I think I love twelve men.
Frankly, I am surprised that neither Dr. Phil nor Maury Povich have invited me onto their shows to talk about it.
Because it’s not something I hide.
My close friends know about it. So does my girlfriend.
She can accept it. So I hope you can too.
The twelve men that have led me to this place of unholy perversion comprise the dozen that suit up for the Golden State Warriors.
For most news outlets, the Golden State Warriors is a basketball team that plays in the NBA and with your heart.
For me, and, I suspect, a few others who wander unpersuaded into their orbit and emerge strangely life-affirmed, they are something a little different.
I should underline that I am not some sad, crazed, lonely person, for whom the Warriors are the only buffer between his throat and his kitchen knife.
I have already told you, I have a girlfriend. I have a life.
Yet what the Warriors have succeeded in doing, not that they know they have won this trophy, is to create the movie of my head’s insides and project it nightly in twelve moving parts.
Superstar-laden monstrosities try to convince you of the power of power and strength and discipline above all other traits.
The Warriors, on the other hand, show you that it can be very beautiful just being you.
I am not consistent. Neither are the Warriors. I have moods. So do the Warriors. I deal with crises better than I deal with success. The Warriors again.
It’s as if some amused deity has decided to give me one chance to see where it is that I go right and wrong, all couched in the spectacle of a living opera.
A hope opera.
I am not a couched potato, you understand. I have traveled, experienced, loved, lost, lost and lost some more.
But when I take my seat at the Oracle (spooky, huh?) Arena in Oakland, I know that my life will flash before me, sometimes in supremely slow motion. And only occasionally do I actually die at the end.
Monta Ellis, representing the sharp and clever day(s) of my life, will make me rise to my feet and then crash in despair as he proves incapable of hitting a shot from the same foul line that a sewage contractor from Freemont used during a timeout to win himself two free tickets to an Abba revival concert.
But Monta has the eyes of an Sicilian hitman. He cuts. His opponent doesn’t bleed. He simply dies standing up.
Stephen Jackson, who ambles up the court as if he has forgotten to bring his walking stick and his Robert Ludlum novel, makes errors seem like lovers’ teases, as he turns the fourth quarter into a Hallelujah Chorus, three-point shots raining in from every direction like fireworks on the Fourth of July.
This after he has missed perhaps twelve of these shots in the first three periods of the game.
Memo to self: Graft is good. But glory is glorious.
Baron Davis is business.
In private, he is chums with Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson. On the court, he is Harvey Weinstein after a steamy affair with Jenny Craig, bullying his way over defenders as if they were a roomful of fucking dumbass screenwriters.
Andris Biedrins is the emigre and migraine-giver.
His hair always seems to be looking for the exit and his free-throws resemble an MRI of multiple sclerosis. But just when you are at the point of turning him over to Loud Dobbs as yet another unwelcome guest, he haunts an opposing player just enough for him to make a Dobbs of himself.
Then there’s Mickael Pietrus. He’s French. He wears pink sweaters. He influences losses in equal measure to wins. Because he cares more than Ralph Nader ever did. Caring can get you into trouble. How can you not care about him too?
These are merely the starters, the workhorses, the horses d’oeuvres.
They are backed up by aspects of your personality of which you were never entirely conscious.
The need to be loved even though you know you’re not entirely sure you deserve it is played by Matt Barnes. He even tries to conceal his deep-seated inadequacies by coating his whole body in alarming tattoos: “I’m not who you think I am. Really. There’s more underneath.”
The quiet you, the one that can read a book all day on the beach, carry on drinking beer during an earthquake and not say a single word- Kelenna Azubuike.
The naive you that girls used to ignore before you became all those rational, world-worn, cynical things that girls now ignore- Brandan Wright.
The you that’s never sure whether you’re happier being front of house or kingmaking in the smoking rooms- Al Harrington.
The you that’s getting old- Austin Croshere.
The you that never made it- Kosta Perovic.
And at the very end of the bench, there’s Marco Bellinelli. The you that watches from the sidelines every night, waiting to be noticed, waiting to be appreciated, waiting for someone who will offer you the stage and be there to congratulate you when you actually do something right. He’s Italian. He looks like he’s half asleep. He looks like Monta Ellis stole his eyes and replaced them with marbles. He’s you too.
Sometimes the score is for the Warriors. Sometimes it is against them.
But no one ever wins with life anyway. It gets us in the end as surely as alcohol gets livers. As surely as basketball, before the playoffs or during, will get the Warriors.
But in that mean time, the time when we need to feel something extra before we end up feeling nothing at all, these rich entertainers rise above the night and make us believe that winning is possible without compromising your self.
How can you not love that?
The Pond thanks Derrick T for illustrating his point.