On the Evolution of a Basketball Crush

As I may have mentioned, my childhood bedroom no longer exists. It is now my father’s home office.

My parents, though–ever eager for me to spend time at home–promptly reconstructed the room across the hall on my behalf.

Along with some Eileen Fisher garments that my mother’s California walk-in apparently cannot contain, the room’s walls contain a few remnants of my childhood paraphernalia: a Breakfast Club poster, a framed photo of the Brooklyn Bridge that my father took–one that I thought for years was the world’s only iconic image of the landmark, a black-and-white portrait of my nursery school class.

And, perhaps most significantly: a card-sized, laminated picture of Hubert Davis.

In addition to being my first and biggest celebrity crush, Hubert Davis was the Knicks’ backup shooting guard between 1992 and 1996. That was the team’s heydey–when, despite their inability to clinch a championship, the team was still exciting to watch.

All the other girls in the city were smitten with John Starks. I thought he was inconsistent. (He was). I thought Davis had a better three -point shot. (He did). I thought he was the cutest thing I’d ever seen. (Peculiar.)

In those years my father and I had partial season tickets to see the Knicks. Those games we did not attend, we watched religiously in the family living room: requiring my mother to eat her dinner coffee table-side, to the music of Marv Albert and Walt Frazier’s MSG network commentary.

I wrote Davis my first and only fan letter. (According to my mother, I wrote two.) I was eleven. He never wrote back. I was devastated, but I still loved him.

Occasionally I heard talk of his religious devotion: a family friend had a friend who had a cousin who lived in his Upper East Side apartment building and there was some rumor involving regular Bible study. This vaguely disturbed my vision of, as I fondly called him, “Hubie”–but it was not enough to destroy it.

This Tuesday night my dad, thanks to a recent raffle win, took me to see the Knicks for the first time in about fifteen years.

The Knicks and I have both seen a lot of change since then. They have a new coach. New players. I  have severely diminished expectations to match their severely dimished record of play. I also have better control of my frizzy hair and the ability to recognize courtside celebrities besides Spike Lee.

But my vulnerablilty to a baby-faced shooting guard, apparently, is unchanged. By midway through the first quarter I’d set my sights on Landry Fields: a smooth-shooting, dynamic player who is a pleasure to watch for his athleticism as much as a his good looks.

So yesterday, when I should have been reading and responding to a stack of undergraduates’ short stories, I did some research. Turns out Fields is a rookie: draft pick number 39, from Stanford. In other words, he’s twenty-two. In other words, I am now older than the Knicks on whom I crush.

That’s not the only alarming distinction. In addition to his NBA, CBS, ESPN and Wikipedia pages, my web-stalking also led me to Fields’ Twitter page. This taught me all kinds of information: like that he may or may not have a blond girlfriend (the image is grainy enough to be a fan, they stand close enough to be intimate); that he may or may not have had a Home and Garden subscription during college (aka last year); that he’s not a very good speller (“let’s go six and row!”).

This wasn’t enough to destroy my crush, but let’s just say it didn’t much encourage my nascent affections.

I don’t remember what it was that made me infatuated with Hubert Davis, or what I wrote in those letters. I’m not sure that, at eleven or at twenty-seven there’s ever a good, rational explanation for our celebrity crush. Mystery, though–all the things we don’t know about a person, certainly help.

My love for Hubie survived a lot of devastating losses. Even rumors of extreme religiosity. But I have to wonder if it would have survived his Tweeting.


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4 responses to “On the Evolution of a Basketball Crush

  1. Anna

    It is silly that this is my only comment in a while, but…I still religiously watch Blazer games and have several of such crushes. I read Channing Frye’s Blog (he plays for Phoenix) and he isn’t even a Blazer anymore. In his case the blog has only added to my crush – I think the clincher was his post about taking Grant Hill to a vegan bakery in Portland.

    • I loooove Grant Hill. I was such a loyal Knicks fan as a kid that I never could even recognize other players as attractive (also, I was eleven…) but he’s such a cutie!

  2. Susie II

    Lizzie, when I was 11, growing up in a small west TN town, I had a giant crush on Duke Snyder of the Brooklyn Dodgers! No explaining the rapid heartbeat when he came to bat and reading everything I could find on him….

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