Wednesday marks the final night of the NBA regular season, which means the basketball world is about to get very serious. The loose 82-game schedule is about to give way to the rigid gauntlet of the postseason, a time when men prove their worth and etch their names into the annals of the sport. The time for mirth is over.
It's all a bit much, really, especially in a league that many fans are drawn to specifically because its players don't always take themselves so seriously. We must thank Memphis Grizzlies wing Tony Allen, then, for puncturing the bubble of self-seriousness so thoroughly on Tuesday night.
Taking the lead from players such as Shane Battier of the Miami Heat, Allen held a karaoke event to benefit the Juvenile Intervention and Faith-based Follow-up, an organization that works with youth already in the justice system to reduce recidivism and ensure that these kids follow a more productive life path. Unlike Battier, Allen appears to have little interest in singing accurate lyrics or carrying a tune. His performance of Montell Jordan's 1995 hit "This Is How We Do It" proves as much (via Chris Vernon).
The playoffs matter dearly to players, and it's not as if Allen's singing negates the fact that he's going to bring his usual intensity to the Grizzlies' quest to contend with the Spurs and Thunder in the West. The idea is that these aspects of himself can exist simultaneously, just as it's perfectly normal to support a noble charity by doing something as ridiculous as singing Montell Jordan in unintelligible fashion.
We're about to set out upon a period of several months in which players' legacies will be decided (at least in the short term, until we decide they have new legacies) and individuals and organizations will reach or fall short of their grandest goals. Nevertheless, the inherent goofiness of the NBA persists, and we shouldn't avoid recognizing just because the structure has changed.