“Are they for real?” is one of the most important questions in all of sports. It’s measured only by the gut feelings of the person answering this loaded question. Today, our 5-vs-5 expert panel takes a good, hard look at for-real-ness of the NBA landscape.
1. Are the Portland Trailblazers for real?
Gallagher: Ah, hell naw. What… you think because they are playing well now makes them for real? Nothing is for real until June. NOTHING. And there is no physical evidence that they can play this well in June. You got a time machine? No? Then how can I call the Blazers for real? Just ask last year’s Heat, who most definitely weren’t for real until Ray Allen hitthat corner 3.
FBJ: Honestly,I don’t think I’m equipped to answer this question knowledgeably because it seems I’ve misplaced my freshman philosophy textbook. I can’t remember which dead guy’s take on reality I uncritically accepted wholeheartedly because my professor seemed really convincing. I did finish MULHOLLAND DR. though and I tell people it’s one of my favorite films, so I’ll say the Trail Blazers are real.
Sabine: No…this world is a chaotic storm of misconceptions and empty promises. Nothing is real except the sweet relief of death.
Goodman: Are they for real? Well, let’s see: Do they have big time player who makes big plays in big moments? If you measured the temperature of the blood in their veins, would the thermometer just say ICE? Do they have championship pedigree, which is to say, did two champions come together, split a bottle of wine, throw on a Ginuwine joint and do the horizontal polka until a baby champion was made? Then yea, I’d say they’re for real.
Parker: (Disclaimer: I am Juan Carlos Navarros’ attorney.) I can’t speak to their realness, but I can speak to the fact that both myself, and my client, are still very aware of Nic Batum’s actions two summers ago.
2. Good answer. But are they really for real?
Gallagher: Well see, if you’re asking if they’re really for real then of course they are. They’re pretty solid and as father always said, “If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck… it’s probably AN AWESOME PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL TEAM!!!” Then father would flip every table he could find and screamed “I’M SO F***ING JACKED RIGHT NOW!”
FBJ: Asking the same question twice in a row is a pretty good sign my first answer was wrong. Or is that what you want me to think? To be honest, MULHOLLAND DR. was really confusing and I’m not sure if it was real or not. Plus, it’s pretty unrealistic that Sideshow Bob is their starting center. Have you seen him play? He scoops his hook shot, for Pete’s sake! Scook shots aren’t real things. Then again, it doesn’t get more real than punches to the groin. I guess I’ll stick with my original answer, they’re real.
Sabine: What is real? Is it a team with a rabid fan base surprising the NBA with the combination of great shot selection and mediocre defense or is it something deeper? Something scary that we are afraid to confront so we fill our lives with PER and Lebron and Kevin Hart Movies while whats “real” sits there, untouched…..perfect.
Goodman: How “for real” are we talking? There’s as many levels of “for real” as there are pundits, obviously. I assume “really for real” ranks somewhere between “Jemele Hill for real” and “Tim Cowlishaw for real,” in which case I’ll say, yea, they’re really for real.
Parker: Oh, I don’t know. Were my clients testicles real? Are they still? Yes? Then I’d say that no, the Trailblazers aren’t for real, because any organization that would employ and support a player who conducts themselves in such an abhorrent manner is certainly not real. Real is kindness. Real is love. Real is Navarro.
3. Who is the realest team in the NBA right now?
Gallagher: Boston Celtics for sure. For real = championships and as far as I know, they have the most. That was the easiest question I’ve ever answered in the entirety of my living life. Idiot.
FBJ: Atlanta is the realest team right now. Sitting at 10-10 with a -0.4 point per game differential. Doesn’t get more real than across the board mediocrity. The Hawks are just like us normal folk, just trying to keep their head above water and not screw things up too badly.
Sabine: What a pedantic question. Can you fully understand a baby’s first breath? What about a grandfather’s last words? Hurricanes and human embryos are perfect circles; is this happenstance or is something more real than we could ever understand be happening? But probably the Spurs.
Goodman: I’m torn between The Spurs and a 29-way tie among the not-Nets.
Parker: Reality within the NBA? Pardon me while I scoff into my sangria, sir. Or ma’am, I don’t know what you are. Gender is a social construct anyways. Why are all baby clothes either pink or blue? Tell me that.
The realist team in the NBA is the Minneapolis Lakers because not existing is more real than this plastic ghost existence that teams currently function under. Adam Silver is who Orwell was talking about. Think on your sins.
4. Is Santa Claus for real?
Gallagher: Even though his physical real-ness is questionable, the rings on his fingers from the Toy-Making Finals are not. Dude is a true champ. REAL!
FBJ: No. Seeing your uncle, who changed his name to support his favorite team, trying to put on a red suit on Christmas Eve with a beer in his hand and an unlit cigarette in his mouth kills off any belief a child might have in the existence of a white-bearded gift giver.
Sabine: I don’t believe in a white guy with a white beard who knows if I have been good or bad. You think I am talking about Santa I am talking about GOD!!!!!!
Goodman: Maybe, but when it comes to the holiday season, the Maccabees are the most for real. Talk about battle tested…
Parker: In the Navarro household he is. But that’s only because that is a home filled with joy. I suppose if you’re not into that sort of thing — if you’re more into getting your rocks off at the Rose Garden while Aimee Mann plays some secret acoustic set at Veritable Quandry — then yea, I guess you’d be the type to call Santa fake.
5. Are you for real?
Gallagher: Sadly, no. I wish I was but I’m not. I got no championships. I got no rings. Except this stupid wedding ring, but I didn’t win a championship because of it. Just the love of my stupid life. If you need me, I’ll be sitting beneath the willow.
FBJ: Oh, I’m so for real. Ask any of these other “experts” whose tails I just handed. This is a competition right?
Sabine: I am just a collection of cells and skin and thoughts and memories and regrets and hope and failures and disappointments and late fees and vices and sins biding my time on this big blue marble as it hurdles 300,000 miles per hour in space.
Goodman: Wouldn’t you love to know.
Parker: Hahaha. That’s hilarious. Am I for real, you ask? Am I? Talk to the Batum estate in two days time. We’ve been silent long enough and the Navarros have now come to rattle the cage. Whatever hemp honeymoon Portland basketball is experiencing will come to a close as soon as the necessary powers hear what you’ve done to Mr. Navarro. He can’t have children anymore. His trees, they have no fruit. He is barren, a once mediocre tree that is now on his way toward death. Tell your family you love them, Nic. You will not be able to for much longer.