“I Want Some Nasty”

My friend Kevin Arnovitz on what coach Gregg Popovich told his unbeatable San Antonio Spurs during a time out:

Wired coaches are a nice little frill of the modern-day NBA telecast, but the segment often produces a flurry of well-worn clichés and platitudes. But every once in a while a huddle sound-byte will transmit the essence of a team, its coach and its guiding principles.

“Are we having fun yet?” Gregg Popovich asked the team as they trailed by nine. He raised his voice enough to be heard over “Sweet Caroline,” but no more loudly than he needed to. “I need a little bit more dose of nasty. I’m seeing a little bit of unconfident, a little hesitation. It’s not supposed to be easy. Every round gets tougher. … Penetrate hard, good passes, shoot with confidence. I want some nasty.”

Popovich expressed himself with pure calm. This was one adult speaking to other adults, and the tone was as moderate and measured as anything we’d hear at a random office meeting. Five minutes later, the Spurs took a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

“Be aggressive” is the tired urge of every coach to players. “I want some nasty” takes on a whole new freshness. It feels more actionable somehow. It actually reminds me of DFW in the way one uncommon, vivid adjective can carry an entire thought.

6 Responses to “I Want Some Nasty”

  1. Chris Yeh says:

    With Phil Jackson’s retirement, Pop is clearly the best coach in the NBA.

  2. Nathan Labenz says:

    I am slowly becoming a spurs fan during these playoffs. This is the best overall teamwork and ball movement I can remember watching.

  3. For me, the fascinating thing about sports has always been the tension between a player’s desire for the discharge of erotic energy and the impulse toward self-destructiveness as a misdirection of the survival instinct. After all, what are sports but a sublimation of the violence implicit in competition?

    To my ears, “I want some nasty” sounds more like the infantile war-cry of a frat-boy in the terminal stage of arrested development, still unable to articulate his urgent desire for poontang in a way that might actually appeal to a woman. Which would explain all those boozy late-night liaisons with the resident faggot.

    I’ve certainly never observed any correlation between participation in sports and the development of good character; on the contrary, it seems all the jocks of high school became Republicans or believers in a return to the gold standard.;-)

  4. Jordan says:

    @Vince Williams: The pedestal upon which you sit has distored your view.

    • Jordan says:

      distorted.

      • Aw, I liked “distored” better. It seems more appropriate to a half-formed thought. “I want some nasty” doesn’t deserve even that status. It sounds like something one of the mulleted hillbillies on the Jerry Springer Show would say.

        It’s the general public that has a distorted view of reality. Chris Hedges is right in believing that spectacle has triumphed over literacy in the US. Sports stars are glamorized, idolized, and rewarded out of all proportion to the value of what they actually contribute to society, while dedicated scientists are disrespected and their work demeaned by Bible-thumping half-wits.

        The Amazon blurb for Hedges’ book, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle puts it this way:

        “We now live in two Americas. One—now the minority—functions in a print-based, literate world that can cope with complexity and can separate illusion from truth. The other—the majority—is retreating from a reality-based world into one of false certainty and magic.”

        I remember when Albert Einstein was as big a hero in the US as Mickey Mantle. Now, science-denying ignoramuses like Sarah Palin or Donald Trump think they are as qualified as any scientist to hold forth on evolution or climate change.

        Watching two minutes of the antics of the proud morons on the Jerry Springer Show</i) or the drunken fans at a Spurs game makes me fear for the future of this country.

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