Walker Ricks: “Dad, that was the best NBA game I’ve ever been to.”
Dad: “I’m glad to hear that. It did go into overtime, and we did win.”
The Nuggets can’t throw it in the ocean in the first half and trail by 16 at the break. Sacramento at one point has 4 white guys and a light-skinned black guy on the court. Not that I care in the least what color they are, but as an impartial observer one can’t help but notice that this is highly unusual for an NBA game. But very interesting. They also have the only Israeli player to ever make an NBA roster. The Nuggets are complaining about the officials. True, they don’t get that “home court love” from the refs very often, even though they are 22-3 at home this year. But complaining about the officials never seems to help. Walker asks me if the refs are racist. The Nuggets get hot in the 3rd quarter and cut the lead in half, sparked by the speedy Ty Lawson off the bench. Melo frowns and shakes his head when Coach Karl calls for Arron Afflalo to sub in for Lawson midway through the 4th quarter. NBA benches are so interesting to observe during a time-out. K-Mart, who has been carrying this team with a double-double streak with Melo injured, struts and poses for his family and friends 10 rows behind us; two former great players, now staff, Adrian Dantley and Stacey Augmon, stand and talk quietly away from the fray. Melo is slightly aloof from the huddle, still apparently upset about decisions Karl made earlier. At one point, hardly anyone is listening to the head coach, the same man who will coach the NBA Western conference All-Stars very soon. Egos galore. “It’s all about ME.” Our society holds these multi-million dollar athletes on a pedestal, but when you sit this close, you really wonder why. My twelve-year old son Walker takes it all in. Arron Afflalo hits a key bucket down the stretch and then makes the game-winning shot with less than 4 seconds left. Maybe Coach Karl knew something after all.