It's a long-standing Scripting News tradition that I write big pieces on January 1 and in early May. They often represent months or even years of thinking. This is one of those pieces. Not too long, but a loop back to an early theme of this blog when I wrote about respect on a regular basis. I was trying to figure out what it means. I did eventually figure it out.
Respect is very related to integrity. Respect is when you listen to who the person really is, not who you think they are, what their age, gender or race says they should be (to you of course, these things mean different things to different people). It also means you listen to who they are today, not who they were in the past.
This idea of respect is rooted in the idea of "paying your respects." When you pay respect, you visit the person, in person, not via text message, or email, or a phone call. Paying respect means face-to-face, now, not in the past. Thinking about someone is paying respect to yourself not the person. Being with that person, listening to them, really listening, that's what respect is about.
When you look at a child do you see a person or someone who will someday become a person. The child wants you to recognize that he or she is today a person, worthy of respect. Listen to me, the child might say, not because you have to, but because you love me, because you respect me. Try to forget you changed my diapers and adopt my view of the world, the world in which I am a person who matters.
This year's NBA playoffs are just getting started and I'm already burned out. They're so exciting! Tomorrow there are going to be three game 7's. Three. And believe it or not I care about the outcome in every one of them. And I'm afraid the team I want to win will not win.
There were a couple of contests I didn't care about. Miami vs Charlotte, because Charlotte had no chance and I hate Miami (only because they're so dominant, I like underdogs, and they are the opposite of an underdog). The other one I don't care about is Brooklyn vs Toronto. That's weird isn't it, because I live in NYC, and I'm a long-suffering Mets fan (despite what I say, as soon as basketball is over I'll probably start watching the Mets regularly). I didn't know if I'd be into the Brooklyn Nets or not, but I just can't get excited about a team that's led by the former leaders of the most despised team in NY, the Boston Celtics.
I think the owners of NBA teams must not understand their own sport. I certainly feel that way about James Dolan, the owner of the Knicks, and I'm glad he hired Phil Jackson to run the team. I was calling for his ouster before that, I wanted to call Michael Bloomberg out of retirement to run the Knicks. A few years under his oligarchy could have been just the thing. Dolan was all about splash, about winning now at all costs, no matter how much the future Knicks might suffer.
The owner of the Nets, a Russian guy whose name I never remember, a true oligarch, thought the way to fans' hearts was to put together a team that had a shot at the title. Well, it didn't work, did it? Most of the people in Barclay's for a Nets playoff game are actually Knicks fans! Hey we like basketball, and there's a playoffs in town. But do you think that buys our love? Hey no fucking way! This is New York. We love our losers. Let's spend a few years in the cellar, and then we can join you in celebrating a victory. Buying some old Celtic retreads, that makes us hate you not love you.
So tonight might be it for the 2014 Nets. Let's see how they handle losing. You don't get our love and admiration by being good at basketball. And when you do get it, if you ever do -- it probably won't have anything to do with who you are, because even bad teams are pretty disconnected from fans. But you have to be patient.
1. The Mets, a team that's been around since 1962, always playing in the same area -- Flushing, is number two in Queens. They don't even own the loyalty of their own home borough. So that doesn't bode well for the Nets.
2. If the Nets were really smart they would have traded for Jeremy Lin instead of Pierce and Garnett. That would have shown real chutzpah, and that's something New Yorkers respect. He's not good enough for the Knicks, but the NY fans love him? That's our guy, the Nets might say. Instead they went for a couple of old tires with a few more miles left on their tread. Fandom is about love, not winning. Esp in NY, and esp in Brooklyn.