NBA Players… when arrogance rules supreme (part 2)

12 07 2007

Time for a rant (second part of a 2 part diatribe, part 1 found here)…

Waaah waaah waahAs the NBA off-season unfolds, I have become more & more dismayed at the attitude that many players are displaying recently. In a recent opinion I posted on Kobe, I used the term ‘divattitude’ as a pun on ‘diva’ & ‘attitude’… well with the way this trade season is unfurling, it’s becoming quite a common state of mind. What happened to playing for the love of the game? Yeah, I know – how naive of me! Still… with these guys getting so much money, you’d think they would be happy to play, that they’d want to do something to earn their bucks.

No such luck.

We have perhaps the most storied franchise in NBA history being told by not one, not two, but THREE players – “I don’t wanna play there” (Kevin Garnett, Shawn Marion, Jermaine O’Neal). We have stories floating around of Paul Pierce being close to demanding a trade… When did the mighty Green die and become the Vancouver Grizzlies? Yes, I know that Danny Ainge has really ridden the franchise into the ground, but c’mon: players under contract stipulating where they’re going to play (as far as I know, only Kobe has a ‘no-trade’ clause)? I realise that they can threaten to walk (after their contract is over), but it really pisses me off to see them do that… to unfairly affect trade destinations.

We have the best player in the League – Kobe – performing almost weekly backflips on his “I-wanna-be-traded” scenario. For those who can’t keep up, in a definite softening-of-stance, Kobe told the press the other day that “We’ll just have to see where it goes.”(as far as still demanding a trade). Still… given we’re talking Mr Bryant, that could be very literally yesterday’s news by tomorrow.

Two years ago, Zach Randolph declared “I don’t think my role of playing 13 or 15 minutes a game is acceptable. I deserve to play 25-plus minutes, but if they want me to play 12 minutes, then they can just put me on the inactive list. I mean, those are rookie minutes.” Yup. Have fun with your New York Minute Zach… especially while you get to watch Portland develop into one of the League’s best teams over the next few years.

To get rid of him, Portland took on one of the great lemon contracts of our time – Stevie “Franchise” Francis (would that be a McDonald’s franchise Steve?). And it’s testament to how well-loved he is that he’s not even required to show up. They paid him $30 million to not show. Scary that New York are ecstatic to get Randolph, given it means Francis is gone. I don’t know who this situation is a bigger indictment of: Francis or Randolph.

We have Marcus Camby – just prior to the NBA Dress-code being introduced declaring it would never work – “I don’t see it happening unless every NBA player is given a stipend to buy clothes.” Err… hello Mr Sprewell.

The Yi Jianlian saga continues to unfurl, with reporting that Milwaukee’s Larry Harris stating:

“We’re not trading him,” Harris told “We like him and we think this is a great opportunity for him. He’ll get a chance to play a lot of minutes right away for a good team. What more could [he] want?”

What a mess this is. Milwaukee pick Yi with the 6th pick in the draft, and his ‘people’ tell Yi… Bucks be damned.them that they don’t want to play in Milwaukee, they want to play in a town a) that’s a bigger market, & b)where there’s a larger asian population. Then they (Yi’s management team) enter into ‘trade discussions’ with other teams… regardless of the Milwaukee Bucks. Yi’s Chinese agent Zhao Gang said in the China Daily that he was already in contact with teams who were showing an interest in Yi. Err… huh? Isn’t that supposed to be the role of the management of the Bucks??? And Yi is refusing to talk about any of it…

The thing I just don’t get, is that very few players seem grateful… now we even have guys entering straight from draft, complete with what used to be a 5-year-veteran sense of entitlement. Yi’s refusal to play in Milwaukee disgusts me. Zach Randolph – the Blazers are much better for having traded him. Francis? I hope he falls the way of Latrell Sprewell. Even despite being a Laker fan, Kobe makes my head spin… or maybe more truthfully because I’m a Laker fan. His puerile, petulant posings drive me to the point of nausea. The ‘you-know-if-you-send-me-there-I’ll-walk’ postulations of Marion, KG & Jermaine really disappoint me. I thought all three were better than that.Yay Fish! It’s almost enough to make me like the Spurs, if they weren’t so like porridge… filling, but oh-so-bland.

Give me players who play with the unabashed joy of the game… I’m sick of on-court-divas.

Thank god for Derek Fisher.

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Drama today… A comparative look at 70s TV & the NBA.

