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Saturday, December 25, 2004

TV Review: "Yule Log" + NBA Hand-Wringing

Just getting to the national papers after the holiday meal here...

If you feel like reading a really odd TV review, check out the NYT piece on the four-hour video of a fireplace that WPIX shows every Christmas morning:

This year the yule log will also be shown in high-definition television on WPIX's digital channel, WPIX-DT (channel 12). The HDTV version provides "a very sharp image of flames," said Ted Faraone, a WPIX spokesman. Parental discretion advised.

Via Today's Papers, which notes the Yule Log is expected to win the time slot's highest rating for the fourth year in a row since it's 2001 revival.

Also in the Xmas Day papers is this WaPo front-pager on the state of the NBA. It contains lots of post-brawl hand-wringing about whether the league has gone too "hip hop" (and whether such concerns are valid or racist hooey). The article features insightful quotes like this:

The NBA "needs control again, because I think the players are now controlling the league," said Mel Davis, a former player and now the executive director of the NBA's Retired Players Association. "I know I'm ultra-conservative, but I'm tired of it. When players get injured now, they sit on the bench looking like they are going to a party or something. All this jewelry on, the earrings, the tattoos. It's crazy. They should sit there with a suit on or get fined."

My grandfather just left a little while ago after dinner, but this reminded me of him shortly thereafter. Mel sounds like a joy to be around, doesn't he?

Another highlight was the stupidity of Antawn Jamison:

In a much edgier NBA, Antawn Jamison, the veteran forward now playing for Washington, questioned his own marketability. He had averaged more than 20 points per game between 1999 and 2003 while with the Golden State Warriors and was unable to make the roster for the league's annual all-star game, while some of his bad-boy peers were selected to play.

"There was one point, during a time when I thought I should have made the all-star team, I was like, 'Maybe I got to be somebody different ... beat a girl up or something to get ratings,'" Jamison said in a recent interview. "And it actually crossed my mind. What else more could I do? I can't do anything else. How am I not getting recognized? Maybe I need to come out and get a [technical foul] or something."

Antawn, here's a hint: you played for freaking Golden State. Putting up 20 a game for them does not make you more deserving of an All-Star spot than the likes of Duncan, Garnett, Nowitzki, Webber--guys who do that for good teams.

There's an easy answer to all of the NBA qualms floating about. Low quality of play is a legit issue, as the Olympics demonstrated. The league needs to work to put out a good product for its own sake, and it's partly the league's own fault for marketing flashy dunks and one-on-one play. But quality always rises to the top, and I think this should work itself out due to the competitive dynamics. Things not related to the quality of play are irrelevant (so long as no one starts a riot, Artest-style, obviously). So-called "fans" whose enjoyment of basketball is lessened by the length of a player's shorts or his tattoos can go to hell.