Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tyler, The Uncreated

Jeremy Tyler seems like he'd be an interesting story, right? He bailed on high school, went to go get that money in foreign professional leagues and kind of got it, while apparently not getting much better at basketball. But a two-year journey to nations defined by generalized fervor, unrelenting paradox and intense weirdness -- Israel and Japan, in this case -- and assorted frustrations and exertions in those foreign lands would seem to be the sort of thing that would teach all sorts of hard and valuable lessons inevitably denied those of us who spent our late teens concealing pony kegs and bluffing about Foucault at various institutions of higher learning.

Or, maybe it's more accurate to say that such a thing would seem that way to those of us who spent our late teens concealing pony kegs and bluffing about Foucault at institutions of higher learning. Because for Tyler himself, who remains a good athlete in a big body and who apparently still has some getting-better to do, the experience seems to have been roughly as terrifying as you'd expect, if you think about what it would actually be like to be a 17-year-old from Los Angeles in a clammy gym in Haifa with some thickly accented dude calling you a faggot and making you run suicides.

The lesson, maybe, is more than just an exercise in umpteenthery on the projection tip. Or that, but also a reminder of how young and fragile and multiply parlous these particular people-turned-transactions actually are. Jeremy Tyler is 19 years old, and will be lucky to stick with Golden State next year. He made some money abroad and could make it again if it comes to that, but he doesn't know what he's about -- or even really know how to figure out what he's about -- any more than any other 19-year-old does. As with everyone hearing their name called tonight, it's hard not to wish him well. It's strange and sad how much closer his basketball/narrative journey seems to the end than the beginning, though, considering where we all were -- and where he actually really is, in the broader sense -- at that ridiculous age.

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