It's long been one of my contentions that the biggest divide among humans is not Black vs. White, Jew vs. Arab or Christian vs. Muslim. It's hockey people vs. basketball people.
As most of you know, I'm firmly on the hockey side of the debate, as are most rational people. Hockey is a beautful combination of excitement, toughness and skill, played out at high speed on a frozen pond. Basketball is group of pituitary cases plodding up and down a court, pausing occasionally to taunt each other and pose for the crowd.
Basketball is such a dainty little sport. People get ejected from basketball games for making the kind of physicial contact that isn't even a penalty in hockey. Ask yourself which would seem to require more skill: Shooting a free throw or trying to score on a breakaway? I just can't imagine why anyone would go to a basketball game, especially if they had the choice to watch a hockey game instead.
Further evidence of the contrast between basketball and hockey comes via a story from Washington, D.C., involving a charming fellow named Gilbert Arenas, who (until recently) played for the NBA's Washington Wizards. Arenas pled guilty to felony gun possession charges today, and is likly to do some jail time for the really brilliant act of storing guns in the Wizards' locker room. Here's the narrative from the courtroom today:
"Prosecutor Chris Kavanaugh, reading in court from a statement of facts that Arenas agreed to, said the charge stemmed from a Dec. 19 dispute with another player over a card game. Kavanaugh did not identify the other player, but authorities have searched the home of teammate Javaris Crittenton for a gun.
"Kavanaugh said the disagreement developed during a team flight back from Phoenix. The other player offered to settle matters with a fist fight, but Arenas, 28, said he was too old for that and suggested he would instead burn the other player's Cadillac Escalade or shoot him in the face. The argument on the plane ended with the other player saying he would shoot Arenas in the knee. Arenas has a history of knee problems."
"Two days later, Kavanaugh said, Arenas brought at least one gun to the Verizon Center in a black backpack. He laid out four guns on a chair in front of the other player's locker with a sign saying, "Pick 1." When the other player asked, "What is this?," Arenas responded with words to the effect of: "You said you were going to shoot me, so pick one."
"The other player said he had his own gun, threw one of Arenas' weapons across the room and then displayed what appeared to be a silver-colored firearm, Kavanaugh said."
What a fun story! This wouldn't happen in an NHL lockerroom, because this is how a hockey dispute goes down: You take a guy's skate and scrape it against the wall, so that he'll have to have it sharpened again. Or maybe you put shaving cream in his gloves. That's as bad as it gets, because in hockey, teammates are sacred. They're the guys you go to battle with, you watch each other's back and you take care of each other.
In basketball, teammates are just those other guys on the court who prevent you from being able to score all the points yourself, so a reasonable way to deal with them is to take out your guns and start waving them at each other.
The NBA: It's FAN-tastic!