Visualizations. They’re telling us more and more about how the game works in space.
Written and spoken language. It is the universal conduit of thought, the line human beings use to connect with each other.
Is there a gap between visualizations and language in modern NBA discourse? Let’s see:
(Via Nylon, duh)
“As you can see, Anthony was excellent shooting from the wings last year, particularly the left wing. He practically never shot from the corners, though, a result of his having the ball in his hands constantly and not having a lot of opportunities to spot up in the corners. His midrange game consumed a lot of possessions but wasn’t particularly effective, except from the right baseline, where he devastated defenders with his patented post-up turnaround jumper. Anthony could expand his game by moving off ball more, but New York has a dearth of point guard options and the Triangle Offense isn’t necessarily designed to create corner looks, at least not yet.”
(Rips off the tweed sweater they made me wear to deliver that LECTURE, takes off his old person glasses and replaces them with cool, black rimmed young person glasses, the international symbol of a cool, smart guy)
Translating symbols into language: PRACTICALLY IMPOSSIBLE! Where is the visceral jolt of basketball’s movement, given to the reader like so many hot hamburgers straight from Bob Ryan’s grill? But what if we were to combine a bunch of contexts TOGETHER to create a NEW LANGUAGE we can use to talk about basketball in a way that is informative and universal and exciting?
Ladies and gentlemen. Today, while I was taking a shower, I created that Language. Behold:
THE EUROBOARD OF BASKETBALL DELIGHTS.
Is it complicated? Absolutely. But I will explain: take in this ABSURD Eurostep from Giannis Antetokounmpo:
Now Giannis took off from behind the free throw line on the left wing, landed right above the foul line, and took his shooting step in the middle part of the key. Are you bored yes? Me too, or I WAS before I put this bad boy together!
As you can see, with THE EUROBOARD OF BASKETBALL DELIGHTS, that boring ol’ explanation of that unreal play becomes “Giannis went from the Mediterranean to Croatia to Southern Poland on a single Eurostep, then dropped it right in the Baltic with a sweet finger roll!” So expressive. So moving. A crisp, clean visualization never worked so well with high caliber prose. Two dancers, one mighty and strong (Visualization) spinning a beautiful, lithe ballerina (Prose) and moving the jaded ballet audience to tears in their seats.
Damian Lillard loses Parsons on a Wes Matthews screen in Bulgaria, catches the ball in Spain, near the border with France, Andorra-ish, and drills the game winning three pointer.
Wade retrieves the ball on an expedition in Northern Africa, dishes to Chalmers, riding on the Black Sea, who passes to Mecklenburg-Vorpommern resident Norris Cole, who tosses it up to Lebron James, who is SPRINTING across the Former Soviet Republics and JAMS it home over Jason Terry, who foolishly decided to try and challenge him in Lithuania!
This one is a classic, a “Jet Setter’s Play” that goes to all of Europe’s hop spots. We got Manu killing some time in Turkey. Then he and Tim Duncan execute a pick and roll in the Black Sea. Manu passes to Patty Mills, chilling with a sweet drink in the Med, who passes to Tim Duncan, ROLLING across Western Ukraine, who dishes RIGHT to Boris Diaw, all alone in the BEAUTIFUL green hills of Scotland, who BEATS THE BUZZER with a corner three pointer!
So, if your strategic writing is getting “A little dry,” get on the train! Carmelo Anthony is waiting for you in Russia, posted up and ready to launch one of his PATENTED midrange turnaround bombs!