The night is Thursday night. To be specific, it is the second Thursday since LeBron James' Heat lost the NBA Finals in six to a Dallas Mavericks team you've largely always been on the better side of ambivalent towards. Sure, those six months you once spent living in Denton, Texas, finding yourself allowed for you to see Mark Cuban's early brilliance (basketball games shot and broadcast in letterbox in a pre-HD world!), but all this did was make you nostalgic towards the Rockets of your youth and wish that they still had yellow as part of their primary color scheme.
The NBA, in many ways, may represent a distant first love in your life -- that girl with whom you once shared a ridiculously awkward informal divorce masqueraded as a conversation about no longer wanting to carpool to school anymore, but still, something indelibly part of you. While you can't pretend you watch it with the same fervor, vigor, wit, candor, or acumen as many of the best at it on these very internets, there is one thing, one constant in your wheelhouse which can never be taken away -- the NBA Draft.
When the tapestry fades and the colors blur from sanguine to disillusioned and you suddenly find the pageantry and tribalism of collegiate sports more to your particular levels of cynicism, you in essence find yourself rendered an NBA hipster of sorts; you're seeing the future of the game in high enough dosages to come to some sort of preconceived world view as to what these 18-20 year olds will represent when they have no real responsibilities but their bodies and the game that they love (or in Vince Carter's case, once upon a time was an unfair number of standard deviations of athletic ability away in relation to your peers) -- and you're seeing them first.
Does this give you any sort of leg up on any of the other Goodwill-couch point guards trying to pontificate dogmatically about whom the next Mike Conley or David West is (lord help us, 2011)? Not in the least. Does that mean you're about to stop a 15-plus year tradition of watching college, high school, and bewildered foreigners take awkward photos on what essentially amounts to a soundstage while spending three plus hours of your life telling no one in particular on some branch of the internet that someone's great instincts will successfully compliment his rangy intangibles while also supplementing a mentally sophisticated understanding of defensive positioning? Not in a million years.
Factor in a few craft beers; specifically you're now toeing the grey line between how you used to relax after class in college on Thursdays and "oh-crap-this-must-be-what-Keon-Clark-feels-like-all-the-time", and all of the sudden one of the aforementioned nonplussed internationals kissing a super-sized overseas model type has your subtly chemically altered brain on the same wave length as a friend in the same state of mind watching the same thing four miles away: "I wonder how much Wizards season tickets run?"
The more you sit on it the notion, the more logical your internal monologue seems. "Hey, John Wall, they're fun, that foreign guy's girlfriend was pretty swanky, John Wall, they're young, John Wall, Andray Blatche may leave town after being shot from a cannon, John Wall, NBA season tickets! And did I already mention John Wall?" Before you're entirely sure what's happening, the two of you are exchanging texts, visiting NBA.com, and coming dangerously close to turning a hare-brained impulse into a potentially retroactive two-man non-zero sum game.
Then again, the sums in the equation may actually make sense. You still know you'll always hold the NBA fondly in your heart, and what do you have to do on random Saturdays and Thursdays anyways with the sport a bit more recently firmly entrenched to your heart strings about to hibernate for a long winter? You pull the trigger. There's no going back now.
Flash forward to a random Friday in December: you've got a mild sinus infection, you're working from home in sweats, drinking green tea, and you hear a rapid pulsing at the door. An envelope slides underneath. This is really happening. For better or Nets-Wizards, you're about to undertake 30ish basketball games over a span of four months. You go to a preseason game. You watch the home team shoot 23 percent from the field. But hey, convenient Metro access. You are an NBA season ticket holder. You are the 1 percent; okay so not so much this, but for at least five hours a week for the next 16 weeks, no one will fault you for pretending you're something you aren't. Some in the building already are.