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New season, new preview theme

Movie lines, famous quotations, song lyrics and urban dictionary definitions have been features of Clips Nation previews in the past. What should the recurring theme be this season?

Paul Gilham

Sure, the Los Angeles Clippers looked like a train wreck in the first game of the Doc Rivers era last night, but let's get to the more pressing matter: what theme should I use for preview references this season? I went into the season without having decided, and had to forego my usual reference yesterday. In retrospect, that was almost certainly where all the ugliness started, so sorry about that. That's my bad.

In years past, we've used movie lines, famous quotations, song lyrics, and urban dictionary definitions as the final item in our previews. It's a fun, non-basketball thing that ties previews together across the season, and provides a little something extra to discuss. At least that's what it's supposed to be.

I solicited ideas in the absence of a theme yesterday, and we got a few suggestions. I've considered those suggestions, and some ideas of my own. Bear in mind that there are several specific considerations for this task. Obviously the theme should at least be mildly interesting, otherwise why do it. We also like it to be a little on the eclectic side, as a counterpoint to the sports talk. It needs to be something that will work for a majority of the 30 NBA team names. 76ers and Lakers and Blazers will always present some issues, but the theme should have enough breadth to minimize those issues and we'll do our best with the rest. It also needs to be something that is relatively easy to execute. Searching IMDB for movie quotes or any number of lyric databases for song lyrics is manageable -- but I can't spend hours researching something that is ultimately a frivolity.

Here are the pros and cons of some of the ideas.

YouTube videos

  • Pros -- Plenty of content for all team names, easily searchable, fun.
  • Cons -- Too obvious. Funny YouTube videos is what other websites do. We aspire to more at Clips Nation. Also, are these videos about the opponent, or about the word? Like, I could be totally down with a video about a pet bobcat, but not so much one about fans at a Bobcats game. Problem is, we're back to the problem of no content for some words if we don't allow team stuff.

Literary references

  • Pros -- Appropriately high-brow for our nerdier side.
  • Cons -- It's a really broad area, making research complex. Signal to noise ratio is bad in searching google books or some such, but more narrow databases might be too narrow to provide option for a majority of teams.

SAT words

  • Pros -- Super nerdy, which is fun. Hearkens back to the erstwhile "Word of the Day" feature at Clips Nation. Easy to apply to all teams, since we're using a word to describe the team, not using the team name itself.
  • Cons -- Contrived; my idea was to pick an SAT type word, then use it in a sentence about the other team. Example: ensconce; the Spurs are firmly ensconced in first place in the Southwest Division.

Of course we could always repeat something we've already done, like movie lines.

I'm currently leaning towards a specific type of literary reference, Shakespearean references. There's a searchable Shakespeare database, which gives me one stop shopping, and it's obviously super-nerdy, which is nice. It does have the drawback of precluding certain team names by definition -- words like "piston" and "maverick" weren't part of the Elizabethan English, let alone 76ers and Lakers. I feel like I can mitigate this problem by using roots and synonyms -- "lake" for Lakers, "rebel" for Mavs, "engine" for Pistons, that sort of thing. This problem is balanced to some extent by the fact that there are plenty of good lines for a word like "cavalier" which isn't used very much in modern song lyrics.

I like the SAT idea a lot also, and might end up doing that, but will probably try to make the Shakespeare work -- it's just too tempting, and there are plenty of good "warrior" references.

Let me know what you think in the comments and the poll. Just so you know, I'm not necessarily going to do what the poll indicates -- ultimately I'm going to do what works for me. But that doesn't mean I don't want to know what you think.