NBA TERİMLERİ SÖZLÜĞÜ
Jackson Throws the Books at Them
With Steve Nash leading the way, today's NBA is all about quick floor leaders
by Mike BRESNAHAN
CHICAGO Phil Jackson: coach, author, and, after a one-year layoff, a book-giver once again.
According to his annual custom, Jackson handed out reading material to each Laker at the start of the six-game trip.
He did not take TNT analyst Charles Barkley's advice to hand out Bibles because, in Barkley's words, "only God can help them," but instead concentrated on themes of leadership and decision-making.
Kobe Bryant received "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking," a bestseller about making decisions, good and bad, and why some people are better at it than others.
"It's about following intuition, about intuitive thought," Jackson said.
Lamar Odom received Sun-Tzu's "The Art of War," a classic that centers on the concept of leading with wisdom and achieving success by understanding the nature of conflict.
"It's a little bit about how to promote competition," Jackson said.
For Kwame Brown, there was "Sacred Hoops," a book written by Jackson about the principles of teamwork.
Chris Mihm received "A Bell for Adano," the story of an Italian- American major in World War II winning admiration from Italian townspeople by trying to replace a 700-year-old town bell that had been melted down for bullets by fascist leaders.
"I'm still trying to figure it out," Mihm said, smiling.
Luke Walton received a book on the history of rock 'n' roll, Sasha Vujacic was given a spy novel written by Alan Furst, and 18-year-old Andrew Bynum, the youngest of the Lakers, was given "The Old Man and the Sea."
Mike Bresnahan is LA Times' staff writer.
NOT: Yazıyı gönderen Orkun ÇOLAKOĞLU'a teşekkürler.
Six guards a-blazing'
With Steve Nash leading the way, today's NBA is all about quick floor leaders
by Joe Davidson
NOV 27, 2005
Blur guards. That's what they are.
So quick with the dribble and their feet that they force defenders to backpedal or reach helplessly as if to lower the draw bridge and impede traffic. Nothing quite makes a player feel lead-footed like having a player blow past him, the exhaust puffing out of the tank top. The greatest weapon in the NBA these days isn't necessarily a dominating center. Shaq is hurt, Yao doesn't always dominate, and there are no more Kareems, Wilts or Russells out there.
It's the point guard who can handle the ball and put constant pressure on the defense, who can reach the basket in an instant to score or to distribute when the defense instinctively collapses on the target.
The league had quick lead guards such as Tiny Archibald in the 1970s. Then there was the dynamic big guard in Magic Johnson in the 1980s and, in the 1990s, the prolific combo guard in Michael Jordan.
Now, you take a blur guard in any shape or form, be it mighty mites like the incomparable Allen Iverson, the ever-steady Gilbert Arenas and up-and-comer T.J. Ford, or the bigger blurs in Baron Davis and Jason Kidd.
The best player in the league last season? A point guard - Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns, who might not have world-class speed but whose ballhandling abilities leave defenders in the wake of his sweaty locks.
Also, teams are drafting blurs to give themselves a chance at winning the foot-races. New Orleans/Oklahoma City seemingly has a chance every night because of Chris Paul.
"It's a fantastic thing to have," said San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich, who has Tony Parker to unleash. "Especially with the rules now, where you can't put a hand on a guy anymore. It allows a player to show his wares. It's great for the league - but only if you've got one."
Joe Davidson is Sacramento Bee's staff writer.
NOT: Yazıyı gönderen Arda ARŞIK'a teşekkürler.
Auerbach making me see red
by Todd BEHRENDT
Let's chalk it up to nicotine withdrawal. Since a prolonged hospital stay this summer, Celtics president and legendary coach Red Auerbach has had to give up his beloved cigars, which is bound to make a guy a little cranky ... even if he wasn't an 88-year-old curmudgeon who has been unwilling to share his place in NBA history with a damn hippie.
But even withdrawal symptoms can't entirely explain Auerbach's most recent tirade against Lakers coach Phil Jackson.
While attending the Celtics' season opener with the Knicks, Auerbach briefly praised Jackson, with whom Auerbach shares the NBA record for titles won by a coach with nine, but then added, "Remember one thing: He's been very fortunate. He picks his spots. That's all I can say."
Of course, the topic being Jackson, that wasn't all Auerbach could say.
"Phil Jackson, they've got a pretty good ballclub out there, but he's got his built-in excuse," Auerbach said. "You could have taken, I won't say anybody, but you can take any knowledgeable coach and put them in those situations and they can't do any worse. If L.A. doesn't make the playoffs, it's 'building.' "
So when Jackson decides to return to a Lakers team that nobody believes has championship-caliber talent, he's got a "built-in excuse" should he fail, but if he'd gone to, say, Cleveland to coach LeBron James and the Cavs' improved supporting cast, he'd have just been "picking his spots"?
It makes one wonder if there was a job Jackson could have taken that would have met with Auerbach's approval.
It also makes one wonder just how being the assistant coach (and therefore the logical successor) when Doug Collins was fired in Chicago qualifies as "picking his spots."
Granted, Jackson's ascendancy in Chicago gave him the opportunity to coach a transcendent player who was just coming into his prime. But if there's any coach who might want to wait before breaking out the "of course he won, he had the best talent" card, it would be Auerbach. At one point during the Celtics' run, Auerbach had an entire starting lineup filled with future Hall of Famers (Bob Cousy, Bill Russell, Bill Sharman, Frank Ramsey and Tom Heinsohn) and brought another two off the bench (Sam Jones, K.C. Jones).
Until Karl Malone and Gary Payton came to L.A. for the 2003-04 season, it was debatable whether Jackson had coached seven Hall of Famers in his entire NBA career, let alone during a single season.
Now, it's true that the first time that Jackson was a coaching free agent, he chose a situation that lent itself to success. It's also true that, like Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen before them, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant had plenty of opportunities to win titles before Jackson came along ... but didn't.
But as long as Auerbach insists on playing compare-and-contrast with the only other coach with rings on 90 percent of his fingers, it's worth noting the following:
-- Auerbach's Celtics never had to win 15 games to win a title, as all nine of Jackson's championship teams did. And now that the opening round is a best-of-seven affair, it takes 16 wins to earn a ring; when Auerbach was coaching in Boston, he could get a pair of titles with 16 postseason victories.
-- Motivation was never a factor when Auerbach was on the Boston Garden bench, as the bonus for winning it all represented a significant percentage of a player's income for a year. In comparison, it's very possible Shaquille O'Neal spends more money per year on hats than he'll earn should the Heat win the 2005-06 title.
-- If Bill Russell played today, he'd have earned a max deal about midway through the Celtics' dynasty, which would have resulted in John Havlicek and K.C. Jones chasing fat free agent contracts elsewhere.
The sad thing is that Auerbach's legend is more than secure, even if Jackson or somebody else eventually surpasses his nine championships. But it can (and will) be somewhat tarnished if he continues to attack a contemporary coach with the temerity to equal his record for excellence.
So someone needs to send the poor guy a nicotine patch. And if necessary, place it over his mouth the next time a reporter asks him about Phil Jackson.
Todd Behrendt is a senior editor for FOXSports.com.
Hats off Mr. Garnett and Thanks for
Re-Shaping My Perception of You
by Peter RUMM, MD
NOV 15th, 2005
I have to quietly admit it I truly never liked Kevin Garnett much before this week.
Oh I recognized his talent and amazing statistical brilliance in so many categories, and begrudgingly admired his passion for the game and rightfully considered him one of the few true superstars in the game - in a league where anyone has seemingly a good year and they reach in some parts of the media and fans minds an exalted status. Simply put, superstar status should only be reserved for a handful of consistently brilliant and game changing play over at least several years.
However, I personnally never liked his past vocal expressions of war like analogies to what is just a game, perhaps an unfair sense that he was an angry young man (this was primarily due to his chronicled past fights with teammates), or the fact that so far his teams have simply not lived up to expectations despite his special all around brilliance.
Again, it was hard to not like a fabulously skilled player who had averaged over 20 points/10 boards/5 assists for the last five years - but I found a way to do so in private and openly.
That being said, Mr. Garnett I will now have to and will want to root for you and your team more in the future - based on the fact that you suddenly gave this week a huge personal 1.2 million dollar contribution to the hurricane relief funds on the Oprah Show.
Even with Garnett's huge salary (28 million according to InsideHoops.com) and outside endorsement income, this is a huge contribution and through Oprah's foundation, it will all apparently go to needed services such as building homes.
Many gave right after the event as we heard on the news (or in some cases like myself saw firsthand) the destruction of people's lives and hopes.
It was the right thing to do but it was also trendy and easier to do when we saw such daily images.
However, now is truly the time when such contributions need to be sustained as the needs of so many remain unfilled in so many places down South.
I hope your contribution spurs others to keep giving.
Simply put, well done Mr. Garnett and hats off to an emerging ambassador for the game and an emerging mountain of a man in ways beyond the confines of a basketball court!
The "SportsDoc" to the fan, Dr. Rumm contibutes medical stories, articles about teams, and various observations on the game and its players.
Notes to ESPN
by Steve "Mr. BskBALL" Tyler
June 29th, 2003
To our friends at ESPN, it became quite clear that your team broadcasting the NBA draft on Thursday had not had much experience with such an event
so here are some tips from Uncle Steve-
#1: You never tell a bride she's fat on her wedding day. It's low class to call out a bad player on the best day of his life on national TV, even if my man sucks wind, leave that for the post draft review. As someone is walking up to the podium, you should keep the negativity to yourself, bad form saying someone couldn't guard the chair your sitting in.
#2: Grills are for Barbeques. It was surprising to watch how grueling the post hand shake interviews were, my goodness, poor Darko came out looking stupid and what's with the Cow stories? A good interview has prepared questions, share them with the guy your interviewing, most of these cats struggled the whole way through.
#3: It's not the package, it's the toy inside. It was nice to see the draft presented in a very visually appealing manner, what happened to the 2nd round? If you're going to go to the trouble of broadcasting the picks, show them all. At some point it seemed like Russ Granik stopped coming to the podium, we clearly lost track at home, hell even the ESPN website didn't have half the second rounder until the end of the night. The 2nd round is important to some of us, show us our picks!
4th: You're only as good as your weakest link. I got love for Tom Tolbert, but he has no business covering the draft, time and time again my man tried to be funny, and he came off looking stupid
when the crowd starts chatting Fire Tolbert, you got issues. There were too many personalities and not enough experts. The bickering between Dickie V and Tom was insane; someone should have pulled the plug.
Lastly: Less is More. I know we're information starved as a culture, but the side box and scrolling ticker were too much. The scroll at the bottom was too fast, and the side box made no sense. Overall this was a higher energy draft broadcast, but the fans want Charles Barkley, and the pundits want great insight. ESPN offered neither
Let's hope the suits consider what didn't work for next year.
Why is it that The Post's Peter Vecsey has to take shots at Jim Gray? Who cares if Jim's story about Kobe, Jason Kidd or where Jimmy Hoffa is buried is an exclusive? In what comes off as the kid not invited to the party bitching, Vecsey goes on to blast Jim Gray and the World Wide Leader In Shorts, going as far as accusing ESPN of lifting other peoples news and re-branding it as their own?
ESPN? Lifting stories? No? This comes as irony to me because for years Peter Vecsey has blasted anyone who wasn't him, and now he swoops in to protect the LA Times who ran a similar Kobe Bryant story months ago, and tried to defrock Jim Gray and his exclusive'.
Pete, if a bomb goes off in your apartment, just because I talked about it 2 months later doesn't mean the bomb didn't go off. If Kobe told the Times he was leaning towards opting out rather than resigning, great for the Times. If Jim Gray called Kobe before the draft to talk about his future, and he says the same thing to Gray where is the issue? There isn't one. Are you saying Jim didn't speak with Kobe? This whole thing just comes off as you being mad about not getting the boos from the Madison Square set. It's funny that the greatest' prognosticator in the rumors game wasn't even consulted in the broadcast. Don't get mad because Jim Gray got your spotlight, concede and be happy for him. Show a brother some love, he was obviously nervous, didn't you catch him stammering...
By the way Kobe is going to opt out because there will be a new Collective Bargining Agreement in place that will pay him more, if he takes an Extension now, he's tied to the same crappy deal the Union smacked on him last time... Kobe was among the many angry with the Players Union for making the current deal, because he too expected a Kevin Garnett sized payday... and could have commanded it.
Steve Kyler is the lead NBA analyst for Basketball News Services; in addition he serves as Senior Editor for HOOPSWORLD and is a freelance radio personality that has covered the NBA for the past 8 years.
for everything, Dad
by Bill Simmons
June 26th, 2003
dad is one of the last true sports fans. He supports every New
England team, regardless of the circumstance. If Tufts were playing
for the NCAA Ping-Pong championship, Dad would be on the bandwagon.
The man inhales the NHL draft -- a parade of players nobody, including
him, has ever seen, rooting for the B's to take someone he "has
a gut feeling about." He watches the Belmont. He watches
the TPC. He'll catch Hoosiers for the 234th time on HBO6, even
if he just saw it for the 233rd time a week earlier. He has nodded
off in more third quarters and sixth innings than you can imagine.
