Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Denver Nuggets and the Spirit of Collectivism

I sit here writing this minutes after the Nuggets tragically lost Game 5 to the Oklahoma City Thunder by three points. I ended up finishing 3/4 of a bottle of Montes Wine in the process. I'm depressed; no doubt about it. However, I love the Nuggets. I love them so much and not just because they play in Denver, but because their style of ball reflect my politics. The Nuggets embody the spirit of collectivism which I dedicate every fiber of my being to.

Above all, I believe that when we as a people work together we are amazing. When we are allowed to live to our full potential we create beauty. When we are denied the ability to reach that potential it is a grave injustice. When we are denied our basic rights to water and food, to an exciting and inspiring education, to be able to love freely, to have a home we love to bring our family and friends into, to work a job that we know makes a better world and taps into our talents, and on and on then we are being denied life. We are denied what is possible; and if it possible then we should darn well have it!!! It's possible!!!

Everyday we are faced with structures and systems (cough cough capitalism cough cough) which not only deny us these fundamental rights, but are set up to ensure the exact opposite- to exploit, to degrade, to abuse.

And so yes, to get excited about a basketball team where players are paid millions to put a ball into a circular piece of metal is a bit absurd, but it's also exciting and important to celebrate those moments where that spirit of our potential and principle of collectivism shines through.

The National Basketball Association is driven, like most things in this world, by the bottomline- money. A fictitious representation of wealth. As a result, the typical team model is to build a team around one person- a superstar. Team basics are eschewed for the power of a superbeing. I fell into this. I fell in love with the persona of Carmelo Anthony. I fell in love with that smile. I fell in love with the way that we would echo out "Melllllo!" when he made a three. Boy am I glad that my starstruck awe of him was shattered when he was traded. It was also soooo satisfying to see that back-stabbing, attention-loving, ego-maniac choke and lead his team to a sweep in the first round. YEssssssss!!!

Also, I am glad he left because with this new roster I see the amazing force of a team driven not around a single player, but by the spirit of collectivism and teamwork.

There is no one on the Nuggets that is the go to guy and thank god for that! Superstars sell jerseys. Superstars sell front row tickets. Superstars get shoe contracts. Superstars make MONEY. But you know what else superstars make? Superstars make basketball that is sooooooooo freaking boring. Dribble down, clear the court and isolate the star. What the heck?!? That's boring. Sorry, but it is. It's BORING!!!!

So, even though the Nuggets did what they have practically done for what? the last seven years? (basketball nerds- comment with the correct stats)_ lose in the first round- I am both depressed and ecstatic. The reason that this devastating blow is overshadowed by love for this team is because they have broken the mold. They have become a team which is a team, not a set of players built around one person.

Since the blockbuster Carmelo Anthony trade, the Nuggets have surprised basketball fans as they instantly clicked, finishing with 50 wins for the fourth time in a row. After the pre-Madonna Melo left, our assists went up to 24.1 a game and our defense jumped up to holding teams to 97.1 ppg (from allowing 105.2). Announcers, bloggers, columnists, and fans all agreed- it was refreshing to see real team basketball. What the Nuggets lack in stardom, they make up for in team chemistry and depth. Any of their top ten players could be starters elsewhere in the league. This parity of talent and wide array of skills brings a collectivism to the game that is great to watch. You never know who will shine each game.

The NBA has been criticized for its lack of team ball in general. It goes back to that flawed superstar formula. So, the fact that when it comes down to the wire the Nuggets have admittedly said that the final shot is a collective decision, makes me happy. We may have lost and our season may be over, but dang do I love to watch my team. It was a good run guys. You show what happens when the whole team is into the game, is working to win, is working to make sure that every single person reaches their potential. It's a quick snapshot of the world I fight for.

Also, I was able to attend the only game in the series we actually won :) Yesssssssss.