We can flip through the script of the history of man to see what kind of changes we have undergone through time. Is this the best we can do?
Thirty years ago, shooting three pointers is close to taboo, a clowny feature made by businessmen to add novelty to the game of basketball, or a task reserved for those who could not challenge the trees and mountains that dominated the spotlight of the early eras.
But today, the game almost requires players to learn the skill, and even the biggest men in the game are forced to hone their outside shots, lest they be discarded to lesser leagues in Mexico, or France, or China, or worse: the Clippers (haha!).
That’s evolution. Old timers claim it is a downgrading of the sport, but it is actually the opposite. The greats from the game’s teenage years are mostly known for their extraordinary height (hi Wilt), their extraordinary strength (hi Wilt) and agility (hi Wilt). Sure there were skills then, but only a few like the Jerry Wests, the Oscar Robertsons, and the Bob Couseys are known for exemplary combination of basketball intelligence and athleticism.
Today, we have LeBron James, whose body is of Karl Malone, with passing skills of Magic Johnson and the ruthlessness of the first Terminator (though he shutdowns sometimes like in that 2011 Finals. Lol eoght points). We also have Kevin Durant, whose size and length says Wilt Chamberlain but has the offensive skillset of Larry Bird 2.5. We have thousands of the next Dirk Nowitzkis (like Karl Anthony Towns and Kristaps Porzingis and many more), and we have the fifth Ninja Turtle in Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is a 6-11 center guard that will haunt non-Milwaukeeans in the near future because he can have one toe on the ground and four fingers on the rim at the same time.
It is a nice thing to get nostalgic, especially for people of my age and the generation before us. We grew up loving Jordan, Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant, and their performances have veiled their personalities with myths of divine capabilities. So whenever someone young like James, Durant and Curry outplay them or do something better, we take it as a slight, as a blasphemous attack to our religion. But it is only evolution, a phase in a sports lifetime where it sprouts wings, or tails, or teeth.
Some of the game’s old icons believe they are better than these current crop of greats, and that is their right. Old man Pat Riley said ‘imagine them facing Kareem Abdul Jabbar’. Magic said he is rooting for Showtime Lakers, along with Isiah Thomas. But that proposition is kind of hard to believe after seeing what modern basketball has done to the old concepts of the sport. Cases in point: Is Roy Hibbert alive or dead? Will the Clippers fates improve if they lose DeAndre Jordan? Will Dwight Howard return to relevance? None of these centers can hold a candle to KAJ, but even Kareem will have the same problems guarding the mobile centers that man the paint for us today.
Take it this way: the cavemen and the cromagnon of old might have sturdier bodies built to last heavy beating caused by exchange of punches, but the soldiers of the 21st century are armed with guns, bazookas, and are riding tanks and planes and can even use drones. And when time has lapped us and we arrive at the ‘long long time ago’ setting of Star Wars, we’ll even have light sabres, and blasters and JarJar Binks.
It is sad, though.
The sports world has evolved, and it has gone global in the past decade.
But there are things that stop me from sleeping at night.
I helped put Rodrigo Duterte in power, and along with him his ancient friends, the ghosts of Martial Law, and his international crew (uhm, masters more like) of Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin. Lord Digong (sorry guys) might be one putangina rant away from drinking bloodwine with Kim Jung Un.
Second, Donald Trump. Sure, I ain’t American. But the world, or at least the Philippines, lives in America’s shadow and what it does will certainly affect our world. If he went brash and fight fire with fire against the terrorist, we can be in for World War 3.
That’s the sad part.
I thought we were more evolved, but we are still the divided, the insecure, and the hateful people we were centuries ago. And sometimes, based on the patterns of civilizations, i dont see a fockin way out.
In ancient times, the roots of tension between peoples were: security of resources, and religion.
King Agamemnon wanted to conquer Greece so he has the whole world to fill his plate, and those of his vassals, and of his vassals’ vassals, and the vassals’ vassals’ servants, and Cretons (lol). Rome expanded over the Mediterrenean coasts to support a growing population in their crowded home in the valleys of Tiber river. Magellan was ordered to find the spice islands through the Western waters. That’s security of resources. More land, equals more place to farm, to get wood, to grow livestock. How do you get more land? You conquer.
Ironically, religion is about a man’s faith and his connection with a or the divine, but it has been the cause of wars time and again. Early Christians died fighting for what Peter told them is the one and only way to heaven. Ancient Jews got thrown into slavery by Egyptians, who thought Pharaos were demi-gods. Jihadists of old terrorized Europe for centuries just to spread their faith. And no one should forget the Crusades, the holy war that taught Christians to wage war on the Holy Land to receive eternal salvation. Ironic, huh?
We are supposedly in the 21st century, but we are fighting the same battles.
China wants to focking own the focking world for focking security in oil and other resources because they are one baby boom away from 3 billion, Russia wants to recreate the USSR through Crimea so they can match with the US and China and secure themselves in possible future wars. North Korea wants to blow South off the map, and the South hasnt reared its claws because it fears the North’s.
In the middle east, Muslims fight Jews, and Muslims fight muslims. For 15 centuries, those who revere Muhammad’s descendants (or Shiites) are still in a cold (and sometimes very hot) war with those who don’t (or Suniis). Some Shiite nations conspire to bring down Sunii leadership in other nations, and vice versa.
And then there are the extremists: The terrorist groups who use jihad as an excuse for some juvenile reasons and spread fear among the easily-duped public. There are also subtle racists who believe their skins is proof of superiority, and the separatists who think they know how to solve the country’s problems.
It’s like what Nick Fury said in Avengers: Age of Ultron: “No matter who wins, trouble comes after us”.
With all the advancements in life, we still haven’t vanquished what nightmares haunted our ancestors in the distant past.
Despite food production made easier, there are still millions of hungry people across the globe, because of flawed distribution of food. It is understandable though, because those who have food cannot give much to those who haven’t since they fear they might be all in the same boat on the morrow.
There’s been an international convention on the laws of the seas, but some nations still want to grab territories because of oil, the liquid gold that can empower and enrich a nation. A world without oil relies too much on the frailties of the world market and will get derailed if it ran out of the precious energy source, that’s why China is threatening war for it, and that’s why America allies itself with countries rich with it. Now, that’s security for energy.
Israel and Palestine are still hostile, and now Qatar is under scrutiny for supporting religious extremists, who want to turn back the clock to 600ad when Muhammad ruled the Muslim world. Shiites and sunnis are still at each others throats, and we have typified muslims as suicide bombers. That’s religious bias that serves as fuel to war.
We have evolved in most aspects, but we are yet to see a better version of ourselves.
I really hate to end pieces with this type of gloom and doom for mankind, but it is kind of true. There’s no happily ever after, no end to the fight, no (flat hahaha) world peace. That’s why George Lucas forced Episode 7, to remind us that it has not ended yet, that the Force will be shaken every time one goes too far the line.
So what now?
Do we enjoy it? Or what?
Everytime I ask myself this question, I just think of this: The world is a big place, and each and every fockin soul has problems we don’t know about, so as much as possible I will be nice to anyone, or at least not be another burden to bear.
I want a The Ringer type of writing, but for a long-ass comeback piece like this, let me try to sound like a Dalai Lama just for once.
The world will be a better place, if everyone thinks of others and not just of their own.
So yeah, there, like the great Conan O’Brien once said: “You may now return to your creepy japanese pornography”.