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Old Man Manu | No Country For Old Men

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Cover Art: Tryan Servinis

(Editor’s Note: if you are unfamiliar with Logan please watch the trailer.)

In the orange skies of the scorpion moon he sits alone in the locker room as his left hand trembles. There is the dull roar of metal on the tile as a rusty old wheelchair rolls in. Gregg Popovich gently pats his aging pupil on the back of the head.

“Manu, what did you do?”

“Pop, the world is not the same as it was. …Mutants, they’re gone now.

Indeed, the old Spur is right.

Much has changed in the dystopian hell of 2017 South Texas. The president is a lunatic and the uncanny Duncan and Parker are no longer of this earth. Agents of evil like Draymond Green are on the hunt—Pop and Manu are all that is left.

Chapter 1: Narcissism

Many moons ago, Professor Charles Xavier found Logan (then known as Wolverine) in the vast northern mountains of Alberta, Canada—a bare knuckle brawler working in saloons, running from his past. RC Buford stumbled upon Ginobili the same way—the flowing hair and chaotic cowboy roaming the outback of Australia.

There was a sense the young man was as misunderstood as he was talented. In the mythology, there’s the tale of an unknown Manu in Indianapolis for a FIBA tournament, throwing down a dunk that silenced the 20,000 people in attendance. No video exists of the event; only torn limbs in the police report.

Logan film director James Mangold says something that drew him to Wolverine was that he was the least narcissistic comic book character you’ve ever seen. There was no need for a shiny costume; jeans and tank top would suffice. He was a man of duty and principle above all else.

Popovich had asked as much of Manu in those early days: Come off the bench; lead the second unit; sacrifice for the team. Things unheard of for a Hall of Fame talent.

The adjustment first challenged his ego, then the Spurs trait of “getting over yourself” began to settle in. It manifested even in his appearance. Manu started losing his hair, and in a league obsessed with appearance, brand, and youth, the old man never covered up for one moment with a headband.

Chapter 2: Bravery

Logan was the bravest of the Marvel Universe—a soldier who gave everything to those around him. No shot was too big for Ginobili. No pass or move too insane. He left his guts out on the court every night. So while Tim Duncan became the soul of San Antonio, it was Manu who possessed its heart.

Chapter 3: Healing

Both Logan and Manu lived with metal fused within—one of adamantium, the other of flowing silver.

Wolverine had the mythical healing factor, quickly regaining full health from any wound or bullet. His true age was a mystery—he’d traveled the world for over a century.

Manu had a previous life in Italy, Wolverine somewhere in Japan. Ginobili aged like no other. His benching may have been Pop’s greatest gift. Well into his 30s he was capable of preposterous things like this.

In the opening scene to Logan, the drunken mutant stumbles out of his limousine and almost regretfully unleashes his metal claws. Briefly, we see that one metal claw on his left hand is half-erect. He notices it before being punched in the face. Violence ensues. He unleashes his fury.

Old Man Manu had a similar impotency, losing his right testicle in the fog of war. After surgery, he returned quickly to practice with a military grade athletic supporter. Immediately, he was diving on the ground, drawing charges, attacking ruthlessly.

Via ESPN:

Ginobili vowed that once he returns, he would play with the same reckless abandon that has cemented his reputation around the league for more than 14 seasons.

“I’m not hesitating, I’m not in doubt, I’m not afraid,” he said.

Glance at footage of Manu on the bench: Muscle t-shirt; legs stretched out; no ice. It’s like he’s sitting in a cinema eating popcorn. Pop calls his name and he locks and loads. The man has only one gear. …It’s the way it’s always been.

Chapter 4: Family

In Logan, Charles Xavier tells the family of farmers at the dinner table that he used to run a school for gifted students. He laughs at how he had to throw Wolverine out a few times. Pop admits the same—he had to learn the greatest of patience for the Argentine. With time, it was trust that bonded them without fail.

Logan cared deeply for an aging Professor Xavier—getting his meds, feeding him, taking him to the toilet. The idea was to buy a SunSeeker and sail away together into the ocean’s dying light. Manu couldn’t walk away from Pop, either. Philadelphia’s front office offered him a suitcase of cash. Argentina promised a hero’s retreat. But Manu simply couldn’t leave, especially now that there were kids involved.

In a secret lab in Mexico City there was the birth of a group of young mutants now on the run for their lives—they had powers like the X-Men they had been cloned from.

The Spurs followed the same model. DNA of Tim Duncan was used to clone the quiet, iconic grace of Kawhi Leonard. Then there was Dejounte Murray, the unheralded 20-year-old point guard extraordinaire who fell late in the draft a la Tony Parker. …And then there was X-23.

She’s like you, very much like you.

Jonathan Simmons spent his life in the shadows grinding for something better. Bouncing around from college to college. League to league. Barely putting food on the table. But he was fearless and a swashbuckler and willed his way into the NBA in his mid-20s. Athletic and hyper-instinctual, he chases down blocks with the best of them, plays lockdown D, and has no mercy attacking the rim.

Manu couldn’t let these kids take on the world alone.

Yet people were saying the old man was washed up. At the start of the 2017 playoffs it looked like he had nothing left to give.

Chapter 5: One Last Ride

There was an urgency to the man—an urgency that pulses when you know the end is near.

