Regarding the Game Changer of the NCAA/Ed Obannon Suit

  • "Don’t let it be forgot

    That once there was a spot,

    For one brief, shining moment

    That was known as Camelot."

    –from the 1960 production of the lerner and Lowe musical “Camelot” directed by Moss Hart and starring Julie Andrews and Richard Burton

    What made me think of these words now applied mostly to the JFK era?

    (Does anyone under 30 even remember the initials now?)

    It was a quote by Ed Obannon cited in a recent post by our host: approx. The quote went like this:

    “These rules have been in place for a hundred years and there has been no change. Times have changed, the economy has changed, the players themselves have changed, the salaries of the coaches have changed. Everything has changed except for how a player is compensated. And whether [they’re paid] while they’re in school, or whether it’s once their eligibility is up, that part of the game has to change.”

    I agree with Ed that that part of the game has to change.

    And I agree with approx that OBannon’s quote had implications…

    KU Basketball is the living myth. It goes on so long as KU administrators, coaches, players and fans live it, rather than become seduced by marketing hype and digital simulation into believing it, or worshipping it, or reducing it to the thin veneer that is human logic, or regarding it as an art form, or otherwise crucifying it on the altar of the mind and its abstractions of logic, faith and fantasy and fanaticism.

    KU basketball is mind AND body. It is lived. It does what living myth, and only living myth can do: it bridges the desiccating duality. It arcs Lawrencian across the gap. It is lived by us from our first encounters with it. It is lived by us in our decade by decade changes of POV in life. It is lived by us as we die.

    All talk of it that does not arise out of living it is mere meaning–not living.

    The living myth of KU basketball appears to be the only living myth left in America. It is therefore not only deeply important to us, but perhaps down the road may someday offer some cultural and archaeological significance to anthropologists trying to understand the varieties of human experience in the 20th and 21st Centuries.

    The living myth is not James Naismith, or Phog Allen, or Larry Brown, or Roy Williams, or Bill Self, or whomever will follow the remarkable Self one day. It is not Naismith Court, nor Allen Field House, nor the decibel levels, nor the light shows, nor the coaching salaries, nor the OADs, nor the TADs, nor the four year players, nor the walk ons, nor the players that return, nor the reporters that grapple with tradeoffs between access and authenticity, nor the broadcasters that shape bettor’s expectations, nor the bloggers, nor the board rats, nor “The Legacy,” nor Petro Shoecos, nor Big Gaming, nor the titles, nor the championships, not the total wins, nor any cluster of legendary players, nor anything else you can point to and praise, or loath.

    The living myth is the thing beyond words that courses through all of the above. It is the game lived by everyone year after year, since James Naismith put up the first basket on Mt. Oread and called boys in physical education onto a floor and whistled the start of play that has never stopped since.

    The living myth is the capillary action in the tree of the game that draws up a portion of our life forces as a sap that makes the tree grow inspite of ourselves.

    The living myth IS.

    The Obannon suit against the NCAA, and judgement finding players were denied billions made off their likenesses, does not kill the living myth, does not end it. Only we can end it.

    But it does change the greatest game ever invented–the game the living myth is embedded in; and that will have consequences.

    But it is the game that will change.

    And probably forever.


    Not every man has baskets at his house

    in red October, at crisp-passed Forrestmas.

    Oreadian baskets, rim safron, only bright–

    brightening the daytime torchlike with the saffron spectra of Saturnian


    ringed and torchlike, with the blaze of brightness spread orange

    down rounding eyelets, hooked, threaded with white net of

    chilled day

    white-diamond net and the saffron- brightness, Buddhism’s bright-orange phase,

    Mercury lamps, burning white blue,

    giving off lightness, blue whiteness, as a farm yard’s or play

    ground’s lamps give off


    lead me then, lead me the way.

    Reach me a basket, give me a rim

    let me guide my shot through the white, blue light of this saffron

    iron, arc the shadows and tenement stairs,

    where white is darkened on blueness.even where Carmen Jones

    went, just now, from the crisped October

    to the sightless realm where lightness was awake upon the rim

    and Dorothy Dandridge herself is but a voice

    or a lightness, an invisible brightness–in the deeper white blue

    of the saffron rim, and pierced with the passion of inviolate


    among the splendor of lamps of lightness, shedding darkness on the leather ball and rim.