But he always wakes up at the right time.
He and I spend a lot of time on the phone, even while games are
in progress. Nobody cuts to the chase like Dad. Nine weeks into
the '02 Sox season, I called him after a one-run defeat. "They
don't have it this year," Dad grumbled. He was right.
He's always right. When new addition Alaa Abdelnaby submitted
a decent debut for the Celts, the local papers went on and on
about him. "He's not gonna work out," hissed
Dad, who'd been at the game. During a fourth-quarter timeout,
Abdelnaby sought out a friend in a section near Dad's seats, and
waved to him like a little kid. These are the things my dad notices.
And, yes, Alaa never quite made a mark.
only get one chance with Dad. In the '90 Stanley Cup Finals, Glen
Wesley missed an open net in a triple-OT loss to the Oilers, and
Dad never forgave him. Poor Wesley could have flown to Iraq and
wiped out each and every Hussein; Dad wouldn't have cared. When
Boston traded Wesley to Hartford four years later for three first-rounders,
my father laughed. "I would've given the guy away,"
he said. Lately he's been on a crusade to get the Celtics to dump
GM Chris Wallace, who made that Vin Baker trade. "They
should fire Wallace, and they should make him take Baker with
him," Dad says. "And then they should have to
of disappointments, Dad used to throw grounders and tight spirals
at me for hours. He's still annoyed that I didn't turn into the
next Randy Vataha. "All those balls I threw you,"
he says now, "you caught 'em all. You had great hands.
But you had slow legs, and you didn't want to get hit."
As far as he's concerned, I'm Wesley or Alaa.
I definitely wouldn't be a Sports Guy without him. Dad
bought a single Celtics season ticket in 1974 and carried me into
the games. I slept through the famous triple-OT game against the
Suns, spread across his lap and the legs of two strangers. I was
6, but he still makes fun of me about it. When I was 8, he bought
me my own seat. They moved us to midcourt because nobody was going,
and Larry Bird arrived in Boston the following season. A gift
from the hoop gods. We attended just about every relevant Bird
game together. How do you repay someone for a gift like that?
I started writing columns, Dad became a running character. And
something strange happened: My readers felt they knew him. To
my continuing amazement, I get more e-mails about Dad than anyone
else I write about. People ask how he's doing, send him best wishes,
even quote some of his memorable NBA draft lines (like "That
suit has no buttons" about Drew Gooden). Every year,
around Father's Day, readers thank me for writing about him, because
it reminds them of why they miss their own dad so much.
Dad and I can't watch the NBA draft together this year, because
I'm in California. It's one of those things we did every year,
a father-son tradition. Decades from now, when he's long gone,
my favorite memory of Dad will be of sitting with him during the
draft. Here's an accomplished guy with a law degree and a Ph.D,
but you've got to see him sprawled on the sofa, juggling eight
mock drafts, frantically crossing off names in pen, eyes widening
every time Stern approaches the microphone. He cracks me up.
Father's Day, Pop. Wish I could be there.
Simmons is a columnist for Page 2 and ESPN, The Magazine, and
he's a writer for Jimmy Kimmel Live.
to fix the cruel
by Dennis Hans
May 25, 2003
The most dumb
and cruel rule in all of sports the foul-out rule reared its
ugly head again last Wednesday. Dallas superstar Dirk Nowitzki
was whistled for three fouls in the first seven minutes. He then
sat and watched for nine minutes as the Spurs widened their lead,
then came back and played cautiously and even less defense than
he normal the rest of the half as the Spurs blew the game wide
I think San
Antonio would have won the game even if Dirk hadnt had a whiff
of foul trouble. But Ive seen many playoff games this year where
foul trouble or foul outs affecting good, smart players playing
a good, clean game impacted the outcome. A fifth (and dubious)
foul on Tim Duncan in the fourth quarter of Game 1 Monday sent
him briefly to the bench and may have been the key to Dallass
rule even affects who guards whom.
The two greatest
big men in the game today, Shaquille ONeal and Duncan, squared
off this year in the second round. Both are in their prime, and
both are masterful low-post scorers and defenders. This should
have been a Clash of Titans, a modern-day Chamberlain-Russell
Just one problem:
No matchup. They almost never guarded each other. Duncan used
and abused Robert Horry and Mark Madsen, while Shaq did the same
to Mr. Robinson and someone who looked like Malik Rose, though
I cant be sure because he was completely blocked out of the camera
shots by a Laker three times his size.
If you have
a rule that discourages a Best vs. Best confrontation, you tear
up that rule. Ali fought Frazier. He didnt beat up on Fraziers
sparring partner while Frazier did the same to Alis sparring
and Darrell Green would always guard the other teams best receiver.
They wouldnt want it any other way.
never ducked Dusty Rhodes. Like he told Dusty and countless other
challengers, To be the man you have to beat the man.
If I were
an NBA player, I simply wouldnt accept a ridiculous rule that
routinely and seemingly arbitrarily turns gritty competitors
into frustrated spectators. If the players anoint me executive
director of the Players Association, Ill lead them in a strike
until that abomination is fixed.
Lets be clear:
The problem isnt with the refs. The officiating needs improvement,
but the refs do their best. Their job is to call em as they see
em for 48 minutes. It is not their job to keep key players on
the court. Thats a job for the NBA rules committee. Sadly, it
hasnt been up to the task.
As one of
many bright and brave souls whove been campaigning against the
foul-out rule for years, I was delighted to hear Jeff Van Gundy
Wednesday night add his name to the growing chorus. Its time
to put practical solutions on the table, so we can change the
conversation from Shouldnt we get rid of this rule? to Here
are some sensible plans to fix it. The season doesnt start until
the players and owners agree on one.
To get that
conversation started, here is my five-point plan:
Each team starts the game with three foul coupons. The coach
can cash one in at any time to remove a personal foul from a players
total. For example, it could be used after a player picks up a
second foul early in the first quarter. The coach would hand the
coupon to the ref and the player would still have just one foul,
though the expunged second foul would still count toward the teams
total for the quarter or half. An NBA coach could, if he chooses,
use all three coupons on the same player, which would mean he
would foul out on his 9th foul.
Downgrade non-brutal moving picks from a foul to a loss-of-possession
violation but strictly enforce the rule. The model here is footballs
two distinct face-mask penalties, depending on the severity.
Downgrade player-control offensive fouls from a foul to a loss-of-possession
violation, thereby eliminating the vile practice of flopping a
foe into foul trouble. This change also guarantees that drivers
the players that fans pay to see have just as many defensive
fouls at their disposal as jumpshooters and non-shooters, who
nobody pays to see. (Well also make it considerably more difficult
to draw a charge; click here for my analysis on why the current
interpretation is grossly unfair to drivers and bad for the game.)
Point 3, the players will make the refs job easier and the game
more honest by taking the no-flop pledge: I will strive to remain
upright rather than collapsing from incidental, unavoidable contact.
In turn, we call on refs to enforce the dislodging rule. Right
now, many of you punish low-post defenders who make a supreme
effort to stay on their feet, while rewarding those who reel,
stuntperson style, from real or imagined contact. If you refs
dont keep your end of the bargain, youll only encourage the
re-emergence of the flop.
Ensure that teams dont benefit from excessive fouling by expanding
the definition of intentional foul to include obvious grabs
by beaten defenders, deliberate shoves to send a poor free-throw
shooter to the line, and late-game whacks by trailing teams trying
to stop the clock. The intentionally fouled player is awarded
two points and his or her team retains possession. Because a possession
is worth, on average, one point, the intentional-foul penalty
would actually be a penalty, which is what penalties are supposed
to be. It would cost, on average, three points, which is one more
point than the beaten defender prevented. Whacking and grabbing
are not skills, so lets not reward them. As for vicious intentional
fouls, the penalty is a 10-game suspension served in Australia
as a marked man on a last-place rugby team.
But how will
With tenacious defense, great shooting and ample possessions,
courtesy of a 12-second shot clock in the final two minutes of
each half, when time-outs are disallowed. (Thanks to King Kaufman
of Salon.com for this innovation.) Under the current rules, the
standard method of staging a late rally goes like this: Commit
an intentional foul; fouled player shoots free throws; trailing
team hoists a quick trey. Repeat this boring process until the
horn blows. Deliberate whacks, free throws, time outs and jumpshots
are never exciting, though sometimes a jumper of free throw is
dramatic. Ill take excitement over drama any day. Excitement
means great athletes doing creative things on the move against
other great athletes doing their legal best to thwart what the
offensive team springs on them. Thats just what our Final Frantic
Flurry will provide.
Under my rules
regime, the impact of a given call, good or bad, will be greatly
reduced. The game wont take a dramatic turn because Baron Davis
gets called for two reach-ins in the first two minutes, Paul Pierce
is whistled for his third on a dubious charge call early in the
second quarter, or Duncan gets his sixth halfway through the fourth
on an attempted swat. No player ever again will have to think
twice about diving for a loose ball, swatting a shot or penetrating
the paint. He or she may not succeed, but the punishment for failure
wont be a long stint on the bench. Thats good for the players
and good for the refs.
my friends, is good for the game.
Hanss essays on basketball including the styles, rhythms and
fundamentals of free-throw shooting have appeared online at
the Sporting News and Slate. His writings on other topics have
appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post and Miami Herald,
among other outlets.
sport of Kings!
waiting for the Sacramento game to start now, and my phone is ringing
incessantly, so I turn down its volume to zero. Screw that telephone.
I always turn it off when the game starts. That is my business.
Today has been a rough one. We had blowouts, many blowouts, one
right after the other. I almost blacked out once or twice. My
blood pressure ran up to about 225, and I noticed that people
were giving me a wide berth.
damn! The Sacramento Kings are leading the Dallas Mavericks 41-32,
with four minutes and four seconds to play in the first half
Mike Bibby has missed 13- of-14 shots from the field, so far,
six of them wide-open layups.
Doug Christie just stripped the ball away from flashy little Nick
Van Exel and loped in for a stylish dunk, and the Kings lead 52-37
at halftime. Which is okay, but I can't help but remember that
last night Dallas was down by 16 in the first quarter -- and they
still lucked out with a victory in two overtimes. Anita went all
to pieces after that one. I had to take her into town and put
her in a decompression Chamber.
didn't take the scandal about the Kentucky Derby as hard as I
did, but so what. I am a natural son of the Dark and Bloody Ground,
and she is not
. But the horrible shock of the New York Times
going down in a blaze of fraud and treachery was too much for
her, and she cracked up.
babbling Christ! The Kings have gone up 60-42 -- and now here
comes Nick Van Exel. The crowd boos nervously, rumbling with a
queer hostility. I am betting Sacramento even, so things are looking
"good," as they used to say in Baghdad. My people
are kicking ass and Anita is feeding me grapes. Ye gods, this
game is a rout! The Mavericks are bleeding from every orifice.
am I still feeling queasy, with a 20-point lead at the end of
three quarters? Why am I plagued by memories of false hubris and
total collapse? Am I a fool?
course not. I am only a gambling person with a "checkered
past," and I have a very keen sense of impending danger
-- which is what I feel now, with 6:59 left on the clock and Sacramento
cruising by 19 or 20??? Why am I riddled with angst?
Kings didn't let the Mavs steal Game 4, much to the delight of
the Good Doctor.
Ah ha! The answer is not hard to see. Yes. I am faking it, trolling
for last-minute sucker bets. Ho ho ho. I feel no angst at all,
in truth -- even though the Kings have missed so many wide-open
shots that I fear to even count them. It is far more than 20,
for sure; probably about 26. Yet they are still shooting a steady
48 percent from the field. This is not Winning basketball, even
if the Mavericks are shooting 38 percent from the field. That
is Losing basketball.
eh? Last night the Kings played winning basketball and lost. Tonight,
they are playing Losing basketball but winning. What does it all
cares. Dirk Nowitzki has just been ejected from the game. Dallas
is falling apart. Now some jackass named Bell is trying to sock
Bobby Jackson in the face. Jackson has a broken jaw and a fractured
orbital bone above his eye. Incredible. How low do you have to
sink in the slime of human stupidity to deliberately whack one
of the classiest players in the league in the face when he has
a cracked eye-bone and a broken jaw?
is unacceptable rudeness. Bell is a knee-crawling, back-stabbing
punk with the soul of a Rat and the heart of a filthy virus. The
NBA should have him committed to a state Mental Hospital, and
locked down with restraints until he gets his entire body dyed
bright yellow, which will stay on his skin forever.
eh? You bet. There is only One way to deal with a vicious Punk
-- and that way is viciously. Take my word for it. I know exactly
how to deal with human scum
than 40 games in 40 nights of NBA playoff basketball ...
