A black hole and a dying star nearly collided last night. It’s not clear how close to death the star actually is; all stars are dying, after all, as are we. Though they’re borough neighbors, their two energies couldn’t be more different. Last night the star beat the black hole, 112-85. The contest was over barely after it’d begun. Of course it was. Consider their natures.
The star is forever burning through its fuel, of which there’s a lot. A star-led franchise can only sink so low — and this particular franchise has seen more than its share of lows. But the star that leads them shines sooo shinily. They’ll make the playoffs if they keep him. They can’t not. Stars aren’t too big to fail, but they are too bright to miss.
The star’s satellites, bodies that might otherwise float dark and anonymous through space, instead take on reflected glory. Three years ago our two cosmic events went in different directions. The one that got all starry has a choice to make. It’s too hot to bottom out, but what was supposed to be a system orbiting a binary or even tertiary set of stars is down to one. The system could trade its last star away for the chance to gamble on younger, bluer stars (“greener” if you’re feeling figurative). Or it can hold on to that last star, enjoy its warmth as long as it lasts and see if that star going supernova someday is worth the wait.
The black hole has been a black hole for a long time. Not quite long enough that it doesn’t remember when it, too, was a star. But that was a while ago. For too long to count, the black hole’s been little more than a super massive story-eater. Any narrative, any take that comes anywhere near its enormous gravitational pull is going to be eaten. No matter what happens, win or loss, the hole remains insatiable. That is its essence. It cannot help but want, yet it can never be full. There’s one story I’m tired of reading:
Almost every single season, there is a game, a point, where a Knicks win would launch them into a good orbit, and other than 2020-21, the Knicks always, always lose those games. Those losses often spiral into season-killing losing streaks. A win last night would have made New York 6-5, winners of three of four and a team with a shot at some rising action, given their schedule the next few games. Instead they lose, leaving us with the same questions.
Is Tom Thibodeau a rigid curmudgeon or are recent adjustments proof of growth? Is Julius Randle playing more decisively and efficiently, or is he forever stuck in a 2022 loop? Does Jalen Brunson make his teammates better, or is he a good point guard on a team that can’t quite tap into his wiser winning ways? Should the Knicks stop prioritizing the paint when they keep getting killed giving up 3s? Should Randle and Obi Toppin play together every night? Should one be booted? Should all?
All these stories spin around us, every day, all days. The Knicks always have a new plan, a new story that proves they’re close to finally seeing the light. They passed on the chance to (overpay and) acquire a shiny new star of their own a couple of months ago. Maybe that pays off for them, maybe sooner than later. For now, it means our two cosmic events passed each other in the night, without much disruption for either. The star continues to burn, to shine on lesser objects without losing any of its luster. The black hole continues to spread, to consume every hot, lukewarm and absolute zero take in its future. Black holes used to be stars. We tell ourselves if we stick around long enough we’ll see that day again. That may be the only thing the black hole can never take from us: our faith that this, too, shall pass.
Quoth foiegrastyle: “Nets got that new coach smell.” Will the Knicks smell that sweet someday soon? History says yes, and look out soon for an article on this site exploring that would-be world. Next game is tomorrow when the Pistons come to New York. To infinity and beyond, we fools will reunite then.