Shooting for Peace?

For the most part, those in opposition to the new NBA player dress code view it as an attempt by the league to sanitize the more obvious aspects of black/hip-hop/gangsta (choose your adjective) culture out of the NBA game, thus making it more "fan-friendly" for the (predominantly) white, middle-class suburban consumer.

I'm not saying they're wrong in their assessment, but what if the new sartorial directive is in fact the result of one white NBA player?

Steve Nash showed up at the 2003 NBA All-Star Game wearing a T-shirt that read, "No war. Shoot for peace." Two years later he became the NBA's Most Valuable Player, thus guaranteeing that he would receive an immense amount of media coverage for 2006.

Is it possible that certain (pro-war) interests could pressure the NBA to adopt a policy that would eliminate such "surprises" from occurring again? I have created a map at They Rule to help you decide.

A shot in the dark? Maybe so. But I'm shooting for peace.

Dressing Down

What an interesting feature that appears on the front page of NBA.com when I log in this morning: a story lauding Allen Iverson for his decade of play with the 76ers, in which he is described as the toughest player, pound-for-pound, in the league.

Why do I find this so interesting, you may ask? Is it because I disagree?

Certainly not. I have described Iverson before on sportsBabel as a "warrior, a tiny body slammed to the hardwood about a half dozen times every evening, as routine as the teevee fan at home slamming the fridge door with a coldie in hand." His toughness has never been in question, as far as I am concerned.

What I do find interesting, though, is the timing of the piece as well as the articles that link from its byline. It is no secret that Iverson has been among the most vocal opponents to the new NBA player dress code. For the NBA to all of sudden have this mollifying tribute article to Iverson with contextual links on the cover photo for the "Sharp Dressed Gallery" and "GQ fashion tips" seems disingenuous at best.

With regard to the photo, what an excellent choice from the NBA archives! If the league controls what clothing one is able to wear (the extended skin), then the only forum left for personal expression is the actual skin — that is, the canvas for the tattoos that many individuals sport.

Although Iverson possesses one of the most decorated dermas in all of professional sport, the photo is shot at such an angle that there is nary a tattoo to be seen. In the only place where one might see a tattoo — on Iverson's deltoid muscle — the shadow of the basket's mesh perfectly blocks it out, despite the fact that the shadow doesn't cross over onto his jersey, or even that the light source appears to be coming from the wrong direction to produce such a shadow intensity. An excellent choice.

Says the vectoralist: control all vectors of representation to seize power in the market.

A Powerful Photo

Just because Amateur got me thinking about the nature of athlete protest today.

Also, because Dave Zirin is in Toronto tonight to promote his new book — "What's My Name Fool: Sports and Resistance in the United States."

7pm. - The Victory Cafe

581 Markham St.

(corner of Lennox & Markham)

33 And Life To Go

Courtesy Getty ImagesNot long ago I celebrated my birthday — my thirty-third to be precise. I have often joked that this is my Larry Bird Year, because of course, Larry Legend is the greatest #33 there is, and that is what the jersey number of the athlete has become for us: part of a densely packaged meme.

But this latest story takes the idea of the jersey number as identifier to a whole new level: a man in Oklahoma City has requested that his prison term be extended from 30 to 33 years to honour Bird, his favourite player.

And here I was discussing the link between jersey numbers and the carceral — how trite in comparison!

(via SportsFilter)

Technology as Revealing

A sample from Heidegger's "The Question Concerning Technology":

Technology is therefore no mere means. Technology is a way of revealing. If we give heed to this, then another whole realm for the essence of technology will open itself up to us. It is the realm of revealing, i.e., of truth.

This prospect strikes us as strange, Indeed, it should do so, as persistently as possible and with so much urgency that we will finally take seriously the simple question of what the name "technology" means. The word stems from the Greek. Technikon means that which belongs to techné. We must observe two things with respect to the meaning of this word. One is that techné is the name not only for the activities and skills of the craftsman but also for the arts of the mind and the fine arts. Techné belongs to bringing-forth, to poiésis; it is something poetic.

The other thing that we should observe with regard to techné is even more important. From earliest times until Plato the word techné is linked with the word epistémé. Both words are terms for knowing in the widest sense. They mean to be entirely at home in something, to understand and be expert in it. Such knowing provides an opening up. As an opening up it is a revealing. … Thus what is decisive in techné does not at all lie in making and manipulating, nor in the using of means, but rather in the revealing mentioned before. It is as revealing, and not as manufacturing, that techné is a bringing-forth.

Though I am new to Heidegger's work, reading this makes me think of Wark's concept of the hack. And that perhaps instead of considering the cyborg athlete as a hybrid of capital and labour, a more appropriate descriptor might be a hybrid of manufacturing and revealing.

No Logo

The leading scorer of the Arkansas State men's basketball team is sitting out because he refuses to wear adidas shoes, which Indians players are obligated to wear as part of a school contract.

Resample:

What is dangerous in this scenario, however, is that we currently have very little control over the evolution of [the language of logos]. Copyright and trademark law essentially prevent us, via the threat of (legal) force, from attaching any meaning of our own to a particular logo. This is radically different from the usual evolution of a language through common usage of words and phrases; what was once a public good has reversed into a medium of private ownership.

In this case, Jerry Nichols wasn't even trying to attach his own meaning to the adidas logo. Rather, he was asking for the right not to speak — that is, not to communicate the controlled adidas language with his extended skin. And for health reasons, no less.