HOW TO SUBMIT: E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your question/story/idea and include your name and hometown.
Another week, another DimeBag. This week’s random musings range from pretzel swords to Jon Diebler. Enjoy, kind folk.
Melissa, North Potomac, MD:
What is your opinion on basketball players and the psychological concept of ‘flow?’ Do you think that when the players are in the right mindset and focused on a specific goal, they will be more likely to play flawlessly? On the other hand, if a player is thinking too much about his movements, can this be detrimental to his performance?
Everyone’s been in a groove before. You hit one shot, two shots, then three. Maybe a fourth and a fifth. And then, after summoning the gods and conjuring your best Kobe impression, you throw up an airball as reality smacks you in the face.
Plenty of people preach, “Don’t think, just play.” Do that to a degree, I think. There’s some validity to worrying less – but frankly that’s a lot easier said than done. Don’t think about elephants. What are you doing right now? Inwardly screaming at yourself to stop thinking about elephants. But what’s happening? You’re imagining a stampede of elephants trampling your computer, or maybe you’re the traveling type and have subconsciously transported to an African safari. The point is that my one sentence about elephants is officially tattooed to your brain. Try to not think about them. I dare you.
So to answer your question, I actually think focusing on a specific goal is highly detrimental. But just letting it fly and playing freely is when you approach Ricky Davis territory. Sure, it may be effective in the short-term, but if you’re ever trying to alienate your teammates, do it. Or you could just go Latrell Sprewell and choke your coach. That’ll do the trick.
In terms of flow, I think that’s something else entirely, something that’s interwoven with teammates and their egos. If you’re in the flow of the game, you know that if Chauncey Billups doesn’t get to take a few ill-advised threes, he’ll punish you with seven more. Or that sometimes you’ll just have to let Kobe “instruct” you right after he missed a fadeaway three. If you can do these things, you’ll get the ball in your spots, where you excel. Or you could just be like me and play with unskilled, slightly fat, my-gear-is-not-representative-of-my-abilities gym regulars and consider 23% from the field a good day at the office.
George, Auburn, AL:
Do rappers make better ballers than ballers make better rappers?
When I read this question, I immediately googled “rappers + basketball players” and yielded an ungodly number of random no-name guys with supposed basketball and rap careers. Then I thought, let’s analyze all the guys who’ve gone from basketball to rapping or vice versa. Then I realized that there were too many examples, so that wasn’t a viable option. In the end, this is how I chose to attack the question:
Who’s better: The average basketball player or the average rapper?
And the answer is easy. It’s the baller, without a doubt. The reason why? Basketball careers last way longer. Everyone from middle school beginners to guys in their 40s hit the gym to work on their game. We’re all blinded by the delusion that the ability to finish left (consistently – stop pretending that you can. I know a liar when I see one.) will lead to something greater, some sort of life-altering satisfaction. It won’t. But I still do it. Our combined dementia, though, does augment the average basketball skill because we practice, constantly.
Rappers, meanwhile, don’t carry on that long. If they haven’t hit it big, or relatively big, or relatively medium by 30, they give up. You get kids, a real job and responsibilities. Although it may be a career for some, basketball has an alternate dimension – it can be an on-the-side fling. Except it’s the greatest fling of all time, because it keeps you in better shape and your wife is probably cool with it. So rappers who transition to basketball have always had basketball in their lives – it just wasn’t the centerpiece. Basketball players, meanwhile, have less transition time. You can’t start rapping when you’re 35. That violates some sort of social policy, I’d like to believe. Maybe you were rapping a bit while balling, but you weren’t making a conscious effort to get better.
Thus, rappers make better basketball players because they were probably playing their entire lives anyway. Or maybe it’s the other way around. I don’t know.