I want to write about basketball. College basketball, to be more specific, and the NCAA Tournament, to be even more specific.
Like how courageously the UNCG team performed, almost taking their first-round game against Florida State, which, along with Syracuse, are the only ACC teams still around. FSU beat the University of Colorado at Boulder on Monday to advance to the Sweet 16.
There was a shooting in Boulder on Monday; a 21-year-old man with anger issues and a long gun opened up in a grocery store. He killed 10 people.
I want to write about basketball, how after the long, hard pandemic winter and the green shoots of spring, we need this diversion more than ever.
But there was another shooting not even a week before, when another 21-year-old man with a long gun killed eight people, six of them Asian women, in three different Atlanta-area spas. It was part of a larger, recent spike of anti-Asian violence in the United States that can be traced back to the first use of the phrase “China Virus,” though really it’s been like this the whole time.
Man, I really want to write about basketball. There have been so many upsets in this year’s tournament and everyone’s brackets are busted, largely due to Oral Roberts University, a 15-seed Bible college in Oklahoma that knocked off a 1-seed and a 7-seed to advance to next weekend’s play. UCLA, an 11-seed, is still alive, too. That’s where Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played when he was still known as Lew Alcindor, before he converted to Islam and became an activist.
But on Tuesday, a US Marshal shot and killed a Black man in Charlotte, while attempting to serve a warrant on the man’s 32nd birthday. Right in the middle of the day.
I want to write about Loyola Chicago and the Indianapolis bubble. But two mass shooters with long guns are still alive while the unarmed Black man with a few warrants is dead. I want to write about Buddy Boeheim of Syracuse, who lit it up during the ACC Tournament. But I’ve got friends in Boulder, and I know my Black and Asian friends are fed up and scared.
I want to write about basketball. But it seems like there are more important things going on.