An uncanny villain appeared: a mutant clone of Wolverine called X-24—a larger, meaner version of himself. Manu faced this offspring with his own eyes. Houston’s James Harden—a big, burly, left-handed spawn—was sent out to kill him. Simmons did all he could to defend the bearded beast. And the old man dug deep and did this:

COURTESY OF POUNDING THE ROCK

Alas, there was no time to breathe. Warriors were now in hot pursuit, with Kawhi hobbled and hope fading fast.

Logan, you still have time.

There was the mighty growl of the Argentine, running through the Alamo with his claws out one last time.

A frenzy of the Old Man scoring against Golden State: behind the back dribbles, nutmegs, and a ferocious dunk that nearly secured a victory.

Alas, Father Time caught up. He always does. You could see it in Manu’s eyes as the final buzzer rang.

Yet the children had found their freedom, their courage, and had lived to fight another day. It was indeed a silver lining to all the collateral damage.

And with that, they buried the old man. The last of the great X-Men was dead. Tears swelled and hearts bled, as a glowing daybreak rose just over the horizon.

Marc is a Montreal-based writer and filmmaker. His work has appeared on NBA.com, Sole Shift Magazine, and Sportsnet. Marc is co-founder of Hoops Lounge, the oldest weekly basketball show in Canada. He was the only Canadian media covering the FIBA World Cup in Spain. Marc enjoys travel, indie films, Pistol Pete montages, and always believing in Kawhi Leonard.

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Ride The Wave

Back in October the sky was the limit. LeBron had decided to move to LA and join the Lakers. Things were good then.

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Back in October the sky was the limit. LeBron had decided to move to LA and join the Lakers, drawing in a decent support team and a lot of talk that the West was looking incredibly dominant next to a “weaker” East. Things were good then.

Five months later and things couldn’t be farther from that idylistic picture. The East thrived without the King and GMs put together some of the most noteworthy teams in a while. And the Lakers? The Lakers currently sit in the 11th spot of the Western Conference with very little hope of making it to the playoffs. They’re a team that is constantly attacked for their lack of chemistry, skill, and effort. For the first time in a long time, LA became synonymous with “hopeless”.

This wasn’t the future we saw for the King.

On the heels of a night filled with one of his greatest achievements ever, the Lakers as a team walked away with a loss to the Denver Nuggets. A night that began on a high note went out on one that was equivalent to sour candy. Furthermore, a frustrated team left an arena, hopped on social media, and found a bevy of congrats for their star player, while enduring the storm that came with another Lakers loss.

It seems that James’ stardom has reached a tipping point, one that makes him a GM one moment, the King of the league the next, and finally the biggest point of contention within the locker room. The most notable thing is that it is clearly wearing him down. Chris Martin let us know that “nobody one said it was easy”, but you’ve got to ask yourself, does it have to be so hard?

The answer is unfortunately, yes. It’s always going to be this way, and there is no fighting the current, but there is beauty in riding the wave. Embracing that moment when the wave comes crashing down on you is important, because it’s always going to happen, but your attitude will always be remembered. LeBron rides high, and keeps things in the positive light for the media, but he’s got to realize that they are writing his story, and he doesn’t have to play into their’s. Ride the wave, and take the loss in stride with all the great that has come with it, but take the loss because your part of a team that is.

The wave has crashed down, but the current will bring another.

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Year 15 | A Mini Documentary

Year 15 of a legacy…

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What’s to come for the man on top, and what got him here?

It’s Year 15 of a man’s career, but it’s also Year 15 of a legacy…

Created by Tristan Laughton | Twitter: @Ctrice

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Editorial

Something Out of Nothing

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It’s March 2016, and I’m driving with Alan Shane Lewis to Montreal to meet with Marc Griffin and Phil Boileau. We’re meeting to speak about this exciting new idea I pitched to them. We were tired of spinning the wheels on our own individual internet shows, and I told them that it was time we stopped waiting for a network and became the network.

We spoke that weekend about creating a community of content creators that all loved ball and came together to make unique content with unique voices – voices we felt were never heard in the mainstream. This community was the base of Press and we’d continue to push forward from that spot. We spoke about some amazing show ideas, article ideas, social media plan. It was truly an exciting time, and still one of the best weekends of my life.

Two years later and that group is a lot smaller, and that idea is Press Basketball.

It caught fire at the beginning and we had people joining our bright shiny new plaything left, right, and center. It was exciting, but now I kind of realize that a lot of it was just that we were that “bright shiny new thing”.

We ended up with a lot of Press Basketball “members” but when I stepped back and looked at what was happening… it wasn’t what I’d imagined. The fire burned out. The idea was gone. We had just become another thing trying to stay alive, waiting for some deus ex machina to show up with money and make everything okay.

I’ve gone through most of my life making something out of nothing. It’s never easy, but when it happens it’s always worth it… ALWAYS. Press made me feel alive at a point. It was literally all I could think about, and while it still is on my mind, it doesn’t make me feel alive. This hurts more than I can ever explain.

Changes are coming my friends. We’re not laying down and dying, and if we do it’s not going to be like this.

The core of Press will be setting fire to a lot over the next few weeks and I personally can’t wait for this to start. From the ashes something new will rise (I watched a lot of XMEN growing up).

Stay tuned, because it’s not over.

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