The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.

We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.

Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.

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Rudy Fernández Introduces Djalminha to the NBA All-Star Game

There’s no body-in-the-pantry mystery to the mutual love between basketball players and soccer players. The gradual influx of foreign stars into the NBA, the spread of the Jordan brand (and then its echo, Brand Beckham) like the empire stain in a history-textbook map, the obsession of executives in both sports with breaking into new global markets, have all broadened players’ horizons.

And given the same-but-opposite nature of the sports, the players must recognize their own intentions in each other’s highlight clips, coming back to them with an alienated majesty. So when Kobe shows up on the cover of ESPN The Magazine in a Barcelona kit, or yet another soccer star claims the number 23, it feels like two ships from the same navy raising proper colors when they pass each other at sea.

Still, I can’t say I was expecting to see an homage to Djalminha in the middle of this year’s dunk contest. But Rudy Fernández, the Trailblazers’ Spanish shooting guard, is planning to break out a little behind-the-back heel flick inspired by the former Deportivo de La Coruña midfielder. See Daryl for the video. The president of Deportivo is sending him a shirt.

Is this all just intra-Spain sporting signals being played out in Phoenix, or am I right in thinking that a soccer move (or more exactly, a soccer reference) appearing in the middle of arguably the most American event in sports has some sort of transcultural significance? Has anything like this ever happened at the All-Star Game before?

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Rudy Fernández Introduces Djalminha to the NBA All-Star Game

by Brian Phillips · February 6, 2009

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