On Sherman Alexie

Every time someone informs me that they’ve never heard of Sherman Alexie, I do the same series of things. Initially I slam my head repeatedly against my desk. There’s a pretty smooth, shallow divot that’s been well-loved over the years. After a brief, recuperative nap, I ruminate on the downfall of the publishing industry. If an author that’s been banned multiple times and won countless (ok, 15 so far) awards is fighting an obscurity problem, then I weep for the fucking human race. This process takes about 48 seconds.

Ablutions complete, I politely direct the offending party to this very fine article Alexie wrote about the Sonics trial. It’s ostensibly about Basketball, which I’m indifferent to at best, but it’s easily my favorite example of his writing.

In it, he offers a number of bold predictions, speculations, and musings. This being 2012, I’ve elected to apply 4 years of hindsight to his auguries for like no reason. Then I’ll judge him.

– #28. “In order to make the world whole, Jeff Green will have to become the third or fourth best small forward in the league. Will Green become that great? He has enormous potential. I will be praying for him.” Jeff Green now plays for the Boston Celtics, and is not expected to start any time soon.

– #36. “…if we are to get an NBA team anytime soon, it will happen because our local rich guys bought another city’s team and moved it here.” I guess we’ll see, but it sure looks like we’re trying to steal another city’s team.

– #45. “Over the next three years, your new team will lose somewhere between 160 to 180 games.” Sadly, they only lost 118 games in their first three years, half during their inaugural season.

– #47. “As I write this, the general managers and owners of every other NBA team are making plans to clear their cap spaces so they can offer massive money to Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, and Nick Collison.” Collison and Durrant are still in OKC, and Green… is disappoint.

– #49. “Oh, to make you happy, I think your new draft pick, Russell Westbrook, is going to be an amazing player. I don’t think he’ll be as good as Chris Paul, but he’s going to be close.” This breakdown of the Westbrook/Paul comparison sums up with “it’s Chris Paul over Russell Westbrook by the slimmest of margins”.

I’m not throwing rocks Alexie, the man knows more about writing and basketball than I ever will. He wrote (4 years ago) out of place of love and anger, prognosticating more presciently than anyone really has a right to. Where he was right, he was intelligent and profoundly poetic. Where he was wrong he was angry and still poetic.

What then is the point? Final Summation? None.


On Sherman Alexie

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