I never got to know The Ringer’s Jonathan Tjarks, but I didn’t have to for him to make me a better content creator.
When he wrote, I read. When he spoke, I listened. Not only was he so well-informed, but he provided analysis and context in a way that made his voice stand out above the rest. Then, when his battle with cancer ensued, he somehow mustered up enough strength to continue to show us how special of a writer and mind he truly was.
The piece he wrote in March about his own morality is something that will sit with me forever. As someone who, at a young age, watched his mother pass away from her own brutal fight with cancer, I simply can’t put into words the emotions that consumed me. Trying to summarize it would feel wrong, so I’ll simply encourage you to give it a read here.
I’ll also link to The Ringer’s page about Tjarks’ passing here. You can find more info on his work, as well as where you can go to donate. He leaves behind his wife, Melissa, and his son, Jackson.
Finally, before I make the never-easy transition into my inconsequential basketball thoughts, I want to leave behind a quote from the late-great Stuart Scott. I think about these words more than you’ll ever know, and this is how I remind myself that individuals like Tjarks and my mother left this earth with nothing but pride.
When you die, that does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.
- Again, this is never an easy transition, but for the sake of attempting to lift the mood, I wanted to start today with this:
- I don’t know how many games the Bears will win this season, but I do know re-watching that video will put a smile on my face regardless of the outcome. Ya know, kind of like this Bulls’ highlight from last season:
- Ok, if we had to pick a true basketball equivalent to the endzone slip-and-slide … what would it be? Having the whole team jump on the scorer’s table like Dwyane Wade (or, lol, Patrick Beverley) could have a somewhat similar effect, especially if everyone grabs their Gatorade bottles and squirts water into the crowd like it’s a rave. Another option could be climbing the basketball hoop. If it’s strong enough, team members can sit and pose on the arm that holds up the backboard. That’d be dope. Another thing that comes to mind is taking out those trampolines that the Bulls’ dunk team uses and everyone hops back-and-forth like an 8-year-old in a hotel room. I’m just spit-ballin’ here, folks! If you got any ideas, drop them below.
- Goran Dragic and Slovenia inch one step closer to a second-straight EuroBasket title. Most recently, the team took down Belgium in the Round of 16 thanks to Luka Doncic’s 35-point performance. Dragic also continued to play his role of the well-rounded veteran, adding 11 points with 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals in a +18 performance. Look, I know the competition isn’t what it will be in the NBA, but this is still a big stage where Dragic has looked rejuvenated. After not playing a lot of basketball the past two years, it’s reassuring to know he has some juice left in the tank.
- Bleacher Report recently ranked the top NBA coaches of the modern era (2000-01-present), and Phil Jackson checked in at No. 2 behind Greg Popovich. Isn’t it crazy how you can strip away six Chicago championships and he’s still in the conversation for the best coach of this century? Jackson may not be a flawless individual, but it’s impossible not to respect how good he is at managing a basketball team.
- This man can not be stopped!
- I highly doubt this level of dominance will translate over to the regular season, but is it possible we are in store for the best season of Markkanen’s young career? Sure! While it may be on another rebuilding team, I’m not sure Markkanen has had this long of a leash since his first two years in Chicago. The Jazz acquired him as part of the blockbuster Donovan Mitchell trade, and they seem to be genuinely interested in The Finnisher as a piece of their rebuild. To be clear, I don’t see him suddenly reaching All-Star status (especially on a bad team), but it could be somewhat interesting to see how he does with a new offense built around him and an uptick in his usage percentage. I’ll have my eye on him this year.
- I’m here for it.
- Just spend the money and get back in the playoffs.