Thursday, March 8, 2012

Texas Basketball: Better than NBA?

Editor's Note: On the day the Big 12 Tournament really gets started, The Diss. is proud to present a guest article from Amanda Boyle. We have left out all snark about how college ball "features" a lame 35 second shot clock, low scoring, lots of dumb fouls, terrible shot selection, a dramatic dearth of talented players, restrictive officiating and the worst color and play-by-play in all of sports, amateur or professional.

Growing up in Austin, TX, you’d think my sport of choice would be the ever-enticing Longhorn football team. Granted, during my teenage years, I saw Ricky Williams win the Heisman and see Texas win a National Championship. But the football dreams tend to feel like an episode of Friday Night Lights, rather than the sweaty, pre-pubescence of college ball (wink).

Enter Texas Basketball. I know you’re saying to yourself, “This is an f-ing NBA blog. If I wanted to read about college ball, I’d watch the newly-minted Longhorn Network.” But this is the essence of being when you are talking about Austin. Texas does happen to have some of the most elusive pro teams around, with the Mavs, Spurs, and Rockets (I seriously had to Google whether the Rockets were still a team). I mean, we’re f-ing Texas, we deserve as many pro-basketball teams as we can fit. The truth is, college ball always seemed more believable to me, like they were trying for something more than a new fragrance deal. I mean, who actually wants to smell like Lamar Odom?

Chris Mihm
Luckily for me, Rick Barnes (Head Coach for the Longhorns) has one of the best college basketball recruitment this side of the Mississippi. TJ Ford, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Durant, DJ Augustin, Chris Mihm, Royal Ivey, to name a few. What would be the point in going to a pro game when these youthful Longhorns provide more entertainment than a Hakeem and Mutombo sandwich? Durant’s smooth maturity beyond his years, Ford’s agility and forward focus, Aldridge being tall and unyielding, entertainment deluxe.

The only time I came close to seeing a pro team while growing up in Texas was for an Austin Toros game, the developmental league in town that was glimmering hope for the shining ex-Longhorns who had yet to make it big time. My dad and I went because I wanted to see what Brad Buckman was up to, a dreamy tall white dude who graduated from UT in ’06, who tore up the court and tore up my heart. Turns out, he was playing in what seemed/actually was a high school gym to an abysmal crowd of longhorn fans and war heroes. I mean, really, is there no dignity in the half point between college and pro? I suppose in the Euro league you can at least escape American embarrassment of not NBA-ing. Even joining the Harlem Globetrotters seems a better choice.

Sigh, I acquiesced and did attend a pro game, but not in Texas. In my hometown of Seattle. Durant. The fleeting year that he was on Clay Bennett’s Supersonics. But once again, Texas ball seems a gleamingly beautiful orange light next to the dark hopelessness of NBA team owners who have no heart. Hook ‘em for life.

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