There was basketball all weekend, but no Grantland Shootaround or Grantland NBA Overnight.
We are left to our own devices today because ESPN, a sibling subsidary and important revenue stream of The Walt Disney Cororation, decided ironically to reenact the plot line of a Disney Movie -- The Lion King.
ESPN is Scar, the manipulating, egotistical, and plotting antagonist who thinks only in terms of how assume as much power as possible. Scar doesn't let anyone talk about Mufasa and ESPN doesn't let anyone talk about Goodell.
Grantland is Mufasa - a noble beacon of honesty and humility who looks out for the best interests of the sports ecosystem. Are either perfect? No -- but both Mufasa and Grantland are far better than Pride Rock or the Internet ever deserved.
Us? We are Simba - left wondering if *we* killed Grantland. Would one more click on Andrew Sharp's hot take have given us one more Shootaround? I, like Simba, feel responsible for the death of the thing I loved so much. If I had visited Stamps.com or bought a ticket from Seat Geek, could this have been prevented? Now, I, like Simba, am forced to wander the wilderness, except without a catchy sing-a-long to save the day.
Where do you turn when old-reliable is gone? What will resonate in the white noise of the post-Grantland internet?
Before attempting answers to those nihilistic questions, let's pour one out for the homies -- Sharp, Shea Serrano, Kirk Goldsberry, Rafe Bartholomew, Danny Chau, Jason Concepcion, and the rest of the starting squad.
Now that we are 40 ounces lighter and another 40 ounces drunker -- let's continue.
Were all those guys great writers? You bet. But that isn't why we loved them. We read them in the office, we read them on the shitter, and we read them when the girlfriend wasn't looking (and when she was) because of their transcendent enthusiasm for the best things about basketball. The utter ridiculousness of Russ. The extra sauceness in Philly. And BOOGIE.
They didn't care who won the game or won the championship. They cared about who won the moment and who lost. Let's try some Rafiki shit and attempt to realign the stars. Let's Shootaround not without Grantland, but because of Grantland. Because you sure as hell know they have one hell of an email thread going on without us saying some fucking hilarious things about ESPN.
So let's shoot around.
I rode with the Warriors last postseason. I was watching Game 2 at a bar and told the waiter to send shots to our table as soon as the Warriors got within 8 points of the Cavs. And even as I was screaming terrible, terrible things about the rascally, weaselly Australian, I grew to respect him. And, now?! The Cavs are outscoring opponents truly absurd clip of 55.6 points per 100 possessions when Richard Jefferson, Tristan Thomson, and Matthew "Watch your Extematies" Delladova share the floor. They are also doing this:
In other news, the American Colonies probably didn't realize it when the tide turned against the British. One day they were freezing their muskets off in Valley Forge and the next day the British were taking the long boat trip back to London. Daniel Murphy didn't realize shit was about to get real in the World Series.
But this is what the turning point looks like aboard Commodore Hinkie's submarine. We are on the come up because Captain Dario is coming! And, he is coming sooner than we thought! Good God Almighty!
The thought had been that he would wait until the summer of 2017 to cross the Atlantic and sign his contract when he was no longer restricted by the rookie pay scale, but apparently things are getting iffy in Turkish Basketball League: "I can't say I'm happy with the situation. But it's not all that bad," Saric said recently.
Yes. You are Dario Saric and you were excited for the draft, but not nearly as excited as Philadelphia is to watch bring back big man basketball with JoJo and Jahlil.
Even LeBron knows that the 76ers are like good scotch - just give it a little more time!
LeBron James on the Philadelphia 76ers' rebuild: "It's all a process. Everyone wants instant oatmeal, but it's always a process."— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) November 2, 2015
Basketball can't be confined to one adjective. It can be beautiful in a nostalgic Hoosiers sort of way. It can be Thunderous in a Russy Stardust sort of way. Every night there are plenty of plays that make us love the game. There are also plenty of plays that wonder if someone might be better off playing with a football or a land mine.
Those plays have their place - and deserve an award. Let's go ahead and "honor" an ESPN Top Play every blog post, given to the player who crumples up the idea of basketball and uses it to clean himself three hours after a particularly spicy bowl of chili.
The Innaugrial ESPN Top Play Award goes to Spencer Hawes.
ESPN: choosing Goodell over Grantland since 2015.