Tuesday , Sep , 02 , 2003 C.Y. Ellis

2nd Edition – 08/15/03

I was chillin’ in my room the other day watching TV (my favorite pastime) while shootin’ hoops on my Nerf rack when SportsCenter reports that Bill Parcells (head coach of the Dallas Cowboys) has selected Quincy Carter to be the starting quarterback for the team. Now being that I’m a Cowboys’ fan, important news such as this would normally elicit some type of emotion (good or bad)–but instead I just kinda shrugged it off and kept firing away at the basket. After an hour of burning the net down (I was on fire!), I grabbed the remote and turned to ESPN Classic because I remembered they usually show a classic basketball game that night. However to my disappointment they were running a college football marathon since the season is upon us.

2nd Edition - 08/15/03

Football is a great sport and I like it so I decided to watch, but after a few minutes (really seconds!) I realized something major…I’m not amped for football this year, at all! I don’t know why–but all this talk about Michael Vick (the man!), Madden 2004, Jeremy Shockey, Maurice Clarett and all the other countless storylines that are shaping this upcoming season are not resonating with me. Maybe my opinion will change once the regular season gets going, but until then…I need a healthy dose of NBA action.


To address my issue, I went into my emergency stash of tapes (Yes, I record some games.) and pulled out a timeless classic to watch. The 5th and deciding game of the 1989 playoff series between the Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers. That’s right, the game that featured the illest (in my opinion) Michael Jordan moment ever… “Here’s Michael at the foul line the shot on Ehlo, good!!!” Every time I hear that call and see that highlight I get goose bumps…and the way he celebrated after he hit the shot…lovely. What a game! Mike scored 44 points along with 9 rebounds and 6 assists — all capped by his game winning shot with 3 seconds to spare. And poor Craig Ehlo, he’ll forever (unfairly) be remembered as the guy that got victimized. People (me included) in basketball circles use his name as a punch line, but after watching that game again I came to the conclusion that I was wrong.


Playing on a severely sprained ankle (not sure which one), Craig Ehlo had a career game. He scored 24 points (15 in the fourth quarter), played good defense (as good as one can against a legend) and until Mike’s heroics made what seemed to be the game winning shot for the Cavs. Yet when it comes down to it–second place is not celebrated. And that alone is why Craig Ehlo will always be remembered as the rung Mike climbed on his journey to the pantheon. Needless to say I CAN’T wait till the NBA season starts–especially since football is so ho-hum to me. And besides, I only got so many tapes.


What’s the Haps?


· The Dallas Mavericks traded Nick Van Exel, Evan Eschmeyer, Popeye Jones, and Avery Johnson to the Golden State Warriors for Antawn Jamison, Danny Fortson, Chris Mills, and Jiri Welsh (Who?). Now from the Mavs’ perspective, I’m on the fence about this trade:

Pros
They got younger without having to lose a member of the big 3 (Dirk, Nash, & Finley). Jamison gives them a versatile post player/scorer. Fortson gives them a strong rebounder.

Cons
They lose their most clutch player in Van Exel. Van Exel was their MVP in last season’s playoffs. Avery Johnson provided a great deal of leadership. Didn’t do much to improve their defense.


It’s tough to tell whether the Mavs got the better end of this trade, a few days later they signed Travis Best to back up Steve Nash and circumvent the loss of Van Exel. But I don’t know if these transactions were enough to get them over the top — they may have sacrificed team chemistry and a proven big time performer for nothing but a first round elimination…We’ll see.


As for the Warriors–it doesn’t matter. The loss of Gilbert Arenas (free agency) set them back. And it’ll be a WHILE before they even SNIFF contention, but they have some quality players to put on the floor if that’s any consolation.


· What’s the deal with Team USA BARELY beating Argentina in the qualifying rounds in Puerto Rico? It was a nip and tuck game until the US pulled away in the fourth quarter and won 94-86. I guess teams aren’t in awe anymore. But an 8 point victory? Times — they are a changin’. And the fact that the games are on pay-per-view only is surdiculous! It should be a fundamental right for one to watch their national teams play for FREE…For the love!!


· The Pistons traded Michael Curry to Toronto for Lindsey Hunter–and Cliff Robinson and Pepe Sanchez to Golden State for Bob Sura. Whatever…


· Why is Reggie Miller hatin’ on Karl Malone? After he signed his new deal with the Pacers Reggie said, “I didn’t want to be like some other guys who jump on another team’s bandwagon just to get a ring.” Salty! You think Reggie would have stayed in Indiana if they were a garbage team? You think he’d stay if they didn’t have a chance to come out of the east? You think he’s JEALOUS because Karl Malone has a GREAT chance of winning it all and he doesn’t…? Real salty.


· Speaking of the Pacers, Isiah Thomas got pink slipped. I’m not surprised by the move, just the timing (Is there ever a good time to get fired?). After Larry Bird got hired as President I figured he would have given Isiah the hook a while ago (Especially since he didn’t want him to have the job in the first place.). But I guess he wanted to give off the perception that he was seriously mulling it over–or get Jermaine O’Neal signed first (I’m going with the latter.) Anyway, Rick Carlisle’s the new coach (count on it) and Isiah is left with empty dreams and promises. Can’t say the same for his pockets though. They still owe him $5 million this season. You gotta love guaranteed contracts.


· The Clippers decided not to match the Heat’s 6-year $63 million offer for Lamar Odom, so he’s officially a member of the Miami squad. You can’t exactly blame the Clips for not investing in a player who’s been a disappointment on and off the court. But why are the Heat so enamored with Odom? It’s like they’re itching to spend all their money. Besides — how many small forwards/shooting guards do they need? With Odom, Caron Butler, Dwyane (correct spelling) Wade, Eddie Jones and Eddie House — I’d say they’ve overloaded. Maybe Pat Riley (head coach) will stack one on top of the other to address their rebounding needs. Now there’s a thought…


· How wack is this year’s WNBA season? Five bucks says the league is a WRAP in 3 years!


· Lebron was mad corny at the MTV VMAs.


· Chris Webber is already talkin’ about beating the Lakers…I guess he’ll never learn.


· Word around the league is if Kobe doesn’t play this season, the Lake Show can still win the title. Here’s the deal — as painful as this is to say — if the kid doesn’t run this year the glory is staying in San Antonio. So let it be written, so let it be fact!


And with that, I’m out like ’89 Cavs.