To all those thinking it is unfair for the NBA to require a minimum of one year of college before becoming eligible for employment (it is a business, after all), I have this short section from Jack McCallum’s wonderful book, Seven Seconds or Less: My Season on the Bench with the Runnin’ and Gunnin’ Phoenix Suns:
One day [Amare] Stoudemire came in wearing that Rolling Stones T-shirt bearing the image of a cartoon figure sticking out his tongue, the cover of Sticky Fingers.
“Now, STAT [Stand Tall and Talented, one of Stoudemire’s nicknames], tell me,” says [assistant coach Alvin] Gentry, “can you name one single Rolling Stones song?”
“Can’t help you, Chief,” said Stoudemire immediately.
On another day, he was wearing a T-shirt bearing the likeness of a 1930s Time cover on which Al Copone appeared.
“What’s with you and Capone?” I ask him.
“Don’t know anything about him,” Stoudemire answers, “except that he was a bad guy.”
I gave him a one-minute primer on Capone, Chicago, and Prohibition.
“Damn,” he said. “There was a time drinking was illegal?”
I rest my case.
The Blazers played the Rockets last night and tried really hard to lose the game, but Brandon Roy wouldn’t let them. Although, it should be noted that the Rockets were up one at this point because Roy fouled Yao Ming on a made basket. If it weren’t for that, this amazing shot wouldn’t be necessary:
While watching the Pistons @ 76ers playoff game, I remembered what Maurice Cheeks brings to the table as a coach: class. He’s a stand-up guy, and even if he never wins a championship, I’ll still think he’s a great coach for an NBA team. He did the best he could in Portland with some extremely volatile groups of players, and I wish him the best in Philadelphia. Here’s an example of his grace:
I don’t often like J.A. Adande’s writing (he never seems to have an opinion of his own, either writing about the popular opinion or the most controversial), but he has a point this time (from ESPN):
The disappointment isn’t because Phoenix failed to win a championship with small ball. It’s because the Suns stopped trying.
Trading Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks for Shaquille O’Neal might be a full-scale (albeit bizarre) attempt to grab a ring, but it also is an admission of failure for their way of basketball. They just sided with the skeptics and said, “You’re right, we can’t run our way to the Finals.”
I’d rather see them go out like Tom Hanks in “Saving Private Ryan,” pulling out his pistol and firing away at the German tank in a last desperate effort to save the bridge. Or show some of that same defiance as Denzel Washington in “American Gangster,” making one last trip to Asia to import more heroin even though everybody’s telling him the game is over.
Instead the Suns conformed.
I’m currently watching the Blazers/Heat game on ESPN, and Ric Bucher just showed us the iRoy; a specialized iPod being distributed to media members and Western Conference coaches, filled with highlights from Brandon Roy. The idea is to get Roy some publicity so that he will get more votes for the All Star team, which I think is a fantastic idea.
You can vote for him over at NBA.com; and if anyone has an iRoy that they no longer want and wouldn’t mind donating to the cause, I’d love one!
Now if only the Blazers could get back to what they were doing in the first half…
Stephon Marbury was fined $195,000 by the Knicks for missing last night’s game (from ESPN):
The Knicks sent the guard a letter informing him of the fine, according to a person with knowledge of the penalty who spoke to The Associated Press. He requested anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss it.
Marbury lost approximately $195,000 — at least $174,503 (1/110th of his salary) and $20,000 in a team fine, sources told ESPN.com’s Chris Sheridan. According to the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, players are docked 1/110th of their salaries for a missed game.
So $195,000 is only 1/110th of his salary? He’s making $19,195,330 this year? Really? He gives them 18.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game. That’s worth $20 million? The minimum is $1,219,590. He’s making a $17.8 million premium for being an average point guard. That’s ridiculous.
I knew Isaiah Thomas was a bad GM, but I didn’t realize it was this bad. That whole organization should be fired. Heck, bring them to Seattle next year. There’s no way Paul Allen would screw things up that bad.
I almost jumped out of my chair in excitement for this (from ESPN):
Brandon Roy, the NBA rookie of the year last season, could play Friday night in Portland’s exhibition game against Sacramento.
Roy has missed the Trail Blazers’ first three exhibition games because of pain in his left heel. But he was cleared to play this week and, if he doesn’t have any pain in the next two days of practice, could be in the lineup against the Kings.
We need him. We need Oden too, but without either one of them we’d be dead in the water (although maybe on track for another number one pick).
So sad (from ESPN):
Seattle guard Luke Ridnour broke his nose in the SuperSonics’ preseason opener and will have to wear a mask for at least the next month.
Ridnour caught an elbow from Sacramento’s Ron Artest midway through the first quarter Tuesday night. Ridnour was examined in Sacramento but underwent additional tests Wednesday back in Seattle. A CT scan revealed a non-displaced fracture of the nasal bone.
I hope he gets better!