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Photo by Tom Goskar

“No excuses;” this is the chant emanating from NBA locker rooms across the land. In some ways, this allergy to excuse-making is an admirable trait, a willingness to take responsibility for one’s own performance. But it also carries with it a whiff of noble self-aggrandizement, of wishing to be seen as piously professional, as virtuous and manly. Oftentimes too, this righteous self-reliance can descend into a kind of absurdity, leading folks to elide what are not excuses, but actual reasons for a team or individual’s performance. For instance: the Wolves put on a grisly show in Los Angeles on Monday because they were clearly fatigued from their brutal west coast road trip. This is not an excuse but a reason.

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