I don’t have much to say about the Rockets except: They fucking rock. Perfect team for the age, a too-neat encapsulation for the excesses and incompetence of the ruling class. Tillman Fertitta is your boss. He’s the man who pulls the levers, he’s treated as if he is the driving force of the US economy, and he just straight up sucks ass by any rational measurement of decency or productivity that we have to draw on. What a maroon.
First off, even though he’s worth a bunch of money on paper because he owns a bunch of shitty chain restaurants, he bought the Rockets with a bond issue, i.e., he paid for a professional sports team worth two billion dollars or some shit by putting it on a credit card. IDK why he did this, aside from trying to improve his credit. Was he having trouble leasing a hummer or some shit? Did he need to re-fi his student loans? Did the bank refuse to extend his PAL? Nothing is more American than saddling yourself with massive debt for a house, a graduate degree, or a basketball team that flames out at the most crucial moment of the playoffs every single time.
Or maybe he thought, this worked for buying a casino and hundreds of fast casual restaurants. I’ll be fine unless the dumbfuck President, who I supported, fucks somthing up so badly that it represents an existential threat to my entire industry and… whoops! You know I don’t want to say that COVID was worth it just because of how deeply it fucked Tillman but… it’s a silver lining.
As a result of his shitty portfolio, primarily made up of a basketball team and restaurants, taking a fat stinky dive into the toilet, Tillman, totally fucked, then proceeded to force out the team’s great (albeit egomaniacal) general manager, successful head coach, and proceeded with a raft of cost cutting that told a fascinating story about what his tenure as the owner of the Rockets might be like, which is to say, pretty fucking bad.
James Harden, not a moron, saw this and thought it’s time for Daddy to get the fuck out of town.” First he demanded the team trade Russell Westbrook. After they did, he told Tilman, “Fuck you, trade me to Brooklyn.” They said no. He went to Lil’ Baby’s birthday party (where he gifted him a bundle of $100,000 in cash, baller shit), then said “Fuck you, trade me” to COVID by immediately flying cross-country to party in Vegas. He’s now expanded his preferred trade list to other contenders, but Houston is still pretending they’ll keep him as part of a Suicide Squad-style roster alongside John Wall, Boogie Cousins, and P.J. Tucker who hates the Rockets even more than Harden does.
Harden sees where this toilet water flume ride is headed. He, unlike Fretitta or any of the other billionaire freaks who run everything, is cursed to have a short career. He would rather not waste it playing for a continually disintegrating organization operated by a reality tv billionaire who charged poor Joey Devine five dollars a month for an employee discount at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company.
Now, a rational person, like me, says, good idea James! Maybe you don’t need to throw around honey buns in the peak of a pandemic, but you should probably get the fuck out of Houston for your own good.
But other people out there – sad people, bootlickers, basketball nationalists – who whine about this. “SMALL MARKETS CANT KEEP ANYONE,” they yell, forgetting that Houston is the 4th-biggest city in America, and the Rockets are under the sway of a dumb rich guy who is addicted to debt. “THE PLAYER EMPOWERMENT MOVEMENT HAS GONE TOO FAR,” they cry, somehow not taking a second to recognize that players are leveraging their power against hogs who make their lives worse. Reporters, who live off a steady diet of leaks from ownership, are doing their bidding in the papers. Harden is being condemned for taking a private plane to Vegas during road trips and making his teammates spend extra days in his favorite road cities like LA and Miami, as if any of that kept Harden from racking up a million triple-doubles and scoring titles in between his in-season bacchanalias. This ESPN hit piece is aimed directly at those basketball Calvinists, when the ultimate takeaway from that article is that practice doesn’t really matter for superstars, and James Harden is cool as fuck.
These NBA puritans have been conditioned, since birth, to accept authority as it has been presented to them all their lives. In America, it’s the rich and the military and the police and powerful. In basketball, it’s Tilman. His open incompetence and lack of basic empathy are the qualities of these institutions that people honor and respect, while shit just gets worse and worse and worse everyday. Everyone employing critical thinking skills is fucking sick of it and guess what, James Harden has those! Follow his lead and overthrow the masters!!
Also Tillman is probably (definitely! Don’t sue us) in the mafia. How often can you legit accuse an NBA owner of being in the mafia?