The slowest miniseries in television history is not Brideshead Revisited, it's Magic-Hornets. God created the heavens and the earth in half as many days as the Nets and Pacers were allotted on the schedule to play five games. The Jazz and the Kings last week were given three days off to travel from Sacramento to Salt Lake City, a distance of 850 miles. So it has come to this: Actual mailmen now make better time than the Mailman.
Because the NBA playoff schedule has all the momentum of Gosford Park, moves at the pace of tectonic plates and provides each team three days between games to better accommodate television executives, I asked the sport's most excitable observer to expound on the ruination of basketball. This is what Bill Walton said: "What?!"
But, Bill, just last week Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley and every columnist in America complained that the playoffs take longer than church.
"What are you complaining about? Listen. To play or watch basketball for a living is the greatest job in the world. Anyone who doesn't think so needs to take a long walk on a sunny day and then look in the mirror and ask, 'What has happened to me?' "
But, Bill, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said after Game 2 of the Spurs-Sonics series, "Game 3 is in a month and a half."
"You may recall," said Walton, "that the game is played for the fans. If you go back to just one day between games and overlapping games on TV, people will say, 'How are we gonna watch all this?' "
But, Bill, you're the most depraved consumer of basketball on the surface of our pebble-grained globe, a man who is—at this very moment-traveling to 30 NBA games in 30 days on a grand tour of the postseason....
"Actually, I started my tour in '74. The bus came by, and I got on. There was Cowboy Neal at the wheel of the bus to Never-Ever Land."
But, Bill, many of our readers do not speak Neptunian and would ask you to repeat that in Earthling.
" 'The bus came by/And I got on./That's when it all began./There was Cowboy Neal/At the wheel/Of the bus to Never-Ever Land.' Second song ever written by the Grateful Dead. It's called The Other One...."