The Day in Quotes: LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Larry Brown, and more…
What’s good, basketball fans?
After a protracted absence, I’m back on the block, and so is The Day in Quotes. If you don’t know this goes, stick with us and you soon will.
Let’s get down to business.
“It looks positive at this point. I haven’t talked with Mr. Colangelo, but we should be making this announcement within a week or so.” – LeBron James on the possibility of his being included in the coming Olympic squad
I don’t think I’m jumping the gun when I say that LeBron is as good as a confirmed member of the squad. His rolls deep enough in minders, agents and publicists that somebody would have shut him up were this not essentially a done deal. Relinquishing a sizeable chunk of your off-season is no small commitment for a player who averages forty-plus minutes a night, but it’s no surprise that he wants to get the taste of that LeBronze out of his mouth.
”I’m still fresh. Messing with my little son sometimes I get tired, but out on the court, I think I’m ready." – Ricky Davis
Tricky Ricky’s a father? Awesome. I can just see his kid throwing a size three ball at the wrong hoop for a triple-double in a little league game. Let’s hope he makes the NBA in fifteen or twenty years and continues his father’s legacy of likeable lunacy. Remind me to check up on that in 2020 or so.
"I heard it. I grew up coming to this place. I never imagined that would ever happen to me. Obviously, that was very special." – Larry Brown on having the crowd at Madison Square Garden chant his name
Yo, Larry, don’t get too used to the love. It’s not going to take much more than a slight slump for the fans to start hating on you again. If your proposed plan to move the entire roster to the inactive list and play the cheerleading squad in its place is given the go-ahead, the boos could come sooner rather than later.
"If that’s a distraction, then you’re going to have one every time you brush your teeth. If you’re that easily distracted, my goodness." – Jerry Sloan on the distress caused to the fans by uncertainty over Carlos Boozer’s injury status
Not content with scaring the crap out of everyone who has ever played under him, he obviously decided it was time to go for the fans. It’s because of quotes like this that Jerry Sloan is generally considered the baddest man in the NBA, and that includes the players. He’s run onto the floor looking for drama more than once, chewed out numerous players both in person and through the media and, rumour has it, once caught and killed a bear with his own hands, then ate everything but the teeth. Whatever the case, he’s easily the biggest gangster ever to say “my goodness” in any context.
"Right now, we’re looking at about two months out. That’s what we’re striving for right now.” – Amaré Stoudemire on his return from injury
“Uh-oh.” – the rest of the league
The monster’s on his way back, and that can only be bad news for power forwards throughout the U.S. and Canada. Will he be as dangerous around the rim as he was before his knee gave? Will he retain the killer instinct that made him one of the most effective scorers in the NBA last year? Will Michael Olowokandi ever recover if Amaré dunks on him like he did before? Time will tell.
"I have no cartilage in my left knee, and the right knee is headed in that direction. It’s like they’ve been shaved down…I either have to take a chance and keep going and end up with no range of motion in my legs, or stop. I don’t want to put myself in position where I end up in a wheelchair." – Jonathan Bender
We move from a promising injury report to a truly disappointing one. Say what you want about Bender as a player, but you have to feel for a man whose career is likely to come to an end at the age of twenty-five. Bender came out of high school an exciting prospect, breaking Michael Jordan’s record for points in the 1999 McDonald’s All-American game and generally beating up on anyone he faced during his senior year, but failed to achieve his projected potential as a number five pick. I’m not normally one to care, but it’s hard to read articles like this one from 1999 (http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketba/99draf/draf008.htm) without feeling a little for the fella.
"Thank God I’m a tough guy…It’s a physical game and I enjoy it, actually. It’s the same types of battles I used to have with my Pops in the driveway where Pops used to just beat the hell out of me — elbows, slapping me and holding me. That got me ready for this type of game to the point where I actually started enjoying the beating that he was giving me…He didn’t beat me with a belt. He beat me with elbows." – Kobe Bryant
Just when I was wondering how I could lighten the tone of this article after Bender’s news, this Kobe quote jumps out and smacks me right between the eyes. There are so many tasteless jokes to be made at this point that I’m going to have to move on before I give Kobe a reason to send in his lawyers. As it is, I’m still a little worried since there’s a good chance that simply publishing that quote constitutes defamation of character. I’m just going to have to take my chances with that one.
”Whoever is reporting that is absolutely irresponsible because there is nothing based in fact in that rumour, whatever you want to call it.” – Chicago G.M. John Paxson on rumours of a trade involving Ben Gordon and Paul Pierce
Well, that clears that up. Will Ben stay in Chicago, though? In all probability, yes. Paul Pierce, however, might not be long for Boston, and it’s only a matter of the right deal coming along before the powers that be ship him out of town.
"Mitch and Phil Jackson have already agreed. We’re expecting a final decision from the big boss, Dr. Buss, soon." – Bouna Ndiaye, Ronny Turiaf’s agent, on the possibility of signing a contract with the Lakers soon
As someone who has returned to form following a major injury, it touches me to know that Ronny took my example as inspiration to make a comeback. Sure, I may not have had a heart condition, but those blisters were very serious, and I have a note from my doctor attesting to that. An enlarged aortic root is one thing, but when you find blood in your sock after a game, you just think about your family. Keep your head up, Ronny, and feel free to call me if you ever need support from someone who has been where you are now.
On that note, I’m Swayze, but you can reach me with your comments, questions and suggestions at [email protected], or by entering a message in the box at the bottom of your page. Check back tomorrow evening for the next edition of The Day in Quotes, when we’ll hopefully be able to move away from talk of bears, blisters and Kobe Bryant’s latent masochistic tendencies. Until then, take it easy.