Never Let Them See You Cry
The Adam Morrison story.
by Rudy Raya
With the hair of ‘70s porn star and the mustache of a 14-year-old Tom Selleck, Adam Morrison’s appearance was a bit humorous. But his game was no joke.
After being labeled as “The Great White Hope” and with Larry Bird comparisons to boot, the greatest player in the history of the NBA practically gave him his own NBA franchise to take over. The League takes in players and spits them out like PEZ dispensers, but the way it happened to Adam Morrison makes it all the more amazing. Not since Kwame Brown had there been a bigger so called “bust” in the NBA, but in all comparisons, Brown can still get a job. Even though he’s currently on a world tour, without Muhammad his man, working out for countless teams, the alarming fact is that this former No. 3 overall pick has completely fallen off the face of the basketball world.
Some could call it another bad pick by the Michael Jordan himself, but really, that isn’t the case. Entering the 2006 NBA Draft, Adam Morrison looked like one of the greatest college prospects in recent memory. Proclaimed as virtually “unguardable,” if that’s even a word, Adam Morrison’s game was so amazing it created words! His length and athleticism gave him the ability to create a shot from any spot, in any situation.
Whether it was spot-up shooting or driving the lane, the former college Co-Player of the Year made the rest of his college opponents cringe at the very thought of trying to match up with him. Even after Gonzaga’s legendary collapse at the hands of UCLA in the 2006 NCAA Tournament, Morrison was tagged as a surefire superstar in the NBA.
World and future ahead of him, Adam Morrison strolled on into his rookie season, but the same success wouldn’t follow him. He would shine a few times in his rookie campaign with a few bright outings early on, but as the season progressed, he didn’t. Plagued by inconsistency and poor shooting, Morrison was eventually replaced in the starting lineup by Gerald Wallace who, after returning from injury, began playing out of his mind on the way to cementing his spot on the court and Morrison’s on the bench.
Morrison finished with a season stat line of modest but not mediocre 12-3-2, more or less. The possibilities of the next season: improved play, reclamation of his starting spot, and a chance to prove all the doubters wrong, never came as Morrison went down with a torn ACL in a pre-season game against the Lakers. His entire sophomore season was lost before it even started.
There was obviously too much on Adam Morrison’s plate for any player to take, especially one coming right out of college, and the eventual injury set back was enough to put a huge halt to any superstar career that he could have ever had. Midway through his third season, Morrison was traded along with Shannon Brown to the Lakers, and whether it was simply a salary dump or divorce with their once draft day darling, the Adam Morrison experiment was over.
Now in the city of big dreams and bright lights, it seemed like the perfect place for Morrison to rebuild his young career and learn from the two of the best in the game, Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson. But, in the Lakers’ quest for a championship, instead of transforming into a sort of fuel off the bench or unexpected X-factor, he ended up becoming a next door neighbor to DJ Mbenga as a fixture on the bench as a sort of Mark Madsen 2.0, if you will; but then again Mark Madsen at least got to wear his warm-ups.
Despite the credibility and wisdom that many think comes with being a two-time NBA champion, Adam Morrison really came out of the L.A. experience with a few handsome checks and some splinters from spending too much time on the pine. With most of the offseason gone and training camp for all teams opening in the coming weeks, Adam Morrison has yet to be picked up by a team. He has done everything aside from making an SPCA commercial with Sarah McLachlan to find himself a knew home.
The fact is that Adam Morrison was thrust into two of the worst possible situations for any player. Being asked to run a team of NBA castoffs and trying to stay afloat on the most talented team in the League are two tall orders.
Morrison needs to be welcomed to a team that has a somewhat established group of players but enough of a hole in the lineup that would warrant an all-around skilled, yet wild at times, type of player. At 26 years old and only three years removed from his outstanding senior year at Gonzaga, Morrison’s career is still salvageable. Keep in mind that his all his time on the bench makes him one of the most well-preserved bodies in the League.
Whether it is the other teams in the NBA or a lack of confidence in himself, Adam Morrison still has the talent to leave whatever affliction he has behind him and if not meet his original expectations, at least secure a spot somewhere in the League.