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Low Lift Ask (Nabeel's Version)
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One of the beauties of this newsletter is that, in many ways, Ritam and I are pretty different. There are some interests we share, yes—Conner O’Malley, internalized racism, being cishet—but many we don’t. Today we will focus on one of the latter variety: basketball.
No—please! Don’t leave! Just because Ritam has stopped reading this doesn’t mean you have to, as well. I won’t even talk about the Warriors or Klay coming back or how their role players have stepped up this year. I’m here to share with you, beloved basketball haters, the extracurricular stuff. I’m talking about Nabeel’s Favorite Fights!
The other night, we were treated to a particularly nasty NBA spat, and one that was a long time coming. Our Benevolent Denver-Serbian God (and reigning MVP) finally g*ve M*rkieff M*rris wh*t he d*s*rved.
For the uninitiated, it might be easy to watch this and say, “Hey, that massive Slav shouldn’t have done that. The guy had his back turned, and that was so mean!” To you, I say: God bless you. The Morris twins are menaces. His first foul was already dirty, and I don’t want to say he had it coming, but my man forgot how terrifying Jokic (and his Large Brothers) can be.
The Inside the NBA guys were reliably fun on this topic. Here are some other classics.
I think, because I was a more conscious human when this happened, I have a stronger connection to this fight than the infamous Malice at the Palace. That brawl broke the bounds of the game by involving fans, and therefore turned into a Social Event, rather than a purely basketball-level scrum.
In this Knicks vs. Nuggets fight, we see many of NBA 2K6’s greatest characters: J.R. Smith, Nate Robinson, Jared Jeffries, Nenê, and Melo before he turned coat and joined the colonizers.
The absolute chaos of this one—in Madison Square Garden, no less—renders it worthy of close inspection, namely everyone’s favorite game in an NBA fight video: pick a different player to track on every rewatch.
Robin Lopez vs. Serge Ibaka
This one is fun on purely aesthetic purposes—the red vs. blue is a nice contrast, and so is Robin Lopez’ insane caveman hair vs. Serge Ibaka’s chiseled visage. I’m team Ma Fuzzy on this one.
God, this one slaps. Kelly Olynyk was born, unfortunately, with one of the most punchable faces imaginable; he was set up for failure here.
That being said—what a well-choreographed spectacle! The movements here are swift and balletic. Olynyk’s throat-clearing elbow; Oubre’s stalking strides as he jumps back up; and his final deliverance of the forearm.
The Perkins-Crowder Effect
I guess the one was pretty consequential (Kevin Love dislocated his shoulder at the beginning of a playoff run), but the actual fight here is comprised of two of the NBA’s most notorious powderkegs. Jae Crowder somehow has found himself 1) on every team in the NBA and 2) in the middle of every tussle, heated exchange, bad blood transfusion, all-out battle ever recorded; Kendrick Perkins now whines for a living on First Take and tweets about how Steph Curry is light skin and has green eyes.
Draymond Ripped Jersey Game
Sentimental value here. Long Live Draymond.
Chuck vs. The Women of San Antonio, TX
Not technically an NBA brawl, but a longstanding feud between Charles Barkley and the women he’s encountered in San Antonio birthed one of the top 10 compilations in YouTube canon. The entire video is (offensive) gold, mostly because Shaq loses his shit every time while the TNT execs yell in Ernie’s ear to please get them to stop.
I desperately want to love this as much as everyone else. I stand, Tiny Timmishly, staring in through the brightly lit window of basketball guys as they carve their metaphorical ham and enjoy their Christmas dinner.
Basketball is objectively cool as fuck, the players are funny and interesting, the game is not boring, the drama is all fun, the culture around it is intoxicating. But I genuinely, no matter how much basketball I watch, cannot force myself to care, like at all. I’m sorry—this paints me out to be either a monster or some sort of “sportsball” guy. I’m honestly envious of everyone’s ability to love this shit.
I don’t care about sports or stocks and so I just don’t really have anything to talk to most men about, and the other men who don’t like sports or stocks are mostly unbearable:
It’s a lonely existence. It’s tough out here.
I guess it was sad when Kobe died.