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Friday, August 10th, 2007 at 11:58 am  |  30 responses

What Might Have Been

The Warriors jolted the NBA this year with a return to postseason prominence… but what if they never had to suffer through more than a decade of struggles first?

The following story appears in SLAM 111. Before the Golden State Warriors made themselves the early story of the ’07 Playoffs, there were years of frustration that began with the promise of 1994. This is the story of what went wrong.
By Steve Kettmann

Call what the Golden State Warriors did to the Dallas Mavericks in May the greatest upset in NBA Playoff history, or just think of it like a hit buddy movie, writ large on the hardwood, with a band of talented misfits coming together when it mattered to turn the Bay Area into a giant hoops-themed party. Whatever you call it, it was clear that at the center of the supernova of joy and angst surging out from Oracle Arena stood the Alchemist in Chief, the oracle of Oracle, the veteran coach who got his players believing they really could do the unthinkable and knock off the Playoff’s top seed. Don Nelson saw it coming the whole way and played his hand to the hilt, out-coaching Avery Johnson and reviving a Warriors franchise that had been wasting away in Lottery land.

The thing is, the Warriors may never have even needed rescuing in the first place were it not for the same Don Nelson, who left town under a cloud in ’95 after one of the more decisive and costly battles of will in NBA history.

To understand what the series win meant for Nelson and for Northern California basketball, you have to go back to Nellie’s first stint as Warriors coach, more than a decade earlier, when Golden State drafted Chris Webber out of Michigan with the first overall pick in the ’93 Draft, then watched in horror as the proud rookie and the old-school coach clashed and a team loaded with talent blew apart before our eyes. Looking back on the wreckage the following year, Tim Keown opined in the San Francisco Chronicle: “In a Shakespearean arena, the retreat from the public domain—where once Nelson was so welcome and revered—would signify the defeated protagonist’s lonely struggle with his private furies. And for Nelson, there were many. His team stopped playing for him, his once-absolute authority evaporating into the thin air of dissension. He stood on the sidelines, hands disgustedly locked behind his head, surveying his mobile void. He was the ruler of the unruly, the emperor with no clothes. In his mind, his back was filled with the figurative knives of a group of rich, spoiled young men. It was as much Nixonian as Shakespearean, but if the Shakespeare analogy is apt, the moral might be: Be careful what you hope for.”

Before the season, Webber had downplayed any potential for trouble with Nelson. Ric Bucher, now with ESPN but then the Warriors’ beat writer for the San Jose Mercury News beat writer, interviewed Webber before the season and asked him about Nelson’s reputation for being hard on rookies.
“Have you experienced that?” Bucher asked.

“I’ve had hard coaches all my life,” Webber said. “Steve Fisher was a tough coach, whether people believe that or not. He was very, very tough.”
Steve Fisher? As tough as Don Nelson? Webber obviously did not know what was in store for him in Oakland.

Everyone tried to make it work, at least for a while, and the team wasn’t bad that year. They lost six of their first nine, but got better as the year wore on and finished 50-32, good for third place in the Pacific Division. The Warriors’ best player was Latrell Sprewell, who led the team in points, steals and minutes, and finished second in assists behind point guard Avery Johnson (the irony is delicious, isn’t it?). Webber was second on the team in scoring (17.5 per) and led the team in rebounds (9.1), while Billy Owens and Victor Alexander rounded out the typical starting five that year.

Behind the scenes, as inescapable as the ticking of a time bomb, pressure built up between Nelson and Webber, caused both by major differences of opinion about what kind of basketball the Warriors should be playing and repeated clashes away from the court that left Webber feeling disrespected. The explosion came in Charlotte that February 9.

“It was all about who was going to control the team,” remembers Ron Bergman, who had covered the Warriors for the Mercury News prior to Bucher taking over, and still followed the team closely that year. “Webber took over the team and Nellie didn’t even realize what was going on. They were playing in Charlotte, and Webber comes down the court and he tries a behind-the-back pass on a fast break and the ball went out of bounds. Nellie just pulled up and benched him.”

Nelson was not the only one unaware of what was taking place up until then. So were most sportswriters. One prominent Warriors beat writer, a smart veteran, had seen Nelson handle strong-willed rookies before and dismissed any tension with Webber as trivial. He went on KNBR-AM, the king of sports talk in the Bay, and called reports of a Webber-Nelson clash “the biggest non-story” he’d seen in many years. Around this time, Bergman met Nelson for drinks at the local Hilton. “What are these stories about you and Webber?” Bergman remembers asking Nelson.

