Dark horse MVP award candidates
For your consideration.
My shredded — juddering lank like a weeping willow’s branches in winter — nerves on the train ride down to the arena for the first time since late-December.
Adam Silver’s Cirque du Soleil flexibility in making this season neither comeback nor story, just the return to normalcy at a two year cost you should count yourself lucky if you never ended up seeing the bill for. The price of playing pretend.
Yusef home and Richard on the mend. The beat of my friends falling right back into all our dumb, careworn habit of picking up each other’s jokes and twirling them around our fingers, ends becoming the beginning, a cat’s cradle we can pluck at all night.
James Harden’s Cheshire skill at blending in — new team, clean slate — until his smile spoils the camouflage, every time.
The ruse of this season at going on forever? Wasn’t it only just November?
Sylvia Fowles laughing at me, for something you can read a little later.
I guess I should give some nod of acknowledgement to those with the tenacity and stamina to have been debating over this award in earnest since the clock struck 2022, unable to contain themselves another couple months, like people who put their Christmas lights up the day after Halloween.
Brett Brown, I miss the invisible twang of him vibrating at the sideline. How’s he doing?
P.J. Tucker and the papers, it’s still killing me.
Jarrett Allen telling everybody to get a life!
The Phoenix Suns diligently toiling away in the obscurity of perfection.
Chicago, in a lull not at all their fault, but back to being a gravitational pull in the league. Something rough and loose and full of blood, something vital.
All the sleep that’s been evading me, I’m sure whatever it’s up to instead is worth celebrating.
The Lakers, because even when there’s nothing left to say digging into the gilt and tarnish, layers on layers, feels like putting on all the costume jewellery you could as a kid. There’s not much weight but plenty of shine.
The way in all the postgames of Kyle Lowry’s I’ve watched this season his head is always down, eyes shaded under the brim of a ball cap, but that he walked into Toronto’s makeshift visitor’s media room his first time back in the city since he’d gone with a suit cut to fit, grin flashing like the championship ring on his finger, eyes like magnets.
Jusuf Nurkic whipping that guy’s phone into the crowd after he insulted his mom and late grandmother. Kevin Durant telling that heckler to shut the fuck up. LeBron James calling that guy “ol’ steroid ass” before getting him and his wife kicked out for pushing their money too far, out to the bounds where civility’s cheap.
Wondering whether Josh Hart has taken down Larry Nance Jr.’s wedding photos, the ones that were hung in Nance’s old bedroom, and whether Hart gave Nance the key to the wine cellar, and why more guys don’t switch houses with each other when they get traded.
Overtime. All overtime. Any overtime.
Remembering that the Cavs are going to be like they are next season, too.
How do I put this properly — the way that Anthony Edwards dunks making you feel like the air is leaving the universe, and that his hands are around the universe like tube of toothpaste, squeezing every last bit of it out.
Remembering that Klay Thompson is going to be like he is, be here, next season, too.
Lying on the floor and watching basketball.
Going to the Toronto Reference Library at winter’s earliest bite to get out of the apartment and write about Tucker driving around in a convertible in the gloaming humidity of Miami. Picturing neons and when night comes down around your shoulders like a wet towel. Make-believe in the stacks. Whatever you gotta do to get yourself through it.
When the in-arena DJ plays ‘Thunderstruck’. Any in-arena DJ.
The etherial, forming like gasses in an early universe, nature of the Clippers. What are they? When are they? When do they get there and what does it say about us and our endless propensity for waiting, putting them up on the shelf of our collective pantry of imagination and pulling them back down like we might crack the can, heat them up, but thinking twice and slipping them back up there. Another time.
Cowboy boots. Myles Turner has some really nice ones.
If I’m being honest, I think Steph Curry should be struck from future MVP candidacy for dressing up like a mime.
Letting yourself think very kindly and without critical restraint about this season’s rookies and where they’ve all scattered to, small seeds on the wind, rooted and sprung up or else went dormant, no reason not to think they’re waiting for another, better season with a little more light on them to pop.
Sometimes I just think about how happy Nikola Jokic must be getting the closer it comes for him to be home with his horses.
All the sleep that’s been evading Jimmy Butler, whatever it’s up to it’s probably not working hard enough.
The breath of a horse in the palm of your hand, seriously there’s nothing like it.