It seems hopeless. It's not. I absolutely believe there will be an NBA season. Not a whole season. Maybe not even two-thirds of a season. But there will be games leading to the playoffs, culminating in a championship for somebody, because one man needs that to happen. His name is David Stern.
When last we left Dan Gilbert, he appeared to have lost his mind, along with the minds of anybody within three miles of him. LeBron James had left Gilbert's Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat -- I don't remember the details, but I vaguely recall the announcement being televised in some way -- and Gilbert was livid. He wrote one of the great letters in the history of sports, an angry screed that included this passage:
The Cleveland Cavaliers stink like old diapers dipped in sewage. They are so bad they lose their practices. (Average score: Starters negative-12, Backups negative-38.) They aren't just bad, they're toxic. When they watch Hoosiers, Hickory High loses.
The success of last year ricochets back upon the Cavaliers today. Last year, they were 34-11 and headed for the league's best record, and now they're 8-37 on their way to No. 1 in the lottery. One year ago, they were running off 13 straight victories, and now they've suffered 18 straight losses and a franchise record of 22 in a row on the road.
The story apparently goes a little something like this: Back in 1994, a font designer at Microsoft named Vincent Connare invented this Comic Sans font. The obvious question is: Why? Well, based on a story that appeared in the Wall Street Journal some 15 years after he created the font (which he originally called "Comic Book"), Connare says he was inspired by a Microsoft children's program featuring a cartoon dog barking in the much more staid Times New Roman font.
He didn't raise his voice or slam his fist. He didn't resort to theatrics during a 30-minute press briefing on Monday. NBA commissioner David Stern didn't once look annoyed. But his message to the players' union on Monday couldn't have been clearer: Get ready to makes some concessions, because what's going on now simply isn't going to go on much longer.
LeBron James is a grown man who made a grownup decision to take his massive basketball-playing ability from Cleveland to Miami in a desire to get the one thing every true baller desires: the opportunity to call yourself a champion.
They will still say his name in Cleveland, only this time the words that accompany it will lack the usual PG rating. The man who once ruled greater Ohio is now a veritable pariah in his home state, a belief proved by wild-eyed fans doing drive-bys at his house and burning his jerseys, with only an armed police force preventing an angry mob from tearing down the massive Nike billboard bearing his likeness.
George Steinbrenner is from Cleveland, and I like to think he served as an inspiration to Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. As you have probably heard, Gilbert wrote a letter to Cavs fans after LeBron James announced on national TV that he was bolting for Miami. If you haven't read it, then believe me: This is the greatest letter ever written. Also, it is completely insane.
It is noon in downtown Detroit, a glorious autumn day in the nexus of the city's business district. A large crowd of people stride up the street toward a sleek, glass-walled tower in the Campus Martius complex.
You could make a rather convincing argument that the Cavaliers are the deepest team in the NBA despite the fact that they may end up with only one All-Star selection. But that's not all that makes rival coaches and general managers nervous. No, what's really scary to them is how good Cleveland (30-6 through Wednesday) could be.
Checked out the bestseller lists lately? In February you would have spotted motivational expert Marci Shimoff's "Happy for No Reason," which claims to teach you "how to experience sustained happiness for the rest of your life." In March came "The Geography of Bliss" by journalist Eric Weiner, a travelogue of places on Earth where people are the happiest. Both of these follow on the heels of "Stumbling on Happiness" by Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert, which has been translated into 20 languages.
Ask a mom if she's happier now that she has a child, and she'll usually say yes. But psychologists who study happiness often report a different picture. Being the mom of a young child (especially one under 3) is rewarding, but also a real strain on your mood.
CLEVELAND -- In his first year as owner of the Cavaliers, in 2005, Dan Gilbert used to lust after Ben Wallace. Gilbert had been a main sponsor of the Pistons, and having seen Wallace's impact, he would talk of bringing Wallace or a hyperactive center like him to the Cavs.
Ask a mom if she's happier now that she has a child and she'll usually say yes. In fact, around the world, children top the list of the most enjoyable things in life. But psychologists who study happiness -- a new field in the past decade -- often report a different picture.
The next time you are deciding between ice cream and cake, buying a car or taking a trip to Europe, accepting a new job or keeping your old one, you should remember two things: First, your decision is rooted in the desire to become happy -- or at least happier than you are now. Second, there's a good chance the decision you make will be wrong.