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Marxman - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
Marxman
I was already enamored of Gonzaga forward Adam Morrison. I've had a thing for his team since before their Elite 8 run, back when Vallejo's Brandon Armstrong was on the team. And I like the idea of the West Coast Conference more generally. Although my primary allegiance is always with Cal, I'm fond of USF and can get behind Saint Mary's and Santa Clara without too much prodding. But Gonzaga has been my favorite WCC team to watch. They always seem to have one or two distinctive players worthy of a crush: Santangelo, Calvary, Dickau, Turiaf and now Morrison. But this story on Morrison from the San Francisco Chronicle has raised my passions to a new height:
Morrison, 21, is certainly not the only college kid who wept when the alternative-rock band Rage Against the Machine broke up. But he's probably the first to berate himself after a game for "playing like a communist.'' He has teased his devout coach, Mark Few, by quoting Marx on a locker-room board: "Religion is the opiate of the masses.''

Few says college basketball hasn't had a personality like Morrison since Bill Walton.

"He's open to all thoughts,'' Few said on the phone. "He's well read. He's a great debater. He enjoys a healthy debate. When you cut to the core, some of the things he says, he doesn't believe. I find it entertaining most of the time.''

Teammate Sean Mallon put a slightly different twist on Morrison's locker-room rhetoric, telling the Oregonian, "Sometimes he doesn't know what he's talking about, but that doesn't stop him from having a strong opinion.''

Studying the Russian Revolution in a high school history class piqued his interest in Marx. He read "The Communist Manifesto'' and Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations.'' Despite his interest in political science, he's a sports-management major ("There's no money in philosophy"). As for the Marxism, he said, "I don't necessarily believe all of it, but some of it is reasonable.''
I've been sitting here working on my laptop, absent-mindedly watching the Gonzaga-Santa Clara game and Morrison is once again putting on a show. He has 21 points at the half. And a poster of Karl Marx in his room!

Tags: ,
Muse: the soothing sounds of the Deuce

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Comments
From: ex_synecdoch550 Date: January 10th, 2006 03:18 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I love hearing about sports personalities who are well-read and intelligent. It is an awful stigma they get too often, that they are all meatheads. Sure, a lot of these guys aren't brilliant or anything, but I think it is hard to judge somebody's intelligence when they're breathing hard after running for sixty minutes straight and are being asked about what they need to do to win the next game or something. Besides, it isn't as if the Sportscenter correspondent is asking things like "Given China's position in the world market and its potential as a market for our natural resources, what course of action should our government take to ensure responsible entry into these markets?" :)
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 10th, 2006 10:46 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
That's how I feel too. Aside from the fact that the "multiple intelligences" argument is pretty compelling -- in terms of spatial perception over time, the average pro basketball player is a genius -- there's also the fact that the regimen even high school players go through doesn't give them much time to think freely. When you practice and work out for four or five hours each day, free time for reading is at a minimum. Having taught a number of bright athletes both here at the University of Arizona and while a grad student at UC Berkeley, I can attest to the fact that, given a chance and some encourgement, even disadvantaged athletes can do good work. (And thanks for commenting!)
chefxh From: chefxh Date: January 10th, 2006 02:00 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
One can tell a lot about a person by how s/he behaves toward people who can't answer back. Overall the kids at Gonzaga were pretty spoiled and bourgeois, and the basketball players were the most entitled of the bunch. Perhaps if I gave a shit about the sport that would be different, but from my perspective, the team were largely assholes, and the university let them do whatever they wanted.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 10th, 2006 02:33 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Maybe you're right. You have a firsthand knowledge I lack. But it's also true, I think, that judging someone from one particular kind of interaction can lead to false impressions. Had I encountered some of the athletes I've taught in your capacity, I might have thought them "assholes" too.
chefxh From: chefxh Date: January 10th, 2006 03:12 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Yeah, you get to see them at arguably their best; I see them hung over in their ratty sweats and squinting at having to get up before we stop service *grin*

