Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Two sports columnists react to the resumption of the NBA and the meaning of Brooklyn

Grantland editor Dan Fierman, a contributor to The NBA Is Back! An over-the-top, totally ridiculously long, undeniably giddy appreciation of the return of the NBA by the Grantland staff:
One of the very hardest things about leaving Brooklyn was sacrificing a front-row seat to how the Nets move played out. The real estate battles, the simmering class warfare over the Barclays Center, and the arrival, as if from space, of the gangly billionaire from Russia was the greatest drama we had going in the borough. The storylines were ready-made: The return of professional sports to the County of Kings! The Deron Williams contract debate! Jay and Bey courtside every night!

These things were (obviously) media crack in the only city in America that has its own 24-hour cable news channel. But to me and my 30-something peers, the Nets move was more than that. Brooklyn is a borough rapidly filling with children. Schools are bursting at the seams. Teachers can't be hired fast enough. The parks overflow with new parents who were themselves moved out of NYC as children by overprotective fathers and mothers. As someone who was very recently one of their number — the father of a son just now old enough to understand what goaltending means, and maybe even to comprehend the importance of inside positioning — I can tell you how much that move to Brooklyn meant to those parents. See kid, look! Look at how Deron throws the outlet pass! Watch how Lopez keeps those hands above his head! Listen to the goddamned crowd roar! How can you possibly not love this game?
Only if you forget how it was done.

New York Times sports columnist George Vecsey, in Welcoming Back N.B.A. With Open Yawns, allows for a side notice:
My flicker of enthusiasm for the Nets included their move from that dismal spot in the swamps into that struggling, but recognizable, urban center, Newark. Next year they will move into a much more vibrant place — the land grab near downtown Brooklyn being a separate issue. Just the mention of Brooklyn evokes the scent of restaurants and walks in cool neighborhoods.
The lingering question: will people agree with Mayor Mike Bloomberg, as depicted in the documentary  Battle for Brooklyn, that “Nobody’s going to remember how long it took, they’re only going to look and see that it was done”?

Likely many sports reporters and columnosts won't remember. Others, understandably, will experience, "issue fatigue." But people will remember. The movie's just one sign of that.

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