I am not a whore," said the bartender. "What
do you mean by that?"
the small talk,"
I said to her. "I came here to suck on your back."
cried out with fear and tried to get away, but I slapped some
plastic on her, then I locked the front door. It was 2:06 a.m.,
and a freezing rain was falling. Beautiful, I thought. This is
my kind of night.
someone named Napoleon offers you a real estate deal -- you
better take it.
in the world of sports ...
someone named Napoleon offers you a real estate deal -- you better
A gang of vicious fruit-bags broke into the mosque yesterday,
and destroyed everything in it. Who knows what they will destroy
tomorrow -- maybe You, maybe Me. Something rotten is beginning
to happen. I can feel it in my bones. Maybe we should steal a
shipment of whiskey, just to be on the safe side.
I agree with you exactly, Mr. Ambassador. They laughed at Napoleon
when he "gave away" the whole huge Louisiana
Purchase for only $15,000,000, or less than six pennies an acre.
Wow! Yes sir, we really robbed those French bastards, that time.
That is what we call an extremely high yield real estate investment.
What fools these French turned out to be, eh? Those pompous little
suckers. Hell yes! We'll fleece those shameless perverts every
day of the week. We own them.
couldn't agree with you more, Mr. President. I have always admired
your free-wheeling style of doing business. The French suck.
the French nation sucks! All of it. Look at all the things we
have fleeced them out of: The Statue of Liberty, two-thirds of
the western U.S.A., all of what was once "Southeast Asia"
-- Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, etc.... The list is long, if we want
to get weird about it: Hitler's gold, various forms of oral sex,
two million magnums of elegant French Champagne, etc, etc.
wait. There is another way to look at it. The prancing little
Emperor got his way in spades when he dumped that useless untamed
wilderness. It meant nothing to him. He was looking at Egypt for
his next project, and for that he needed real money immediately,
not 200 years later -- and $15 million green dollars looked just
about right to conquer all of Egypt in those days, the star of
the Middle East and all of its ancient treasures, its Mystery,
the immediate, in-hand Magic of owning Cairo, the pyramids, the
Nile river ant the ghost of sweet Cleopatra. The King, the emperor,
the Pharoh. Yes sir.
was a big-time dream come true. Who needs some stupid shack in
Oregon? Napoleon was looking for instant, massive gratification
on a scale of the Gods and Goddesses, and he had it right in front
of his own greedy little eyes. Hot damn! Give me that goddam $15
million right now in a clean brown bag. I will soon be the Champion
of Fun. Cazart.
What is the outlook for tomorrow, Doctor? What is the gambling
Prognosis? What is the score?
Who knows? Let me think on that, and I'll give you an answer in
the Morning. Ho ho. (PAUSE here, for a spontaneous salute to
Meatloaf, who has long been one of my heroes.)
is happening now is a whole different game than it was yesterday.
Both series in the West are tied 2-2, which is wonderful news
for all those among us who are certified basketball junkies. We
are seeing some strange and powerful games, and we must have every
series go the full seven games. That is the law of nature.
almost panicked last night, after that brutal and totally exhausting
two-overtime game between the Kings and the once "unbeatable" brutes from Texas. I was beginning to see the gloomy prospect
on an all-Texas western final.
... NO. Things changed, and now I see both series going seven
wild games. Last year, we had an all-California final. But so
what? The mere possibility of Sacramento without Chris Webber
actually winning the NBA championship is so irresistible that
I have to see it coming. That is all I know, and all I need to
know. Gook luck.
Hunter S. Thompson was born and raised in Louisville, Ky. His
books include "Hell's Angels," "Fear and Loathing
in Las Vegas," "Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail
'72," "The Great Shark Hunt," "The Curse of
Lono," "Generation of Swine," "Songs of the
Doomed," "Screwjack," "Better Than Sex,"
"The Proud Highway," "The Rum Diary,"
and "Fear and Loathing in America." His latest
book, "Kingdom of Fear," has just been released.
A regular contributor to various national and international publications,
Thompson now lives in a fortified compound near Aspen, Colo. His
column, "HEY, RUBE," appears regularly on Page
Page 2'dan alınmıştır)
The AMICO REPORT
May 2, 2003
I write that
the Detroit Pistons will finish sixth in the Central Division, and
they win it.
Then I write
that the Pistons will advance to the NBA Finals, and they're on
the verge of losing to eighth-seeded Orlando in the first round.
Dwight Seton e-mailed, "JUST STOP WRITING ABOUT THE PISTONS!"
Or how about
this from reader Tony Wilcox: "Dear Sam, I'm beginning
to think the best thing about your NBA newsletter is getting the
opportunity to make fun of you."
Thanks a lot.
with as wild and whacky as this postseason has been, you can hardly
make fun of my predictions. Well, you can, but it's not like anyone
really knew that Boston and Orlando would play so well, or that
Philadelphia and Dallas looked like they could sweep, only to
find themselves involved in a long series.
And what about
the Portland Trail Blazers? I know, Rasheed Wallace sounded like
Rain Man when he continuously muttered, "Both teams played
hard." But I'm not sure I believe Rasheed. I'm not sure
the Blazers DO play hard -- at least, not all the time. And effort
is supposed to be a given in the playoffs.
intended to pick on the Blazers, because I have no evidence that
they're lazy. But after watching the way they lost to Dallas in
the first three games ... then seeing how they won the next two
... well, it's just a hunch.
rambling. Then again, so far the playoffs have been a jumbled
mess of unpredictability, making it terribly difficult to put
together any kind of organized thoughts.
Here is my
forward Kevin Garnett is about to become the first player in NBA
history to lose in the first round seven straight times.
But I have
a feeling that statistic will only motivate Garnett. If the Wolves
can add another star - a guy who excels on both ends of the floor,
not just one - then Garnett should finally lead them to realistic
one thing the T-Wolves proved in their series against the Lakers
is that they're only slightly worse than the three-time world
Prior to the
series, I wrote that Troy Hudson and Wally Szczerbiak would be
the keys for Minnesota (considering we already knew there was
no stopping Garnett). Well, Hudson has been remarkable, but
Wally's been awful. Szczerbiak has looked lost on defense and
terrified on offense.
happened to forward Joe Smith? Is he really that bad? Remember
when Smith was the No. 1 pick in the draft? Remember when the
T-Wolves' front office lost draft picks for conducting shady negotiations
with Smith and his agent? Has any of it been worth it? I'd have
to say no, as Smith has played limited minutes off Minnesota's
bench, looking like a guy who's searching for his lost quarter
under the bleachers when he does play.
But you have
to love the physical style of backup big men Marc Jackson and
Gary Trent, and the solid leadership of Rod Strickland and Kendall
Gill off the bench.
with his crafty ballhandling skills, deadeye shooting and fearless
drives, Hudson reminds me very much of former Cleveland guard
line is the Timberwolves have nothing to be ashamed of, as they've
proven to be a wonderfully exciting team that can play with the
best. Still, they may want to make a deal involving Szczerbiak
or Anthony Peeler during the offseason, with the idea of landing
someone to get them out of the first round.
OF THE SONG?
As I write
this, the Sacramento-Utah series is the only one that's over,
the Kings winning in five games.
I love Karl Malone and John Stockton as much as the next guy,
it's time for the Jazz to shake their hands and say, "Thanks
for the 18 years of wonderful service, fellas. Now best of luck
still be a starter, but he needs to be the third or fourth option
-- something he'd never be able to do in Utah. But could you imagine
Malone standing next to Shaquille O'Neal in the Lakers' lineup,
or next to Tim Duncan in San Antonio? He'd average 12-to-15 points
and help lift either or those teams to a title.
As for Stockton,
it wouldn't hurt for the Jazz to bring him back at the absolute
minimum veteran salary, especially as a backup to a good free-agent
signee like Andre Miller.
also been rumors that Stockton will sign a cheap one-year deal
with someone like Seattle or Cleveland, where he'll play 10 minutes
a game and help groom a young point guard. I have a hard time
believing that, as Stockton is a creature of stability, and reportedly
has no desire to get into coaching.
As for the
rest of the Jazz, I don't see any reason to keep backup point
guard Mark Jackson or starting shooting guard Calbert Cheaney,
both of whom could be out of the NBA next season. I do love what
I've seen from Matt Harpring, Andrei Kirilenko, and especially,
DeShawn Stevenson. I know that Stevenson has had his problems
with coach Jerry Sloan, but I love the young guard's athleticism
Malone and Stockton, the Jazz probably won't make the playoffs
next season. As much as it hurts for Utah fans to hear this, now
is the time to rebuild.
The most likely
scenario involving Stockton is that he will retire this summer,
and you don't need me to tell you that he will be missed.
NBA player and current TNT analyst Kenny Smith said, in this day
of And1 mix tapes and crossover dribbles, the 41-year old Stockton
is one of the few remaining point guards who has absolutely no
flash to his game -- but is still a joy to watch.
always figured out a way to get the ball to the middle of the
floor, and he never had to dribble behind his back or between
his legs to get there," Smith said. "As a New
York City point guard, I find that amazing and probably appreciate
it more than anyone."
I agree with
Smith, as my favorite type of point guard is the kind that hails
from NYC -- the kind that is tough, plays with tons of confidence,
and has moves that will bring you to your feet. Yet I liked watching
Stockton as much as any of those guys.
I hope he
plays one more season, accepting a limited role with either the
Jazz or another team. I'm not sure why -- maybe it's just because
I want to see a 42-year old point guard in the NBA. More than
that, though, it's probably because the NBA needs more guys like
of New York point guards, Phoenix's Stephon Marbury gets my vote
for Best Point Guard of the First Round. Marbury
has made San Antonio's Tony Parker look like he'd much rather
be sitting on the bench. And that's not necessarily a knock on
Parker, as NOBODY could contend with Marbury right now. He's just
too quick, too strong, and too fundamentally-sound. Marbury is
also displaying maturity and acting like the perfect teammate.
The Suns may be finished by the time you read this, but with a
little more experience, they could be one of the top four teams
in the West next season.
-- Hold those
e-mails asking what I have against the crossover dribble. The
answer is absolutely nothing, as Philadelphia's Allen Iverson
is among my absolute favorite players of all-time. In other words,
I like exciting, breathtaking play as much as anybody. I'm just
trying to point out how the greatest players stay true to their
personalities, and don't try to be something they're not. I mean,
could you imagine how ineffective Indiana's Ron Artest would be
if he acted like a nice guy?
-- Did anyone
else have a feeling that the Pacers would suffer a meltdown in
the playoffs? I love these guys, and I really thought they would
be the East's dominant team when they made the trade for Artest
and Brad Miller a year and a half ago. I have no idea what's wrong,
though. If you do, e-mail me and I'll print your response. Maybe
coach Isaiah Thomas or team president Donny Walsh will read and
figure out a way to fix things.
-- Or maybe
Thomas won't even be back.
-- As for
the Pistons, well, I know ... I should just shut up right now.
But I can't help myself. Even if they come back to beat Orlando,
the Pistons aren't going to make it to the Finals. As every sportswriter
in America has already told you, the Pistons have no one to turn
to in the clutch. They're a very good defensive team with no real
threats on offense. And while defense wins championships in football,
the name of this game is putting the ball through the hoop. Still,
Richard Hamilton, Ben Wallace and a rejuvenated Chauncey Billups
are a good place to start for next season.
written all of that, watch for the Pistons to come back and beat
Orlando, then sweep their way to the title.
-- I'm still
not sure Sacramento can beat the Lakers. Obviously, the Kings
were bored in their series with Utah, but I'm wondering if Peja
Stojakovic and Jimmy Jackson will be able to just camp out behind
the 3-point line and throw up wide-open shots. Remember, the Lakers
are quite a bit more athletic than the Jazz, and they have a tendency
not to give up easy perimeter shots. And drilling perimeter shots
at an astounding rate is exactly why the Kings beat the Jazz.
-- How could
I finish the newsletter without at least mentioning Paul Pierce
and the Boston Celtics? Pierce has been amazing, putting on a
Jordan-esque performance and making a very average team look great.
-- One nameless,
faceless scout told Sports Illustrated that there's no way Carmelo
Anthony will be the No. 1 pick over LeBron James. "Anyone
who says Carmelo has a chance to be the top pick pick is either
stupid or lying," the scout told SI. "Carmelo's
a tremendous player, but LeBron is the whole package. If LeBron
had been playing for Syracuse, they probably would have won the
title more easily."
said them called Michael Jordan "stupid," because
it was Jordan who suggested some teams may consider taking Anthony
with the first pick.
for reading, keep those comments coming, and don't worry, I haven't
forgotten about the New Jersey Nets, New Orleans Hornets, or any
other team I didn't mention that is sure to result in angry e-mails.
Enjoy the playoffs!
installment on how to improve the NBA comes from Sharman
Willis of Philadelphia:
love the NBA, but some things that annoy me:
Offensive goaltending/basket interference. This is the lamest
rule I can think of! Why should it matter when your own teammate
puts the ball in the basket when it might have gone in anyway?
It's too tough of a call to make, and isn't helping your teammate
what the game is supposed to be about?
The officials. When an official makes a bad call and is supposedly
disciplined, I want to hear about it -- especially when it affects
my team. Bad referees need to be exposed."
If you have
an idea on how to improve the NBA, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The newsletter is free, and always will be. Questions and comments
can also be sent to that address.
