Okay. There. This one's a bit lopsided, but read on.
--Game Seven. Oh, Game Seven. I'm referring to the NBA version, not the inexplicable collapse of Patrick Roy in the NHL. I'm referring to Lakers versus Kings. The irresistible force versus the immovable object. What a GAME. Overtime. Drama. Suspense. Edge of your seat biting your fingernails. The Kings were clearly the better team, as they have been all series. Didn't matter. Never underestimate the heart of a champion. Down the stretch, in the fourth quarter of the final game, you could just tell which team had been there before, knew they could do it, knew it was their destiny, and which team was freezing up, getting nervous, doubting themselves. Towards the end, the Kings looked like they were playing 'hot potato'--"I don't want to shoot it, YOU shoot it!"--with the exception of one man. Mike Bibby, who played all fifty-three minutes, emerged as a star and a massively clutch player for the Kings. But on the other side of the ball, the champions--Kobe, Shaq, Horry--were stepping up to make the shots.
You've got to be willing to miss the shot that sends your team home losers if you're ever going to make the shot that sends your team to the championship. Michael Jordan missed as many big game-ending shots as he made throughout his career. But he was ALWAYS willing to step up and TAKE that shot. Nobody on the Kings, save Bibby, showed that kind of dominant champion spirit when it really counted. And Bibby couldn't do it all alone. Particularly disturbing was Chris Webber. After the game, some speculated that Webber's famous gaff nine years ago in the NCAA championship game--where he tried to call timeout though his team had no timeouts, dooming his team--has continued to affect him to this day. He literally looked like a man who was scared of the ball in the last several minutes. He's totally incapable of stepping up to carry his team to victory--in fact, he's subconsciously frightened of the possibility of screwing up yet again and letting his team down. So he compensates by not doing anything.
Jordan looked fear in the eye and spit in its face. I remember around the early 90s when the legend of Jordan was ramping up. I knew who he was but really hadn't seen him play much. So I sat down to watch a Bulls game one day, intending to scoff and belittle the guy. Didn't happen. Jordan was spectacular. Unbelievable. But it wasn't just the superhuman physical talent. Jordan was like Neo at the end of the Matrix. He FLOWED. He played the game so organically. Artistically. And you could almost feel his will through the television, making sure his team won and putting everything on the line to be the big guy. Everyone in the whole arena (meaning, everyone on the other team) knew Jordan was going to get the ball when the Bulls were down by 1 or 2 with only a few seconds to go. And he got it and he still made the shot. He had a singular, unique focus unlike anything we've seen in any other athlete in recent memory.
The Kings put together a historic season this year. That is one hellaciously strong juggernaut of a team. But they JUST don't have what it takes to win championships. Webber has the body and talent to be a Jordan; he falls woefully short in the mental and spirit departments. The Lakers, far outclassed except for Shaq and Kobe, wouldn't let themselves lose. They aren't Jordan, but they've got some of that magic. And they're building their own kind of mythology by beating one of the best teams in NBA history and working on their third straight championship. Bring back one of Jordan's six championship teams and let them play the Kings--the Kings would be a far superior team, but the Bulls would still win in the end.
Bibby will be the man to watch next year though. The Kings bought him for a song and he came up HUGE. Conventional wisdom says Divac, Webber, and Stojakovic are the Kings' best players, but where the hell were they in the latter half of Game Seven? Divac was missing three-fourths of his free-throws. Webber was trying to crawl under the floorboards. Stojakovic, number one three-point shooter this year, was shooting bricks and airballs from beyond the arc, obviously tight.
Phil Jackson looks like a genius. They call him the Zen Master, and as he's about to collect his ninth championship ring as a coach, and eleventh overall, he must be doing something right. The Finals will feature the Lakers and the New Jersey Nets. Nobody gives the Nets a chance. Nobody gave the New England Patriots a chance either. Whatever happens, it's going to come down to the mental game. Which team wants it? Which team knows it deserves it? Which team is willing to WIN rather than NOT LOSE? They called the Lakers-Kings series a 'Series for the Ages'. GOD DAMN was it entertaining!!! We saw some unforgettable basketball.
--Mike Tyson promises he won't do anything 'outrageous' in the fight next week. He says "I just want to damage his brain with my fists, I want to make his brain hurt and stomp on it, I want to put my hand through his head and have his brain come in contact with my fist, I don't want to verbal assault or nothing but I'm gonna physically assault him". Hmm. Here's some trivia: Tyson already had to pay Lennox Lewis $300,000 for biting him on the hip a few months ago. Tyson is insane. He's a wild animal that can talk (sort of). He might make some history with this fight. What whacked-out shenanigan will he pull when it's time to fight?
--I've been toying around with ZBrush, a '2.5-D' rendering/art program. I really like some of the sculpting tools. It's never been so incredibly easy to create realistic heads and organic shapes. I feel like there's no interface, like I'm just in there with digital hands sculpting clay. The fact that not all of the program is true 3-D is frustrating though.
--Had day one of my summer class. No sweat. Looks like fun so far.
--I just want to get this down for posterity: "what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it."
--I read an article about female novice motorcyclists who are only learning because of the fad value and aren't taking the acquisition of skills seriously. And winding up dead or badly injured. But the interesting part was the observation that there are way too many women who were never involved in any kind of sports/regular physical activity as children, and as adults their motor skills and hand-eye-mind coordination are non-existent.
--Fredric Lehrman, who I will talk about later on, says that 85% of what we 'think' each day is habitual. Almost preprogrammed.
This concludes situation brief #5. Kind of kludgy but what the hell.