Friday night, the Trail Blazers blazed their trail into the dark heart of a Louisiana dystopia governed by the absolute rule of a violent despot who calls himself the Smoothie King. Had the Smoothie King been a fairly elected Smoothie President or Smoothie Prime Minister – even a Smoothie Chancellor or Smoothie Premier – the Blazers could have played a basketball game against the hometown Pelicans, taken in the sights, embraced the culture, and returned to Portland. But totalitarian Smoothie states simply cannot be tolerated in Adam Silver’s NBA, and so with England’s Joel Freeland still inactive and thus unable to offer advice on transitioning to a constitutional smoothie monarchy with little bloodshed, the Blazers took it upon themselves to unseat the Smoothie King by any means necessary.
To initiate a coup d’Smoothie, the lowly masses must be both put into a position of despair where they feel they have nothing left to lose – and the Blazers came into the Smoothie Kingdom after losing all 4 prior game on this road trip – and feel convinced in the feasibility of the revolution’s success, especially when the strongest weapon of the rebellion, LaMarcus Aldridge, is out due to a tailbone injury with a mysterious prognosis. Starting in Aldridge’s stead was Dorell Wright, whose season thus far has been inconsistent and overall unconvincing of his ability to key a violent Smoothie King overthrow, especially when matched up against the Smoothie King’s fearsome winged protector, Anthony Davis. Terry Stotts, knowing the need for early grassroots support in order to fuel a long guerilla campaign against fruit-blending armies, involved Wright early and often to build his confidence as well as an early lead.
But the Smoothie King’s armies were well-trained and well-armed, and well-nourished too because they drink smoothies duh. Led by the ruthless brutality of Tyreke Evans, the cold precision of Eric Gordon, and the stunning air superiority of Anthony Davis, the Smoothie King’s forces wrangled control once again of their country from the grasp of the rebels, and appeared to subdue any insurrection. But as Huey Newton once said about the intersection of basketball, life, and Smoothies, “You can jail a revolutionary but you can’t jail the revolution.”
Nicolas Batum, intellectual Frenchman that he is, began the game espousing the philosophy of Voltaire. “It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere,” he muttered before the game while shooting a quick, but weighty, glance at Meyers Leonard. Later, as others were discussing the violence of their effort during a timeout, Batum grabbed the whiteboard out of Stotts’ hand and wrote on it simply, “Let us read and let us dance – two amusements that will never do any harm to the world.” See, basketball is a beautiful spiritual journey for Nicolas Batum and allowing a king, Smoothie or otherwise, to assert power and corrupt such a place is a crime of the highest order, but does such a crime give anyone the right to punish another person by death? Or, as Batum put it, “Love is a canvas furnished by nature and embroidered by imagination.”
At some point, maybe when he truly stared down the otherworldly terror of Anthony Davis in the third quarter, Batum walked away from his imagination-embroidered love canvas and dragged the ol’ guillotine out of the closet. It was time to put some Smoothie aristocrats’ heads in some baskets. When the revolution finally ended, Batum had tallied 22 points, 18 rebounds, and 5 assists. But knowing the destruction he caused his fellow man, he did not revel in the outing. Before returning to a life of silence, he said to the gathered press, “It is not enough to conquer; one must learn to seduce.”
Batum may have lent the movement some philosophical base but it was Damian Lillard, of the proud revolutionary lineage of Oakland, California, who provided the infrastructure and cutting edge. Most of Lillard’s contribution to the movement came in the form of social programs, behind the scenes team-building, keeping his teammates employed in the offense, and even running effective preschools – all part of his “Ten-Point Program” to fulfill the day-to-day needs of his community and also create a sense of collective identity. But what he will be most remembered for was the way his strong attitude and self-identity instilled a tangible fear in those far more powerful than he, seen clearly in his three-pointer with 1:14 left in the game that effectively sealed the victory and the end of the Smoothie King’s reign of terror.
Undoubtedly, many skeptics [read: HIPPIES] will have doubts about the true motivations of the Trail Blazers’ overthrow of the Smoothie King. “If freedom and righteousness are the only things that matter, then why do we only see a revolution supported when a tyrannical ruler is sitting on endless reserves of untapped smoothies? What about the tyrants that have no smoothies, just that worthless oil garbage?” They’ll ask on their cable news shows. Others will rationalize differently, “Hey, at least the Smoothie King kept things under control. What’s the government going to be like now? What kind of Smoothie extremists will settle in the void and turn it into a Smoothie training ground?” But they all miss the point. The Smoothie King was probably never a real person at all, just an imagined construct to inflate in power and use to keep the governed in fear and under control, and victory over a Smoothie Leviathan that rids humanity of fear is the truest form of liberation.