The Two Man Game posted my first Tuesday column: The Burden and Blessing of Expectations. In my column, I examine the creation myth of O.J. Mayo and the implications of Mayo’s career to date.
Do you remember last week — those simpler days, that more innocent time — when O.J. Mayo was generally regarded as the no. 2 offensive option? Nowitzki would be Nowitzki, and Mayo could simply fill the far right column of the box score behind him. Mayo’s biggest concern was walking in Jason Terry’s shoes. But now, with Nowitzki out for the next six weeks due to knee surgery, Mayo has some larger shoes and a longer road.
Mayo did not start a single game for the Memphis Grizzlies last season, and now, he’s potentially the Mavs’ best offensive hope for the month of November. Sure, Elton Brand will take Nowitzki’s position on the court, but not his role on the team. That will almost surely belong to Mayo.
We may ponder the cruel fate of a universe that would place the task of gods into the hands of a mere mortal. We might wonder if the swelling in Nowitzki’s right knee was intended not to test the German’s resolve, but Mayo’s. However, for Mayo, unfair expectations have followed him throughout his entire basketball career. While he’s only played in the NBA for four seasons, his legacy will be forever attached to his ability to ascend those high hopes.
I’m happy with how it came together. The story was mentioned on ESPN’s TrueHoop blog, click here and scroll down. They quoted a section where I explained why I view basketball as a form of artistic expression. If you scroll down a little more, you can read NugzNazty who commented: “David Hopkins, really lame man.”
Proud moment for me.
Tim Rogers, my sometime benevolent editor at D Magazine, took the opportunity to call my story “smart writing,” which I will gladly accept. (There are many weeks in the NBA season. It won’t all be smart. I assure you.) Thank you, Tim. And then, he posted a poll, asking people to vote on what type of facial hair they prefer on me. Right now, “friendly mutton chops David” is winning by five votes.
Next Tuesday at around 10:30 AM CST, Two Man Game will feature another post from me about the Mavs–and the week after that and so on until they kick me off the masthead.