Dirk, Lebron, Kidd, and Me: Looking for a story.

I’m not much of an NBA fan. I root for teams based on their respective number of Tar Heels. (Dookies–ahem–Blue Devils are used as tie-breakers)

So as I watched the coverage of Jason Kidd hoisting a trophy over his head with the word “redemption” plastered along the bottom of the screen, it hit me:

We are all living vicariously through a 37-year old man (who we will likely never meet) and his quest for a ring signifying that he plays a game really well.

Jason Kidd, Dirk Nowitzki, Lebron James. All playing a game. There’s real drama there, to be sure. But my emotional distance from this particular sport grants me the clarity to see it for what it is:

Somebody else’s story.

ESPN taps into the insatiable human desire to be a part of a bigger story, and soon we forget that it really doesn’t matter. Sure, it’s the biggest day of Dirk Nowitzki’s life. But to me, it’s just Sunday. I get a little inspiration from it, and that’s about it.

It was fascinating to hear Magic Johnson talk about the aftermath of the 1984 season as though it happened yesterday, in reference to how Lebron is going to be treated this offseason. The rest of the world has all but forgotten headlines like “Tragic Magic.” It wasn’t our story.

By contrast, when you live a story, every detail is crisp 20 years later. Magic Johnson can probably tell you the reporter’s name who called him “tragic Magic.”

I’m not saying you should stop watching sports. I certainly won’t. I’m saying that you should be living a story that rivals Dirk Nowitzki’s grueling 13 years in the NBA practicing (yes, Mr. Iverson, I’m talking ’bout practice), working, honing his craft. Don’t live off of the shallow second-hand high of Dirk finally winning one. Go and win one of your own.

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