Steve is at it again. Enjoy!
Anyway, in college I once had to read an essay Stockdale wrote on the dangers of having just a little knowledge. Ostensibly, this topic probably doesn’t seem like it would require a full essay to explain or justify, but Stockdale made it interesting by comparing a low knowledge level with 1) having a high amount of knowledge and 2) having zero knowledge. Curiously, Stockdale argued that having just a little bit of knowledge is not only worse than having lots of knowledge, it’s also worse than having no knowledge whatsoever.
Here’s how he proved it: while locked up in the dungeons with his fellow POWs, Stockdale divided his comrades up into three groups: those who were well-educated in American history, those who were partially-educated in American history, and the completely ignorant ones. Knowledge of American history became crucial, because one of the tactics the Vietnamese captors deployed to subvert the POWs was manipulating their existing opinions of America. To do this, the Vietnamese would “re-teach” the POWs American history by playing up some of our country’s most negative aspects (e.g., the slave trade, imperialism, etc.). If they were successful in this ploy, it was then much easier for the Vietnamese to convince the POWs that their country was abandoning them, and therefore they might as well turn traitor and spill their guts about everything they knew.
Stockdale noticed that the success of this tactic on a given POW depended on the prisoner’s knowledge level. The backwoods hillbillies with almost no education were largely impervious, because they would just respond with “B.S.” to anything the Vietnamese said to them. Meanwhile, those who were highly-educated in American history (as Stockdale was), could resist the Vietnamese by conceding that although America certainly had its flaws, it also had many redeeming features too, and was therefore worth defending. It was that middle group, however—those who knew basic facts but lacked the intellectual depth and breadth to debate various points—who were most often swayed. Hence Stockdale’s conclusion that a little knowledge could be considered worse than no knowledge at all.
This brings us to Adam Morrison.
Morrison is a well-documented autodidact with a preference for social consciousness (e.g., he likes Rage Against the Machine) and a history of free-thinking (e.g., he was Ralph Nader supporter in 2004). He also seems to be a subscriber to the Great Man Theory, the idea that the course of history is usually directed by powerful and charismatic figures, such as Malcolm X, Karl Marx, and Che Guevara (all of whom he’s cited as heroes), rather than by random movements without any particular origin. Clearly, Morrison has exhibited contemplative tendencies.
The question I have is, how deep is Morrison’s grasp of his own place in history (okay, Bobcats history)? Intelligence-levels often seem to impact basketball players much the same way that they did Stockdale’s fellow POWs. For instance, Kobe Bryant is a multilingual, avid reader, consumed with NBA history and his potential legacy within it. Consequently, he’s driven toward totally dominating basketball courts, particularly in “crunch time”; his intellectually-burning desire to be considered the greatest ever is as march a part of his constitution as his athleticism. On the opposite end of the intelligence spectrum is a guy like Tim Duncan. Duncan is by no means stupid, but he seems so completely focused on simply mastering every fundamental task that his coaches put in front of him that he takes no time to consider the deeper ramifications of anything. As a result, he’s completely immune to pressure. As a result, he’s won four championships.
Obviously, Morrison is never going to think like (which is to say, “as little as”) Duncan. Morrison is extremely self-aware and probably spends hours each day reflecting on basketball and his place in it (along with—in no particular order—global warming, the Zapatistas, Hugo Chavez, and the Congressional Democrats’ proposal to shore up the housing crisis). He thus has the potential—a la Bryant—to comprehend and appreciate how close he is to being an historically transcendent talent, and will therefore focus all of his physical and leadership abilities toward achieving that goal. However, the danger for him (or at least, for us Bobcats fans) is if he doesn’t exploit his knowledge level enough and settles for a professionally vulnerable worldview, such as “nothing really matters in this infinitely vast universe upon which my existence is just a fraction of a drop in the cosmic bucket”; and/or “what’s the point of dribbling basketballs unless the U.S. cuts all economic and diplomatic ties with those oppressive, oil-infested regimes in the Middle East?”; and/or “I could be just as happy pocketing my rookie salary and spending the rest of my life sitting outside an organic coffee bar and reading about the success of left-wing farming co-ops in pre-Pinochet Chile.” In that unfortunate event, a little knowledge will spell doom for Morrison and accelerate a slow drift into NBA obscurity. For Bobcats fans, this would be akin to treason.
