We Are All Prisoners

They watch the basketball, but what do they see?

What do we see? The most powerful athletes in the world, but in this moment they are powerless. Two magical specimens, miracles of evolution, frozen in time and space, prisoners of a bounce they can’t control. So they stand wide-eyed and silent, like schoolchildren at a magic show, waiting for the universe’s next trick. The enormous stars have become the spectators, made tiny by the limits of space and time. They watch the basketball, but in that moment, they experience the sum of their lives from an exterior perspective. They see the basketball how we see the basketball players, with no control. The moment is a metaphor for the absurdity of the game itself, the game they play, the game we watch. But is it more than that? As we watch them watch their lives without realizing it, I wonder.

Watching these frozen superstars freezes us, as well. A lightning strike that forces us to reconcile our fate with theirs. We are all as powerless as Russell and Chris in this moment. We live our lives so frenzied with activity and passion, but in this moment we see there is a broader energy dictating our fate. Bringing us together, pushing us apart, winning, losing. These are all by-products of a universal chaos that’s beyond our reach. No matter how fast we move, we are frozen next to this force, waiting to be pushed in one direction or another. Only the ball keeps moving. In this moment, we see that the basketball is our world. And we are all prisoners of the bounce.

[Thank you Bryan Terry, thank you Anthony Slater]

[To be read in the voice of Werner Herzog]

Filed Under: NBA, werner herzog, Russel Westbrook, Chris Paul

Headshot

Andrew Sharp is a staff editor at Grantland.

Archive @ andrewsharp