You never like to preface your work with a disclaimer that it’s dumb and unimportant, but sometimes the surrounding context and cultural conversation gives you no choice. This piece, in which I’ve gone to great lengths to examine each NBA team and find its analogue in the Disney library, was a bit ridiculous when I first set out to write it. After the momentous real life events of the past week, it feels laughably absurd.
When the Milwaukee Bucks decided to forfeit Game 5 of their first round series against Orlando in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, they could not have known how far the echoes of their protest would ring. The other four teams scheduled to play that day quickly opted out of their games as well, as did teams playing for the WNBA, MLS, MLB, and even tennis player Naomi Osaka. The NHL, as usual, arrived a day late and a dollop of sincerity short. But the message was clear. Athletes were unwilling to be a source of distraction while the Black community continued to face an emergency that showed no sign of getting better.
For a few hours it seemed like “The Bubble” really had burst, and the season might once again be over. Then the players made the collective, if reportedly contentious, decision to return to play. They were able to earn a few more action-oriented concessions from the league and the team owners, but the real goal was always to bring awareness to the systemic, international issue of racism. To keep the volume turned up on a conversation that only finally became mainstream this past June.Continue reading “The Most Basketball Place On Earth”