18 06 2007

Definitely inspired by both Pyle of List‘s excellent Kill Buss creation, and the very funny ‘The Spurs Don’t Exactly Rock’ from Rumors and Rants

I grew up in the 70s. As a kid, I endured flared purple pants with matching jacket… paisley… bell-bottom jeans… velure tops… questionable hair… not-so-high platform soles… and literally square miles of polyester. And the TV shows. Really, really bad TV. Cheesey. But so cheesey it was kinda fun. The Brady Bunch, Bewitched, Colombo & Number 96 (I wish… I was too young – but here’s a taste of Australia’s *best* from the 70s).

I think all of it has indelibly marked me… but I’m recovering (with qualified help, but that’s another story).

But reading some of the stuff on blogs recently got me thinking… if the NBA teams were TV Shows, what TV show would they be?

Here are a few of the really apparent ones that leapt out at me…


Los Angeles Lakers – Days of our Lives… Unfortunately (or fortunately – depending on where your allegiance lies) that’s what LA’s become. Drama abounds galore, and what does it all signify? Ultimately, nothing… and yet we’re drawn in. You can walk away, ignore it for 2 years – then come back & get back up-to-date within minutes. Story’s the same, only the faces have changed. And given Kobe’s latest hue & cry – a diva who’s become too big for his own stage…


Cleveland Cavaliers – For a while there (ie. around the end of the vs Detroit series) I had them down as ‘I dream of Genie’, or even Bewitched – I know they cast a spell on me (I thought that they might actually give the Spurs a game)… now I just have them as ‘Gilligan’s Island’. Role players around a central guy who (at the moment, with the finals oh-so-fresh in my mind) seems a bit inept. Yes, I just jumped off the bandwagon (until next season anyway).


The reigning champions, the Spurs. Gotta be the Addams Family. C’mon, can’t you just see Timmy saying “You rang?”!!! Manu “Gomez” Ginobli, Greg “Uncle Fester” Popovich, and Tony “Thing” Parker??? It’s even in black & white, just like San Antonio!!

And… the Addams Family got pretty damn boring to watch in the last years too.

The Phoenixs Suns – in my humble opinion the best team (yeah… I KNOW they didn’t win the Western Conference Finals) in the NBA. So, what other TV show could they be but


Think about it… a leader who is a master of disguise (-ing the pass), with a penchant for danger – are we talking George Peppard or Steve “Hannibal” Nash? A muscle-bound side-kick? Quick, someone give Amare a bad mo-hawk! Who can’t see Amare “Bad Attitude” Stoudemire saying “I pity the foo’ who goes out tryin’ a’ take over da world NBA!”



Lastly, Miami…


Do I need say more?


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Ideas to liven up the NBA Finals…

13 06 2007


Well, as expected game 3 of the NBA Finals was a total yawnfest. Sure, close, but for folks NOT from San Antonio, we were all hoping for a win for the James Gang so that a sweep isn’t on the cards. Unfortunately for those of us seeking entertainment, San Antonio won 75-72 (tied for second-fewest points total in the history of NBA Finals). And there was more grind in this game than you’re likely to find in your local discotheque (post 10 beers) on a Saturday night.


So… this has GOTTA be killing David Stern. He would’ve been beside himself at the prospect of having Lebron take the mantle of ‘Heir Jordan’… and now it’s just not eventuating. Not only that, the games have been boring. Dead boring.

What can be done to liven it all up? To make it both interesting, and a more even contest. Well… perhaps some ideas to help ol’ Dave out…

  1. Make the Spurs play in clown suits, including shoes… except Bruce Bowen (his feet get in the way enough already). Surely better than those evil looking black ‘n’ silver outfits…
  2. Smear margarine (ok… butter) on one of either Tim Duncan’s or Tony Parker’s hands (I think they tried that with Ginobli in Game 3). That should even it up a lil’ with Lebron’s turnovers…
  3. Let this guy play for Cleveland: Dalip Singh (also known as The Great Kali)Just for a few minutes… please (run Bruce, run).
  4. Give fans a free drink every time the Spurs score a run of 5 or more unanswered points. That way they’ll have something to cheer about.
  5. Every time the Spurs get up by 10 or more, the San Antonio wives/girlfriends take the floor instead (on the strength of the first few games, not sure it’ll make a difference…) until Cleveland are up by 2+…


C’mon Cleveland… get your groove on!


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Oh-so Le-bored…

12 06 2007

Can King James spur his team to a better result within their (home)court? Or will their more cavalier attitude be the result from two defeats at the hands of San Antonio?

So the San Antonio Death Spur heads implacably towards their 4th championship, one wonders if Lebron has any jedi-tricks up his sleeve… or will the fortunes of the Cleveland Cavaliers plummet just as much as NBA ratings? I think the Cavs’ll salvage a bit of pride, and take a game at home, but the routinely-unexciting Spurs are going to take this in 5.

