Jason Gay’s Way With Words

“Let’s Sell New York With Phil Jackson,” by Jason Gay. The Wall Street Journal, 4/18/2016.

From an early photo. He looks much better now.

Jason Gay from an early photo. He looks much better now.

As I mentioned before, I am a fan of Jason Gay, a sportswriter for The Wall Street Journal. I read him for his way with words, even when I have no interest in the topic. His recent article on Phil Jackson, superintendent of the New York Knicks basketball team is a good example. He refers to the Knicks as “a basketball team/comedy store.”

Gay is describing Jackson’s season-ending exit interview to the media. The Knicks, he says, have “suffered through another disenchanting year, deftly avoiding the playoffs, and Jackson sounded like a man returning dud fireworks on the 5th of July.”

And this in just the first paragraph.  Gems in the rest of his column include:

♦  “During the 20th century, the Knicks have operated as a tragicomic performance art trope—often abysmal, seldom enjoyable, chronically maddening, reliably ludicrous.”

♦  “. . . the Knicks bumble around the basement in the darkness, a plastic mop bucket atop their head.”

♦  When they drafted Kristaps Porzingis last year, “Knicks fans at the draft reacted as if they had been served cold lima bean casserole.” But Porzingis started out well until the second half of the season when the whole team fell apart. They replaced their coach with an interim coach who could become permanent, a possibility “that makes Knicks fans want to eat cold lima bean casserole.”  (Gay often repeats a metaphor with a twist, like this.  I love it.)

♦  “The Knicks don’t have a first-round draft pick this year—Jackson’s predecessor dealt it in 2013 for Andrea Bargnani, who is no longer employed by any NBA club, so I’m going to mark that trade in the ‘Not Such a Good Idea’ column.”

♦  “If Jackson’s [previous] success with the Bulls and Lakers elevated him to a genius, a Robert DeNiro of coaching, the Knicks are his ‘Meet the Fockers.’”

♦  Putting a positive spin on the team and reasons new players should join, Gay says, “The Knicks have never lost an entire team at sea. Look it up. It’s true.”

♦  Gay continues, “And nearly every corner in New York has a 24-hour market that will sell you two double-A batteries and a coffee for $36.”

I know my limitations and I could never come up with these bons mots on my own. But I also have no shame and will use his wherever I can.

(My use of The Wall Street Journal as a source of inspiration for this blog will soon be curtailed. My “new subscriber” teaser-rate subscription will shortly run out and the rate will jump to $340 per year, way more than I am willing to pay. They have a student rate and a corporate rate, but no senior rate, so they will get nothing from me instead of something reasonable, and I will have to travel to my local library and copy articles with the Office Lens app on my tablet. After 6 months of this nonsense, I will be considered a new subscriber and eligible for the lower rate again.  I’m going to place that policy in the “Not Such a Good Idea” column.  It makes me want to eat cold lima bean casserole, I kid you not.)


About Roger Walck

My reasons for writing this blog are spelled out in the posting of 10/1/2012, Montaigne's Essays. They are probably not what you think.
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