James Jones at the end of history

"The relationship between rap and basketball," is how one of my good friends has codified it; the foundation of a sensibility informed by a media-heavy basketball-oriented childhood in the Clintonite 90s, bearing witness to the NBA's rapid ascension to global brand -- a jockish millenial attitude haunted by the twin spectres of Mars Blackman & Kazaam.

NBA fanaticism today for people my age, or at least for my friends, is a clubhouse where access to the clubhouse is contingent on a memory of certain images: Mookie Blaylock & Pearl Jam, Slam Magazine, Grandmama, Master P on the Raptors summer league squad, Hoop Dreams, Space Jam, “Big Head Mode”, Jamie Foxx's furry bucket hat courtside at the 2000 All-Star Game, Lil’ Penny, Kenny Anderson & DJ Spinderella, Jason Kidd’s bleached afro, “Who wants to sex Mutombo?”, St. Drazen Petrovic, Anthony Mason dunking on the Beastie Boys, everything Rodman & Kemp, etc. It's the kind of atrophied and insular mien of the lot of us who drank too much Gatorade and never shied unblinking eyes away from the commercial relief in place of every time-out of every game of every NBA on NBC Triple-Header Sunday afternoon broadcast.

What’s happened is this generation has grown up and -- with constant calibration to the ever-changing pattern-rule of digital communication in the age of social media -- is leaving their own cultural produce behind, the kind of crafts engineered for & vulnerable to the winds of the Internet, always made in the hope of catching a gust to brief viral grandeur.

We know what these images look & sound like. Ever since Michael & Nike dropped the Banned ad, the marketing of professional basketball and its co-option by periphery culture producers (and vice-versa) has been a symbiosis as essential to the sport as the 10-foot stanchions. But for people who grew up with & attenuated themselves to this relationship, the '90s babies who now sneer so easily at any obvious, expected, tiresome plotting from either side, we so cherish the perfect moments of radiating ephemera that seem to be so of-this-moment and unscripted; the purported Derrick Rose footwork video, Russell Westbrook & Kevin Durant's recent postgame attire. It speaks of an exhaustion, a blind will to sincerity, a hypnagognia.

The preceding transmission, a James Jones tribute created by Sleepwalking and commissioned by Miami's Bosh Film Festival, is more or less the culmination of the natural order of things

 

Comments

Great Read - I'll take that 2nd paragraph any day.

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