Rudy Gay, the Lone Crusader

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

Rudy Gay, meet Napoleon.

He has banned stat sheets from penetrating the Raptors locker room, a noble gesture that invokes the characteristics of a war time hero, yet also brings about the image of a general fighting a losing battle.

He has long been opposed to the swoon of analytics, barking at it, insisting that it's only white noise and not a true way of measuring basketball ability.

His game is as polarizing as one's game could be, us fixating on every contested fade-away he attempts, yearning for more efficient use of his exceptional physical acumen.

He is a reminder of past mistakes by the previous regime. He has been the butt of vision jokes by many.

He is fighting a battle that can't be won, reminiscent of Napoleon's failed conquering of Russia in 1812.

He is Rudy Gay, he is the lone crusader.

There have been a number of crusades that had taken place during the Middle Ages, all bringing about ramifications that shaped future empires, helping them make their marks in later eras of imperialism. The Reconquista for example, a retaking of lands previously lost by Christian Kingdoms at the expense of the Moors, was one that took over 700 years, culminating in the Treaty of Granada in 1491. The conquering of the Americas was later to come, resulting in the legend of Christopher Columbus and his failings of discovering Asia. These crusades taken were vicious, brutal, and resulted in the falling of many cities, such as Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade.

Rudy Gay's battle with numbers and formulas (TS% eFG% USG% to name a few) won't ever be confused with the brutality that occurred many centuries before, but there's a certain hell-bent ferocity that Rudy Gay has that faintly reminds us of that period in Western Civilization. With every contested jumper he takes, he is a fighting for acceptance in a basketball world where acceptance won't come by relying on tough jump shots. With every possession he consumes that ends with an 18-footer, he's flipping the bird to the vogue way of analysis, similar to when Stone Cold Steve Austin gave rise to fame with his "Austin 3:16", and the anti-establishment mantra his career in the WWF came to represent. His prodigious athletic gifts are obvious, his way of making use of them isn't. He is easily the most frustrating Raptors player I've come across, yet he might also double as the most interesting one. Not since Vince Carter has anyone who's dawned that jersey inspired numerous rants/discussion/columns that concern his idiosyncrasies on the court.

To some, Rudy Gay might be the living embodiment of a previous form of a basketball player archetype that we all used to appreciate. Decades previously, we held a higher regard for a wing player who had a shoot-first, pass-never motto. "The Clutch Gene" that Skip Bayless has pontificated on many times on our TV set, came from an idolizing of legends such as Michael Jordan, who created a mystique around not being afraid to take the next game winning attempt you get, regardless of the number of previous misses. The problem is, Jordan was remarkably efficient considering the volume of shots he took in those "clutch" situations. The ability to create a shot, once a trait that was the headliner for describing a wing player, has become more a sublimation of character, a side dish to the entire meal.

We now revel at "3 and D" wings and the cost certainty it brings. We now scoff at players of Rudy's ilk, nitpicking at the glaring flaws his game exudes. Bill Simmons came up with "The 10 Percent Theory", a response to Russell Westbrook's exhilarating performance in Game 4 of the 2012 NBA Finals. You wouldn't place Rudy Gay as one of the best players, but he might fit under a different sub section. His defensive value has been under looked, and he might rank as the second best defender on the Toronto Raptors currently. What he does on the offensive end though might rank as the most pulsating 10% in the NBA.

When Napoleon ventured to Russia in 1812, his confidence was his undoing in blistering cold territories. His defeat in Russia led to the spiraling of Napoleon's life, culminating with his passing in 1821. I'm not too sure if Rudy Gay is familiar with the work of Napoleon, but whatever the case may be, his battle for acceptance in today's age of statistical analysis is a reminder of war times past.

SB Nation Featured Video
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Raptors HQ

You must be a member of Raptors HQ to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Raptors HQ. You should read them.

Join Raptors HQ

You must be a member of Raptors HQ to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Raptors HQ. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker