TEAM DREAMS: New Types of Sadness The Milwaukee Bucks Have Been Drilling in the Off-Season
You know what describes the history of the Milwaukee Bucks perfectly for me? For years, Arkansan that I am, I drove past SIDNEY MONCRIEF HYUNDAI in Pine Bluff. Now, in my book, the three Bucks who mattered are Ray Allen, Sidney Moncrief, and Lew Alcindor, two of whom persist in our memories of basketball greatness. So what happened to Sidney Moncrief that he ran Hyundai dealerships? What happened after that, which caused him to fail to pay his income taxes, then file for bankruptcy? What finally shuttered said dealerships?
NBA teams, much like Mr. Moncrief himself — who, to be clear, I respect so much it hurts — are not meant for mediocrity. You are king of the world or a ghost; legend leaves no room for the Hyundai salesman, much as it leaves no room for Steve Novak, quietly good for six off the bench well into his thirties.
The Bucks have come to embrace this Short Story About A Car Salesman notion in their daily routines, in their training. The have turned despair into a discipline, with Jason Kidd as their pout sergeant.
I’ve done some digging into how the team has prepared for the 2016–2017 season:
JOHN HENSON, FORWARD, succeeded in infiltrating the gym stereo system late at night, placing a copy of Brand New’s The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me into the CD player, and super-gluing its door shut. While preseason reports indicate that the album has definitely upped his moping game, interviewers have noted that he now pronounces the word “millstone” completely wrong.
Newcomer MATTHEW DELLAVEDOVA, GUARD, and KHRIS MIDDLETON, GUARD, have already solidified their friendship with a series of stick-’n-poke tattoos. While they won’t disclose the ink’s subject matter, they speak often of their shared affinity for the pain, which validates their existences.
MILES PLUMLEE, FORWARD, has taken the initiative in his usual endearing tryhard way — endearing tryhard being Duke’s most popular major — and is reading Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story, which he describes as “super sad.” A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is next on his list.
Some additional trainers have been brought in to ensure that the bummer mindset prevails in Milwaukee. MICHAEL CARTER-WILLIAMS, GUARD, has a dedicated staffer around him at all times, whose only role is to whisper “pudgy Drake” into his ear whenever he feels self-assured. Rookie THON MAKER, FORWARD, has a similar staffer, who reminds him that he is literally a million years old.
GREG MONROE, CENTER, has hired a traditional funeral mourner to follow him to events both public and private. The funeral mourner seemed cool, but did not want my number at the time of publication.
Kidd’s sadness program has spoken most truly, however, to veteran JASON TERRY, GUARD, who now admits that his jet “celebration” is actually a way of expressing his desire to fly away from the expectations others have placed on him, and to feel that he truly belongs somewhere. He also accepts interpretations that the gesture resembles him violently breaking an attempted hug. Terry is an inspiration, sad before most current Bucks entered the league.
Finally, MIRZA TELETOVIC, FORWARD, pursues sadness while furthering his knowledge of American culture by watching that episode of Rick and Morty in which Rick realizes that he hurts everyone around him and attempts to kill himself. Nonetheless Teletovic, whose ESPN page declares his country of origin as “Yugoslavia,” is as of yet unimpressed with our society’s most potent forms of misery.