The NBA’s heaviness gets heavier
It would be so nice if we were going deep on the 9-0 Bucks ... or the 8-1 Cavaliers ... or the 8-3 Jazz! The league's ongoing stream of troubling headlines, however, makes that difficult
It was just one week ago, under the headline Heavy Halloween, that I wrote about the various clouds that hung over the NBA on what is supposed to be the most playful of holidays.
Little did I (or presumably anyone else) know that, just a few days post-Halloween, finding actual basketball matters at the forefront of the news cycle would get even tougher.
On Thursday alone, Brooklyn's Kyrie Irving was suspended for five games by the Nets, ex-San Antonio guard Josh Primo and the Spurs themselves were formally sued by a former team psychologist who alleges that Primo exposed himself to her multiple times and Charlotte's Miles Bridges pleaded no contest to a felony domestic violence charge that comes with three years of probation rather than jail time — but also now positions the NBA to fine, suspend or even disqualify Bridges from playing in the league. On Friday night, furthermore, Mavericks guard Spencer Dinwiddie told reporters in Dallas that veteran referee Tony Brothers referred to him as a “bitch-ass mother----er” in a comment to one of Dinwiddie’s teammates.
Two long months for #thisleague, dating to the mid-September suspension of Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver and Sarver's subsequent decision to put the Suns up for sale, only seem to get longer.
I understand fully that some of you are utterly and understandably weary of the steady stream of downbeat subjects in this (and pretty much every other) NBA space. I also like the way my Substacking colleague Tom Ziller said it in a comprehensive roundup of weekend games that I urge you to check out: “At least the basketball is good.”
Yet such serious matters can't be ignored — especially when they all have such a significant on-court impact. (We couldn't even figure out a way to wedge the Ime Udoka and Draymond Green situations in before Paragraph 6.)
So it's the same drill here as last week: While a batch of the usual around-the-league notes is in its traditional TWIB spot further down and the rest of the column is populated with typical fare as we try to forge ahead as conventionally as we can, our opening statement had to make note of the latest rash of stories that continue to make the start of the season unavoidably disheartening.
"I’m completely empathetic to what’s going on here and I’m certainly not proud of the situation we find ourselves in,” Nets general manager Sean Marks said last week. “I’d like to get back to basketball."
A rare sentiment out of Brooklyn these days that everyone can agree with.
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Question of the Week
In the quest to convey some semblance of lightness in this TWIB compilation, I want to ask you something that I have also posted in Substack Chat for anyone who wants to weigh in. (And please read Friday’s explainer piece if you want to learn more about Substack Chat.)
While chaos was bubbling in so many places Thursday all across the NBA map, it was also brought to my attention that Nov. 3 was National Sandwich Day.
I frankly had never heard of National Sandwich Day ... but I have been saving a sandwich question for QOTW for the proper occasion. I think this qualifies.
What is the world's greatest sandwich?
On this scorecard, there are only two eligible answers. It's either the French Dip or a Chicago-style Italian Beef.
That's it. The Committee (of One) is prepared to accept no other answers.
Something tells me, though, that there will be a few (thousand) dissenting opinions among readers of this Substack. You are invited to visit my Substack Chat to agree or disagree with The Committee.
From my ongoing series of video essays for television, here's my latest piece for Bally Sports Southwest on the Utah Jazz, their surprising 8-3 start and how this isn't the first time that a playoff series against Dallas led steered the Jazz to a crossroads:
Dot Dot Dot (🏀🏀🏀)
🏀 There is growing pessimism in various corners of the league that Kyrie Irving will