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Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 at 3:29 pm  |  38 responses

Links: NBA Players And Lessons Learned

Plus, advice from a burglar…

by Lang Whitaker

I was on a flight late last night back home to NYC, and I was thinking about how crazy the last few weeks have been in the sports world: Erin Andrews, ESPN’s twitter policy, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, Donte Stallworth, Josh Hamilton, Ben Roethlisberger, Rick Pitino…

It’s been a busy few weeks, and it’s actually been almost a perfect storm for sports blogs and websites. Hey, could someone write a post about Erin Andrews having her privacy invaded? That would be interesting to read! I would love to hear how this is either her fault, or the internet’s fault, or Deadspin’s fault, or…whatever.

(Truth: Years ago, Erin Andrews used to do little highlight cut-ins on TBS during Braves games. This was generally humorous because then-Braves announcer Skip Caray (RIP) very obviously hated having to go to Andrews and away from the Braves games. One day Skip acerbically threw it to Andrews, and she was narrating a Tigers highlight. She mentioned “former Brave Randall Simon at the plate,” and I looked up and instead saw this guy, Robert Fick, up at bat. And maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think Fick looks much like Randall Simon.)

Anyway, one thing worth noting in this summer of craziness?

The NBA has mostly slipped the traps. For so long people said the NBA was a league of thugs, a bunch of guys unable to control themselves. But now it’s not the NBA making news for the wrong reasons. The minor NBA controversies that have erupted are of the social nature (Brandon Jennings and Steph being too public on the ‘net, someone deciding that because JR Smith can’t spell he must be in a gang).

I guess Rashard Lewis testing positive for a banned stimulant is troublesome, but then, it was a guy who weighs about 200 pounds soaking wet. If he was on steroids, they were the worst steroids ever concocted.

At the same time, I don’t have much sympathy for him. Pro athletes are paid money that most of us can only dream of making, and in exchange they’re asked to play by certain rules. One of these rules is that you are not allowed to take certain substances. They may be harmless, they may be harmful, but either way, you’re getting paid millions of dollars! In exchange, you have to live by the rules that have been set for you.

Whenever I hear athletes whine about how they don’t have any freedom or they can’t go out at night or whatever, I feel very little sympathy for them. You don’t want to abide by the rules of the NBA? Actually, you don’t have to! You are free to get any other job where the rules are much less strict, where you can smoke and toke and drink to your heart’s content. Maybe you can’t make as much cash as you can in the NBA, but hey…nobody said life is fair.

And let’s not forget Reggie Miller, who inspired perhaps the greatest airplane flyover of all time. Reggie’s transgression appears to be that he hollered at a woman with a fiancé who checks her texts. More than anything, Reggie caused embarrassment for himself and TNT. Hey, TNT knows drama!

Meanwhile, I’ve done my best to stay out of all this Starbury stuff. Steph turned on a computer, acted the exact same way he’s been acting since I first met him a decade ago, and suddenly it’s a cry for help! He’s crazy! He needs assistance! I saw a TV show on ESPN the other day where a panel of “experts” was discussing Steph, and they all had answers and remedies for his “crazy” behavior.

I’m tired of all the hard-hitting analysis from people who’ve never spent any real time with Steph. Steph didn’t go on Ustream to give bloggers and writers a chance to set up a shrink stand like Lucy in “Peanuts.” Steph went on Ustream to get people to talk about him, and it’s worked brilliantly. Does it really matter what they say about him anymore? This is a guy who’s had more negative press over the last eight years than George W. Bush. Do you think it bothers him when someone else writes something negative about him? At this point it’s more about exposure — any press is good press.

The one thing I would like to point out is, however unlikely this seems, I believe there is a method to Steph’s madness. One evening on Twitter, Steph announced that he was going to give out his phone number and allow people to call him. Immediately, people on Twitter started saying it was insane to give out his number, that someone needed to stop him, etc.

Then he actually did give out this number, and another outcry erupted.

Only thing is, it wasn’t his number. At least, it wasn’t the number he’s used to call me and the number he’s answered when I’ve called him over the last 12 months. I actually have two numbers for Steph in my phone, and the number he gave out wasn’t either of them. He gave out a hotline number,some digits that weren’t as real as everyone immediately assumed they would be.

If Steph is crying out for anything, it’s relevance. Attention? Y’all already gave him what he wanted. And I’m sure he’s grateful. After all, love is love.

Anyway, I think it’s worth noting that the NBA has had a summer relatively free of big issues, especially between their players and the law. The NBA took its lumps the last few years. Maybe the players actually learned their lesson?

• I’ve mostly left the L-Wolves alone, but there’s one thing worth mentioning. Last week there was an interview with Wolves GM David Kahn, and he said…

“We probably need maybe one more wing. I’m debating. A lot depends too on what we decide to do with Quentin Richardson, who is on the roster. There’s one scenario where we could move him, but another scenario is he could be on the team.”

So they could trade Q-Rich again? Again? I hope this happens.

Some random links…

• I know some people think Wal-Mart is a corporate behemoth that runs the little guy out of business, but I’m all for this. The Girl Scouts have held the monopoly too long, making people fiend for their Tagalongs and Thin Mint by withholding them from us. No longer!

• A burglar gives advice on where to hide your money.

• I’m making one of these. Watch your back, Tzvi.

• Finally, I thought this was great. Inspirational even…

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  • http://www.slamonline.com James the balla

    first :D

  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com Bryan

    Bands do that stuff all the time. They give out a phone number that rings their cell through a third party and let their fans leave voicemails and then they can use the same third party service to return calls and interact with fans on a personal level. Is that crazy? Only if stephon marbury does it.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the balla

    Wow… that is impressive!! Go willy wind!!

