The Baseball Hall of Fame will announce the members of its 2012 class on January 9. If all goes according to plan, one or a few inductees will get phone calls from some suit in Cooperstown and they will cry. Then word will be leaked our way. We will sing the praises of the chosen, pour one out for Edgar Martínez, and begin anew the cycle of arguing about what greatness is, how you measure it, and how you deal with the fact that sometimes greatness is built on a foundation of bullshit.
In Brandon Roy, Seattle had the next best thing to its own basketball team: a player who was born and raised in the city, stayed all four years to become an All-American at U-Dub, and played for the next best thing to the Sonics. Now the city can’t even tie its dwindling NBA spirits to him. Like the Sonics, he was here and then he was gone.
In the public consciousness, Frazier was always straining at the right words—any words. Not because he was an especially quiet or ineloquent man, but because he wasn’t Ali, for whom speech was performance.