HAVE A GREAT
Dreadlocks - The Playoffs
Its more than badly done hair, that when actually done right,
looks like a pile of thick nerf foam. Its a world where sports
are the breath of life. Ok, thats the real world. But, Dreadlocks
is a place where sports turn inside out. The following will serve
as a scope into an entertaining, yet deranged world. In Dreadlocks,
the NBA playoffs are under way. Let us review the first round
note: Since Cleveland decided to tank this year, in order to secure
a better place in the draft, they will be receiving a bye series.
Vince Carter against Michael Jordan. Didnt see that coming, huh?
Jordan averaged 30 points a game, which is good for an old fart.
Unfortunately, the team as a whole only averaged 43 points a game.
This series did have one big event: the come back of Eric Montross.
His four-point-seven points, point-three rebounds, and zero blocks
a game in the series helps the Raptors blow out the Wizards in
three games. Its too bad, too, because the Wizards forgot that
the series is now best-of-seven. Wizards forfeit game four and
York vs. Miami
BORING!!! This series is less a basketball series, and more a
WWE Pay-Per-View. On top of this, it features an appearance by
PJ Brown, and Larry Johnson, both of whom simply missed the brawling.
When the games actually went on, ugly offense and no defense led
to a seven-game series. The total points for the two teams for
the series was 119 points. Sadly, the Miami Heat won the series,
and moved on to Wrestlemania
I mean to play the Raptors.
Years and years ago, the visions of this series would include
a duel between Dominique and Air Jordan. This year, it is Jalen
Rose versus Big Dog Robinson. Within seconds of the first game
beginning, referee Ed F. Rush throws both players from the series,
in an attempt to egos to a minimal. So the featured matchup was
Theo Ratliff and Eddie Curry. Former all-star Ratliff torches
the youngin for a triple-double average, and leads the formerly
hopeless Hawks past the Bulls in five games to play the Cleveland
Cavs. Boths teams celebrate, though. The Hawks celebrate the series
by shaving the head of Dan Dickau, and with Jerry Krause out,
the Bulls can breathe again.
Classic battle between two different nationalities: Yao Ming against
Nene Hilario. The Great Wall versus
Hilario. Hilario makes
Yao look more foolish than his Visa commercial and schools him
all series long. Denver brings the upset against the Rockets,
thanks in part to the strained neck of Stevie Franchise, who,
incidentally, hurt his neck looking up at Yao during a practice.
Its a sweep.
vs. L.A. Clippers
Another titanic battle: Ray Allen against Corey Maggette. Ray
Allen was very highly regarded, thanks to some of his NCAA appearances.
Now, despite a seven-game series, Allen lights up Seattle with
his speed, accuracy, and fiery passion. Maggette curls into a
ball (ala Shawn Bradley), and weeps until his mom brings him his
teddy bear. Yet, thanks to a Sean Rooks, buzzer-beating three-pointer,
the Clippers win in seven.
State vs. Memphis
Boykins. Boykins, Boykins, Boykins. Earl Boykins dominates this
series. He is on such a roll, that the game, and series, winning
shot in game five is a 360 degree dunk over Pau Gasol. Boykins
stats: 26ppg, 13apg, and six steals. In a post-series press conference,
Memphis Mike Miller reminisces about his days with T-Mac in Orlando,
when winning meant something.
my world, baby, winning is definitely something. Stay tuned
days and 40 nights
Tracy McGrady's amazing streak leading Orlando
Magic to promised land
by John Hollinger, SI.com
Mar 24, 2003
amazing thing about basketball is that every year you'll see
new things -- things you never expected.
example, I never imagined that a guy could have the highest
scoring average in a decade and still be the most underrated
player in the league. Yet, somehow, Tracy McGrady is pulling
not mince words: Right now, McGrady is flat-out the best player
in basketball. It's not even a close call. His current average
of 32.4 points per game is the highest in the league in 10 years,
and if you eliminate players named "Jordan"
from the equation, it's the highest since Bernard King averaged
32.9 in 1984-85.
that average actually understates how well McGrady is playing.
Here's a trivia question to get things started: Since Christmas,
how many times has McGrady been held under 20 points?
you ponder that answer, let's look at his accomplishments.
starters, can we give him an Oscar for Best Performance
Without a Supporting Actor? Despite a roster that, minus
McGrady, would have trouble beating Cleveland or Denver, McGrady
has managed to raise his game across the board and drag the
Magic into the playoffs. Their current four-game win streak
even has them challenging Boston for the No. 6 seed.
is shooting more -- boosting his shot attempts from 20.9 to
24.1 a game -- but yet also managed the difficult feat of shooting
better -- his field-goal, free-throw and 3-point percentages
are all significantly higher than a year ago. Having overcome
last year's back trouble, the 23-year old simultaneously has
shouldered a bigger load while improving his efficiency.
back to that trivia question. The correct answer is zero.
McGrady has scored at least 20 points in 40 straight games
-- he'll make it a full half-season tonight against Memphis.
He's also been Orlando's leading scorer in all 40 of those games.
That accomplishment is a monument to his consistency.
closer at his 40-game stretch. He's averaging 33.9 points a
game -- even Jordan averaged that many only twice, and other
than His Airness, the last player to score that much in a season
was Bob McAdoo in 1975-76.
raised his game even more down the stretch, averaging an amazing
37 a game over his past 15 contests as he leads the Magic's
playoff charge. That includes Sunday night's stellar performance
in Miami, when he had 32 at halftime and then put it in cruise
control as Orlando rolled to a blowout win.
yet, when the topic of MVP comes up, McGrady's name is
mysteriously absent. Despite putting up the best scoring season
in a decade and taking an otherwise talentless team into the
postseason, all eyes have been focused westward, toward Tim
Duncan, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett.
three are great players and worthy candidates in another year.
But McGrady has been head and shoulders above the rest, and
in a fair world, his amazing 40-game stretch should have cemented
the award a long time ago.
planning -- or luck
by Kurt RAMBIS
Mar 17, 2003
player dreams of making a last-second shot to win a championship.
Every coach schemes to design the perfect play for that buzzer-beater.
And every team has plays for all kinds of late-game situations.
there are three-tenths of a second left, you have a play that
calls for an inbounds pass and tap. For one second, there are
quick catch-and-shoot plays. With two seconds, there's time
for a quick dribble before a shot. At six seconds, you have
time for one pass after the ball has been inbounded or you can
run a one-on-one isolation play.
are many other factors coaches have to consider, such as: Are
you taking the ball out of bounds near the halfcourt line? Under
the basket? Deep in the corner on the sideline or the baseline?
Are you down by one, two or three points? Does the defense have
a foul to give? Do you have a player who has the clout to get
a call if he's fouled? What are the matchups? When you're in
the huddle during timeouts, assistant coaches are watching the
other team to see if it makes a substitution. You don't necessarily
want to keep in a big guy if your opponent brings in a lineup
of quick outside shooters.
So many scenarios, so much preparation. And it all comes down
to this highly technical analysis: The right play is any play
that works. That's how you'll be judged.
wish I could say we placed Robert Horry in position to make
that critical 3-pointer against the Kings in the crucial fourth
game of the Western Conference finals last season, but it was
pure luck. Sacramento's Vlade Divac tipped a loose rebound,
and it went to Robert like a textbook bounce pass. Against the
Pacers recently, he just happened to be out on a wing when the
ball was tapped to him, and he won another game with another
clutch shot. His position just as easily could have been reversed
in those games, and we just as easily could have lost both.
is guaranteed in these situations. Perfectly designed plays
often don't work. Phil Jackson is excellent at diagramming plays
on the fly based on how our opponents have been defending us.
In Philly this season, he drew one up that left Rick Fox so
wide open for a layup that Robert got a bit anxious with his
pass and threw it behind Rick, who wasn't able to catch it cleanly
and bobbled the ball out of bounds. We ended up losing.
never forget their last-second game-winners. I made two in my
career, both when I was with the Hornets. One came against Michael
Jordan and the Bulls, the other in Salt Lake City. Both times,
I grabbed a rebound, then put the ball in the basket. That's
certainly not how the plays were drawn up, but, hey, I don't
remember anyone caring about that after the game.
sale by owner
by J.A. NORLIN
Mar 4, 2003, 19:40
year, I remember what I thought was the strongest interference
by an owner, for his own benefit as opposed to the teams best
interest. (And no, it doesnt involve the owner everyone loves
to hate, the Clippers Donald Sterling.)
Paul Gaston, owner of the Boston Celtics, after seeing
his team compete in the Eastern Conference finals, after years
of futility, decides to change the teams line-up. It is a decision
that comes close to killing the Celtics changes of repeating this
year. He refused to throw anything more than peanuts to Rodney
Rogers, who was one of the major support players that helped Boston
succeed. Then he traded point guard Kenny Anderson to Seattle.
While Kenny was definitely overpaid, and a me first player,
last year that changed and he became a contributor to the team
by setting up shots for Antoine Walker and Paul Pierce. The reason
for trading Kenny and risking going without a true point guard
this season: money. Under the salary cap rules, you have to trade
for within 10% of the salaries. So you are allowed to trade $10M
worth of talent for only $9M and end up saving a million dollars.
And that is exactly what Gaston did in trading Kenny for Vin Baker
(and change from both sides.) Never mind that Kennys $9M
contract was coming off the books this summer, and Vins will
haunt the Celtics for 3 more years. It doesnt matter than Kenny
could have been resigned for a much lower price during the off-season.
Gaston didnt care that Vin, while a nice guy, has not played
meaningful minutes in Seattle for the last 2 years. All Gaston
was concerned with was saving a million dollars, so that he could
put the team under the luxury tax, and sell it a couple of months
later. What Paul Gaston did is kill a team that all of a sudden
was a contender, and extended his middle finger to Boston fans,
so that he could make more money and ensure a sale. General Manager
Chris Wallace is still being scapegoated as the creator of the
deal, and man, did he try hard to paint a pretty picture of what
his owner was doing and what Vin Baker could potentially contribute
for his team. (For that alone and the fact he could do it with
a smile on his face I think he deserves GM of the Year.)
is no argument that players have a large impact on the game
of basketball. They are the ones who make or dont make that
last second shot. Whose attitudes can help or kill a locker
room. Who can teach the rookies the little tricks, or let them
flounder and their talents be wasted. But the most important
part to any organization is the owners and the general managers.
Dont believe me? Ask fans of the Clippers or the Bulls how
those in a desk have affected their teams ability to win. Or
look at the positives made by the owners of the Mavericks (Mark
Cuban) or the Kings (the Maloof Brothers) in making
bad teams the best in the league. The fans in Charlotte hated
the owners of the Hornets (Shinn and Woodridge) so much,
they basically kicked them out of town. And it had nothing to
do with the players or the success of their team, as many sports
writers predicted the Hornets to be a factor in the East (and
they were right.)
Donald Sterling fired Clippers head coach Alvin Gentry.
It is always easy to blame the coach since he is in charge of
the day-to-day operations of how the players do. The coach sets
up the plays, assigns the minutes, and is the motivator of the
team. But how motivated can a TEAM be if they are playing for
themselves. If they want to punch up their individual stats
so that can add more millions to their contracts next year.
With the exception of Elton Brand, most of the Clippers know
they will be living in a different city next year because Sterling
doesnt want to pay for them. But why should he? The fans still
go to see the games, and the Clippers have been very popular
these last two years based simply on potential. So as long as
Sterling and Baylor keep bring in rookie prospects for
their potential the fans will still come. And they
will still make money being one of cheapest teams in the league
because of a basic business philosophy: low over head cost and
big sells means huge profits. So why should they change? The
drafting of Marvin Ely and Chris Wilcox wasnt a sign of redundancy,
it was planning for next years potential players.
Krause has constantly been in the hot seat, and many wonder
why he hasnt been fired yet. The man who blew-up the championship
Bulls because he believed organizations, not players, win championships.
He was so bad mouthed by players around the league, that even
when the Bulls had lots of money to throw at players, none of
the top talent would come. Sure they would interview and have
contract talks, but that was simply so the free agent could
raise the asking price of the team they really wanted to go
to. Remember three summers ago when they tried to recruit top
talents like Tracy McGrady and Tim Duncan. The best they ended
up with was Eddie Robinson, who cant even break into the starting
line-up of a mostly rookie team. Krause insists that every coach
teach the triangle offense because it was the offense that did
(and still does with the Lakers) win championships. Never
mind that it is an offense that is so complicated that even
veterans have a hard time picking it up, much less a crowd of
rookies still trying to learn how to play in an NBA game.