“Oh no, we get along just fine,” Nelson told him. “You know, his father phoned me and said I was the greatest thing ever to happen to him.”

“So Nelson was just out of it,” Bergman sums up. “He lost touch with reality there.”

Bucher, just making a name for himself, knew better. He had cultivated a relationship with Webber and communicated with him easily. More than that, he understood the League was in flux and that the old power dynamics Nelson learned from his mentor, Red Auerbach, no longer held. (As Nelson told me for this article, as a young coach, he emulated Auerbach in every way he could: “Well, I didn’t know how to coach. I had never been a coach. So I just did it the way Red did it and the way the Celtics did it. That’s how I started out.”)

Bucher reported a string of explosive scoops about Webber’s discontent and what it meant. He had the pulse of his team and the trust of the players, and he filled in all the background detail no one else had. Of the February 9 clash in Charlotte that brought the bad blood into public view, Bucher later reported: “Nelson leaped up to call a timeout and walked out onto the floor to bark at Webber, who barked right back, asking to be ‘treated like a man.’ The Warriors won with Webber on the bench the rest of the way. In the locker room afterward, two players confided that a tearful Nelson told the team, ‘If you’re trying to get me fired, you’re doing a good job of it.’”

Later, when the dreams of a Warrior ascendancy were in wreckage, and the careers of both Nelson and Webber took major hits, Nelson repeatedly took responsibility for the Webber clash, saying that as the experienced coach, he should have found a way to nip the problem in the bud. That was how Oakland Tribune columnist Monte Poole saw it at the time.

“Nelson could have and should have done more to make it work,” Poole recalls. “A lot of coaches realize that you have to bond with your best player, your horse, your leader, and it was pretty clear to me and most people around here that Webber wasn’t the leader immediately, but he already was gaining cache. He already had people who were respecting him and he had a little following in the locker room, so to me that meant that the coach had to make the relationship work. You have to do that. And if you don’t do it, the team has no chance. I think Nelson thought, ‘This kid is 20, 21 years old. What does he know? I’ve been around this league for 30 years.’ So I just don’t think he made an effort to sort of cross the bridge and say, ‘Look, come back with me on the other side and we’ll get this thing going.’”

This was how Keown summed it up in that previous Chronicle column: “Like others before him, Webber felt Nelson ruled through intimidation and humiliation. They clashed once publicly, that time in Charlotte, NC. Eventually, Webber asked out. He said Nelson wouldn’t talk to him and didn’t want him, so he challenged something thought inviolable: the authority of the coach. In the end, it turned into an epochal event in the history of player-coach relations.”

Fast-forward 13 years. SLAM editor-in-chief Ben Osborne and I met over coffee in the spring, talking over story ideas, and I said that one of the biggest untold stories out there was the repercussions from Nelson’s famous clash with the young Webber, one year removed from his Fab Five days at Michigan and Rookie of the Year that season. It always struck me as a great power clash in American life. Nelson skulked out of town the next year, Webber was traded from team to team, forever falling short of delivering on all the buildup. As the Sporting News summed it up in a headline this past May: “Webber burying past failures with current role—Star has burned bridges at four franchises, but thriving off bench for Detroit.”

All these years later, both had largely repaired their reputations. I caught up with Webber, an instant lynchpin on the Eastern Conference’s best regular-season team, late in the season in the visiting locker room at Madison Square Garden, and watched him field questions from a student reporter, still in his early teens. The kid was awestruck and fumbled a bit, but he was cool, too, and Webber flashed his famous killer smile and said, “’S’all right, you’re doing good.” He answered all the kid’s questions, giving some great answers.

If you’ve wondered about that hurt look in Webber’s eyes, one he wishes would go away but still it’s there, this was something he told the kid: “Detroit Country Day was a really great high school, but going to that school I was insecure. I was shy, and I didn’t think I belonged. I didn’t think I was really good enough.”

He wanted to tell the kid about pride. “To own something that Martin Luther King owned, or something that Frederick Douglass owned, to me is great. Just like anybody want to own a Picasso painting. To me it’s just how rich the history was. (Douglass) made it easier for me, made it easier for you to stand here. If it wasn’t for Frederick Douglass teaching himself to read, you wouldn’t take that for granted.”

Listening to him, I felt bad stepping up next and asking Webber about the Nelson thing, but that was my assignment for SLAM and I hadn’t taken the A train in from Brooklyn for nothing. “I really don’t remember that much,” Webber said at first. “It was about 14 years ago, and I don’t even like rehashing it. It was a time when a lot of people wished things wouldn’t have happened the way they did.”

The theory I’d worked out after talking to a lot of people was that the whole thing with Nelson had been about respect, specifically Webber feeling as though he had not been shown enough. “No, that’s why I don’t like rehashing it, because that’s not true at all,” Webber said emphatically, suddenly remembering things quite well. “It had nothing to do with respect. It had nothing to do with that. It had to do with just the future, where they saw the team going.”

I was surprised, and back-pedaled to a question about how Webber’s time in the League, the good and the bad, including his standoff with Nelson, has a way of teaching you. “That’s something you just don’t know how it has an impact,” he said. “If anything, it makes you keep going and makes you not stop and makes you work harder and persevere. You show your character when you’re under trial. It makes you just stay consistent. Makes you work out harder in the summer. Makes you want to prove doubters wrong. It makes you want to become better, and that’s what that did for me, not only that, Sacramento, everything.”

“Is it safe to say, though, that your first year in the League, if things are difficult, that’s tougher on you?” I asked him.

“I have great memories of my rookie year,” Webber countered. “I was Rookie of the Year. I got to play with Chris Mullin, Tim Hardway, Latrell Sprewell, Billy Owens. Victor Alexander. Keith Jennings. Those are my friends for life, and so I don’t take anything bad from my rookie year. I would never have made it to Washington, which eventually got me to Sacramento. So if I’ve learned anything, it’s that God has a plan for us and you really can’t plan this, so just go with the flow and be ready.”

I’d caught up with Nelson earlier, a couple months before the end of the regular season. This was before the Warriors had rattled off a string of big wins to land the last Playoff spot in the Western Conference. This was before Baron Davis had put together one of the better all-around series we’ve seen in years. This was before that last game against Utah, nerves rubbed beyond raw, when Nelson slid out onto center court at the end of the third quarter, just so he could be with his guys and jaw at the officials right along with them. Nelson, when I talked to him, had no idea how the season would turn out. He had no idea that with one beautiful, all-out rush, a new Warrior team would make people forget the craziness that had gone down back in ’94.

“I think we’ve both matured nicely,” Nelson said of himself and Webber. “He’s now a different person. He’s older. I just saw him in Detroit. I gave him a hug. Part of our life was spent together. A very short part, but hopefully we both learned from it.”

I asked him what he learned. “I don’t want to get into all of it,” he said, adding with a laugh, “He was just a young guy that needed to get about 10 years under his belt.”

You had to be there to understand how Nelson meant it. My own take was that he meant no slam against Webber—he was just providing an accurate glimpse of his thinking at the time.

I asked George Karl, who coached the Warriors the year before Nelson took over (with Nelson serving as his de facto boss, the GM), about the Nelson-Webber conflict, and he summed it up in terms of honesty. “The one thing I like about Nellie is that he’s very honest and blunt with his criticism,” Karl said. “He doesn’t spin. I probably am not as blunt as he is, but I’m probably in that category. My belief is that this is good for the game. The game of basketball needs honesty and needs truth and needs reality defined… But because organizations want to protect their product and their players, they don’t always say the truth. They spin. They rationalize or give crutches and excuses, and I think players have now been able to turn and use that against us now.

“I believe it sets you freer. I don’t think Nellie wants to get tied up with the NBA BS. I think he wants to coach, he wants to be in the gym, he wants to be around the team and be around basketball family. But you don’t want to get tied up by the mess of spinning and protecting… For me, I remember sitting in the beach in California after I got fired from Golden State. I had met with 10 or 15 NBA people about how to get back in the NBA and the career and a lot of it was spin. You’ve got to shut your mouth. You’ve got to be careful. I think one of the best decisions I ever made was saying to myself: I’m going to go win games. If they don’t like winning, OK.”

The Warriors’ great run of ’07—cue up the Baron and Stephen Jackson replays—blotted out all the painful history, perhaps even for good. For fans in the Bay Area, who were shut out of the Playoffs all those seasons following the Nelson-Webber train wreck, it sure felt that way. And it was striking how much Davis, Jax, Matt Barnes and their teammates all talked about their “love” for Nelson. But for the last word, I turned to Bucher, who had seen it all from the front row.
“Call it the luck or genius of Nelson, but he basically gave Bay Area fans the same thing he’d been giving them prior to Webber—an exciting, small-ball team that could topple a first-round behemoth but had no serious title aspirations—and thanks to a 12-year drought, it was sweet nectar,” Bucher said via email. “Bay Area fans were actually fed up with this 14 years ago, which is why getting Webber held so much promise—they finally had a big man who could make them a title contender.