We’ve heard very little about Morrison since his ACL ruptured. He’s had plenty of time for solitary reflection, and he’s at that age when everything is an influence, either good or bad. Let’s hope that he’s considered all of the possibilities and has nonetheless concluded that his quest for NBA greatness—a vocation he’s dedicated his whole life to so far—is worth defending.
Good stuff Ammofan!
Created by BobcatsPlanet member Ammofan. Sit back and Enjoy!
And he lives to tell about it. Read and Enjoy
Hey, even the crowd started to get into it in the final few minutes –
as opposed to numerous lulls in the action when there was legitimately
not a sound heard in the entire arena. Fortunately, for the super fans
3 rows in front of us, they made sure to scream loudly "Put Okafor In."
Then, quite a few folks in the crowd would laugh (from various corners
of the arena), Sam Vincent would look embarrassed and Morrison would
take an insulin shot behind the bench.
I actually feel really bad for Morrison. Criticism of his play last year was so abundant it became something of a cottage industry. His shooting percentage was bad, his defense was bad, he couldn’t dribble, his PER ratings fell worse than The Bionic Woman, and ESPN’s David Thorpe even published a ridiculously long critique of him that read like The 9/11 Commission Report. And yet, I can think of at least a dozen or so games in which Morrison came up HUGE for us, and was far and away the biggest reason we won. He’s an easy guy to cheer for, and I’m sure he was looking forward to this year.
No Panthers game this week, so I focused on the Giants, who in turn focused on ending Trent Dilfer’s career. It was kind of sad watching Dilfer stumble around out there; he reminded me of Evander Holyfield or Gary Oldman at the end of Sid and Nancy. Like Sid Vicious, Dilfer was never particularly talented, but he did have some brief glory days with the Ravens. That’s all in the distant past now. "They bring enough pressures right when you think you're getting comfortable," a beat-up Dilfer said after the game, sounding like the sad, defeated lyrics to some Radiohead song. "They do a good job making adjustments and overloading you.” Three fumbles, two interceptions, and six sacks. This is what you get, Trent, this is what you get when you mess with the Giants D-Line.
Meanwhile, announcers Daryl Johnston, Kenny Albert, and Tony Siragusa remain unmatched in their level of obsession with “momentum.” I am almost shocked that Fox hasn’t come up with some sort of “Momentum Meter” yet, because to hear those three yammer on about it, speculate on which team has it, announce when it has shifted, etc., it sounds as important and measurable as the score. A team apparently can’t win without it, and although it’s possible to lose a little bit of it, it’s critical to have “all” of it at certain junctures, such as going into halftime and starting each quarter.
And finally, here’s a public service announcement: unless you enjoy seeing total self-destruction, avoid the movie Gone Baby Gone. This is a movie that was cruising along nicely, complete with what appeared to be a serviceable ending, until it careened horribly out of control at about the 90-minute mark with not one, not two, but three entirely unnecessary and utterly preposterous plot twists. Talk about a momentum shift, this thing snowballed into an avalanche of absurdity and just couldn’t stop. You know that scene in The Naked Gun when the bad guy crashes his car into a truck, which in turn crashes into a trailer carrying a nuclear missile, all of which rolls into a fireworks factory? That’s like what happened to this movie: the overwrought stupidity collided and compounded upon itself exponentially. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the movie’s plot, how ridiculous does this sound just by itself: the culprit behind the high-profile kidnapping of a 4-year-old white girl ending up being the Boston police chief…played by Morgan Freeman…who would have gotten away with it if not for one guy. Didn’t anyone in production find this even slightly implausible? How could no one say anything? The only explanation I can think of is that the REAL reason Affleck shot this film is that he was conducting some sort of modern-day Milgram experiment on the perils of herd mentality.
Defensive Player of the Week: Elvis Dumervil, Broncos. I don’t know if Denver’s season can be saved at this point, but Dumervil certainly did his part. His two sacks and a forced fumble played a huge role in the Broncos first impressive outing of the year. Special recognition goes to Darryl Tapp, who had 4 sacks and forced fumbles up the wazoo, but he did it against the Rams, so who cares? It's like saying you had a great game of Scrabble against a 2nd grader. I'm not even sure what it would take for me to make someone defensive player of the week against St. Louis…probably 8 sacks, 4 interceptions, and using one of Stephen Jacksons dredlocks to pick your nose after a tackle–something like that.