Monday, September 14, 2020

Pandemic Diary, May 22, 2020


Surprise, it’s me, Tree Murphy. They let Antoine host one of the broadcasts, so I told them I got to do the same. They tried arguing with me, of course, but I reminded them they had never won an argument with a six-foot-ten-inch two hundred-forty-pound NBA center in the past. What made them think they were going to win this time?

Antoine talked a lot about what we’re doing to help others deal with the pandemic. I’m the prototypical dumb jock on the team, and have played that role since I was a freshman in high school. When the team broke up for our first year of college, I dropped the act. Then, when the Minotaurs pulled off a magic act and reunited us, I took it up again. I have to admit, it’s partly true. I’m not a genius like Antoine or Logan, I can’t do therapy and training like Tommy, I can’t even read minds on the court, the way Ralph seems to. But I’m a pretty decent average guy who’s playing for the best team in the NBA, and I can do stuff.

Like, I can drive. Suhail usually drives the clinic van, but I have a crossover and great spatial awareness. That means I know where I am in relation to other things at all times. It’s one of the few things an average male seems to do better than an average female. So, the clinic’s phone rings in my apartment at night. Most nights I do two to three runs taking somebody to a hospital or urgent clinic. Most weeks I go out to break up a fight that gets called in. Usually it’s not a fight, but a beating or gang rape.

Dena’s taught me enough first aid that I can usually make sure the scumbags don’t die that night. I’ll give them a warning before getting out of my car, but gangs all just laugh. They stop when I get out of the car with a baseball bat and almost seven feet tall. If they don’t run away, I take them down. Some idiots pull out their guns, which is why my girlfriend, Tonya, rides with me. She was on the Army Marksmanship Team, and if someone points a gun, he loses a knee. If he gets a shot off, he loses a head. Nobody yet has been quick enough to lose a head.

Giving back to the community feels good. Marginalized people have been hit hardest with the pandemic and the recession. I don’t know how much more they can take. I’m healthy, so is everybody on the team, we’ve got the best jobs in the world, and we’re all rich. I got nothing to complain about. I’m tired of self-righteous politicians putting down poor people who can’t work from home. The ones doing it are the same people who accuse others of blaming the poor for their plight. Pisses me off.

Don’t know if we’ll ever have a season. It’s a sad day for the game; Jerry Sloan died. Yeah, I know, some PR flack wrote the statement for the commissioner, but that doesn’t make it any less valid.

Jerry Sloan was among the NBA’s most respected and admired legends. After an All-Star playing career in which his relentless style shaped the Chicago Minotaurs in their early years, he became one of the all-time greatest head coaches during 23 seasons with the Utah Jazz – the second-longest tenure in league history. 

He was the first coach to win 1,000 games with the same organization, which came to embody the qualities that made Jerry a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer: persistence, discipline, drive and selflessness. His more than 40 years in the NBA also paralleled a period of tremendous growth in the league, a time when we benefited greatly from his humility, kindness, dignity and class. Our thoughts are with Jerry’s wife, Tammy, and their family, as well as his former players, colleagues and the Minotaurs and Jazz organizations.

RIP, Jerry


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