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Heat 109, Knicks 101: “Maybe they want it more”

I’m a loser. I’m a winner inside my dome. One thing I have decided I’ll never have, though, is this team’s mentality.

NBA: Playoffs-New York Knicks at Miami Heat Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

I have been thinking about getting a radical haircut for a while.

Haircuts have this thing to them that once you leave the barbershop and cross that door donning a freshly fade there is no one—absolutely, unequivocally, no one—stopping you from running through a thousand brick walls oozing confidence.

If you ever want to boost someone’s spirit, or if you want to organize an early September gathering for the kids of your block before they hit school after the summer break and hand them something that makes them happier entering such a dark period, gift them a haircut. Call your barber, set it up, and organize it all. Haircuts for all. That’d build an army in an instant, trust me.

I have been thinking about that. I hate long hair in my head—it just feels like something I have to unnecessarily need to deal with on a daily basis. It’s harder to wash, takes an extra effort. I’m happier with my buzzcut, as plain as it might look.

But hey, I have been thinking about getting something fancier, perhaps a fade, perhaps something else. No matter way, a cut’s a cut and I know for a fact I’ll feel better and be in a higher place once I get it.

I have also loved art all of my life. It’s been more than 30 years. My mother loves flowers, which is the closest thing to art that nature provides us with. My father runs a screen-printing workshop. He’s been there forever. He worked at a mortuary before, but that’s a tiny, distant detail that is not really related to anything he does now.

His new workshop is mad great, and although his designs are often ordered by local, boring businesses—think, your casual construction or lawyer labels—it’s just impossible for me not to get inspired and pumped when I go there on the suburbs and see all the ink flowing and getting plastered on tees and sweatshirts, the machinery sounds, the buckets of cold colors, the mixtures, and whatnot.

So now you know why I have always wanted to get inked myself. I don’t know why, really, but I have been thinking about getting a tattoo or two forever. Perhaps I have been waiting just trying to find the perfect connection between image and meaning. But I for sure know, I am totally convinced, that I will love it once it’s deer sitting in my skin, over my thin-ass bones, whatever the place of choice is. I will resolutely get that done—someday, probably soon—I don’t know when, I wish it was yesterday, but I guess it’ll have to still wait a bit.

Believe me on that one, too. I have already even messaged a tattoo parlor close to my crib. Asked them what’s the minimum. Asked them if they take walk-ins. They said $40 and yes. That’s alright, that’s pretty cool. I pitched them a couple of ideas and they told me those were hella possible to do under that rate, it’d be $80 bucks for the two. I then threw them a curveball, added a little third piece to that, and they answered telling me that’d be so quick and simple that they’d ink it on me for free. I’m pumped as a dumbass just thinking about it!

All of the above has been in my mind popping up daily, hourly, by the minute almost, for more than a couple of weeks. It’s even longer than I’ve wanted to pierce my left ear. Nothing fancy. Just your run-of-the-mill hole-through-the-lobe.

You can go and ask our own Lee Escobedo if you don’t believe me, for real. I asked him a couple of stupid questions—probably out of initial fear—a while ago. Go ask him, seriously, I’m sure he’ll tell you I sounded mad convinced about it.

On Sunday, something happened to me.

I lost a molar tooth. That’s nothing really important. I mean, it is or might be, but hey, live goes on, right? I’m here writing this so no worries, right? It’s all good.

I lost it and it was ugly. The molar, I mean. It was ugly because it was mad rotten. I should have taken a picture, and had I shown it to you, you probably wouldn’t even have been able to guess what the hell that was. In fact, I think it was pretty much just hanging in there by thin air between two other pieces because the gum under it was somehow all healed. It was the cleanest extraction you’d ever see.

But it sucks. I lost it eating an apple. A juicy, healthy apple. Sins of the past brought me here, though. Sins, or sweets, whatever you prefer. Only, you know, I could never help myself so I kept pounding on those Reese’s and those Snickers and blasting toward whatever coated in devilish chocolate entered my goddamn field of view. In fact, I was a hunter. You could hide them bars from me—I’d still found them. It was hurting me, I knew it, I couldn’t care less. I would still tell you, ‘my man, we’ll be alright.’

It’s a never-ending loop, really. You just convince yourself about what’s good, and what’s not, and about whether or not you should keep doing it or not, and also told you inside your brain that you’ll stop—preferably sooner than later, next Monday, maybe—and that nothing bad will happen and you’ll eventually come out a winner.

But you know you’re playing already defeated, and that you’ll eventually just go down crashing in flames. Unadulterated inevitability awaits, but you refuse to face it even though you know it will come back to you hitting your chest in the numbers with the power of Bo Jackson running 4.13.

You stay on that repetitive beat. You tell you the good things.

“Maybe I’m a loser.” “Maybe others want it more, I don’t know.” “Gotta find a way to step up if we want to stay alive.”

It’s either one or the other, brother.

It’s all fancy in the head—confidence runs wild inside the dome. It’s on steroids inside the hemispherical bone. But unless and until you speak that shit into existence, it goes for nothing. And then, all of a sudden, you’re done. Five feet under. Kaput. Fade to black, tooth gone, season over.

The New York Knicks lost Game 4, 109-101 to the Miami Heat.

The New York Knicks and all of their members will be enjoying a trip to Cancun no later than Wednesday. Or maybe, you know, they can drag the dream for a little longer and reach Friday still alive. Or next Monday.

“I didn’t do a good job of it today. And I got to be better.”

“Long story short, I need to be better.”

“We’ve got to get back to being the tough, physical team that we’ve been. If we can clean that up we have a good chance.”

At the end of the day, “You’ve got to win four to win a series.” And hey, we outside still on that vibey 1-3, right? Live to die another day.

I can only thank you, Knickerbockers. You made me realize that I don’t want to be a loser anymore, nor live exclusively inside my fabricated-confident brain, or offer apologies or highly encouraging words that end up meaning nothing because they’re ultimately not put to use nor spoken into existence.

I’m just tired. I have booked my barber, my inker, and my piercer. I getting that fade, that ink, and that earring. We will all die sooner than we think, so I’d at least do something instead of just dreaming and talking about it.

Meet you at the other end, NYK. Wait for me there.