Cooks were nothing but "the help" until my parents' lifetimes, though celebrity chefs are nothing new: Vatel allegedly killed himself because the King's fish was late... if only Emeril would follow suit.
pissang From: pissang Date: January 10th, 2006 03:55 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I also agree that the only reason Morrison has read Marx is ironically because he is bourgeouis. Gonzaga has quickly established itself as Duke University's west coast campus and Morrison has cemented that identity with his late-night bouts of online gaming with the other great white hope of the moment, Duke's J. J. Reddick. The fact that there are two amazing WHITE shooters in the NCAA ranks right now gives every college beat writer in the country a stiffy, and the fact that they are friends makes those writers cream in their pants. Duke, being Duke, has the ability to recruit the best white players in the country. I do not think it is Duke's policy to target white players but it is Duke's policy to target middle class players. They do not recruit from the ghetto, so to speak, but from the suburbs and the prep schools. Even Duke's black players are from the suburbs or not even from America at all (the recently departed Luol Deng). The one black player on your list of Gonzaga players, Turiaf, fits that mold. Duke's and Gonzaga's players get in less trouble, speak more articulately, and appear more intelligent not because of anything the schools or the coaches have done, but because they have had privileged upbringings. The year the University of Maryland won the championship, everyone fell in love with Kryzewski again because he said he would have loved to coach Juan Dixon. A nice gesture but a fantasy as well. K will never coach a Juan Dixon. Why would he take a chance on an undersized guard who also happens to be the orphan of two dead heroin addicts when he can get the nation's best prototype guard with an ideal upbringing and zero emotional baggage? The next obvious step in my rant is to discuss the educational aspects of college athletics but that would take too long. That's why I didn't reply to your comment on my post about college football. I do not think your optimism is completely mislead but I do think it needs lots of qualification.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 10th, 2006 05:22 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Neverthless, the overwhelming tendency is for white, middle-class players to go down the future Republican path, as J.J. Redick has done. While I agree that there is a racist undercurrent to the lionization of both Redick and Morrison, that doesn't detract from my pleasure at seeing the latter taking the road less traveled, however minor the results of that decision. As far as the "I'd love to coach Juan Dixon," comment, I come at that sort of thing a little differently. Most college athletes fall between the circumstances of Dixon and Shane Battier. Cal and Arizona have both had plenty of players who might not pass muster at Duke or Stanford, who come from lower income urban areas, but who still have a more stable support structure to fall back on than someone like Dixon. So has Maryland. Some of those athletes end up learning a lot more than how to stay on the team. Others do not. But I still think that college athletics are worth preserving so long as those who do learn -- and get degrees -- are exposed to opportunities that would otherwise pass them by. It isn't even about money. Negotiating college life prepares lower-income and working-class athletes for a world where they will have to deal with the lingering effects of privilege in a way that a simple check never could. It's not the same as reading Bourdieu -- or Marx, for that matter -- but it still matters.
From: thewhitaker Date: January 10th, 2006 08:49 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I feel similarly about WVU's Kevin Pittsnogle. Not only has his name become a popular verb, but he corrected an interviewer who claimed he was raised in a mobile home by saying: "It was a trailer."
Here's to a good semester. Unfortunately, I won't be able to take your course, as I have to work those days every week. I hope against hope you teach it again next year--or even the year after. God knows I'm one of those ambiguous Juniors who has a lot of school still to finish.
frostedfuckhead From: frostedfuckhead Date: January 12th, 2006 12:23 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
i just want to add that bill walton is a dickhead.

(i can't believe how many livejournal entries i've read and commented on sitting at work today, i'm shooting for a world record)
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 16th, 2006 12:19 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

JJ. Reddick

Even as a black person and not much of a Duke player, Reddick is the best shooter I have seen in college basketball. There are tons of kids who can stand on the court and shoot 3's all day long but this kid can shoot when he is guarded and still knock them down. I don't know why there is so much hatred towards him.

The fact is that with the Lebron James of the world making the jump directly into the NBA there will be less can't miss guys playing college. I don't see why Reddick can't play in the NBA and excel.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: February 16th, 2006 12:32 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: JJ. Reddick

Amd Iwasn't saying otherwise. I don't favor Duke, but Redick is a joy to watch, especially the way he comes off screens. I think he can thrive in the NBA, since he now has a mid-range game a la Rip Hamilton.
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