' 15-point lead has become a five-point deficit faster than you can say, "Another turnover by Van Exel." It's obvious Dallas is in deep, deep trouble. Steve Nash is driving to the basket like a popped helium balloon, and Don Nelson is standing next to the scorer's table, rototilling both hands through his hair.

Kerr hits another 3 and the Mavs start back upcourt. American Airlines Arena is nearly silent, and heads hang on the Dallas bench.

Danny Ferry, Steve Kerr
The Spurs won. Cut the music, turn out the lights, see you next year.
It's over. You can just tell.

So what happens? The stadium sound system pumps out "Start Me Up" at full throttle.

Oh, God. Spare us. Spare us, please.

This is the worst of a horrible trend in sports in general and the NBA in particular. There's no time for disappointment, no room for quiet disgust at the twists and turns of a game. They simply don't understand that, as a fan, there are times when you just don't want to start it up. The season's over, and you want to sit there and stew for a few minutes.

Can't have that, though, 'cuz we gotta play the music. The game's a funeral, but we're going to shove Up With People down your throat until you either plug your ears or walk out of the arena.

Canned inspiration. It's beyond pathetic, and it's yet another reason a lot of people like the college game better than the NBA game, even though the play is inferior.

And meanwhile, back to the game ... wow, look at those Mavericks, motivated by the undisputed genius of the stadium mixmaster, rallying to a 12-point loss.

This Week's List

  • Random observations about those spelling-bee kids: They all look like they could use a good meal, a solid night's sleep and a couple hours in the sun.
  • Or, in keeping with the spirit of the program: You might even say they're pallescent.
  • Because, after all, there has never been an athlete in the world of sports who gets the flu: Tony Parker, food poisoning caused by "bad cheese."
  • We have three letters for Ruben Rivera: G-P-S.
  • Just for the heck of it: Dane Iorg.
  • Attempts to reach Mitch Green were unsuccessful: Wow, who could believe Mike Tyson would have such harsh words for Desiree Washington?
  • And not only that, but: Who could believe he would voice them to the delicate ears of Greta Van Susteren?
  • Attempts to reach Mitch Green were equally unsuccessful: Shockingly, Desiree Washington refused The Pulse's request for an interview.
  • One last question on the Tyson/Van Susteren interview: Does a guy as smart as Alan Dershowitz really say words like "unfairest"?
  • Prediction: Spurs in six.
  • Why?: No answer for Tim Duncan, who needs to play with the aggression and arrogance consistent with a league MVP.
  • Excuse that last sentence: My body must have been temporarily inhabited by "an NBA insider."
  • In bad news for bettors: The Finals could hinge on who ends up with "the bad cheese."
  • This week's cute couple: Don Zimmer and George Steinbrenner.
  • It's kind of like Shemp defending Moe and Larry: Is it any surprise that Zim would defend the honor, dignity and competence of Joe Torre?
  • One guy who should be everyone's favorite player: Eric Byrnes.
  • The book "Moneyball," documenting the impressive work of A's GM Billy Beane, will have one of two repercussions as the trade deadline nears: Either 1) every other GM ignoring Beane's calls, figuring they'll be fingered as hopeless dupes conned by Beane's genius, or; 2) every other GM dying to deal with Beane and expose the whole "genius" thing.
  • Or: 3) Business as usual, because most people in baseball don't read in the first place and don't care in the second.
  • Possession is nine-tenths of the law, remember: If Darko Milicic is going to own the game, as Pistons' scout Will Robinson predicted to this very own site's Chad Ford, is it enough for LeBron James to own the box office and the endorsement world?
  • Hey, look, don't be so damned judgmental -- just be thankful he didn't decide to attack the first-base coach, or one of the umpires: David Horton, a parole violator, was arrested at Great American Ballpark on Thursday when he was seen by his parole officer as he kissed his girlfriend on the stadium "Kiss Cam."
  • Tim Keown is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. E-mail him at tim.keown@espn3.com.



    Tim Keown Archive

    Keown: To root, or not to root?

    Keown: Taking a bite out of the Crime Dog

    Keown: Heading for higher ground

    Keown: Gaining perspective

    Keown: More hot air than draft

    Keown: Re-taking the field

    Keown: Time out

    Keown: Bad seed

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