justin adler, blog, buenos aires, bahia blanca, university of arizona, brooklyn, basketball, travel, paul mcpherson

Monday, January 10, 2011

My people

One Friday night I thought I was going to an off-Broadway play rehearsal starring Brad Garrett. I’ve never had the desire to see a Broadway show and I hate Everybody Loves Raymond. But all three of my friends were going and I was told the tickets were free. So I went along with it.

The Robert Barone-led play reading ended up being a very elaborate hoax put on by my friends to trick me into attending a Kate Nash concert.

This was extremely awkward for several reasons:
1. I had no idea I would be attending a Kate Nash concert until I entered the concert venue.
2. I prefer to enjoy Kate Nash within the privacy of my Zune’s headphones.
3. In spite of No. 2 I constantly brag about listening to Kate Nash to show how “cool and different” I am in that I enjoy Raekwon, Gucci Mane and the Brit-pop sounds of Kate Nash.
4. None of my friends enjoy Kate Nash. Best illustrated by the quote of the night: “When you said you liked this shit I figured it had good production or something, but it’s just really fucking gay.”
5. Her audience was primarily lesbians, feminists and really fucking weird teenage girls
6. In between sets Kate Nash gave estrogen-charged diatribes. Many of which will be mocked back to me for the rest of my life. I really don’t believe I will live another week on earth without one of my friends texting me, “You’re not afraid of a woman with opinions, are you?”

Throughout the show as the weirdo fans yelled weirdo shit, Sep would try to yell over them, “These are J’s people!”

I just stood there uncomfortably. Happy to hear Kate Nash’s music. Wildly perplexed by her fan base. And still baffled that my nightly entertainment switched from Raymond’s brother to a Brit-pop feminist without me any the wiser.

A week after the Kate Nash concert/fiasco with the shouts of “These are J’s people!” still echoing in my ears I was I was actually surrounded by people I’d consider “my people.”

The feminist teenagers screaming “You rock Kate!” were replaced by hardcore hoops junkies all in attendance for a FreeDarko discussion based around their new book, The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History, moderated by Will Leitch.

After devouring a slice of Artichoke pizza and running to the event, I claimed a seat for myself and my Gmail acquaintance Andrew, who I see every few months yet talk to almost daily via g-chat to discuss the NBA.

I grabbed a book and went up the table of FreeDarko writers where I was pleasantly surprised with Lang Whitaker also being on the discussion panel. Lang contributed a chapter to the book breaking down the Dream Team II, the ‘94 World Championship squad that featured a very young Shaq, Kemp and LJ. The team is infamous for defining American sports douchery as they went out of their way to win every game by at least 60 points while grabbing their crotches after every dunk.

Lang is also my personal hero as I read his “Links” column every day from 7th grade to sophomore year of college until he more or less quit the column. He stills writes for Slam and a bunch of other stuff and he’s the reason I was a journalism major, yada, yada, yada, continued dick sucking, etc, etc.

Since living in the city, I’ve met him a few times and he gave me a “What’s up?” before I said, "What’s up?” to him, so in the eyes of high school Justin Adler I have made it in life.

Maybe I should jump to why I love FreeDarko. I rarely read their blog because their long, intelligent essays are not as digestible as dumbass Ball Don’t Lie or Gothamist posts and also because I am barely literate. However their first book is fucking awesome and unlike anything I have ever seen.

It’s a collection of insane stats, wild philosophies and more insane illustrations that compare NBA fourth quarters before the shot clock in 1952 to the English Countryside and its enclosure-induced agricultural revolution.

To quote people far smarter than myself: “Baseball has its numbers and football has its hard hits, but basketball, more than those sports, has style. And no one has done more to try to capture that than the collection of bloggers known as FreeDarko.”

Something I shamefully never knew was how legit the FreeDarko writers were. The illustrator has worked for the New Yorker, one writer, whose pen name is Dr. Lawyer Indianchief has a Ph.D. In psychology from the University of Chicago, another works for Harper’s, Silverbird 5000, their stat guy is getting his doctorate from Yale and is the “founder, editor, and sole proprietor of the only blog devoted exclusively to the English Revolution of 1640.”

The other dudes live in Seattle and San Francisco, an accomplishment in itself.

The discussion itself was cool. They spent a lot of time discussing the fight chart in their book, which shows every NBA player who has ever been in an on-court fight and who they fought.

They all articulated why they love the game and what makes the Timberwolves awesome.

Throughout the discussion I was flipping through the new book for the first time. I love it because even though I spend way too much time reading wildly unimportant shit about obscure NBA players, the book offers many more retarded facts that I did not know.

Example: Famed draft bust Leon Smith once beat the shit out his then-girlfriend Cappie Pondexter. Or that Kwame Brown did not know how to use a laundry machine or dry cleaning during his rookie season so he bought new clothes and suits.

There is also a list of the top 15 Bill Walton broadcasting quotes that had me laughing out loud. “Yesterday we celebrated Sir Isaac Newton's discovery of gravity. Today Francisco Oberto is defying it... If Eric Piatkowski continues playing at this level, he's going to replace Jerry West on the NBA logo."

Afterward I went up got my book signed and told writer Brown Recluse, Esq. that he does God’s work, normally a line I reserve for the dude who makes me a milkshake when I am high and I don’t know what else to say to express my gratitude.

I talked with Lang for a while about AI and Turkey. Then I did my token small talk with Leitch, Craggs and Rafe, all former Gelf speakers who kinda know me.

Then I kicked with Andrew and watched 15 minutes of League Pass before heading to the official FreeDarko after party at a nearby bar.

Andrew works for Viacom and that day their CEO gave his massive workforce a speech. Then the guys from The Burried Life (which I then learned is a douchey show on MTV about young, rich d-bags completing their bucket list) came to the presentation and starting granting employees’ bucket list wishes. Andrew told me the Viacom intranet required everyone to submit one bucket list wish a few weeks earlier.

The Buried Life cast awarded one employee with the chance to meet and sing with Barbara Streisand. Somebody else got an iPad. Another got a roundtrip flight anywhere in the world. The final person was Andrew.

The Viacom CEO then said, “Andrew you said you wanted 1,000 followers on Twitter, we’ll guess what, we are going to link your Twitter on The Buried Life’s Twitter and we are going to get you 1,000 followers!”

After Andrew told me this, I paused and then said, “You do realize that fucking sucks, right?”
“Of course it fucking sucks. I hate it. I feel like a moron and I’m embarrassed,” Andrew said. I then realized why he sat through the whole FreeDarko talk on his BlackBerry deleting e-mails alerting him of new followers.

I asked him if he Tweets a lot or is a big Twitter fan.

“I tweet my fucking lunch and that’s it,” he said. “Everyone else got crazy gifts worth hundreds of dollars and I got 1,000 fucking Twitter followers.”

Then I left Andrew and his Twitter army and went to the bar. I got my overpriced Bud Light bottle and shot the shit with Lang for a bit. Then at one point I spoke to Lang and Leitch (my internet heroes of high school and college, respectively) at one time which caused my head to slightly explode.

Then I went home ate cookies with milk, watched the Knicks post game show in complete and wondered how I would one day be tricked into see an Adele concert.