Of course I watched the Houston Rockets play the New York Knicks last night, and I felt the way I felt on Election Day, that if the result wasn't what I hoped it would be that I wouldn't be able to face life. Luckily, both events had favorable outcomes. Both Obama and the Rockets won, decisively.
The Knicks protested that it was just another game and that they weren't even thinking of Jeremy Lin, the miracle that landed by accident in New York last year, the perfect player for the next decade of basketball. Esp in NYC where the Chinese-American community is rapidly growing. And in China, which loves basketball, they must be wondering why they moved Lin from New York to Houston. I believe we could have found an extra $50 million in an economy that has apartments that sell for $100 million (they are nice apartments).
I grew up in Flushing, which then was a mostly Catholic, Irish and Italian neighborhood. Now it's largely Chinese. I went out to eat with my mom at a restaurant on Main Street a couple of years ago, and they asked if we were tourists (presumably because we were white). We laughed and said no, we're natives. :-)
But the Knicks obviously were focused on Lin last night, at least at the beginning, and unfortunately for New York, Houston had three other players ready to go -- James Harden, Chandler Parsons and Omer Asik. All of them very young, and they kept their cool, while the veterans on the Knicks melted down. I expected it from Carmelo Anthony, but was surprised to see Tyson Chandler lose his cool (and they should have taken him out of the game after he elbowed Rocket Omer Asik in the throat, in anger).
And there were some dazzling Linsane plays to remind us how good this young man is.
The Houston team is made largely of reallly good young players who were on the benches of their former teams. They are the youngest team in the NBA. It's wonderful to see them playing with such enthusiasm, excellence and composure. In every way they remind one of the Knicks in the brief period of Linsanity. This is the team the Knicks could have had, now they're playing in Houston. I would swap the roster of the Rockets for the Knicks team any day.
I don't think either team is going to win this year -- but I don't go for sports to see my team win. What I love is a group of highly talented people helping each other to create something bigger than any one of them. That's why I despise what the Knicks are, a team that wins or loses based on the performance of a single player.
Watching the Rockets move the ball around the court, kind of daring the Knicks to figure out who was going to take the shot or the layup, was pure poetry. The kind of poetry that the Knicks were doing so well when Lin was our point guard.
I think basketball has changed, and last night's game was a perfect demo. I don't expect many of the sports writers to cover it. I think their assignment was to "prove" that Linsanity either: 1. Didn't happen or 2. Was just a fluke. And 3. That basketball was always and will always be about superstars and individual performances.
It's the same kind of thinking that leads you to believe that politics is about the bosses listening to the people to figure out what to say to get their votes. If that's how politics worked, marijuana and gay marriage would not have been legalized, and Mitt Romney would have won Ohio, if not the Presidency.
We are riding a sea change in communication technology. It's been going on for 30 to 40 years. The people who grew up in the new world are maturing and taking power. It's not a centralized system any more. The owners and most of the players in the NBA want Linsanity to go away. Jeremy Lin and James Harden are symbols of what can happen if the individual says he or she is not buying into the system. I don't know about most of the fans, but this fan is fed up with the idea of a super-human superstar. I want teamwork and joy, and love enough for everyone. Humility and fun.
In the past it was the big picture that mattered. Today, and more so in the future, it's what individuals choose or want, the small picture, that matters.