1) The Boston Celtics
Mainline Protestantism, Circa 1951.
Curiously dominant, and yet impossible for me to imagine feeling passionate about. Built around a gospel of redemption: things have sucked for years, but THE PROMISED ONE WILL REDEEM US. Inextricably linked to the Northeast, and accordingly given an extraordinary amount of attention. "Intense," but only in a Puritan sense.
2) The Detroit Pistons
The École Normale Supérieure.
So arrogant. So ordinary.
3) The Cleveland Cavaliers
Utterly electrifying at times, but sometimes lackadaiscal and oddly complacent. "Breathe": 2007 Eastern Conference Finals. Neither would impress Harold Bloom, but both almost certainly would impress Michael Eric Dyson.
4) The Atlanta Hawks
Some people are intoxicated by the "potential." Nominally associated with liberation ideology. And yet for all the babble about Lebensraum: 12-29 on the road. ONWARD PANZERS ... oh no, the Reds!
1) The Los Angeles Lakers
Several years spent slogging around trying to recapture former glory; much if it is now recaptured, even if the whole edifice is currently in the future tense. More dependent on "The Machine" than most people realize, though in the Chinese context it is unclear whether that is mechanical or political. Tough enough?
2) The San Antonio Spurs
Inexorable--and you can't convince me otherwise--but so grim. If it comes to pass, it will mean the end of a glorious age indeed. There is nothing worse than eating skirt steak and watching the Lakers and fearing that both may vanish soon.
3) The Phoenix Suns
18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte.
"The constitution, the National Assembly, the dynastic parties, the blue and red republicans, the heroes of Africa, the thunder from the platform, the sheet lightning of the daily press, the entire literature, the political names and the intellectual reputations, the civil law and the penal code, liberté, egalité, fraternité ... - all have vanished like a phantasmagoria before the spell of a man whom even his enemies do not make out to be a sorcerer."
4) The Dallas Mavericks
The Iraq War
How much can you spend to pathetically simulate success? What is the difference between these:
Having a German, even the best one in the world, is about as remarkable in today's NBA as projecting power with an aircraft carrier. VTOL jets, another Jason Kidd triple-double, it all adds up to the same thing: a loss to the insurgents, again, and again, and again.