Mark Jones’s voice is peaked the fuck out, befitting the last few posessions of an extraordinarily tight Game Seven. “HOUSTON WITH THE BALL AND UNDER A MINUTE TO GO!” You’re juiced, he’s juiced, we’re all juiced.
Then, something miraculous happens. Eric Gordon, back to the basket at half court, protecting his dribble, makes light ass contact with Chris Paul. Paul, in a snap decision that is breathtaking when you really think about it happening in the biggest moment of his team’s season, victory on the line, just a few inches away from pure, perfect, spiteful revenge against the team that traded him for a drastically inferior player because Paul’s contract was too large, decides that the only rational move here is to execute the most obvious looking flop I have ever seen in my entire life. It’s incredible. You see Gordon make a little incidental contact. You don’t see Chris’s mind say “Man I think I could probably snake a call, here.” But you do see him straightening the top of his spine, making the rest of his body all loose and fall onto the court, one arm down to keep him from falling bad.
Jones: “Paul tried to take the charge, there!” Oh, really? Was that what he was trying to do? Step in front of the defender and take on the full brunt force of their physical being, splaying out on the ground and getting the fuckin’ Duke student section jacked and juiced for another incredible hustle play? C’man Mark, just call it like it is.
Don’t get me wrong: flopping rules. Fuck honor, rules are just structures meant to be exploited. Fucking look around you, dude: laws and regulations and rules just exist to keep The Man in power. Anything you can do to subvert those rules and profit from it is pretty much good. )This doesn’t apply to, like, pouring sludge into a lake. Look, this is an imperfect metaphor but you get it.) Refs are the closest thing to a benevolent cop we have in this world, but they’re still cops, and fooling cops rules.
No whistle. I mean, of course not, right? What ref in their right mind would believe that one was sincere? And in that moment? Normal contact gets breezed over on account of an internalized desire to make the end of game flow almost all the time, why the fuck would the refs cast that tendancy aside just to award Chris Paul for taking a soft bullet to the dome?
Michael Jordan waving his finger at Dikembe expressed his purest essence. He’s a petty weirdo who loves embarrassing people but also he has fucking superpowers and always ends up on top. Chris Paul doing an instant calculation and deciding that he needs to do a fatass flop to try and sneak this game out from underneath the team he wants to beat more than any other in the universe? That’s him. Pure Chris Paul. Cerebral, shameless, totally concerned with the final score and totally unconcerned with anyone’s ideas about him. Perfect moment of Chris Paul shit, right here. It brings a smile to my face and a bitter song to my heart.
When the GAME WAS ON THE LINE, when IT WAS WINNING TIME, BABY, and Chris Paul felt the heat and knew he had to gamble, he didn’t do some iverson pullup, snake around twenty defenders, take some absurd 40-Footer and expand the vocabulary of the game. When it came time to get the game IN THE BAG, when Mark Jones was losing his mind on the mic and I was standing in the TV room, enraptured with the game and rooting for Chris Paul to take his blood vengeance against his enemies, the deepest part of CP3’s soul didn’t operate in the way you’d think to write it in a book. There was no show of pure physical and spiritual domination over his opponents. He did not seek to bend humanity to his will, to show his opponents that he was the king, and they were all peasants, fit to suck his toes. Nah man, he took the opportunity to see if he could trick a ref into giving him a go-ahead basket, and that is just spectacular. What kind of man, when told “You gotta put it all on the line,” opts for a trick? A trickster, that’s who, the greatest heroes of all, those who fight against the formalities of society itself, even when their schemes might leave them in defeat, for now. God bless you, CP3, you perfect weirdo, and your clutch late game flop attempts. Never retire.