1st Edition – 08/15/03
Greetings, and welcome to the first edition of For The Love…, my biweekly column where I discuss my views about the “happenings” of the NBA on and off the court. Thanks to the powers that be at Basket-Ball.com. I essentially get to write what I see and see what I write. Well now that we’ve dealt with the formalities, let me tell you a little about myself…
I am a self-proclaimed basketball expert, a NBA junkie. Now don’t get me wrong, I love watching the college and grade school kids play (females too). And street ball? How can anyone not love street ball? But there is nothing like the league. It’s where the best of best play and since I’m not one to settle, the NBA is what captivates my heart. To me basketball is the greatest sport in the world! I love everything thing about it. I love watching it, reading about it, listening to people talk about it, and playing it even though due to my injury (laziness)–that doesn’t happen to often–but that’s a topic for another day. I’m from LA and despite what outsiders may say there are plenty of diehard sports fans here, I’m living proof of it. My favorite team is the Los Angeles Lakers, I like the Clippers too (they represent the city), but I bleed purple and gold and blood is thicker than…you get the picture. Anyway, that’s me in a nutshell. You might think I’m being a bit dramatic, however I am what I am–a certifiable hoopsaholic. But enough about me, it’s been a busy and WILD off-season so without further ado let’s get to some of the issues.
Can’t Forget New Jersey
So I’m watching SportsCenter the other day and rumor outta Jersey is Kenyon Martin has given the Nets an ultimatum–pay me or trade me! Apparently the Nets offered him a 6-year contract extension worth $66 million and he scoffed. My man feels he deserves the maximum (6-years $85 million) and if he doesn’t get it he wants to be traded. Now of course after hearing this, I completely lost it. I mean, I laughed my ass off! Then a few days later Jason Kidd states that he spoke to K-Mart and he told him that he made no such demands and that he doesn’t know where all of this is coming from. So I thought to myself since I can’t confirm whether Martin made the ultimatum or not, I can’t rip ’em. But here’s a little sample of what I WOULD have said if this were true…
First of all Kenyon Martin is not, I repeat NOT a superstar. Hell he’s not even a star! He’s a glorified role player who happens to run with the best point guard in the league. The dude doesn’t even average 20 points a game (16.7)! Not to mention the fact that he’s a POWER FORWARD whom averages less than 10 rebounds (8.3). And then to top it off, I find it comical that a player who went 3-23 in what turned out to be the last game of the Finals can have the audacity to make contractual demands of that magnitude. Yet don’t get me wrong, I think Kenyon Martin is a good player and I’m all for guys getting as much as they can — but the “trade me” thing was surdiculous (absurd + ridiculous) — especially with the proposed swap with the Portland Trail Blazers that surfaced after the alleged demand. The rumored deal was Kenyon Martin and Dikembe Mutombo for Rasheed Wallace and Ruben Patterson. Talk about a steal, if I was the Nets general manager this would happen in a hurry. Rasheed Wallace is better than Kenyon Martin! He has a better perimeter game, post-up game and he’s more versatile. Can you imagine Jersey with J-Kidd, Alonzo (fully recovered) and Rasheed? They’d run the East, PERIOD! But as I mentioned, that’s just what I would’ve said if this were true.
They Got Spurred
The Sacramento Kings were involved in a sign and trade with the Indiana Pacers and the San Antonio Spurs. As a result, the Kings acquired Brad Miller, the Pacers got Scot Pollard and Danny Ferry and the Spurs got Hedo Turkoglu and Ron Mercer. Now I understand the Kings gearing up for Vlade’s imminent swan song (quality 7-footers are hard to come by), but I have a feeling that trading Hedo to a CONFERENCE rival is gonna haunt them. I mean Brad Miller (I can’t believe his new deal!) is an average player, he’s not the playmaker and passer that Vlade is. And for the record if the Kings don’t win it all while Vlade’s still playing — then they’re not winning it! But Hedo Turkoglu is a very talented player who’s only going to get better and the fact that he’s running with the Spurs…I don’t know — payback’s a mutha…
The Notorious K.O.B.E
Here’s what we know — A young woman has accused Kobe Bryant of rape, the Eagle County DA’s office believes her claim and has acted accordingly, and Kobe Bryant vehemently denies the accusation. That’s it, nothing more — nothing less. All these other rumors that are flying around are speculation and conjecture. But living in the society that we do, our curiosity must be satisfied no matter the length. How else can you explain the alleged victim’s best friend from kindergarten or whatever…? on talk shows discussing how the accuser was such a great person or how she’s just an attention starved freak. I mean for the love! Why can’t people just wait for the facts before drawing conclusions? Instead you got people filling holes with information from the National Enquirer or some other tabloid rag and using that as a means to hand out guilty or innocent verdicts. And the media’s behavior throughout this ordeal has been CRAZY! Kobe bought his wife a $4 million ring, Kobe wore a Muhammad Ali T-shirt to the Teen Choice Awards, Kobe went to Disneyland, etc…etc. I mean who cares? The only thing I want to know is if he did it or not. However we won’t know that for a while, but the way the cameras focused on the back of Kobe’s head during his initial court hearing, you’da thought there was a hidden message designed into it. Surdiculous! People just need to chill and wait till something REALLY happens before we make a story out of every little UNCONFIRMED tidbit, besides there are a lot of other things going in the world besides Kobe’s troubles.
It’s common knowledge that Kobe jacked up; I mean Kobe knows he jacked up. I’m sure he’s kicking himself EVERY single day. But do you think he needs to hear Tracy McGrady running his mouth about the sanctity of marriage? He’s not even married! And then he said “Every time you turn on the channel, it’s Kobe this, Kobe that. Hopefully, we (US Olympic team) can draw some of that attention to us.” Like I said, we all know the coverage of this case is wild, but McGrady’s tone is questionable to me. And aren’t they supposed to be cool? Why would he put his boy on blast like that? Maybe he feels this is his OPPORTUNITY to take Kobe’s spot as the league’s poster child (things that make you say hmm!)? I don’t know, but I’m not feelin’ him speaking publicly about Kobe’s dilemma. Isn’t there some kind of rule where players don’t discuss each other’s personal issues out in the open? If there isn’t — there should be, players should leave the moral soapboxes for the media…
So there you have it, I’ve said all I have to say for now. Thanks for checking out the first installment of For The Love of Basketball. I’m sure you get the gist of what it’s all about and I look forward to you tuning in every other week to see what else is on my mind (and there’s a lot). But until then, be easy.
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