A well-proportioned, wise Italian man with a radio show in New York once told me and a listening audience of probably hundreds that the NBA “goes into the clouds” in February and March. I can’t really remember his name, OK? So let’s just call him Ike Manfresca.
Manfresca’s quote has always stuck with me, because: (a) it was so strange and (b) it’s the perfect way to describe the seasonal malaise that rolls in around this time of year, like a warm front heading northeast from the Great Basin.
In March, the NBA exists in a dream-like state, as players shuffle through the hazy backstretch of the season, traveling from city to city to city almost on muscle memory.
They box out, fill fast break lanes and take contested jump shots without even thinking, like you getting off that exit you always get off on your way to work. You know what I’m talking about. Sometimes you sit there and think, How did I get here this morning? I don’t remember anything from the minute I remote-started my car.
It’s the same with coaches, who will complain to referees and shout nonsensical jargon at their players without using the frontal lobe of their brains.
How did we end up in a 3-2 zone?, they wonder. I don’t even remember anything I said in that second quarter timeout.
For fans, March is the time when you stop listening to the guest speaker and start to wonder how many bananas you’ve eaten in your life.
Casual fans have already turned their attention to college basketball, which is infinitely more exciting this time of year. It’s easy to tune out the professionals and happen upon scores while looking up at TV screens at the bar, or by accidentally clicking “NBA” instead of “College Basketball” on your smartphone app.
Sure, many teams are fighting tooth and nail for the posteason, and some, like the Pacers (who have lost four in a row), might be sleepwalking as home court advantage – and ultimately the Larry O’Brien Trophy – slips through their fingers, eyes glazed over.
But for most fans, the games have gotten repetitive and redundant. Bobcats-Nuggets in November is exciting and intriguing. Bobcats-Nuggets in March i
Sorry, I lost interest in that last sentence.
It’s nobody’s fault. It’s just that the NBA season is like a movie that waits too long to get to the climax. We get it. The East sucks, LeBron is awesome, Kevin Durant might win MVP, and Kels Dayton is an up-and-coming sportswriter.
Enough cheeky dialogue. Get to the part where people start jumping out of planes!
It’s going to happen soon, but first we have to take a trip through the clouds. Call it the calm before the storm. Or call into Ike Manfresca’s radio show.
Wake me up when we get to April.
Until then, I’ll be watching the MAAC championship.
On to the rankings.
Whoa….how did we get here? I don’t even remember typing any of that.