Monday, January 08, 2007

Pre-Reviewieran Society.

Mulling it over, I now realize that the goal of this rather muddled post was to construct a historiography of how it came to pass that NBA fandom has evolved a new species of fan typified, for lack of better defined characteristics, as "anti-fantasy league." The central tenet of this fan-type is that he noticeably unimpressed by stats & W-L records. Rather, his favorite players &/or teams are dictated not by point scored or rebounds snagged (or games back or ahead), but because he/she feels that given player or team somehow says something about who the fan is as a person.

Although this thesis makes PERFECT sense to me, its difficult for people not really interested in the NBA in the 1st place to wrap thier brains around this idea. Its equally difficult for the larger contigent of fans, the very "fantasy league" fans themselves, to grasp what the fuck thier cousins are talking about most of the time. For them it is simply a matter of "Nate Robinson is awesome" & "Carmelo is a bitch." This is usually the result of limited delving into available NBA media resources. These same fans are prone to blanket statements, stated as pure fact, such as "the team w/ the highest chance of getting the number 1 draft pick NEVER gets the number 1 draft pick," even though this is patently untrue: see Cleveland, LeBron James, and Orlando, Dwight Howard.1

In the original muddled piece, I cited Simmons & Freedarko as steps of this evolution. Fat (correctly) cided me for forgetting to also throw Chauncey Billups in there & really, honestly, criminally neglecting to add Lang Whitaker's "Daily Links" to the equation. Indeed, every day at lunch from roughly 2000 to probably 2004 my NBA reading was limited to whatever bones ESPN was throwing me & the Daily Links. Then, as I recall, they got a good blogger over the Oregonian's Blazer's page, who ended up pointing me to Truehoop. A co-worker into McSweeneys sent me a link to a Wizznutz article McSweeney's had reposted. Truehoop led me to Freedarko. The Daily Links & Sportsguy & ESPN became rather dry & useless to me. But wayyyyy back at the beginning there, there was the early pupa of Reviewiera, perhaps. And its name was Eighty-Two.

Eighty-Two was a real, honest-to-good, printed-on-fucking-PAPER NBA 'zine I started in the summer of '01. I confess, at the time I was regular junkie at the Slamonline bulletin boards (ugh), nearly getting myself in trouble a few times at work for spending too much time there when I was supposed to be shuffling paper. At some point I got this idea to have other board-posters write little articles & email them to me, & I would format them & add purty pictures and then mail the final result to the contributors plus anyone reading the threads who was interested. We would then CONQUER THE WORLD w/ the FIRES of our NBA REVOLUTION...

Since it was the summe of '01 the first issue, of course, had Iverson on the cover.

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Always liked those action line thingys radiating out from behind his head.

There were ten articles. None of them were very good, or even any good, to be honest. A lot of Iverson love. Some bold predictions & daydreams about the next season. Still, it was fun to put together. For the follow-up a season preview issue was decided on.

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Larry Johnson quiety retired due to his bad back right before the start of the '01-'02 season, so he got the cover. The article count balloned to 22, although only 4 teams combined from the Midwest & Central Divisions (Dallas, Minnesota, Toronto, & Milwaukie) were previewed. Included in the 52 pages were ruminations on the return of zone defense, MJ in a Wizard's uniform, & a rather surreal article by yours truly about Harold Miner most consisting of the google translation of a german bio on Miner, which yielded gems like the following:
"Baby Jordan" was its pointed name. But could not follow large Jordan, Instead it took itself at the first part of its pointed name an example.

The baby whistled on his talent, on his branch strength, on the cash. Harold Miner does not play no more. Simply so. The stupidest course - or the most intelligent? If the college star were dead today, that would notice nobody. Allegedly not even its own mother, Where it even is, Whom it admires at most. Basketball does not play it no more, Perhaps but it throws on any baskets in Brazil and enjoys its life.
WOW! Check this out, too. Discussing Miner's fortunes after winning the slam dunk contest as a rookie.
With Steve Smith it should form one of the best Backcourts in the league, And lead the Heat again into the Playoffs!

From this nothing became, in the season 1993/1994 missed Miner of 15 plays because of a back Pulling and problems with the right knee. Therefore it could hardly improve, At the end of the season was oneself. The heat with a new club record of 42:20 victories nevertheless acheived the playoffs. Miner became not worse But the gossip over " baby Jordan " became more quietly, The prognoses darker.
Moving along, some promises were made for a mid-season issue, & everyone went back to business as usual. I was playing Final Fantasy Tactics on the ol' Playstation at the time & printed out some hints & such from the 'nets. Having started to get quite good at assembling folded booklets, I made myself a Final Fantasy Tactics booklet thingy, and, for some bizarre yet prescient reason, slapped the words "Eighty-Two presents:" in the upper left corner of the cover.

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The FFT booklet was just 18 pages long. A walk-thru & some basic info on the various jobs of the game. But I think you might see where this is going. The portal had been crossed, & the world of the NBA invaded by stranger denizens. Issue 3 of Eighty-Two was thus the mammoth 46 page Codex:Xenogears issue, of which one copy exists, of which I have misplaced twice only to rediscover later. This is really was (and is) an encyclopedic resource for playing the Playstation RPG Xenogears. Perhaps the less said about this the better, tho' obviously I wasted many a lunch break putting it together.

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I think by this time the actual reality of doing another collaborative NBA zine issue had collapsed due to boredom, laziness, & whatever unimportant reasons which seems important at the time. But I was still digging getting a hold of this formating of booklets thing, so Issue Four had the text from three William Gibson articles & an article about & an interview w/ Jim Thirlwell.

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I like the "Today's Specials" menu motif on that cover.

Issue Five was probably the shittiest. Ultraman: A User's Guide. I was into kaiju stuff for a bit there. I tossed my online research into booklet form. 16 pages.

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Issue Six in September of 2002 was better, & the last. Game hints for Frontmission3 & Legend of Mana. The text from David Foster Wallace's "f/x porn" article. Some filler in the form of additional Ultraman information. 56 pages.

Of course, the real breakthrough was that the title got changed to "Tinzeroes." As I wrote (to myself, I guess), in the Note from the Editor:
In a fit of egotistical rage, I, D.D. Tinzeroes, have commandeered the very name of this publication. What was formerly 'Eighty - Two' is from now on 'Tinzeroes.'

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So there you have the pre-Reviewieran symbiosis of NBA & other stuff that I like: namely cyberpunk fiction, video games, Japanese cinema, & the music of JG Thirlwell.


1 Glancing through year-by-year standings & draft order, I was very quickly struck by how often, by sheer eternal shittiness, the Clippers were always at the top in terms of lottery balls, yet for the life of them could not draw a fucking No. 1 pick overall. Ditto for the Vancouver Grizzlies, who had lottery ball position in '96 (Iverson) AND '97 (Duncan), as well as '99 (Brand). The Grizzlies consolation prizes were Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Antonio Daniels, & Steve Francis, who memorably forced a trade to Houston (in exchange for Othella Harrington, Antoine Carr, Brent Price, Michael Dickerson & a 1st round selection).

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