The Day in Quotes: Shaq and Kobe Make Up, Danny Fortson Talks, and more…
What’s good, basketball fans?
You know the drill by now, so we needn’t waste any time getting down to business. Let’s take a look at our first quote.
“I witnessed my wife being threatened by a man that I learned later to be intoxicated. I saw him touch her, and I know I should not have acted the way I did, but I would have felt terrible if I didn’t react. There was no time to call security. It happened too quickly.”
For those of you unfamiliar with the incident, Antonio Davis entered the stands to attend to his wife, whom he saw “falling back” (in Larry Brown’s words) during a confrontation with the aforementioned drunk dude. The event itself was even less exciting than it sounds, but the interesting part will come in the NBA’s response to the event. Due to the fact that he entered the stands, Davis earned an automatic ejection, which comes with a substantial fine.
"He hasn’t called me or my agent. And that’s fine. Really, I’m fine with that. Hello, Florida." – Vince Carter on not receiving an Olympic invite from Jerry Colangelo
While he normally feeds the media the generic athlete responses that bore us half to death, Vince occasionally busts out a gold quote. That said, although he provided us with a moment of levity in revealing that we won’t be seeing much of him in the coming summers, he could have provided the world with a few reels of highlights if he’d been invited to suit up for Team America. I’m not claiming that we could have expected another Fred Weis, but I don’t think an Alonzo Mourning or two would have been unexpected.
"My stamp is not on this team yet, and that’s my fault. I still haven’t been able to get this team to play with the level of consistency I want. I’ve failed at that so far. I need my players to hold each other accountable. Mediocrity is not acceptable around here." – Avery Johnson
While Avery Johnson is yet to appear in public with a chalked-up grille and painted nails, I’m convinced he’s fallen to peer pressure and become a Goth. When was the last time you heard the coach of a team which had won 74% of its games talk like a teenager with a grudge against society? Whatever the reason for his incessant negativity, here’s hoping it stops soon.
"When he hit me, I was a little surprised. It wasn’t in my face or anything like that. He just hit me back in the chest. Nothing really I can do about that. He’s kind of big." – Andrew Bynum
"Tell him Shaq doesn’t respond to juvenile delinquents without a college degree. Tell him to get his degree and we can talk. In the meantime, he should call me ‘Dr. Shaq’ because I’m working on my PhD." – Shaquille O’Neal
Okay, so Shaq’s quote is several months old, but that doesn’t diminish its greatness in the slightest. Bynum might have caught Superman sleeping, but he has a long way to go before he can challenge him in the quotability department. What’s more, he’s still a way behind in terms of their head-to-head highlights. The fake-and-spike may have been a slick little play, but it didn’t come close to the long-armed put-back that sent Bynum unceremoniously to the hardwood. He may be aging, but the Diesel still occasionally treats us to a play that couldn’t come from another person on this planet.
"I don’t bow out of no games. I may get fouls…I am not trying to get fouls; that’s the way the game goes sometimes. But I don’t appreciate somebody attacking my character and my competitiveness. There is a lot of negativity around here. It’s a shame because I am taking anti-inflammatories just to be part of the team. It’s clear to me now they don’t want me around for whatever reason." – Danny Fortson
Does this guy listen to himself? It’s a shame that anti-inflammatory medicine doesn’t have any effect on his character, because Fortson could really use something to rein him in right now. Whether the solution turns out to be a cage or the occasional hug, I can’t be sure. What I can be certain of, however, is that Danny Fortson rocks pigtails, and that just ain’t right on any level.
"Why am I going to go out there and bang it up and make it worse. I can’t even do 30 minutes on the (treadmill). It’s about how you feel, and I don’t feel good. I don’t feel the best right now. I am not going to sit here and break a kneecap for people who are tired of me being here. I am about to flip out. This is the last thing I can take." – Danny Fortson
Interestingly, Danny, your whiny diatribes are about the last thing we can take. But wait; there’s more.
"I just request some time to chill out and let myself heal and get some truth around here. It seems like I am getting hatred. I am not paranoid. But that’s how it is." – Danny Fortson
Truth? Hatred? Paranoia? It sounds to me as if Fortson has already taken something to relax himself, though possibly not anything legal this side of Amsterdam. If you see him rolling up to games wearing tin foil on his head, you can assume he moved on to something a little more, uh, cosmic.
"The doctor doesn’t feel my pain. It’s legit and I’m tired of defending myself. I know that a big guy like me is not supposed to have lingering injuries. I’m supposed to be made like a tank, but that’s not always the case. Everybody gets hurt. I put a lot into it to make myself available on the court. I know I can play. Don’t tell me I don’t belong out there." – Danny Fortson (of course)
In a way, I actually feel for Fortson since he truly does suffer from his negative portrayal in the media, and certainly receives unfair treatment from officials as a result of his indelible reputation. Still, there’s nothing he can’t ultimately attribute to his own errors, so I can only have a certain amount of sympathy for him. Plus, the dude has pigtails, which should be punishable by jail time or a paddling.
"I had orders from the great Bill Russell. Me and him were talking in Seattle the other day, and he was telling me how rivalries should be. I asked him if he ever disliked anybody he played against, and he told me, ‘No, never,’ and he told me that I should shake Kobe Bryant’s hand and let bygones be bygones and bury the hatchet." – Shaquille O’Neal
Bill Russell has magical powers, and it’s a shame they can’t be put to better use than settling petty squabbles between two grown men that fell out with one another. As much as I hated the incredible scrutiny that was given to such an extraneous issue in basketball, I’m a little sad that the feud is all over now. There’ll undoubtedly be an attempt to manufacture beef between Shaq and Bynum to keep the Lakers-Heat games interesting, but I’ve a feeling that rivalry is effectively over.
"It made me feel good because we’ve been through so many wars together. It feels good to kind of be able to enjoy the sweetness of it and now to be able to just move on, for the organization to move on, the city to move on, and focus on building this team and wishing him all the best with his team down there in South Beach." – Kobe Bryant
Kobe went a little After-school Special on us, but I think the sentiment is basically genuine. Worthy of note, however, is that the Heat don’t actually play in South Beach; the A.A. Arena is situated in Miami proper (rather than Miami Beach). It’s disturbing how many journalists will happily refer to the Heat as “the team from South Beach” when there’s the MacArthur Causeway between their arena and SoBe. You could say that the Knicks play in Hoboken and you’d be as geographically accurate as these writers.
”If I get traded, I get traded. ‘What can I do? There’s nothing I can do about it. I just go, move on, get ready to play with my new team, my coaching staff, and just go from there." – Mark Blount
Rumour has it that Blount will be traded for Michael Olowokandi, which would go down as the most redundant trade in league history. I understand the concept of swapping like for like, but when both the outgoing and incoming players are similar mainly due to their questionable work ethic and stunning ability to underachieve, you have to wonder whether it’s worth making a deal at all. I know that General Managers get itchy contract fingers from time to time, but here’s a case where they need to find another way to itch them, preferably not by making like a crab (i.e. moving laterally).
That’s all there is for our fiftieth edition of The Blog, and the fifth in its current manifestation as The Day in Quotes. As always, you can reach me at [email protected] with your comments, questions and suggestions. Alternatively, you can leave a message in the box at the bottom of your page, and I’ll get back to you. Check back again tomorrow for another edition of The Day in Quotes. Until then, take it easy.