Basketball Style


James Ellis@jamesellisnyc

If I became a basketball analyst—a talking head on ESPN for example—I would arrive on the scene with shocking material:

“You don’t have to give them a lot of credit.” Teams and players don’t need all this credit that is constantly being given. I would not give credit to anyone.

“I haven’t been saying this all year.” I would not constantly remind everyone what I have been saying.

These two moves alone would send shockwaves, and I would go further:

I wouldn’t talk about anyone playing with a chip on their shoulder. Instead, I might comment that a player indicates a deeply ingrained grievance or feeling of resentment, deriving from a sense of inferiority and marked by aggressive behavior.

Speaking of aggression, I would avoid all derivations of the word. I would instead remark on a player’s ability to stay pugnacious.

The qualifier “if they’re healthy…” is hard to avoid. But I would avoid it. It’s bad luck. I wouldn’t say healthy aloud. At that word, I would simply gesture to the heavens and everyone would understand.

Finally, just when the viewership thinks I’m always going to zag when everyone zigs, I would switch gears and get into my bag of classics: I would celebrate anyone putting on a clinic. I would constantly remind that it’s an 82-game season. My arguments would end with look, there are only so many 7-footers in the league.


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