Whitsitt, GM of the Trailblazers, is despised among the
fans of Portland. How can a GM live in Seattle and run a Portland
based team is a frequent question asked by local fans. Many
sports writers joke about the fact that Whitsitt is trying to
build the ultimate fantasy team, and he is nick named Trader
Bob because he is always shifting the team around and never
keep the fans favorite players. Since he has the money to do
so (Paul Allens the owner) he has brought tons of talent
to the Blazers. Ignoring facts like their attitudes, reputations
as team players, or criminal records. Whenever a problem player
is brought into Portlands fold, Whitsitt is always ready to
give his famous and clichéd second chance speech. Remember
this is the same organization that had a woman and her step-son
thrown out of the game for refusing to give up a sign stating,
Trade Whitsitt. To make the PR scandal worse, the Blazers
sent a gift package to the family, which the family had to pay
the postage on, even though they lived within a mile of the
Rose Garden Arena. Even though the Blazers remain one of the
top teams in the Pacific, Portlanders are always in fear of
reading their morning paper to learn what crime a Blazer has
Dumars is an example of a GM gone right. His theory for
a basketball team is so scary that it is amazing that it is
a success. He developed a team without a single superstar on
the roster. A team where everyone is a role player, and everyone
knows their role. If someones head gets to big for the organization,
he will be traded for someone who can accept their role on the
team. Thanks to the hiring of coach Rick Carlisle, the team
has a defense first attitude, that other teams can only talk
about. How good is this team? Before their trip to the West
Coast, they were the top team in the east.
Maloof Brothers and GM Geoff Petrie took the long
road of making a marginal team into the contender for the title.
The first thing they did was make their team one everyone wanted
to watch. With the Kings fast paced offense, and ability to
go on a 10-0 run at least twice in every game, they brought
fans to the arena. While they werent always the best defensive
team and didnt win every game; the fans knew that every game
the Kings played they would put on a show. Once the fans were
there, the Kings started making subtle changes that had huge
affects. Adding Doug Christie whose defense first attitude spread
over the team like a plague was the first change. Then they
traded erratic (but fun) point guard Jason Williams for
stable hand and future clutch player, Mike Bibby. With a new
attitude, some of the best chemistry in the NBA, and proving
to everyone they can get past almost any hurdle, the fun team
became THE team in the league.
favorite owner in the NBA has got to be Mark Cuban of
the Mavericks. Yeah, I know he is outspoken and the owner that
gets the most press. But how can you not enjoy an owner that
is the most die-hard fan in the coliseum. A billionaire who
yells louder than any other fan, and who looks depressed when
the team is doing poorly. (I have personally sat a couple
of rows behind GM Bob Whitsitt and owner Paul Allen, and they
always looked like they are talking stock tips instead of focusing
on the game literally in front of them.) I also like a GM
who tells one of his best players, Michael Finley, to go test
the market and see what you are worth, and whatever the top
offer is, I will match it. This shows a commitment to the players
and a willingness to always do the right thing by them. At about
the same time, Cuban and coach/GM Don Nelson were using
the same formula to succeed as the Kings. Make a bad team fun
and bring in the fans. Once they start getting press, start
making changes to make them contenders to the title.
are many owner/GMs that are the reason that you local team
is great (the Lakers, Nets, Pacers, and several others)
just as there are just as many that seem to be singly focused
on destroying their team (Cavs and Knicks come to mind.)
Unfortunately the only way to see major changes and commitment
to your teams success (if you are not already there)
is to see your team change hands. For fans of the Cavs, Hawks,
Bucks, and those in Charlotte, your dream team may be on its
way. Then again, it could just be more of the same, it all depends
on the people in charge.
Has any else noticed this is the season of death for
the nice coach. The evil label applied to Gentry, Kruger,
With Drew Gooden playing some great ball and getting
a starting spot on the suddenly surging Magic, will we finally
hear some Rookie of the Year talk? No, it will probably still
be dedicated to those two dropping like a stone teams, the Suns
and the Rockets
Ode, to the $10M a year bench players, the
subjects of my next column
The Kobe madness has finally stopped,
so can we now pre-pick someone else for the MVP, please
to my 3 loyal readers (thanks, Tim for being number 3)
and my mom for the late column, had half of it sitting on my
computer all week and was lazy about the other half
Norlin is the Reserve Writer for the Denver Nuggets and writes
(mostly) weekly commentary and analysis on the NBA for hoopsworld.com
by Kevin Pelton
Feb 25, 2003, 09:00
spent part of yesterday going through my archives of my old Sonics
columns for then-BskBALL.com, hoping to find what Id consider
my signature column about now-departed Gary Payton. In the midst
of this effort, I came across the following paragraph written
about Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant:
"Let's start with the easiest of
topics, K-O-B-E. What a week. Hurts his ankle against Milwaukee,
maybe out for the year, and that's the least of the news. First,
PJ says he's bored with the triangle. That's hard to believe -
the triangle was good enough for Michael, but not for you, Kobe?
Then, the other allegation, that Kobe would sabotage high school
games to take over at the end. That's an unbelievable allegation,
but, knowing Kobe, it's hard not to believe in his case. Bskball,
I wonder if you could put this as the 'quote' from the article,
so all the Faker fans who don't read team columns but do read
Rumors and post crap like "PHIL JACKSON IS COACH OF THE YEAR
UNDOUBTEDLY" and "MJ DOES NOT NEED TO RETURN! WE ALREADY
HAVE KOBE!" can see it. By the way, do you understand that
most people take Caps Lock off? Anyway, Kobe Bryant is not the
best player in the NBA. Shaquille O'Neal is. Until Kobe's will
is entirely broken by PJ, and lord knows he's trying, Kobe will
not realize it, and the Fakers will not be successful. Kobe is
not the next Jordan, and everyone knows it. Jordan would never
have sabotaged his games. All the money in the world means nothing
to Jordan compared to the thrill of victory. For Kobe, victory
is ok, but not nearly as great as the Big 'N Tasty at McDonald's.
Kobe has had everything in his life handed to him on a silver
spoon. He's never learned by working like Jordan had to. He didn't
have a coach like Dean Smith to shape him at an early age. Now,
with PJ, I'm afraid it's too little, too late. Kobe may have the
best pure talent in the NBA besides Shaq, but he's a complete
failure in the mental department, and that's why he will never,
ever be the greatest."
Let me take
this opportunity to formally apologize to Mr. Bryant, not to
mention the Lakers fans I slandered in my post-loss to the Phoenix
Suns anger. A lot has changed for me in the last two years (this
was posted on March 22, 2001), but little has changed more
than my opinion of Bryant.
In the intervening
period, not only have Bryants Lakers won two championships,
but he has clearly demonstrated an increased level of maturity
on and off the court. Why shouldnt that have been expected?
Bryant was thrust under the medias microscope at age 18 as
a person just out of high school. No average person out of high
school, mind you, given he was already a millionaire and took
Brandy to his prom, but still an immature youngster in the grand
scheme of things.
clearly grown up off the court, where he is now a married father,
and on it as well. Hes come to understand how to play off the
Lakers superstar center, Shaquille ONeal, and salvaged their
relationship - though right now its ONeal thats playing off
of Bryant, not the other way around.
recent hot streak has thrust him into the role of favorite for
MVP, and rightly so, but it hasnt represented a major change
in his game so much as revealing how well hes been playing
all season. One of the things that impresses me most about Bryant
is how hes broadened his game this season. Last seasons averages
of 5.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists, to go along with his 25.2 points,
were excellent, but this year hes been off the charts. No shooting
guard - and in fact, few point guards - averages more than Bryants
6.3 assists per game, which rank him 11th in the NBA. Only one
guard (Bostons Paul Pierce) averages more than Bryants
7.0 rebounds per game. Add to that Bryants 2.2 steals per,
good for a tie for fourth in the league, and it is clear that
there is only Minnesotas Kevin Garnett can rival Bryant in
terms of versatility.
all the other areas of the game he excels in, what everyone
focuses on is Bryants scoring. It is difficult not to cast
the spotlight on his point production since the All-Star break,
when hes gone for at least 40 each time out and dropped 50
twice. There are two aspects of the streak that are particularly
remarkable. The first is that Bryant did it with such weak teammates
when ONeal was sidelined last week. Not to demean the other
Lakers, but teams like the Rockets were able to double- and
even triple-team Bryant with impunity as Derek Fisher, Rick
Fox, and Robert Horry failed to strike fear into their hearts.
The other remarkable thing about Bryants streak is how well
hes shot. Hes not getting 40 points per game by forcing up
dozens of shots and missing most of them, last nights 13-for-34
performance against the Seattle SuperSonics aside. In the month
of February, Bryant is shooting 48.5% from the field and a stunning
45.8% from downtown while averaging 43.0 points per game.
amazing accomplishment by Bryant is how he's been able to play
through the patella tendintis that has devastated the career
of Vince Carter, amongst others. He practically limped his way
through the final quarter and overtimes against Houston and
still dropped 52 to win the game almost single-handedly, then
went out and put up 40 a night later in a win at Houston. We
can only hope the pain, like Tracy McGrady's troublesome back,
subsides so we're not denied these players' individual greatness.
court, there's little to criticize Bryant for. He's kept his
nose clean and steered clear of the troubles which have cropped
up for so many professional athletes. Additionally, his post-9/11
column for Newsweek was one of the most poignant and emotional
pieces of writing I have ever seen from an athlete.
to say Bryant has mastered life, or even the NBA, just yet.
There's still growing to do, as evidenced by his dogged determination
to get to 40 points against the Sonics despite double-teams.
Not only was his play in the final minutes selfish, it might
have cost his team the game had the Sonics been able to buy
I must declare myself wrong as of this moment. Kobe Bryant has
become "the greatest", best player in the NBA,
and that's why right now he deserves MVP.
Şubat 2003 - hoopsworld.com)
With Ewing Trade
by Chris BROUSSARD
reminding the Madison Square Garden fans of what a franchise center
looked like on Sunday, Shaquille O'Neal opined on the downfall
of the Knicks. Simply and succinctly, he traced the Knicks' current
plight to the trading of Patrick Ewing.
"Trade a legend, bad things happen to you,"
said Shaquille O'Neal, the Los Angeles Lakers star.
on the verge of missing the playoffs for the first time in 15
years, are certainly evidence of that. While Ewing, who was
38 when he was dealt to Seattle in September 2000, did not have
much to offer on the court anymore, the Knicks' decision
to trade him was the first in a series of front-office moves
that were imprudent from a financial standpoint and questionable
from a basketball standpoint.
combined with the untimely and unexpected resignation of Jeff
Van Gundy as head coach earlier this season, Marcus Camby's
constant injury problems and the premature retirement of Larry
Johnson, have caused the Knicks to deteriorate into one of
the worst-situated teams in the National Basketball Association.
With a league-high $85.5 million payroll and a roster full of
overpaid role players, their prospects for swift improvement
are as unfavorable as their current 20-34 record.
general managers around the league feel the Ewing trade was
the single most drastic thing, because look at what it turned
them into," said an Eastern Conference executive,
speaking on condition of anonymity. "If they had
just let Ewing go, they wouldn't have guys like Travis Knight,
Howard Eisley and Shandon Anderson signed to those long-term
for the Ewing trade were planted when the players, the public,
and even Dave Checketts, then the president of Madison Square
Garden, began thinking the Knicks were better off without Ewing
during their run to the 1999 NBA. finals. So when Ewing, angry
over the lack of respect he received and aware that the Knicks
would not extend his contract, demanded a trade, the Knicks
sought to satisfy him.
If the Knicks had gotten great value, trading Ewing at that
point in his career would not have been so damning. But the
Knicks were afraid he would be disruptive if brought back for
one more season, so they accepted a package of aging, injured,
ill- fitting players with long-term contracts totaling $90.4
million rather than keeping Ewing around and chopping his $16
million off their payroll after the 2000-1 season.
The club's thinking was that by pulling off the four-team trade
that sent Ewing to Seattle, it would be in position to trade
for Dikembe Mutombo, still a top-flight center, during, or after,
was an assistant at the time and as far as I was told, there
were conversations in terms of trying to get Mutombo,"
Knicks Coach Don Chaney said. "They were working on that.
We thought we had a chance at getting a big guy, and the big
guy was Mutombo. I was told through the coaches that Mutombo
was the guy in sight for us to bring in here."
Falk, the agent for Mutombo and Glen Rice, never told the Knicks
he would deliver Mutombo, the Knicks knew that taking care of
one of his clients would not hurt in the pursuit of another.
So they gave Rice, who was 33 at the time, a four-year, $36
million contract. Rice's only other option at the time was to
accept a one-year, $7.5 million offer from the Chicago Bulls.
Knicks tried to cultivate a good relationship with people who
could help them," Falk said. "That's called good business.
I'm very fond of Dave Checketts and we developed a good relationship.
If Dikembe had not been traded from Atlanta to Philadelphia,
would the Knicks have had a good chance of getting him? Absolutely."
were so focused on getting Mutombo that they were willing
to look past Luc Longley's poor health and six-year, $32.4 million
contract and agreed to accept him in the Ewing deal to make
the trade work for the SuperSonics. While the Knicks wound up
surprised that Longley was limited to only 25 games in the 2000-1
season, they knew beforehand that he would not be a major contributor.
In fact, Longley, who ended up retiring because of a degenerative
condition in his ankle in September, said the Knicks knew
he was banged up before trading for him.
knew what was going on," Longley said last summer.
