Sometimes, I have a lot of thoughts and opinions on some happenings that have occurred in the world of the NBA. But many times, I don’t have the conviction to write 700 words on every singular subject of interest — but I may have a bunch of short bits to communicate en masse, on occasion. And so I’ll be Sounding Off on occasion. Holler.
It’s fairly obvious to most people with a pulse who’ve followed the NBA this year that Los Angeles Clippers rookie power forward Blake Griffin is having a phenomenal year (so is Eric Gordon, relatively). The other obvious thing to note is that the Clippers still suck and are “achieving” greatly in sucking, but that’s no surprise. I call those fairly obvious points forth because it appears that woefully injured Houston Rockets center Yao Ming will be the leading vote-getter for the 2011 All-Star Game in Los Angeles, but he’ll be out of that, so there is the issue of a dutiful, worthy replacement. Outside of Minnesota Timberwolves‘ forward Kevin Love and Los Angeles Lakers‘ power forward/center Pau Gasol, I can think of no better replacement than Blake.
His team is terrible, but that hasn’t meant that his play is less than. Remember when people were putting Chris Bosh on the All-Star Team for the East when he was with the Toronto Raptors? His teams were sorry then, but no one really created much of an issue about it, because he was good, and good enough to still have coaches respect his play, despite how lame his team was. Blake would be great to start there, but even if he doesn’t start, he should still get on the team. If Blake doesn’t make the team, it would match the nonsensical act of leaving then-Cleveland Cavs rookie LeBron James off of the 2004 All-Star team, despite Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce having in an inferior year by comparison. (Note: That last statement wasn’t a numerically based opinion; I watched Paul that year. He was mailing it in and pouting his way through that season and wasn’t the best option over LBJ when he was a 20-5-5 rookie.)
I don’t understand the people who make basketball decisions when it comes to Larry Brown. I know Larry’s charismatic, I know he’s an old-timer with a pedigree, I know he’s been around the game for half-a-century. We all know this about Larry Brown, because that’s what gets him his jobs. Though it may not be a popular opinion, for just for the sake of career comparison, Larry Brown is a hooker. Or at least he plays one on TV. Seriously, think about it:
He goes on the NBA equivalent of a corner (in front of a microphone or reporter’s pen and pad), waves his hands around (glares into the camera…) and makes a paradoxically, subtly large move for some NBA general manager to notice him (“sources” will report he “loves” the way [whatever team he falls in lust with at the moment] runs their ballclub). Then he’ll talk his way into a “car” (negotiate with another team through his lawyer or agent while still employed by another squad), the money’s exchanged (said negotiation comes to an agreement with team for a position he’s has yet to walk into because he’s still coaching another team — usually in the Playoffs, of all times), and by the time the 15 minutes of play time are up (1-3 seasons, depending on how “sick” of the team he is), the team that agreed to get serviced is contemplating backhanding him for his poor execution (the team that Larry’s pulling the run-around on finds out he’s gotten into bed with another franchise, becomes indignant, and has to save face). It sounds rough, but the truth is raw.
And yes, I know, I know — “He’s a champion,” “he’s a winner” and this and that, but he’s a hooker. And even he loves to save his best performances for the camera, so he’s got a dual career as an actor, too. Even porn stars get awards. It’s annoying to me that as great as a teacher he is, he’s so loathing of the situations that he practically begs to get in. It’s insane, and then he whines when he doesn’t have his way just to a “T,” leaves the team (with his guaranteed money, mind you), and somehow, just somehow, he still has that bright and shiny new car smell, even though we know he’s been tricking for years now. It just needs to end, and teams really need to quit letting him have his way. It’s mindless, and it usually sets teams back somehow, because he doesn’t leave them much better off after he’s done with them; his favored personnel (that he stomps his feet about and insists upon) may or may not be malleable enough as a collective roster for the team to trade away or be used in the way that another successor can easily make due with.
He may bring your team into the Playoffs and help bring up those attendance numbers for your home games for a little while, but I’m telling you right now, Various NBA Teams, that the return on your investment in him is going to be disappointing in the long-term scheme of things. Larry Brown isn’t Julia Roberts, so I ask that you please quit treating him as such. Wiving him up could lead you to your imminent demise. Protect your assets. (No pun intended.)
Sandy Dover is a novelist/writer, artist, and fitness enthusiast whose work has been published by US News, Yahoo!, featured in Robert Atwan’s “America Now“, and now in Buckets and Playmaker magazines. You can find Sandy frequently here at SLAMonline, as well as at Facebook and Twitter.