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At GQ, Bethlehem Shoals misses Oklahoma City’s former big three:

Granted, sports are inherently rational. Teams want to win. They win by scoring more points. While, in my opinion, the NBA is at its best when one unexpected moment of transcendence is matched by another until the clock runs out, most basketball consists of well-tested hunches and reasonable reactions. For every J.R. Smith, who plays as if probability were a bad dream, there’s a Derek Fisher, who spins miracles out of common sense. OKC general manager Sam Presti reasoned that some legitimate size (Serge Ibaka) was more essential to the team than another explosive scorer.

Sports are also a business, which means they can be exceedingly, dislikable rational. The decision to trade Harden was forced by the cap; of course the front office would’ve preferred to keep Durant, Harden, and Westbrook AND Ibaka. It was also forced by the market. What the Thunder got for Harden has ended up being fairly unremarkable. But really, how well would it have it gone to abruptly devalue Westbrook’s brand-new max deal by putting him on the trading block?

Via Longform: In 1977, Woody Allen profiled Earl Monroe for Sport:

My impressions of Monroe then? I immediately ranked him with Willie Mays and Sugar Ray Robinson as athletes who went beyond the level of sports and sport to the realm of sports as art. Seemingly awkward and yet breathtakingly graceful, with an unimpressive physique, knobby knees, and the tiny ankles of a thoroughbred racehourse, Monroe in seasons would put on exhibiton after exhibition of simply magical shot-making. One sportswriter wrote that his misses are more exciting than more guys’ baskets. It’s pointless to describe Monroe on the court. It’s been done a thousand times by good writers who try vainly to communicate in print the excitement with which he plays. They refer to his head fakes, shoulder fakes, spins, double pumps, stutter steps, hip shots, arms and legs flying in different directions at once, but these things in themselves do not sum up the ferocious rush he gives the audience. After all, there are players like Nate Archibald, Dave Bing, Walt Frazier, Julius Erving, Connie Hawkins, who have unusual grace, beauty, and excitement, and who also dip and twist and toss their bodies one way while their arms move another way as they hang in space.

What makes Monroe different is the indescribable heat of genius that burns deep inside him. Some kind of diabolical intensity comes across his face when he has the ball. One is suddenly transported to a more primitive place. It’s roots time. The eyes are big and white, the teeth flash, the nostrils flare. He dribbles the ball too high, but with a controlled violence. The audience gets high with anticipation of some new type of thrill about to occur. Seconds later he is moving in aggressively, one on one, against a defender and you sense the man is in trouble. Monroe is suddenly double-teamed and now there are two men hanging all over him. Then it happens. A quick twist, a sudden move, and he’s by both men. Either that or a series of flashing arm moves cease with a lightning pass to a teammate he has never even bothered to look at.

Verge writer Paul Miller spent a year away from the Internet. His return column:

And everything started out great, let me tell you. I did stop and smell the flowers. My life was full of serendipitous events: real life meetings, frisbee, bike rides, and Greek literature. With no clear idea how I did it, I wrote half my novel, and turned in an essay nearly every week to The Verge. In one of the early months my boss expressed slight frustration at how much I was writing, which has never happened before and never happened since.

I lost 15 pounds without really trying. I bought some new clothes. People kept telling me how good I looked, how happy I seemed. In one session, my therapist literally patted himself on the back.

I was a little bored, a little lonely, but I found it a wonderful change of pace. I wrote in August, “It’s the boredom and lack of stimulation that drives me to do things I really care about, like writing and spending time with others.” I was pretty sure I had it all figured out, and told everyone as much.

As my head uncluttered, my attention span expanded. In my first month or two, 10 pages of The Odyssey was a slog. Now I can read 100 pages in a sitting, or, if the prose is easy and I’m really enthralled, a few hundred.

I learned to appreciate an idea that can’t be summed up in a blog post, but instead needs a novel-length exposition. By pulling away from the echo chamber of internet culture, I found my ideas branching out in new directions. I felt different, and a little eccentric, and I liked it.

Quick Reads

- Hipster Mario characters [Imgur]

- Web sites and the organizations that cover them have vastly different metrics for measuring traffic [Digiday]

- Reddit has become mainstream media [Ad Age]

- Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen sold a piece of art that I think I could create for $43.8 million in auction [KREM]

Food Porn

Chicken and waffles @ Bistro Dre

Bacon cheeseburger @ Butcher & Burger

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