Is the new Brooklyn Nets logo too hipster or too hip hop? Is there such a thing as "hiphopster?" And have LeBron James and the Heat–more specifically, their quest for a title–become too boring?
There is no way to truly explain any conversation with NBA Lead Writer Nathaniel Friedman, aka Bethlehem Shoals, aka @FreeDarko. It goes where it goes and it is what it is and it's usually somehow tangentially related to basketball.
With time constraints on our side (we needed to keep this to around 30 minutes) Shoals and I stayed inside the framework of the NBA, talking mostly about the Nets logo, what Derrick Rose's ACL injury means to the Bulls, the general buzz around the NBA's second season and, most specifically, the legacy of LeBron James.
We talk a lot about LeBron, wondering if he can possibly get any more heat (pardon the pun) thrust upon him should Miami not make it out of the Eastern Conference. With Dwight Howard and Rose out of the mix, there is no real threat to James and the Heat, meaning a collapse would feel so much greater if Miami manages to flame out (ahem) before the finals.
Shoals is unapologetic about being a LeBron apologist, so he refuses to buy in to my assertion that even the apologists will stop apologizing for LeBron if the Heat don't get to the finals. I'm sorry, but it's true.
Those who support LeBron will begin to turn on him, an assertion that doesn't interest Shoals in the least. Perhaps he just assumes the point is moot and the Heat will get to the finals. Perhaps he didn't like my attempt to put him in a box. Either way, getting yelled at for asking stupid questions is always more entertaining than listening to two people who agree, so I may have let that LeBron chat run longer than its natural course dictated. You are welcome.
We actually started the conversation with the new and improved Brooklyn Nets. Does moving to Brooklyn make you cool? Can the Nets suddenly reboot their corporate message and grow a fan base out of disgruntled Knicks fans and Brooklyn transplants?
Nobody really thinks the Nets are going after the hipster crowd, or the hip hop crowd, as the new black and white logo is nothing more than a sanitized way of appealing to those middle-of-the-road folks who want to be cool by dressing like the hip hop crowd. Or hipsters. Or both.
Shoals and I do chat about the rest of the playoffs, too. We discuss which move was stupider, Amare Stoudemire punching through the glass door of a fire extinguisher or Rajon Rondo bumping into a referee. (Note: the latter.)
We also talk about the Thunder-Mavs series to get to Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki and the idea that playoff series are better when teams don't like each other.
As Shoals points out, games are only better when highly-skilled players are angry, creating the kind of playoff one-upsmanship fans crave. It's one thing to have teams hate each other, leading to ugly foul-laden series. But when the superstars of the game are involved, there's nothing much better.