All in all tho’… a pretty good way to wrap up a season for Mr James. He’s 22, doesn’t really have much around him at the moment (Z was good, but the key is ‘was’. Daniel Gibson’s gonna be pretty good… and Hughes is… injured), and in a few months (Weeks? Days??) we’ll have all forgotten that thus far, San Antonio has monstered them. No answers for Timmy, Manu or Parker. Especially Parker (do you think the Spurs regret not getting J-Kidd oh-so-long ago?). Back to Lebron – guy’s fantastic, but there’s a big difference to the way they were down against the Pistons, and where they find themselves now. They just lost the first two against Detroit… they have never been in the first two games of the NBA ’07 Finals. They won’t be taking a “we-can-beat-’em-we-only-just-lost” feelgood scenario with them back to the Quicken Loans Arena (ugh – hate that name). Lebron’s gotta be happy he’s in the East… where would this team rank in the West? 6th? 7th?

Sigh… almost makes me wish Detroit DID make it.

Now… c’mon Lebron, make me eat my words & make this a series. Wake me up if they do… zzzzZZZ


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Finals? Bah… Bring on the Off-season!!!

6 06 2007


Ok… I know the NBA finals are going to be exciting now. I get that. Lebron “Luke-the-force-is-with-you” James vs the San Antonio “Deathstar” Spurs (who really thinks the good guys are going to win this time?) – great viewing.

But the off-season this year is looking so… interesting! First, the draft. How karmic was it that Boston & Memphis did not get a top 3 choice after two of the most obvious tanking performances I’ve seen by a professional sports team?!! I heard that in the morning on my way to work, and could not stop smiling all day!

We got Portland getting the first pick – and are almost certain to take Greg Oden & take a big step in the turn-around of the franchise once known as the ‘Jail Blazers’. The only alumni left from that group is Zach Randolph, and trade rumours surround him galore. Sure, the rebuilding of Rip City started before now – and the addition of Brandon Roy/LaMarcus Aldridge last year was a coup – but with Greg Oden in the mix, the sights will be set much, much higher. And deservedly so. Exciting times ahead for Portland.

With the losses (all surprisedly so?) of Dallas, Detroit and Phoenix, we can expect at least some retooling to occur within those rosters.

With Flip Saunders expecting to stay with the Pistons , that will probably ensure that fairly significant changes will occur to the roster. Rasheed Wallace has probably received his last technical in a Detroit uniform, Chris Webber’s probably due to retire, and the changes that occur might mean that Chauncey Billups departs too – via free agency.

Even with Mark Cuban declaring unconditional support for Dirk, I’d expect changes in Dallas. Dirk’ll stay, but Jason Terry is destined for somewhere else, Devin Harris deserves to have the ball. The Warriors exposed the deficiencies the Mavericks have at close to the basket – Dirk is simply more touch than brawn, and Eric Dampier’s ever-growing-contract is an elephant for the team to carry. Jerry Stackhouse is a free agent, and it will depend on the offers he gets. But bottom line: Dallas need a big guy, who can provide muscle… and not just talk about it like Dampier.

Phoenix are interesting. But for a hit by Robert Horry…

then maybe the Spurs aren’t in the finals.

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Detroit too cavalier…

3 06 2007


Who woulda thought it? After Lebron James single-handedly demolishes Detroit, Cleveland return home to the place formerly known as the Gund Arena (c’mon… I mean the “Quicken Loans Arena”??? That’s right up with with having “Chico’s Bail Bonds” as a sponsor!), to beat the Detroit Pistons and take their place in the NBA Finals. And who would be the main man, the hero-of-the-hour? LEBRON JAMES! Ummm… Daniel ‘Boobie’ Gibson? With a statline of 31 points & 6 rebounds, Daniel Gibson stepped up when the Pistons Posse ambushed the leader of the James Gang. The first year guard out of Texas was ready to play Frank to Lebron’s Jesse, and the rest is history.

Still, James did his bit. 20 points, 14 rebounds & 8 assists is no shabby day at the office, and it was the pressure that Detroit put on Lebron that allowed Gibson to star. You cannot fault Detroit’s game-plan: no way in hell were they letting Lebron beat them – he’d done so the last game, with very little help from his team. If they were going to lose, someone else had to step up.

Today, Daniel Gibson did.

So now the Spurs… and the NBA have to be happy about this match-up. I can almost hear David Stern’s face cracking a smile. The next-big-thing, the ‘Air Apparent’… versus the Spurs. The San Antonio Spurs, who have recently lived up to the Black & Silver they share with the Oakland Raiders by getting downright dirty. The Golden Child, and his team versus the big, bad Spurs.

The finals just got interesting.