Saturday, December 5, 2009

Yo Adrian

Show of hands - the most unbelievable ending on television last night was the series conclusion of MONK or the final score of the New Jersey Nets' game with the Charlotte Bobcats? On one hand, we did see - after twelve years of trying - our favorite detective finally solve his most important case. On the other, after eighteen games of varying degrees of ineptitude, our soon-to-be Brooklyn-bound professional basketball franchise finally won its first game. Considering more people likely worked on the final episode of MONK than "filled" the Izod Center to watch the boys from Soprano Tech do their blind squirrel impression (even a blind squirrel finds the occasional nut), it is tough to make a compelling case for the Nets.

In fact, it is tough to make a case for the Nets at all. Since declaring several years that they were abandoning New Jersey again to move to Brooklyn - where they will play in an arena that will ostensibly serve as the centerpiece (let the image of this particular professional sports franchise serving as the star attraction of anything wash over your skull cap for just a moment.....now laugh) of a development project that hardly anyone who is not named Bruce Ratner had any real enthusiasm for......before the economy crashed.

Ratner is a developer - not a basketball guy. Thus, in the several years since he purchased the franchise he sold off - either by not resigning players who reached free agency or by ordering them traded in lopsided deals - all of the team's best players. Less than ten years ago, one of the New York metropolitan area's professional basketball teams made it to the NBA Finals in consecutive seasons - and it was not the Knickerbockers. In the years since, the 369 people in New Jersey who admit to actually being Nets fans have watched Kenyon Martin, Jason Kidd, Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson depart with precious little arriving to replace them. And surprise, surprise - a lame-duck team with a lousy roster has worked more than just a bit of attendance magic. In fact, they have made practically all of their fans disappear.

Roughly one-quarter of the way into their season, the Nets managed to garner their first win. Wow! As pathetic as that is as a stand-alone fact, juxtapose it against these two. First, as of this morning the Nets are 14.5 games out of first place - after 19 games have been played. Second, as of this morning the Nets have won only 4 fewer games than the Knicks.

In the annals of recorded history no professional sports owner has been more reviled by the good people of Brooklyn than Walter O'Malley. I am not a betting man but if I was I would wager that by the time 2012 rolls around, Mr. O'Malley will be looking up from the silver medal platform. Mikhail Prokhorov, a "Russian billionaire" (and I shall leave it to you whether it is appropriate or ironic that a team whose legacy is as generally miserable as that of the Nets is about to be purchased by the ultimate oxymoron) has agreed to purchase the at least a sizable minority piece of the team from Ratner, which deal needs to be approved by the NBA Board of Governors. Methinks that once the folks in Brooklyn get an up-close and personal look at the big ball of crap that Mr. Moscow on the Hudson has dropped at their feet - ably assisted by Mr. Ratner of course - the phrase "dem bums" is going to take on a far less jovial connotation.

Happiness came to both Adrian Monk and Kiki Vandeweghe on Friday night. The good news for Monk is that he can continue to relive his successes over and over in syndication. Vandeweghe? His team has four games in the next six days. Four opportunities to double their win total to date or to continue to put down paving stones on the road to historical ineptitude. After eight seasons on television with all of his phobias that wreaked havoc on his day-to-day life on full display, Monk turned out to be the lucky one.

Being a work of fiction has its advantages after all.

-AK

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