"That's why they traded me. Their doctors had seen the
X-rays and giggled at them. I brought up my ankle in my physical
with the Knicks, and they said, `Have you been playing?' I said,
`Yes,' and that was it."
Longley is retired, and the Knicks will have ended up paying
him approximately $25 million.
the Knicks' president and general manager, would not comment
on the Knicks' series of deals, but one person who was close
to him said, "It would have been a great trade if it had
all turned into Mutombo, but those are some of the gambles you
was forced out last spring, and Layden ultimately saw his duties
expanded. The Knicks then took another gamble last summer, miscalculating
the health of Charlie Ward and compounding the financial repercussions
of the Ewing trade by sending Rice to Houston in a three- team
deal for Anderson and Eisley. The Knicks knew they needed
to move Rice because he was unhappy coming off the bench, and
they also wanted another point guard because they were afraid
that Ward's knees would not hold up this season.
of that is justification for trading for a role player like
Eisley when he has six years and $36.6 million left on his contract.
The summer before, no one but Dallas's deep- pocketed owner,
Mark Cuban, was willing to give Eisley more than $2.25 million
a year. And Eisley's trade value was higher then than it is
now. On top of that, the Knicks agreed to give Anderson a six-year,
$42 million deal.
in the seven-year, $22 million contract that Knight got when
he arrived with Rice, the Knicks took on $137.4 million in
contracts for players they acquired through the Ewing trade.
By contrast, Ewing had sought just a $17 million extension
for two years.
When Ward's knees proved sturdy, the move to acquire Eisley
became even more problematic because it left the Knicks with
three point guards of similar talent. The glut at the position
would not have been as bad if the Knicks had not traded Chris
Childs for Mark Jackson last season. Whereas Childs could have
been traded because he is in the last year of his contract,
the 36-year-old Jackson, who has two years and nearly $9 million
left on his deal after this season, is hard to move.
Knicks don't seem to have any attractive options. Kurt Thomas
and Othella Harrington have reasonable contracts, but who will
the Knicks get in return who is better than them?
injuries have crushed his market value. He has played just 29
games this season.
Sprewell, who will be 32 at the start of next season, is not
hot. A rebuilding team will not want him because of his age,
and a contending team that needs another piece would probably
not offer equal value for him.
And most league executives believe Allan Houston will be hard
to move because of his six-year, $100.4 million contract. Knowing
that he left Detroit as a free agent in 1996, the Knicks wanted
to avoid the risk of losing him by haggling in negotiations.
They thought it would be better to sign him and trade him later
Allan Houston for $100 million was not good," one Eastern
Conference general manager said. "I would have given
him maybe $1 million more than anybody else would have given
him, and that was probably Chicago, $72 million. And he probably
would not have gone there."
retirement during training camp robbed the Knicks of their one
low-post presence who could demand double teams and it also
left them without a dominant personality in the locker room.
But the impact that Van Gundy's resignation had on the team
cannot be overstated. With no disrespect to Chaney, who was
left in a very difficult position, many people inside the league
believe the Knicks would at least be in the playoff hunt if
their coach had not walked out.
don't think their front office realized the ramifications of
Jeff's decision," said one Eastern Conference coach who
believes Van Gundy left in large part because the Knicks refused
to grant him a contract extension last summer. "They thought
their team was a good team and the players thought they were
a good team and that they could do it without Jeff.
their team play, when they get their large leads and they let
up and they lose, it's because most of those guys on the team
think they're much better than they really are. I think that's
a big problem with that team. I think when they play hard and
play like a team that realizes that they're not that good and
that they have to play hard, they're not bad. But they don't
whether they liked him or not, got the most out of them. He
paid attention to detail and there was no slippage when he was
around. He wouldn't allow anybody to let up. They have let up,
especially with big leads, and that's the reason they went down."
of the reasons.
Şubat 2002 - New York Times)
Alttaki yazıyı Elçin Yahşi gönderdi... New York Times'dan...
Uzun ama gözünüzü korkutmasın, keyifle okunuyor. Bill Walton'ın, "Greatest 50" kulübünün üyesi, eski NBA efsanelerinden,
1977'de Portland Trail Blazers ile şampiyonluk yaşamış olan bir
basketbolcu olduğunu biliyor olabilirsiniz. Fakat bunu bilmek,
Walton'ı tanımaktır sanmayın...
Zamanının sabıkalı Çiçek Çocuğu (hatta Deadhead), boyu kadar dört
tane evlât yetiştirmiş (hepsi de şu an NCAA'de oynuyor) bu dev
müstesna zat-ı muhterem, son derece ilginç, renkli, hareketli
ve çoğu anı hatırlanmaya değer bir hayat yaşamış.
Bu röportajda, UCLA formasıyla sahada efsane olduğu NCAA yıllarından
Vietnam Savaşı protestolarında başına gelenlere, Grateful Dead
ve Jerry Garcia'nın hayatındaki öneminden NBA'de yaşadıklarına,
zamanının kendisi gibi efsaneleşmiş yıldızlarından NBA basketbolunun
bugünkü haline, özel hayatına kadar birçok konuda konuşuyor, okumaya
ve bilmeye değer fikirlerini anlatıyor Koca Bill.
Gerçekten son derece nâdide bir mal. Sabırla okuyun, o zaman belki,
bizim gibi ağabeylerinizin, memlekette NBA'in ne adının, ne haberinin,
ne de resminin olmadığı yıllarda bu organizasyona ve oyuncularına
neden böylesine gönül verdiğimizi anlayabilirsiniz. - batuğ
Bill Walton's Inside Game
by PAT JORDAN
Bill Walton, his family and friends are sitting beneath a flapping
Grateful Dead banner in the tropical-forest backyard of his San
Diego home discussing the day's news. ''Oh... I... love... reading...
the... newspaper,'' Walton says in the same insufferably pompous-sounding
voice he uses as a TV basketball analyst.
He is quizzing
his sons on what they read in the newspapers that day. One mentions
an article about the friendship between Albert Einstein and
the Indian poet-mystic Rabindranath Tagore. Tagore wrote of
Einstein, ''My salutation is to him who knows me imperfect and
Ah... yes... . That... reminds... me... of... something... Jerry...
Garcia... once... said... . ''
most people know about Walton: He is 48 years old, just shy
of seven feet tall and was recently named one of the 50 greatest
NBA players in history. For the past 11 years, he has worked
as an N.B.A. television analyst whose absolutist proclamations
on the game, delivered in that voice, often make fans furious
don't know about Walton is that he works very hard at perfecting
his pompous-sounding speech because every time he opens his
mouth, he is terrified that no words will come out. He has had
a debilitating stutter all his life.
people also don't know that Walton's four giant sons all are,
or have been, college basketball players (Adam, 25, Louisiana
State; Nate, 23, Princeton; Luke, 21, Arizona; Chris, 19, San
Diego State) and that every summer Walton and his sons meet
at his sprawling compound for a few weeks of bonding that is
both touching and bizarre.
where he played from 1970 to 1974 and led the Bruins to 88 consecutive
wins and two national championships and was named the "college
player of the year" for three straight seasons, Walton
was also well known for his radical politics. He took part in
a protest of the Vietnam War that resulted in the takeover of
a campus administration building; he claimed that Jerry Rubin
was as great an American hero as George Washington, that no
one over 35 should be president and that blacks had been oppressed
by white Americans for so long that they had every right to
with his family, Walton dreams out loud. ''Today's the anniversary
of Woodstock,'' he says. ''Thirty-two years ago. Those were
great days. Listening to Dylan and the Dead. Hope. Peace. Love.
Happiness. Everything was possible.''
wife, Lori, comes out of the house and joins the brood. She
has just returned from her massage-therapy class. ''Let's hear
it for Lori, boys,'' Walton says. ''She got an A on her test.''
Lori,'' his sons say, with a condescension that seems to be
a Walton family trait.
turns to her and says, ''By the way, did you get the leak in
the sink fixed?''
she says. ''Tomorrow.'' Lori is in her mid-30's, a tiny, beautiful
woman of Japanese ancestry. ''She's an American,'' Walton says
to me when I ask about her family. ''That's all you need to
know.'' He won't tell me her age, either, or when -- or if --
they were married.
at a party at my house 11 years ago,'' he says. ''She went to
UCLA, and she's a Deadhead, what more do you need to know?''
He points to the living room. ''We met right there.''
met by the washer and dryer,'' Lori says.
here to celebrate Luke's leaving for college in a few days,''
Walton says to those assembled around the table. ''What advice
do you have for him?''
telling a story about the sexual entanglements N.B.A. rookies
can be lured into that ends with an anecdote about oral sex.
Walton looks aghast. ''Nate! Not at dinner!'' Walton can occasionally
be prudish around his sons. When the movie ''Before Night Falls''
is mentioned, he says to Lori, ''Write down that title.'' But
when he is told that the movie is about a gay writer living
in Cuba, he looks pained. ''Aw, they're just like you and me,''
he says. He is told that the writer's sexuality is pivotal to
the plot. Still, all he will say is, ''Tolerance and acceptance.''
In unison, Nate and Luke call out, ''Tolerance and acceptance.
Bill's motto for the summer.''
the subject. ''Lori,'' he says, ''I'd like you to maximize your
time with Luke for the next few days.'' Then Walton says, ''Now
boys, I want to discuss some negligence around the pool -- towels
not picked up.'' The boys role their eyes and say in unison,
of the houses in Walton's neighborhood are Mediterranean Revival
with neat, treeless lawns. His house is obscured by tropical
foliage, as if its owner were in the witness-protection program.
Inside, it is a shrine to the early 70's. The walls are covered
with faded photos of the Grateful Dead -- performing at outdoor
concerts, posing with Walton -- and posters announcing some
long forgotten Dead concert.
morning, the tinkling of a piano can be heard in the living
room, and then a voice. ''Aargh! Come on!'' Walton is hunched
over the piano. ''Don't listen,'' he says. ''I'm not very good.''
Recently, Walton had the bones in his left ankle fused so he
could walk without the pain that plagued him for much of his
career. He can no longer hike in the mountains or shoot baskets
with his sons. Now, the man who once said, ''Movement is freedom,''
is reduced to practicing piano, gardening, reading the newspaper
and watching his boys play basketball in his backyard.
to feel sorry for me about,'' he says. ''I've had a wonderful
life.'' Yet Walton lives in an idealized past that seems to
have little to do with reality. He likes to talk about his perfect
childhood growing up in San Diego. ''My dad gave us a trusting
environment of freedom to create our life,'' he says. ''I still
it was also an environment of harsh discipline. Ted Walton refused
to let his children use profanity and beat them with a strap
for such transgressions as bed-wetting. And because he never
played sports, his son looked elsewhere for role models. ''Oh,
I had wonderful teachers,'' Walton says. He is talking mostly
of John Wooden, his coach at UCLA ''My life is a shrine to John
Wooden,'' Walton once said. He used to write little Woodenisms
on his boys' lunch bags. ''Be quick, but don't hurry.'' ''Failing
to prepare is preparing to fail.'' Walton takes comfort in those
trite epigrams because they remind him of a time when life was
perfect, before UCLA's 88-game winning streak came to an end.
1974, at Notre Dame,'' Walton says. ''Nothing in my life has
ever been right after that. Our perfect world was destroyed.
I spent the rest of my life trying to get it back. It's hard
to accept that perfection is not always going to be there. We
believed it would.'' Then Walton cries out, ''Aargh!''
not to dwell on that loss, just as he glosses over any pain
in his past, like his divorce from his first wife, Susie. His
lips quiver when he says: ''I... I... I'm divorced. That's all
in the afternoon, Nate is swimming naked in the pool, as all
the Walton boys do. He calls out to me from the pool: ''Have
you talked to my mom yet? Bill never mentions her, like she
doesn't exist. But she played a more significant part in our
lives than he did.''
lives in a modest house in Del Mar, a pristine community that
looks over the Pacific. A handsome woman at 50, she teaches parenting
classes. For two hours, Susie talks about her 19 years with Walton.
Her tone veers from affection to anger, punctuated at times by
expletives and at other times by a hearty, infectious laugh.
Walton in his sophomore year when her boyfriend persuaded her
to let Walton live with her and her girlfriend. ''He told me
not to touch his records,'' she says. ''That's not a good thing
to tell me, so we played them. I thought he was a geek, but
he had a great heart, so I went out with him. I wasn't a Deadhead
or politically active, but I had always dated athletes.''
that despite Wooden's reputation as a disciplinarian, he deferred
to his star. ''Wooden let Bill smoke pot but not the other players,''
she says, although Wooden denies it. ''It's funny, but Bill
never said Wooden was this wonderful guy then. Now he puts him
on a pedestal. Bill is still searching for certitude in assertive
Walton signed a $2.5 million NBA contract. He and Susie were
living in Portland, Oregon, when the radical activists Jack
and Micki Scott, whom Walton knew of from his UCLA days, appeared
at their home. Jack Scott, whom Walton once described as ''the
most beautiful human being I have ever met,'' told them that
he had been carting Patty Hearst across the country and that
''the heat was on from the FBI.''
soon, the FBI was all over us, too,'' Susie says. ''When I called
a girlfriend to tell her I was pregnant, the FBI was at her
door 10 minutes later.'' Shortly after that, Walton asked Scott
to talk about Scott today other than to say, ''Jack Scott is
a friend of mine,'' curiously using the present tense to describe
a man who died in February 2000 and whose funeral Walton was
''too busy'' to attend.
talk about Jack now,'' Susie says, ''just like he won't talk
about me, because we're no longer in his life. Bill's closed
himself up. He's trying to hold on to the past.
