Hey look everybody, our picture’s in the paper! The NBA players–specifically plaintiffs Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant and Steve Nash among many others–are taking their antitrust suit against the league to the Minnesota courts. The reason? According to players’ lawyer David Boies, “the docket is less congested there. They have a good track record of handling these kind of cases very promptly.”Ah, Minnesota, prized nationwide for its promptness and efficiency. And you better believe the judge will tell Carmelo to “have a real good day now” on his way out.
I’ve always felt that our resolutely polite on-timeness was of a piece with our Christmas-sweatered stoicism, our stubborn, but ultimately awfully inexpressive politeness. A little hard to take, in other words. But living here in New Mexico, where important things–straight answers, extremely important pieces of paper that you need to, like, get paid and you know for sure you delivered in person, people–just kind of drift away into the desert, where the guy who was supposed to fix your hot water heater shows up ten hours late because “oh man bro, things just got crazy over here” (translation: “I was talking to someone about my girlfriend’s kids, the stray dog living in my backyard, the Raiders.”), I’m gaining a new understanding of efficiency’s charm. Nice job, everybody. (Don’t get me wrong, though: New Mexicans are really great, warm people who throw a mean day of the dead parade and can really hook up a breakfast burrito.)
The added irony to this is that the players are choosing our pleasantly efficient state as a place to begin the hardest-core phase of their confrontation with the league. Indeed, the diclaiming of the Union may have been the moment that the players realized that they were engaged, not in a negotiation with the owners, but in a bloodsport. That it took them nearly three years to wake up to this reality is a little puzzling (in his comprehensive flaying of the Union’s bargaining tactics, in Grantland, Bill Simmons wonders why, if they had any plans at all to dissolve the Union, they didn’t do so the moment they realized the owners a) held all the cards and b) had no inclination to bargain. Which moment ought to have occurred long ago.) But however they got here, for the NBA right now, MN is uncharted territory.