Prerequisite Reading: One L
Written by eventual big law partner and bestselling author Scott Turow, One L is a nonfiction account of a young man’s struggle to acclimate to the demanding, Lord of the Flies atmosphere of Harvard Law School. Turow, already an established academic when he enrolled in law school, struggles to learn the new language of legalese, cope with the unreasonable workload and navigate the cutthroat nature of his peers/competitors.
In 2012, with the world shrinking and wi-fi expanding, acclimating to a new job in a new country is probably easier than in the past. But it’s not nothing. With a pretty hefty list of demands in front of him, if Teletovic struggles in one facet of his new life—whether the NBA three or the language barrier—the rest of the precariously balanced anxieties might be in danger of toppling over. What worked for him in his former life may not translate, but that’s fine. It’s all manageable with the right work ethic and disposition. This book is proof of that.
Or at least I assume it is. My guess is that it ends with the young student finding his footing, gaining comfort in the harsh and unforgiving law school setting and ultimately having a successful first year. I didn’t finish the book—and then I went to law school and dropped out after one year. So Mirza, I guess the main takeaway here should just be to try and avoid that.
Film Studies: Defensive Pride of the Stretch Four [Scenes beginning at 5:49]
This syllabus has taken on quite a different tone in light of recent, hilarious, misguided events, but the purpose remains the same: tall guys who shoot threes and play defense are a rare, untouchable force in this league.
We know Teletovic can shoot. Boy can he shoot.
To fulfill his lofty expectations, though, he’ll have to defend. Boy will he have to defend. He does this and the Nets bench is that much closer to the league’s best reserves, placing the Nets that much closer to the league’s best teams. If he doesn’t, the computer won’t crash, but a few of the keys will get stuck.
While not the main focus of the course, some class time is dedicated to the cautionary tale aspect of the subject matter. Wasted potential is rampant in this league, partly because it’s rewarded. A serviceable rotation player in this league makes much more than a comfortable living. Compared to the rest of the population, they are kings. Such a lifestyle, both on and off the court, is fairly easy to sustain. Presumably, judging from scouting reports and YouTube reels, Mirza could settle into that role like De Niro has done with comedies recently—it’s not particularly fun, but someone will CTC. But Teletovic has the potential to be so much more. Maybe not quite Raging Bull, but certainly better than Meet the Fockers.
Elective: The American Myth of the 27-Year-Old
Mirza Teletovic is 27. According to some, this is relevant.
“The twenty-seven-year-old can accomplish anything: Yuri Gagarin orbited at age 27; Flannery O’Connor published Wise Blood and Hemingway The Sun Also Rises—their debuts. Think of Ryan Lochte v. Michael Phelps just last month when both were 27, or LeBron James, 27. This is the year at which baseball players ripen, like cantaloupes, their desirability on fantasy rosters spiking (think Matt Kemp, Prince Fielder). And it’s not because they’re so good (Delmon Young, 27) but because next season, they settle in; because twenty-seven’s home runs and “Play-it-Again-Sams” wax into twenty-eight’s solid OBPs and loveless marriages.”
Teletovic won’t ever have a better shot at an above-average NBA career than right now. The cosmos and the talent are aligned. Not saying that any of this will be simple, but the youngish man could not reasonably ask for a better situation.
Student Notes: The luxury of this Nets squad is that their top-level talent should finally allow for their role players to be just that and nothing more. Instead of being forced to multitask into oblivion, Mirza can breathe and tick off each line on his checklist one by one. Knock down threes. Go inside after perimeter threat is established. Play smart team defense. Repeat.