Bill's foot operation that ended his career in '86, he couldn't
handle reality without basketball. He started going to Grateful
Dead concerts, where he picked up this 22-year-old girl. He
expected me to accept it.''
that their bitter divorce affected her boys for years. Now the
boys ''have learned to play Bill's game,'' she says. ''If not,
he calls them bad citizens. When Nate left Princeton for half
a year, Bill called him a dropout. Nate said, 'At least I didn't
cheat on my wife.''' Like all her sons, Nate is extremely protective
of his mother. When Nate went out to lunch with a male reporter
once, and that reporter said his mother was a ''sexy woman,''
Nate reached across the table and punched him hard on the arm.
''You can't talk about my mom like that,'' he said.
''When Adam left LSU, Bill told him drugs and sports don't mix.
This from a guy who's smoked pot since he was 20. What planet
is this guy from? Adam once said to me: 'Mom, I have to love
him, he's my father. But why do you?''' Susie is quiet for a
moment, then says: ''I loved being married to Bill. Sure, he
was dorky, but I had the most fun times.''
Late in the
afternoon, Walton, Adam, Nate and a friend are eating lunch at
a restaurant in the barrio. Walton orders a margarita, and iced
tea for his sons. Then he loses himself in the WNBA game on over
the bar. Nate nods toward his father. ''Bill won't let us drink,''
''Bill's got these rules on the refrigerator. No sex, no drugs,
no drinking -- all the things we do.''
''One night, Luke was passed out by the pool after a party.
Bill walks by and says, 'That's not alcohol in your glass, is
it Luke?' Luke looks up and says, 'No, Bill, it's lemonade.'''
Nate shakes his head. ''The way Bill is now is his corporate
When I ask
Walton how he reconciles his politics with working for a corporation
like NBC, he says, ''Life is a compromise, isn't it?'' Then
he changes the subject to the cast coming off his foot. ''I'm
ready to grow my beard, my ponytail, get a headband and make
a comeback like Michael Jordan.'' Then, of Jordan, he says:
''It's beyond my comprehension how anyone could retire from
the game voluntarily. I would have played until I couldn't walk.''
the sportscaster, says of Walton: ''Bill's passion for the game
is legitimate, not a shtick. The game is an expression of an
ideal to him. He was a hippie in the 70's, but he's really square
in his beliefs.''
who has also worked with Walton, says, ''He's so opinionated
because he has little tolerance for guys who play the game without
the desire he had.''
of his stutter, Bill's on-air talk sounds like he's delivering
a proclamation, not an ad lib,'' Costas says. ''But he has to
work so hard to control his stutter. I've seen him practicing
in front of a mirror, over and over, before he goes on air.''
''As ornery as his opinions get, I love to work with the guy.
He keeps you on your toes by saying things just to get a rise
out of you.''
A lot of
Walton's extreme opinions are actually sarcastic ones. During
one game, the woefully inept shooter Chris Dudley made a hook
shot, and Walton intoned, ''You can never really hope to stop
a shooter like Dudley -- you can only hope to contain him.''
complained for years that the NBA game is all ego, players dribbling
around, looking to force a shot that might get them on a highlight
reel. The NBA's instituting the zone defense this season is
''the best thing to happen since Mark Cuban bought into the
league,'' Walton says. ''It'll force teams to get more players
involved in the flow.'' Then, as he often does, Walton waxes
poetic about the game. ''Basketball is rock music,'' he says,
''a crescendo, a celebration of life.'' Walton's devotion to
the game was recently rewarded by NBC Sports, which made him
one of this season's lead analysts, along with Steve Jones and
Marv Albert, for the top NBA game each week.
Back at the
house, Walton goes to practice his piano while his sons go outside
to play one of their fierce two-on-two basketball games. Nate
and Bruk Vandeweghe, who has lived with the family for 20 years,
team up against Chris and a friend. Luke, limping from an ankle
sprain he suffered in one of the boys' recent games, sits in a
chair and mimics his father broadcasting the game that is filled
with rough play and profanity.
under the basket and tosses in a hook shot. ''Nice utilization
of the body,'' Luke intones. Chris immediately hits a long jumper.
''But Chris will not go away,'' Luke says.
toward the basket and tosses a pass behind his back that goes
out of bounds. ''A good look,'' Luke says, ''but a little too
Chris dive for a loose ball and bang heads. Chris screams a
profanity at Nate, and Nate curses back. As play resumes, Walton
hobbles out on his crutches to watch. ''What are you doing here?''
Nate says. The boys' game is deflated. They continue to play,
but without their previous fury; no more curses, just a lot
of uncontested jump shots until the game expires.
game, Vandeweghe sits by the pool and talks about his life with
the Waltons. He acts as their unofficial manservant, serving
drinks, giving the boys massages on the living-room table and
running errands. ''This house is in a time warp,'' he says.
''Like a monastery. Still, there's a lot going on here you don't
know.'' He smiles. ''Bill wants everyone to have a good time.
At his parties, there are three girls to every guy. Bill lets
you do anything with girls as long as you don't talk about it
in front of Lori. She's subservient, like a geisha. She serves
her purpose for Bill. She's thrilled to be with a star.'' He
says that the Waltons' divorce was hard on Susie. ''She was
like my second mom. She can't lie. Bill can't talk about her
because he knows she's right.''
moment, Nate, furious, comes out of the house toward Vandeweghe.
''Same old garbage!'' he snaps. ''I told Bill I was gonna see
Mom, and he says he wants to talk to me for five minutes, and
it goes on and on, nowhere.''
morning, Walton sits outside and says that his greatest accomplishment
was not basketball but his victory over stuttering. ''I work with
the most fluid speakers in the world. Imagine! Here I am, a stutterer.''
to overstate the effect his stuttering has had on his life.
It forced him to seek perfection in the world of basketball,
where he moved gracefully. He could never find that grace in
the world of human relations. If Walton is ''dorky,'' as Susie
says, it is especially so in the halting way he approaches relationships,
which paralyze him.
for his games as a broadcaster as he did as a player, with the
hope of perfection. ''But some days I can't talk,'' he says.
''Words come out wrong, and I have to go back to the basics.''
Those basics were taught him by the famed sportscaster Marty
Glickman when Walton was 28. Glickman explained that speech
was ''not a birthright'' but a skill, like basketball, that
could be developed through hard work.
out Glickman's precepts in a speech he delivers often to other
stutterers for the National Stuttering Foundation. In that speech,
he says that he never knew a time when he did not stutter. ''I
took refuge in things that I did well as a youngster... Basketball
was my religion, the gym my church... a convenient way of avoiding
developing my human-relations skills.''
met Glickman, who taught him the following: ''Slow your thoughts
Chew sugarless gum to strengthen the muscles in your jaw. Read
out loud. Identify the sounds that cause you the most trouble.
Become a teacher to anyone, on any subject. Start with young
kids with a topic that you know. When you stumble, stop, then
down his printed speech. ''I've had a wonderful life,'' he says.
''I thought my life was over 11 years ago. Now I love broadcasting,
the possibility of a perfect game. You never know where great
performances are going to come from.'' Then he says -- either
seriously or joking, it's hard to tell -- It's like the Grateful
Dead playing in a snowstorm in some nowhere town, you know what
(28 Ekim 2001 - NY Times)
Etkilendiyseniz yahut en azından hoşunuza gittiyse, buyrunuz size
Kurtuluş, onion.com sitesinde rastladığı bu yazıyı yollamıştı,
ben de saklamıştım, nah bu bölüme koymak için. Hatırlarsanız,
aşağıda geçen, Ray Allen'ın "İdeal Oyuncu Ödülü"nü almasından
sonra ben de elemanla ilgili paragraflar içeren bir yazı yazmıştım.
Sitemiz gözlerini dünyaya açtığında, Wassup bölümünün ilk yazısıydı. "Ödüller, 1verson,
Shaq ve Ray Allen" başlığıyla, benim yazıların arşivinde
duruyor hâlâ. İşte okuyacağınız makale de Ray hakkında aynı fikri
paylaştığım birisi tarafından kaleme alınmış.
Zamanımızın bir NBA
kahramanı: Ray Allen
MILWAUKEE - Ray Allen, Milwaukee Bucks guard and budding NBA superstar,
is drawing raves on and off the court, hailed by admirers as "not
an asshole" and "a reasonably decent human being."
of the NBA's inaugural Magic Johnson Ideal Player Award,
Allen was praised by Bucks coach George Karl as "a true
standout individual, the kind of person who treats others with
a basic level of respect."
Allen is a great player, but he's an even greater person,"
said Karl, who is accustomed to reporters asking him about Allen's
normalcy. "I remember this one time during his rookie season,
he was walking back to his car from practice, and a woman nearby
slipped on a patch of ice and fell. He could have kept walking,
but instead he asked the woman if she was okay. Right then and
there, I knew this kid was something special."
who came to the NBA from the University of Connecticut in 1996,
is among the NBA's best at shooting three-pointers, defending
the perimeter, and going home quietly after games. A hardworking
athlete, Allen has raised eyebrows around the league by never
going AWOL (ortadan kaybolmak, arazi olmak) or skipping
knew when he came into this league that he had the potential
to be a standout player," said Sports Illustrated basketball
writer Marty Burns. "He had a reputation as a guy who would
not only hit the clutch shot down the stretch, but also make
eye contact with the towel boy. He has the potential to be a
decent human being in this league for another 10 or 15 years
if he stays healthy."
never forget what he said to me before the first interview I
did with him," Burns said. "He said, 'Hello, Mr. Burns.'
Then he extended his hand for me to, you know, shake. That's
just the type of guy he is."
remarkable normal-human-being behavior carries over into his
personal life. Though unmarried, he spends a respectable amount
of time with his 8-year old daughter and is rumored to be on
good terms with the girl's mother. He is also said to be close
with his own mother.
has not gone unnoticed: Never accused of sexual assault, Allen
has earned high praise for his lack of hostility toward women.
he was in college, Ray voluntarily went to several UConn women's
basketball games and has been quoted as saying that he'd play
for a female coach," Bucks public-relations director Cheri
Hanson said. "Ray Allen isn't merely in the top 1 percent
of NBA players; he's in the 1st percentile of human beings."
to being a media darling, Allen's civility makes him a fan favorite.
Though many pro athletes are abusive toward their supporters,
Allen has, on numerous occasions, praised a home crowd as "good"
or "great." Last week, after a tough home playoff
loss to the Charlotte Hornets, he smiled and signed three or
four autographs in the Bradley Center parking lot.
unbelievable," said Karl, whom Allen has never threatened
physically. "To come off a tough loss like that in the
Eastern Conference semifinals and still be willing to interact
with people, you just don't see that sort of thing very often."
reasonably nice, exhibiting basic common decency, having a general
awareness of other people's feelings... That's what sets Ray
Allen apart from your run-of-the-mill NBA player," said
ESPN's Dan Patrick, who called his November 2000 interview with
Allen "possibly the most civil" of his career. "Here
I am, an interviewer asking him questions, and instead of taking
a swing at me or showering me with verbal abuse, he politely
responds to my queries. He didn't have to, but he did."
Continued Patrick: "It's nice to know that in this day and age, there are still
athletes out there who say 'thank you' when you give them a new
car for making the all-star team."
the Big Fuss?
by Tony FARR
I've been watching the increasing buzz about Michael's return
for several months now. The thing is, I've had trouble getting
excited about it.
was the greatest player ever. Maybe. He was certainly one of
the top three.
Stones were the greatest rock and roll band ever. Maybe. Certainly
one of the top three. And they've come out of retirement more
times than MJ's gambled on the golf course.
the Stones come back, some people ask if they've still got what
it takes. But what's more important is this:
The Stones wanna perform
-- Their fans wanna see/hear them
-- They do an okay job.
Sure, they're not as good as the top young acts that are at
the forefront of music and bring the energy only people in their
20's can bring. But until Mick Jagger shows up on stage in a
wheelchair, who cares? They're decent and everybody's happy.
a myth in sports that superstars should retire before they slide
into mediocrity. Before they join Jagger in a wheelchair. But
whose imperative is this?
modern counterpart to MJ is Wayne Gretzky. No offence to MJ,
but it's probably fairer to say that he is the only modern counterpart
to The Great One. Did Gretzky hang on too long? He joined the
WHA (before it merged with the NHL) when he was 17 years old.
He was 38 when he retired. He averaged 182 points per season
between 1980/81 and 1990/91. But his points per season for the
final few years of his career were:
1994/95: 48 *
* He only played 48 games in 1994/95.
