St. John's Red Storm vs. The Duke Blue Devils: To Have This Moment for Life
On my digital camera, I have some videos of things that I thought would be cool to record but later realized were not. Rather than delete them, I kept the videos in a folder on my laptop where they mask into oblivion.
One of my videos is of Alex Rodriguez walking to the plate during the 2008 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. In 2008, it was still cool for Yankee fans to boo Rodriguez so I thought that the ovation he received from the non-partisan crowd at the All-Star Game would be interesting.
Like every other Rodriguez at-bat, there were some cheers and there were some boos. Suffice to say, it was not that interesting.
The saving grace of the clip, however, is his at-bat music.
Dating back to the beginning of 2007, each time Rodriguez stepped to the plate, the opening chords of a rap song titled This Is Why I’m Hot by MIMS accompanied him. He used this song in the All-Star Game as well.
I suppose that depending on your definition of “hit”, This Is Why I’m Hot classifies as a one-hit wonder, considering that the song and Rodriguez’s use of it, in no particular order, are MIMS’s two greatest musical accomplishments.
I have over 1800 songs on iTunes—the majority of which are rap music—and the only other song MIMS appears on in my collection is an extremely random remix to Katy Perry’s I Kissed a Girl. I cannot even tell you if MIMS raps anymore.
Which is why he makes for a perfect segue to this year’s St. John’s Red Storm.
I'm hot cause I'm fly
You ain't cause you not
This is why, this is why
This is why I'm hot!
One beautiful intricacy of the entertainment industry is that remembrance is not contingent upon sustained excellence. One great song or role can keep a performer in the public’s mind forever.
The same is true in sports.
Fans may forget mediocrity but they will always remember special plays or moments. Dave Roberts and David Tyree are not household names because of their Hall of Fame careers.
For the last three and a half seasons, the Red Storm’s seniors were no-hit wonders. Sunday’s victory over Duke was their “This Is Why I’m Hot”.
The Red Storm defeated Duke 93-78 in front of their first sold out crowd at Madison Square Garden since 2003. Only a late barrage of unconscious shooting by the Blue Devils prevented the game from becoming an embarrassing rout.
For forty minutes, everything came together against the defending national champions on CBS. The inevitable second-half collapse that St. John’s fans had grown accustomed to never occurred.
It was the best basketball that this group of kids has ever played.
Over the last few years, I left Madison Square Garden on many occasions looking forward to the beginning of a new regime. It had become clear early on that Norm Roberts was incapable of taking the Red Storm to the next level.
Moral victories begin to lose their luster after the fifth or sixth year.
Prior to this season, the Johnnies replaced Roberts with Steve Lavin and instantly, excitement surrounding the program picked up tenfold.
Lavin has generated most of the enthusiasm through his recruiting success. ESPN ranks his incoming class as the second best in the country. He has six ESPN Top 100 players coming to Queens this fall, the most of any school.
Naturally, the optimism surrounding the program’s future has overshadowed the present. After hearing about the potential of Jakarr Sampson and Maurice Harkless, it is inevitable to overlook the time left with Norm’s roster.
Sunday was a reminder that this is still their team.
During a second half media time out, as St. John’s pushed their lead to 66-45, Lavin raced to center court with his arms flapping above his head, imploring the sold out crowd to make even more noise.
"At that moment, I wanted St John's fans to come to the party," Lavin would say after the game. "It was wanting to jumper cable the crowd and bring some energy to our players because they deserved a pat on the back for the yeoman's effort they'd been displaying."
Rather than expedite their departure, we should appreciate the contributions that D.J. Kennedy, Justin Burrell, Malik Boothe, Sean Evans, Dele Coker, Justin Brownlee and Dwight Hardy have made to the program. If Lavin can do it, so can we.
Sure, they have frustrated us quite often. But their hard work opened the doors for players like Dom Pointer and D’Angelo Harrison to choose St. John’s over other top-echelon schools (That makes four and I have not even named every Top-100 signee yet!).
That will be worth more than a few Big East victories.
In her newest single, Nicki Minaj wishes that she could have this moment for life. These seniors do not have to wish. They beat the Duke Blue Devils at Madison Square Garden. Nobody can ever take that away from them—though a loss to Rutgers tonight would certainly help diminish the luster.
I represent New York
I got it on my back
[Dudes] say that we lost it
So I'm gonna bring it back
Maybe this particular squad did not bring New York back. But in retrospect, they have done a tremendous job in laying the ground work for Lavin to finish the job—with the help of Norvel Pelle and Amir Garrett, of course (That’s six Top-100’s, people!).
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