My first daughter was born about a week late. It’s something that I barely remember now, nearly 8 years later. Now that we’ve seen her grow up and become this wonderful little human being who is smart and curious and great at school and…I could go on and on.
In the lead up to and passing right by of her due date, though, that was a experience, in the moment, that was difficult to manage. If you’ve ever had a partner be 9 months pregnant, I’m sure you understand what I mean. The sleepless nights. The constant discomfort. The endless anxiousness. There’s always your best laid plans and then the way things actually go. Those things do not align often enough, in my experience. And, the waiting, at the time, was….just hard.
I’m not comparing waiting on a marquee free agent to choose where he’s going to play to pregnancy or the lead up to the birth of a child. I’m not a monster. But, there’s a lack of control of a situation that you thought would go a certain way and then just doesn’t that is similar. We know an end game is coming. We just don’t know when. There’s a toll it takes on you mentally that is hard to put into words. You just know that you feel it. And all you can do is ride it out.
Maybe this speaks to a level of investment in such things that we simply should not have. This is sports. It’s not real life. Some might take offense to me putting it in those terms, but I speak from a place where I’ve experienced things in the past few years that have put sports back into the proper perspective. Sports is not that.
That said, I remain invested in how this goes, even if I should probably know better. Here I am writing this piece. And refreshing twitter. And texting people who I know to know a bit more than me and are plugged into things in ways I am not. What way is the wind blowing? What is the perspective of those who would be labeled a “source close to the situation”?
I’ve done this more than I’d like to admit I have, if I’m being honest. Waiting is hard.
The reporting around this has not helped, honestly. What’s clear to me is that people who are the best at what they do — the elite NBA news breakers — aren’t very plugged in to Kawhi Leonard. I know this because they’ve told us this. They’ve said it over and over again. On TV hits, on podcasts, on radio appearances, and even in writing. They’ve told us this so I believe them.
What they’ve also told us is what they think Kawhi might do or might be thinking. That he might be considering the Clippers over the Lakers. That he might be going back to the Raptors. That the Lakers might be in the lead. That he might not want to play with LeBron. That he might want to team up with another star. That he might want to be the lone star on a contender.
And then we get more information about how what he might value, what his mindset might be, which direction he might be leaning. Joe Young didn’t have this much might.
To be clear, I’m not knocking reporters here. They’re in an incredibly difficult position. They’re being asked to fill airspace with information that, to the best of their knowledge, isn’t really known. So, we get informed speculation and opinion based on being people who have access to the league circles information like this is typically peddled in. But they only know so much. They tell us this every single time. So, I believe them. Common sense also tells me if they really knew something, they’d report it as such. And we’d not only have a TV hit, but reporting in print confirming it all. Which is exactly what we’ll get when this is actually all settled.
What we have now, though, is different. And I understand why. There’s a great demand for information no one has with enough certainty to report it. And, so, reputable people are being put in front of us to tell us what they think and what they know. And to make it worth consumers’ time and effort to pay attention to, it is not in the best interests of the networks to have these reputable people tell us “I don’t know” for 3 straight minutes. So, they mix in the things that they do know with what they think and/or have opinions on and that’s that. Rinse. Repeat.
Consumers (aka fans) then take that information and fill in whatever gaps exist with their own logic or projections of what they would do or would not do/etc and take to the streets to talk about it like it’s actually news. Well, it’s not. It’s a game of telephone and the information we have is not complete.
Maybe these are points for larger discussion on media reporting, consumer discernment, and what role we all have as partners in information sharing have when trying to get to the bottom of a story. Or maybe I’m simply trying to reconcile thoughts I’ve been having for a long time about Kawhi’s specific free agency decision. About the nearly year long reporting of how the Lakers were not a threat to sign him, to the recent shift in reporting to them being taken seriously, to now the total up-in-the-air nature of it all that has us all grasping for real answers. Was there ever a baseline truth in any of it? Was this just the natural evolution of how reporting happens relative to how Kawhi’s decision making actually went?
I don’t think we’ll ever really know, honestly.
In any event, recent reporting says that Kawhi could make his decision today. That would be great, of course. Let me get back to refreshing twit….oh, man…there I go again. Waiting, I wish it was easier.