After 145 days of the lockout, this is what negotiations have become. (Sheridan Hoops)
“Some lawyers say to pick up the phone is a sign of weakness,” Boies said. “But if you’re weak, you’re weak, and if you’re strong, you’re strong. It doesn’t make you weak or strong by your calling or not calling. On the other hand, until they’re prepared to say something other than what they just put out in this statement, the question is, why are you calling?”
I’m no genius, but I’d say you’re calling in an attempt to end the NBA lockout. You’re calling to save a sport, assure that 450 NBA players start getting paid, allow laid-off NBA employees to regain their jobs, and provide countless fans with a reason to still care about the NBA. You’re calling because $4 billion of revenue is being wasted right now. You’re calling because — rationally, at least — the two sides are too close to extend this lockout much longer.
And if you’re a basketball fan, Boies, which I hope you are, you’re calling because you want to see Tim Duncan fight for position in the low post. You want to see Dirk Nowitzki pump fake, wait for his defender to jump, then craft a shot that almost scrapes the clouds before falling through the hoop with barely a whisper. You want to see Kevin Garnett hedge a screen, Steve Nash thread the needle and Derrick Rose split the defenders after dribbling around a ball screen.
You want to see Dwight Howard spin behind his defender and elevate to heights most humans can only reach in the second story of an apartment building. You want to see Kevin Durant sprint around an off-ball screen, Russell Westbrook learn to peacefully co-exist, and Kevin Love box out with the attitude of an ancient Roman warrior. You want to see whether Lebron figures it out. You want to see Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire maximize their partnership. You want to see the days when Kobe Bryant can’t miss, and even the days when he can. You want to see Paul Pierce as time winds down, measuring his defender at the right elbow.
You want to see the occasional nights when Josh Smith puts the Atlanta Hawks on his back. The nights when Dwyane Wade is golden. The nights when Blake Griffin views basketball as a 110 meter hurdle race. You want to see DeMarcus Cousins’ soft touch, John Wall’s world-class speed and Nick Young’s unconscionable yet oddly satisfying offensive repertoire. You want to see Rajon Rondo snatch a rebound from an opposing center, take two dribbles, and slingshot a left-handed pass 45 feet directly into Ray Allen’s shooting pocket.
You want to see J.J. Barea explode for 20 points off the bench, James Harden become the yin to Durant’s yang, and Kendrick Perkins treat referees like they stole his Range Rover. You want to see Tony Allen fighting for scraps, Shane Battier waving his hand one inch from a shooter’s eyeballs, and Zach Randolph playing out of his skull. You want to see Derrick Williams cut backdoor wide open while Ricky Rubio cradles the ball at the top of the key. You want to see Deron Williams crouched in a defensive stance with the shot clock winding down and Chris Paul dribbling his way.
Think for a second, Boies. The question isn’t “why are you calling?”
It’s why not?