But did he hang on too long? Probably not. From about 1991/92
we was not a dominant player. In his final season, his contribution
was that of about a second-line center for a weak team, which
about describes his situation on the Rangers in 1998/99. But
the Rangers didn't have anyone better to put in his place, so
why would they want him gone? Besides, he wanted to play, and
the fans wanted to see him.
this one really carefully: How much has his legacy been tarnished
by the weak final season or five? How much does it diminish
the 13 seasons when he scored 130 points or more? Zip. Zero.
people thought it was sad watching him perform as an ordinary
player at the end of his career. But whose problem is that?
Besides, many more people came to see him because they wanted
that last opportunity to see the greatest player ever. They
wanted to see one last flash of brilliance, because we'll never
see the likes of it again.
So the idea
that MJ shouldn't come back because it will somehow diminish
his earlier accomplishments strikes me as being about a dumb
a thought as there is.
with the Stones and with Gretzky, there are really only three
things that matter:
Does he want to play? Well, he says he does. He says
it doesn't matter that he's coming back to one of the weakest
teams because "it's for the love of the game."
-- Do people want to see him? Hell yeah. For example,
the Boston Celtics have just put tickets for individual games
on sale. They've got a limit of four tickets per person for
exactly three games. All other games, you can buy as many tickets
as you want. The three restricted games? One against the champion
Lakers, and two against the Wizard. They know people want to
see MJ play.
-- Will he be good enough? We'll find out, of course.
Obviously he's unlikely to perform at an all-star level. But
will he be good enough to get quality minutes? Probably.
So what's the issue? He wants to come back. People want to see
arguably the greatest ever play one last time. And he can play
as an NBA-quality player. Nothing else matters.
As for the
Well, for those who are psyched, it's a wonderful
thing. For those who aren't, we can just enjoy the excitement
the rest of you are feeling.
pek şık yazı, Yiğiter Uluğ'dan geldi. Aynen şu mesaj eşliğinde:
"Batuğ, elin oğlu uğurlama yazısını böyle yazıyor işte...
Elliott'ın ardından birkaç satır... Sana gitmez mi?"
Hiç gitmez olur mu usta? Sağolasın.)
SEAN ELLIOT'A VEDA
by Ken Rodriguez, San Antonio Express News
He was the kid with the leg brace, a 15-year-old sophomore who
could spin and drive and dunk like a senior.
kid had game. The kid's name? I asked around. No one seemed to
It was the
spring of 1983, my first year writing sports, and I was watching
someone special in Tucson, Ariz.
a junior varsity game between Cholla and Pueblo High, I took
a seat in the stands with the varsity coach from Pueblo, Barry
good is Cholla going to be next year?" I asked Barry.
good," Barry said. "They've got a couple of starters
coming back, plus they've got that kid down there with the brace.
He's going to be pretty good."
season, Sean Elliott destroyed Barry's team, the state runners-up,
all by himself. I think of that conversation with Barry O'Rourke
from time to time. I think of it again today. Sean Elliott,
the kid with the brace, now braces for a new career.
commentator for the San Antonio Spurs.
to imagine Elliott not playing ball. It's hard for Elliott,
clause in his television contract allows Elliott an out in his
new career if he can extend his old career a tad longer.
blame him for that.
ever got in the way of Sean Elliott and basketball.
in high school, there was a kid at Tucson High named Shawn Fulton,
a 6-foot-5 center who battled Elliott, also 6-5 at the time,
in some classic games.
people thought Fulton was better.
think (Fulton) has the most talent of anybody in town," O'Rourke told me in 1984, when Elliott was a junior.
know if Elliott ever read O'Rourke's comment. But I do know
Elliott outplayed Fulton after O'Rourke's comments appeared
in the Tucson Citizen.
Rios, a Tucson High graduate and Elliott's agent: "The
rivalry was intense. We used to pack the gym. I tell him, 'Shawn
dunked on you.' He says, 'Where is he now?'"
named its gym after Elliott; Tucson High never named anything
After high school, Elliott began an ascent no one in Tucson
could have imagined.
led the University of Arizona to the Final Four. He broke Lew
Alcindor's Pac-10 career scoring record. He left college with
his jersey hanging in the McKale Center.
gave San Antonio some memories. The Memorial Day Miracle. An
NBA title. A comeback from a kidney transplant. The 11 best
years of his life.
It looked like Sean might have one more miracle in him. He started
last season on fire. Then came one injury. Then another. By
the end of the season, Elliott was a broken man.
Now he moves
will remember him for the dagger he put in its dream. San Antonio
will remember him for the magic he put in his heart.
don't know how others around the league will remember him. But
I'll always remember him young and a bit mysterious, the kid
with the brace on his leg.
Arkadaşlar, bu hafta size çok ama çok kıyak
bir yazışma sunuyoruz, Selim Ataz sayesinde. Ataz, altıncı adamı
olduğu Clippers'ın bomba transferi Elton Brand'in taraf oluduğu
harika bir mesajlaşma yakalamış, bana gönderdi. Kısaca açıklayayım;
mevzu, Brand'in NCAA'de formasını giyip de sonradan erken profesyonellik
kararı alarak iki sezon sonunda ayrıldığı Duke Üniversitesi'nin
işgüzar, ruh hastası ve geri zekalı bir mezununun, Elton'a attığı
e-posta... Ve tabii Elton'un "reply"ı. Buyurun:
From: Taylor, Jennifer
Sent: Friday, April 16, 1999 2:55 PM
To: Brand, Elton
Subject: Leaving Duke
from Duke last May and just wanted to express my disgust for your
decision to leave the Duke program after only two years. As an
alum, not only do I hold the school in high regard, but the basketball
program as well, especially since both have deservedly garnered
such a great deal of respect for their accomplishments.
As part of our basketball program, you represent Duke as a whole.
We are first and foremost an academic school, you clearly did
not belong at Duke in the first place if this was the extent of
your commitment to Duke and a college education in general. You
have not only insulted the current students who are putting in
four years at a school they love, but also the thousands of alumni
who have realized the value of a Duke education and what an honor
and privilege it was to be there for four years.
If you do not realize the opportunity you has infront of you to
play for Coach K and at the same time attain a Duke diploma, then
that is certainly your loss. I just wish that you has spared us
the notion that you were continuing in the tradition of being
a Duke student-athlete, in emphasizing excellence in both academics
and athletics. You will not be considered part of the Duke family,
in my mind as well as many others. You have by no means proved
yourself worthy of that title.
From: Elton Tyron Brand
Sent: Sunday, April 25, 1999 8:05 PM
To: Taylor, Jennifer
Subject: Re: Leaving Duke
very much, for reminding me of the reason why I left Duke. People
like you can not and will not ever understand my situation. I'm
sure daddy worked very hard to send your rich self to college.
While real people struggle. I would also like to extend an invitation
for you not to waste your or my time ever agin. Never being considered
a part of your posh group of yuppies really hurts me to the heart.
Yeah, right. Because I don't care about you or your alumni.
Elton Brand #42 NBA
From Sam Smith's article on Aug 31st, is a great piece on the state
of the Michael Jordan return story. I had to reprint it:
"Michael Jordan paused last week during workouts aimed at
a comeback to the NBA and said, "I'm thirsty," the Tribune
has learned. Observers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity,
speculated Jordan was thirsty. The observers, whom Jordan told not
to speak to reporters or they would be barred from drinking Gatorade
the rest of their lives, said Jordan left the court and was seen
emptying a liquid-filled bottle into his mouth. One insider close
to Jordan said:
looked to me like he was thirsty. But I can't be certain. But if
he was drinking, I'd have to say it was as good as when he played
and he could drink like that again anytime he needs to."
Think this seems silly? Its not, because there is a cast of reporters
looking for anything to suggest... Their careers may be validated
again... Oops! I mean that Jordan might return. I not a big fan
of Sam Smith, but you know. He made a good statement.
Bahr - Speak Out, Inside Hoops, 24 Ağustos 2001)
It seems there is a new report each day. One day, Michael Jordan's
comeback attempt is in danger because of his rib injury. The next
day, we hear reports about him meeting with David Stern to iron
out the details of his return to the NBA. Then, we hear from his
trainers, friends, former teammates, gardeners, etc., and they all
seem to disagree as well.
It seems MJ
enjoys making us play the waiting game and the guessing game.
In the meantime, we all debate whether he should come out of retirement
again. Perhaps the bigger question is this: Does the NBA need
MJ to come back? Is the league in that much trouble? Is the NBA
so desperate that it can't succeed without Jordan?
might be quick to say yes, I am not so sure. For the first time
since Jordan's most recent retirement and the breakup of the Bulls,
the NBA seems to have some momentum. A new generation of stars
finally has emerged, there is a greater emphasis on the team game
and the Lakers have captured the public's attention and taken
the Bulls' place on the throne. If the TV ratings for the NBA
Finals are any indication, people are interested again.
NBA is far from where it was during the days when Larry Bird,
Magic Johnson and Jordan roamed the court together, but the league
is certainly in better shape than it was just a couple of seasons
ago. Guys such as Vince Carter, Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille
O'Neal, Tim Duncan, Chris Webber, Tracy McGrady, etc., officially
have taken over. It's time to let them rule the NBA.
Sure, an MJ
return would spark a lot of interest and fill a lot of seats,
especially early. But the novelty would wear off once we realize
that Jordan can't single-handedly turn the Wizards into a championship
contender. At best, Jordan would play two or three more seasons.
And then what? Then we are back to square one again (for the third
time), trying to replace the greatest player the game ever has
for the NBA to charge forward, but I think an MJ return actually
would be a step backward.
APARICIO'nun 8 Ağustos 2001 tarihli yazısıdır)
HOW DID THEY DO IT?
The beauty of
all sports can be summed up in one word, Joaquin Andujar once opined
in regard to baseball. That word? "You never know." Okay,
maybe Andujar's curveball was better than his English, but he was
absolutely right. Sports highlights are filled with unbelievable
plays, outstanding performances, thrilling contests, and shocking
upsets. And basketball has provided more than its share of highlights.
It's easy to see how a Michael Jordan, a Larry Bird, a Jerry West,
or a Wilt Chamberlain (just to name a few) and the dominant teams
they played on have earned their places on the highlight films.
A more interesting phenomenon occurs when players and teams such
as Manute Bol, Dennis Johnson, or the 1994 Denver Nuggets (again,
just to name a few) also make their way onto the highlights. The
question begs to be asked: How did they do it?
...Manute Bol, a 21% three point shooter for his career, erupt
one night in the 1992-93 season for a 6-19 (31%) barrage?
...Tony Delk score 54 points in a game last season?
...the Portland Trail Blazers blow a fifteen point, fourth-quarter
lead on the road in game seven of the 2000 Western Conference
...the Blazers get to that point in the first place? (They trailed
three games to one earlier in that series.)
...Kevin Johnson throw down that nasty dunk on Hakeem Olajuwon
in the 1995 Playoffs?
...the Milwaukee Bucks sweep the Boston Celtics in the 1983 Playoffs?
...Bill Walton even have a playing career, as injury-prone as
...Marko Milic (while playing in Europe) jump off of two feet,
from about twelve feet away from the hoop, over a car for a dunk?
...Willie Burton score 53 points in a game during the 1994-95
...Jamaal Wilkes ever get a shot off with that weird delivery
...Bill Cartwright, same question?
...Dominique Wilkins get hung doing the windmill dunk in the 1991
All-Star game? That was his dunk, for Pete's sake!
...Julius Erving do that layup? (You know which layup)
...Jeff Hornacek make those crazy runners in the lane? Did he
...Christian Laettner make an All-Star team?
...Tyrone Hill, Xavier McDaniel, Dana Barros, Joe Barry Carroll,
Mark Eaton, Sleepy Floyd, same question?
...Adrian Smith win an All-Star game MVP?
...Who was Adrian Smith?
...No, I'm serious! Did he play basketball?
...Havlicek steal the ball?
...MJ move the ball in four distinct directions in mid-air while
converting a layup against the Nets?
...Sean Elliott make that tiptoed three pointer against Portland
in the 1999 Western Conference Finals?
...Bill Willoughby manage to block Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's Skyhook?
...the 1994 Denver Nuggets (42-40) defeat the Seattle Supersonics
(64-18) in the first round of the Playoffs?
...6'5" Charles Barkley have the type of career that he had?
...Bernard King get up for that tip jam against the Pistons in
the 1984 Playoffs?
...Bird or Magic know where his teammates were when they passed
the ball? They weren't looking at their teammates!
...Karl Malone learn to pass like that?
...Lafayette Lever grab so many rebounds?
...Jerry Lucas, same question?
...the 1995 Houston Rockets (47-35) beat the Utah Jazz (60-22),
Phoenix Suns (59-23), San Antonio Spurs (62-20), and Orlando Magic
(57-25) to win their second straight NBA Championship?
...Vince Carter do any of his dunks?
...Dennis Johnson, a 6-3 guard, block seven shots in an NBA Finals
game? (The record is eight, held by four seven-footers)
out there can answer these questions, you're quite an astute observer
of the game of basketball.