Links: The Rural Juror

by Lang Whitaker

Monday! I posted late last night and mentioned that I had jury duty this morning. And I did indeed. So I woke up way earlier than I usually do and headed downtown to the courthouse. Had to go through security, and as my bag went through the x-ray machine all the guards gathered around and started whispering to one another. I’m pretty good about keeping my bag organized because I travel so often that I want to avoid problems, so I briefly panicked and wondered if I’d left something in there, like nail clippers or something. Turned out they were heated about my tape recorder.

“Is that a tape player in your bag?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Does it record?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Why would you bring that to the courthouse?” the security guard asked, as though I’d brought in a radioactive isotope or something.

“Because I’m a writer and I do a lot of interviews and I always carry it around with me.” What, did they think I was going to secretly tape what promised to be compelling small talk between strangers in the jury room?

So I had to check my tape recorder at the front desk. They put it in a little evidence bag and everything. Who knows what kind of havoc a scratch tape of interviews with random NBA players could have caused? Thank goodness that was taken care of.

Anyway, I went up to my assigned jury room and found a seat. A video hosted by Diane Sawyer and the late Ed Bradley was playing at extreme volumes on a couple of flatscreens, giving us potential jurors a brief history of the legal system. At one point, they said guilt or innocence during Medievil times was determined by tying a person’s hands and throwing them into a lake; if they floated they were innocent, if they sank they were guilty. I’m pretty sure this only happened in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

A baliff walked in and started giving a talk about why we were there, blah blah blah. I wasn’t listening because I was reading the Manny Ramirez feature in last week’s New Yorker.

Then I heard him say, “Would anyone like to postpone their service until June or July?”

“I would,” my voice said, before I could even process the thought.

“Come on up,” the man said. I don’t think I’ve ever moved so fast in my life. Everyone else was kind of looking around bewildered as I booked it to the desk in the front of the room. I picked the latest possible date available, and I was excused. So no jury duty for me right now. I have no problem seving on a jury, but this is a busy week for me because we’re working on our Streetball issue and I’ve got to go hang with an NBA player this week. I don’t think he’d accept jury duty as a excuse to reschedule. When I turned around to leave there was a line of people behind me waiting to escape.

In honor of my attempted jury duty, I now present a clip from “30 Rock” about their movie within the show, “The Rural Juror.”

Didn’t think I’d be coming to work today, so I didn’t bring my laptop. This would have been a great excuse to go home and sleep, but I swung through the SLAM Dome and I’ve appropriated the computer of SLAM editorial assitant Konate Primus.

Playoffs! I wrote a lot last night about the games yesterday, but I can’t stop thinking about the disaster in Dallas last night. Why did Avery Johnson try to pla small ball? The only explanation I can think of is that he thought, “Well, we got seven games to play with here, so let’s see if we can run with them for one game.” To me, Dallas going small wasn’t so much a desperation move as it was a grand, failed experiement. If it had worked we’d be singing Avery’s praises. But it didn’t work. You can try something once, and if it fails you’ll be considered someone not afraid to experiment. If you try it twice, though, then we start asking the hard questions.

And over on the sideline, Mark Cuban looked like he swallowed his blog.

The Lake Show looked pretty good for about half of the game yesterday, but their lack of depth, particularly in the backcourt, was glaring. Jordan Farmar tries hard, but he doesn’t really contribute anything. And Smush Parker looked like he’d rather be a Genesis concert than on the floor.

Tonight we get Game Two of Orlando/Detroit and Utah/Houston. Orlando did nothing in that first game to make me think they have a shot tonight, unless their offense suddenly becomes mobile and agile. And I’m looking forward to watching Utah/Houston and compiling a few notes as we go.

I’ll be back tonight with notes…40 games…40 nights…