OK, 'This League' Is Kind of Cool


People consume sports to taste. They digest them at their own time. Part of remaining sane is accepting that one’s personal preference may not jibe with the common trends. For example, these past few years have routinely left me perplexed and puzzled how emoji enthusiasts and drama lovers have increasingly valued the hypothetical future of the NBA over the pressing present.

It bothered me that so many people were more consumed with what was going to be happening next year or the year after as opposed to an actual NBA Finals. This is decidedly not my preferred method for enjoying sports and while there was no judging, it didn’t make much sense. The days since the NBA Finals wrapped have convinced me that the absurdity and theater of free agency is our new overlord. We can learn to love it or be left in the dust.

This is as much a media story as it is a basketball one. This wild time of rumors, speculation and soap operatic turns is what the public wants. It’s reflected in website traffic and social engagement. It’s undeniable.

Big names and their possible landing places has been a bigger source of conversation for me in the real world recently than almost other sports stories that have cropped up. In years. This is not scientific but the anecdotal can serve to support the analytical.

Coming around on This League was a slow process. At a certain point, though, it became clear my usage was less ironic.

Look, when Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving team up in Brooklyn, it’s wild. When LeBron James and Anthony Davis join forces, it’s sexy as hell. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George with the Clippers was an actual shock to the system. The Russell Westbrook-James Harden reunion set me over the edge.

There’s a unique joy in being blown up by a Woj Bomb. Those first few second when you begin to process how the league — This League — has changed are priceless. There’s equal parts laughter, confusion, and pure joy. Then there’s the pleasure center of the brain that’s hopeless addicted to chaos.

I get it. This League is instant gratification. It’s drastic change and the market of selling hopes and dreams. There are wild and dramatic sea changes where the plot flips on a dime. It’s the perfect ecosystem to delight a younger generation raised on the fastest-paced track possible.

That generation is overhauling the league and this breakneck pace feel comfortable to them. One imagines it will only speed up.

So perhaps it’s a sign of maturity to stop worrying and open one’s self up to the wild experience the NBA has become off the court. Perhaps part of what held me — and other more traditional fans — back is a sense of jealous. I’d kill for baseball to be as relevant, for the hot stove to have as many thrilling twists and turns. So would Major League Baseball.

Another epiphany in recent days I stumbled into: who cares of 95 percent of it is a wild goose chase or red herring or inconsequential? The circus is mostly harmless. The shiny lights of theater won’t hurt one’s vision or burn upon the touch. They’re simply there to illuminate the absurd.

This League ain’t so bad after all. You just have to have the right attitude.