Monday was NBA Media Day, a festival of podium-driven nonsense that reminds us all of the First Law Of Media Relations.
Podiums largely suck.
But hey, everyone does one, people pay attention and then always wonder why they bothered. It’s a national day of beat reporter busywork, and frankly, who’s paying attention to their needs?
There was, however, one shining truth to emerge from Monday in Brooklyn, and that is that we were reminded that we are sick to death of the Nets.
Kyrie Irving explained how he gave up $100 million because he hates being vaccinated that much, and then passive-aggressived his relationship with the front office by saying he was issued “an ultimatum” with the contract offer he rejected while understanding completely why they did it. And Kevin Durant guided us through his trade request while saying he was loyal to the team and appreciated general manager Sean Marks and franchise owner Joe Tsai for not trading him.
And let’s be clear here. The podium is there for players to tell new tales about old deeds and new grievances, and the versions Irving and Durant issued were as they should be — entirely their versions of the confluence of events that made the Nets a figure of fun across the league all summer long.
They all rehashed the old hashes in their own ways, and for those who enjoyed reliving those hilarities, it was nice to revisit all the reasons the Nets as a concept make more sense than the Nets as a tangible thing.
On the other hand, no matter how happy the talk seemed to be Monday, we spent all summer learning through agonizingly daily reminders that every day is a new adventure in this Costco of agendas, and that the quiet part of the season that began when Durant rescinded his trade request was the best part of Brooklyn’s season. And now that is over.
The Nets strangled last season and the ensuing summer, with absenteeism as their major theme. The big questions all surrounded around what they might be if everyone could show up for work consistently, and since they never did (for varying and occasionally legitimate reasons) the questions never ended. Indeed, the biggest question of all remains unanswered — is Tsai getting his $2 billion worth of fun?
Monday reminded us that the answer is probably “no,” but it mostly jogged our memories of the Nets’ varied unpleasantries and how we’ve already had our fill of it. Oh, they’ll still send out ambulances for us to chase and we will still chase them because that’s how the system works. But plowing through the stale morsels of their 2022 season only shows that we are not yet prepared for their 2023 jinks, be they high, low or middling. Listening to Irving reminds us that not listening to Kyrie Irving is a more enjoyable pastime — not because he isn’t interesting necessarily, but that we have exhausted ourselves with his rebel-without-a-contract story. Durant’s public jousts with our view of his place in the universe are the same as they’ve ever been. He wants a place to be his best self, and yet his best self always seems to be somewhere else. And Ben Simmons? He talked Friday and was quoted as saying he’s “ready to go,” although the readiness and the destination remain as murky as ever.
See? That’s the Nets now. They were the sausage we saw made for an entire year, and now we’re kind of off pork. That may change once the games start because the games are their own drug, but for now, the news that any member of the Nets spoke on any subject only make us beg for the sweet release of an internet outage.