As it IS Valentine's Day, I wanted to point you specifically to Free Darko's epic post (of guest-posts) dedicated to "Love and Basketball."
There are notable submissions from Deadspin's Will Leitch, With Leather's Matt Ufford,
TrueHoop's ESPN.com's Henry Abbott a cavalcade of top-notch NBA bloggers... and even one from me.
Here's the link, so you can read my submission in its original form and see the great work by everyone else, but here's what I contributed:
"He's Just Not That Into U-donis"
Filed by Dan Shanoff
I'm not quite sure I can pinpoint exactly when I knew I WOULD marry my wife, but I'm quite sure I can pinpoint exactly when I knew I COULD:
The year: 2001
The setting: Our first date.
The context: 1.2 bottles of wine into dinner.
The topic on the table: The preeminent value of offensive rebounds in relation to (1) a basketball team's chances of success and (2) a basketball forward's worth as a player.
Let me clarify: My wife (then, the random woman I was on a first date with) was making that argument. I was pretending to engage in the discussion. I was nodding. I may have even been responding.
All I know is that her voice was drowned out by the one in the back of my head:
Li'l Danny: "Are you listening to this? Are you listening?!"
Me: "Pipe down. She's trying to make a point about the pro potential of Udonis Haslem."
Li'l Danny: "The fat
Li'l Danny: "But here is a woman who not only loves basketball, but appreciates it for its subtle pleasures!"
Me: "Which *I'm* trying to appreciate, save for your yammering!"
Li'l Danny: "I think I'm in love. Go on: Say something smart that will make her respect you for your basketball knowledge!"
Me: "OK...wait: I'm blanking! I'm blanking!! It's all too much pressure! I'm smitten!"
Li'l Danny: "Plus-minus! Plus-minus!"
Me: "What the hell is 'plus-minus?'" (Remember: It was 2001.)
Li'l Danny: "Nooooo! Damn your ignorance! You better switch topics to something more your speed... like pop culture."
Me: "So, uh, how about those...um...'Sex and the City' women?" (D'oh!)
Fast-forward nearly six years, one marriage and one kid later: Her enthusiastic argument on behalf of offensive rebounds remains THE most -- if not only -- vivid detail of our entire first date.
And as we sit in our NYC apartment today watching her favorite NBA player -- David Lee (yeah, she's a Gators fan) -- she's still talking about offensive rebounds. And knowing Lee's NBA-best offensive-rebounding numbers, I couldn't love her more for it.
Happy Valentine's Day, everyone.