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!