  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com Bryan

    And of course its erin andrews fault lang, she’s famous and if you’re famous you are no longer a normal person with privacy and the rules of normal society can be broken if it involves you. Sarcasm

  • http://www.basketbrasil.com.br Rubens Borges

    Oh, c’mon Lang. Simon and Fick should be a “Separated at Birth” and you know it!

  • http://slamonline.com/ niQ

    Advice? Sounds more like hints on where to look!

  • http://slamonline.com Adam Fleischer

    Yes, Wal Mart is a behemouth corporation that runs mom and pops out of business and has a lengthy history of unfair wages and overall discriminatory labor practices. Beyonce should have known better than to get in bed with that. F Wal Mart.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Madonna is kicking herself that she didn’t adopt this kid instead.

  • izzo

    Bryan is being awfully right lately. He should start a blog. Beyonce is very much the Wal-Mart of the music world.

  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com Bryan

    Or write in one more than once every 4 months.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/officerbarbrady what

    281-330-8004….

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    That burglar article was great.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    I gotta give it to Lang. Dude is LOYAL. Trying to see the method to Steph’s madness and all.

  • SHERLOCK_FOAMS

    And just as Lang posts this, the Dwight Howard’s “D12″ hits the net. LOL!

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    Wal-Mart workers should have been long since unionized and those Girl Scouts can’t be certain things – they’re pretty discriminatory in their own right. Wind/Power++ > that commercial example with the guy setting up his solar panels on his roof and it falls to pieces soon after.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Great video Lang.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    also… Samoas are obviously the best girl scout cookies.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Lang is the most donkey-headed writer ever. Once he has an opinion about something it can’t be changed no matter what. First he says that having Joe Johnson on your team is not that big a difference from having D. Wade. Now he will defend Marbury’s sanity to the death. I compare Lang to Skip Bayless from ESPN. Nobody is wrong about more stuff more often than these two. And the VERY few times they are right they have to trumpet it to the world while never acknowledging the times they are wrong. But the difference is I’m almost positive that ESPN pays Skip to be a stubborn jackass on purpose just to troll all the viewers. Lang I’m not so sure.

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    great stuff lang, but that burglar piece is over 2 years old, wtf? the windmill kid is a nice story, but it further proposes the question of where do our billions of aid dollars go if people dont even have electricity? billions on war, billions for wall street, nothing for the people. hungry people are angry people.

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    is 955 the real eboy? i dont remember him being so brash towards lang.

  • http://slamonline Negetivekreep

    Eboy what was it about ‘this article’ that makes you say that?

  • blackice87

    That is Eboy playing his “commentator who keeps the writers in check” role….. I’m pretty sure Langs is a big boy and he can take it… I’m also sure Eboy knows that as well.

  • http://Www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Whitehot with the smackdown. I think Lang explained quite clearly what he thinks of the recent Marbury hoopla. I, a longtime Steph “hater” (for lack of a better term), get his stance on this. Less a case of being stubborn than having inside knowledge & a history with Steph none of us has.

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  • Michael

    just from his usual writing style, it didnt appear that was Eboy..maybe it was but i would be surprised

  • http://slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/fear/ Freedom Fries

    It’s a known fact that Girl Scouts are White Supremists and that WalMart are fascists. Moral of the story – you’re better off with fig newtons peoples.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    With mo money, come mo problems, everyone knows that and being famous brings more people who adorn you, so for these people who make the mistakes or get caught in something that is their fault or not their fault, its their fault because they are under a microscope so any drama is TMZ, Mediatakeout news, I don’t feel sorry for none of them.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    That moving windmills video was inspiring. I’m in the mood to do something from scratch. Thoughts on Starbury- Maybe it’s a little of both. I mean, he’s crazy, but he’s always been crazy and now we’re just getting to see it. Lang appears to have known the Starbury condition long enough…

  • http://www.slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    Hey Eboy, have you got your Chris Quinn jersey yet? Hurry, the season’s about to start!

  • havelin3

    I could’ve sworn Skip Caray’s seeing Skip Saturday watching the Yankees-Red Sox…

  • havelin3

    Oh snap, maybe that was Chip

  • http://Www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Zingggggg….

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Whenever I hear athletes whine about how they don’t have any freedom or they can’t go out at night or whatever, I feel very little sympathy for them. You don’t want to abide by the rules of the NBA? Actually, you don’t have to! You are free to get any other job where the rules are much less strict, where you can smoke and toke and drink to your heart’s content. Maybe you can’t make as much cash as you can in the NBA, but hey…nobody said life is fair.
    You don’t want to live by the rules of America, you don’t have to! You have a problem with the government listening to your private conversations on the phone? You have a problem with the government detaining you in a random prison in violation of your “rights”? So what? You can leave America any time you want to. You can have rights and freedom’s to your hearts content in many other countries. Who cares if you were born here and the Bill of Rights guarantees you certain privileges. If the rules change, you can deal with or leave America.
    End of rant.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Wow, that Windmill story of William was GREAT. I loved that film and I think that guy has the smarts and heart to do some good for his family and this world. Major props to him and best of luck to his family. Thanks for posting that, Lang.

  • Eboy

    I’ve been on vacation for two weeks and this is the first chance I’ve had to read the comments on the site. Of course that wasn’t me writing about Lang several comments up. Perhaps Ryne or Ben could verify this by the email address….unless it was another great moment in SLAMOnline’s “let’s have everyone’s e-mail avaailable for all to see/use since we can’t get our server issues straight”. Or maybe not.

  • Eboy

    Oh yeah……and when I’m riding with Girl Scout Cookies………….it’s Thin Mints all day! Samoa’s can suck it.

  • http://slamonline.com maclovenotwar

    hey lang, how is the Muscle Watch? According to Nba.com Rudy Gay is up from 222 to 241.

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    eboy, youre not fooling anyone

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