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Lost Soul
October 23, 2013 12:53 PM   Subscribe

"I’ve been waiting 10 years for someone to ask about his life, not his death". The amazing life — and mysterious death — of former NBA player Bison Dele.
posted by no regrets, coyote (19 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh wow, thanks for posting this -- I was thinking about Bison Dele just recently. I always loved him as a player and he seemed like a fascinating guy off the court, which somehow made his death all the more haunting.
posted by scody at 1:25 PM on October 23, 2013


Interesting story. I'm wondering how much of it was romanticized to make for a tale to sell to SI.
posted by BlueHorse at 2:14 PM on October 23, 2013


Weird. I had no idea anything had happened to Bison Dele.
posted by srboisvert at 2:24 PM on October 23, 2013


Fascinating.
posted by owlrigh at 2:30 PM on October 23, 2013


I'm wondering how much of it was romanticized to make for a tale to sell to SI.

I don't know that much of it would even need to be; Dele's life as an enigmatic wanderer/artist/mystic/free spirit was well known when he played in the NBA -- and the circumstances surrounding his death really were this strange, and have never been (and can't ever be) fully explained.
posted by scody at 2:38 PM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wow. Well presented, fascinating read. Thanks!
posted by ph00dz at 2:59 PM on October 23, 2013


He named his catamaran Hakuna Matata so the sea murdered him.
posted by mullacc at 3:03 PM on October 23, 2013


SI has managed to utilize a web format for a longform article SO BEAUTIFULLY.
posted by Grandysaur at 3:28 PM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Not only is that a wonderful wonderful read, but the presentation of this story is everything that good online longform writing and journalism should be. SI should be praised for this, and there'd be plenty of online sites and news outlets that could learn from it.
posted by chris88 at 3:50 PM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


SI has managed to utilize a web format for a longform article SO BEAUTIFULLY.

Did they copy it from Newsweek/Daily Beast, or vice versa, or from somewhere else?
posted by Melismata at 4:00 PM on October 23, 2013


Hosseini worried about Brian. He knew Brian had taken to smoking marijuana regularly and dating young women.

We should all be so lucky. In seriousness though, what a good story.
posted by Literaryhero at 4:05 PM on October 23, 2013


The Discovery series "Disappeared" did an episode on his girlfriend, Serena Karlan, that was really good.
posted by playertobenamedlater at 4:21 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Okay, uh, story about a moment of his life.

His team was playing the Indiana Pacers and he got into a tussle with Dale Davis. Dale didn't talk much; his job was blocking shots and being a strong defender and rebounder. Anyway, somehow Dale's hands end up around (Brian)'s throat, and Dale squeezes. (William)'s eye's pop out, and on slow-motion replay something weird happens. These... cables, they start popping out of Dale's arms, but they are muscles, and then muscles start popping out on top of those muscles...

Some folks pull Dale off of Brian, who is grabbed by Antonio Davis and pulled back. Antonio and Dale were known as the Davis Brothers, but they weren't biological brothers, they just had that level of communication. Antonio gauges the spacing, and when it was just right he gave Dale the eye. Dale lashes out with that hand, trained ten thousand times to block a basketball, and just nails Brian in the head. All the fight immediately leaves Brian, and they're pulled farther apart.

Later, Brian changed his name to Bison, and I thought about that head thwack. I thought about it again reading this piece, a couple of times. Once it was thinking that the impression given in it was of a gentle giant, but he was willing to mix it up.

Reflecting on the only moment I can remember of his own visage, I thought maybe I shouldn't tell this story. It's a horrible story, brutally amusing. But then, so is this article, a beautifully written horror story. That so many people close to him would take something he did wonderfully, that he tried to share, and cut him so badly into being just a carcass to feed on. That his death begat death. The possibilty that someone would want to be him so much that they would take his life.

As Jimmy says in King Kong: "It's not an adventure story. Is it, Mr. Hayes?"
posted by dragonsi55 at 4:50 PM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


This page managed to drag Chrome on my box to its knees...
posted by Ogre Lawless at 5:14 PM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah it was great writing but the web genius design was shit.
posted by bukvich at 7:48 PM on October 23, 2013


Not only is that a wonderful wonderful read, but the presentation of this story is everything that good online longform writing and journalism should be.

I had to highlight significant portions of that so I could even see the text.

So no.
posted by srboisvert at 9:21 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I found the presentation design compelling, though as I was in the office I was hoping for a "text only" version to make it look like a technical document.

Incredible story of enigmatic characters and a mysterious end. I find the FBI agents version of events the most likely (not something I thought I'd find myself saying).
posted by Admira at 10:50 PM on October 23, 2013


Yeah, I appreciate the effort with the design, but it was killing my computer and then locked up my browser when I tried to close the page. Text works pretty good too.
posted by bongo_x at 12:32 AM on October 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Did they copy it from Newsweek/Daily Beast, or vice versa, or from somewhere else?

I hestitate to use the word invented, but the NYT did one of these last year that was widely noted as a peak usage of the form -- even here.

I know "text works pretty good too" but would you say that about a movie? This is a multimedia experience, not just a "story" and I think it's interesting to see this approach spread so widely. (That said, while it was beautifully done, there were few ancillary materials that really justified it.) Sure, you could just read it, but it's pretty much like the difference between the story in TIME magazine and the story in, say, Esquire, or one of the really well-designed magazines -- I'm thinking specifically of one story I read maybe 20 years ago and they published it using a special insert of a frost-gray page that lifted up and changed the scene of the photograph that showed through (I just can't remember what the story was). It was like that children's book about fog in London.
posted by dhartung at 1:13 AM on October 24, 2013


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