    The game will never be the way it was again.

    But it will be some way.

    And that it will be is, finally, all that matters.

    (Note: Oreadian Baskets is a gentle riff on “Bavarian Gentians” by D. H. Lawrence, which I first heard read by a rare and beloved KU Professor Thomas O’Donnell, who died too young, at 57, in 1996 without my knowledge for quite some time and so my grief has been delayed. And that poem you read so beautifully, and not The Road Not Taken," has made all the difference. RIP)

  • @jaybate-1.0 This was quite possibly the most beautiful post I have ever read, here or the other place, edit… Actually any place. Thank you.

  • jaybate 1.0 I don’t have the slightest idea in the world what you do for a living, but if you’re not a writer—you should be. It makes no difference whether I agree or disagree with you. You should be getting paid for this. And I Love the concept of the Living Myth!

  • Haven’t read this yet but I am going to. I have to say something first. Jaybate IS a writer. Last time I heard, there was a book coming, isnt that right Jaybate? Honestly its been a couple months almost since I have been on the site here. It may be out right now, I don’t know. P.S. Hi Jaybate! Good to see your messages again

  • I ditto what Approx just said. That was really good.
    When’s that book coming out again?

  • Banned

    @jaybate-1.0 my friend your ability to capture the moment with mere words leaves me speechless. My friend your words have given me something I’m not sure I can repay. You have given me hope that the game I love that we love will indeed carry on. Thank you sir.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    Thanks for helping my mind leave all the bad news on TV behind!

    This is food for the soul, brother!

  • @DoubleDD

    I love how you call @jaybate “friend!”

    I consider everyone in here a friend.

  • @drgnslayr

    I hear ya. Robin Williams, Isis and race car drivers running over each other…

  • This is terrific stuff. @jaybate-1.0 at his best. I recall a few debates with jaybate tormentors on the other site, and one of my replies was simply, “you are not thinking on the same level as jaybate … give it up.”

    My advice to myself now is, “you are not thinking on the same level as jaybate, just enjoy it.”

    A perfect post. Great start to the day.

  • When I read this yesterday I thought about posting "PHOF"and knew it was inadequate so I thought I’d sleep on it. Today I can’t think of anything better than what’s already been said. As for Camelot, if I had a magic wand I’d wave it so my kids could grow up in the world I grew up in. This site is a sweet distraction from all the bad stuff.

  • Thx to all. It means something special, when I can still hit a chord that resonates.

    @Lulufulu85 Alas, it is not finished. It has turned into a great unruly beast that keeps wanting more. I am laboring now, caught up in some grind it out, and hoping to squirt out into transition sometime soon. But it has turned out to be rather more challenging (and more fun) than I at first expected. Also, I just haven’t got the same pop on my fast ball that I used to have. But that is not complaining. I am grateful to still be able to write at all.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Alas, behold the jaybate of old !! Many times through the years I’ve just had to shake my head & utter…what in the H—? And at other times I inherently am reminded of the classic Moody blues album, “In Search of the Lost Chord” after trying to devour & digest one of your powerful & prophetic novels.

    This is precisely the reason so many of us beckoned from afar for our Mahareesh Mahesh, jaybate, to join our blog & enthrall us with a greater vision than most of us were remotely capable of defining with the spoken words…of KU Basketball !!

    Thanks again old timer. I can say that cause I’m there too, but with nowhere near the savvy to say it like that. Then again I’d be surprised if anyone anywhere can.

  • Frederick-colors.jpg

  • @HighEliteMajor One of my major enjoyments of the old board was to se how long it would take the “tormentors” to throw up the white flag when trying to assault jb. It seemed almost like he was forced into duels with an unarmed men at times.

  • @approxinfinity Some embrace philology. Those who don’t probably can’t.

  • @approxinfinity

    I love that image you posted. Thx.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Just keep doing it. You are there.

  • @jaybate-1.0 It’s from a great book I read with my kids called Frederick by Leo Lionni. All of his books (from the ones we’ve read) are about celebrating the things we’re good at and not shying away from them because they make us different. Frederick is a mouse who doesn’t collect food for the winter because he says he’s collecting words, since the mice will need them when it’s cold and they’ve run out of things to say.

  • @approxinfinity

    Love it!

    I’ve really enjoyed the “off-season” in here!

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