I’m not keeping up with NBA or Sherman Alexie the way I ought to. Since the beginning of the year the Seattle alt-weekly The Stranger has run a regular column by Alexie titled Sonics Death Watch. (The Seattle SuperSonics are moving to Oklahoma next season, which was news to me. Sorry, I’m a baseball guy, though the Nats make that particular affection difficult.)
Anyway! Alexie has this column on the Sonics and it’s…OK. The guy clearly loves his team, and occasionally he finds a way to neatly work in his thoughts about race into a basketball column and not make it seem ungainly:
I think white fans love white point guards, even the disappointing ones, because of tribalism. The small white guys in the stands identify with the small white guys on the court. Makes sense to me. If a Native American ever makes it to the NBA, he will become one of my favorite players, even if he’s terrible.
But I truly love NBA basketball because of its otherness, not the otherness of race, but the otherness of athletic ability. During a recent game, Luke Ridnour threw a bounce pass into the key that was gorgeous and extraterrestrial. And for just a few seconds, I loved Luke and chanted his name along with the other fans.