“Is Nellie a different guy now? I honestly don’t know. The only way we could ever find out is if the Warriors drafted another CWebb this summer, and I don’t see that happening. He’s the same coach, using the same style, handling his players the same way (what is Baron Davis but a latter-day Tim Hardaway?), all of which has brought the Warriors’ full circle. Long-time Warriors’ fans seem to be happy to have something to cheer again, but they’re well aware that Nelson was as much the architect of the years of pain as this resurgence. A business partner makes some horrendous moves, forces you into bankruptcy and disappears. Years later, he shows up and helps you resurrect your business. Do you hate him for the lost years and agony or appreciate him for coming back? Probably a little of both. The other twist is that Nellie and Webb are finding redemption, after being cast aside for several years, at the very same time. Extraordinary how they’re still linked, even though they’re apart.”

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  • rg

    good feature. about those postgame drinks though..

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    I loved that Warriors team. And the NBA Live 95 version of them was off the hook all day.

  • http://www.myspace.com/whyberickjames Jesus Shuttlesworth

    baron davis is MUCH more than a latter day tim hardaway..=–=chocolate rain

  • Allenp

    Shuttlesworth you are seriously underestimating Hardaway’s game. He was a better shooter and passer than Baron. They both are excellent ballhandlers and Baron’s more athletic. People forget how easily Tim transitioned from running the uptempo Warrior’s attack to handling Riley’s morass.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    Timmy was raw, no doubt.

  • Rynn D.

    All you have to do is put Jon Ameachi on Hardaway and he’s locked down!

  • http://www.artofbball.com Madtice

    Like, literally put John Ameachi on Tim Hardonway? All I remember from Hardaway is his crossover and that one shot where he went in at the freethrowline, turned around and lay it up from the foul line backwards. That was fun.

  • Jukai

    tl;dr

  • z-unit

    “when Golden State drafted Chris Webber out of Michigan with the first overall pick in the ’93 Draft”

    wrong. webber was drafted 1st by ORLANDO and his rights were traded to golden state’s pick, penny hardaway, who was selected 2nd overall in the 93 draft.

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    Didn’t Orlando draft Webber, and then make a trade for Penny?

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    My proofreading (and fact checking) is available. For a fee, of course.

  • Celts Fan

    GREAT feature. It’s always fun to take a look back at old stuff like that and read the “Then & Now” kind of stuff and see it come full circle.

    And for that clown that said Baron Davis is better than Tim Hardaway, the potential was/is there, but until he puts it together and stays healthy for entire seasons, you can’t say that. Hardaway, on purely talent (the gay remarks probably will hurt him) is a Hall of Famer. Baron Davis won’t be (due to injury, not ability)
    And while we’re talking about PG’s, GP was better than Steve Nash ever could be, and he did it pre-rules changes (which turned Nash from above average to MVP, but GP’s still the only one to see a Finals)

  • luckyluciano

    WHAT WE NEED MORE OF, IN DEPTH ARTICLES ABOUT THE STUFF WE REALLY CARE ABOUT, I LOVE THE LINKS BUT ITS USUALLY ONLY A LITTLE GLIMPSE, A TEASER- THIS IS THE KINDA ARTICLE U CAN GET UR HEAD AROUND AND ENJOY- WELL DONE MATE

  • Clarkent

    CWebbs all washed up yall.. loved him when he was playing for suckermento but that was the end of the line for him.. i honestly think he doesnt have anything left in him that would make good again… so is allan houston… too old too slow too late

  • tdubb

    webber not only missed his chance with g-state, but what about when he was a washington bullet with rasheed wallace and juwan howard and they were all under 23. potentially the greatest frontline ever.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Lucky, there are articles like this in our magazine every month. Please buy it.

  • MissedWebb

    Webber was drafted by Orlando, then traded to Golden State…Orlando also had Shaq….wonder if they would have had several NBA Championships already especially with those 2 on the team! Too bad they traded Cwebb away! Webber also missed great chance while with Sacramento, the best team he was on, they split the team up a year too early. Forgot about Washington and currently he almost helped the Pistons to a title…wow…almost all teams C-Webb been on has been close to the title…or close to the NBA Finals.

  • Simon Fuller

    tdubb: Potentially the greatest frontline ever? Webber’s the only one of those three who even has a shot at the Hall of Fame (and he’s no certainty, considering some of the great players still waiting to get in). The Celtics of the 80s had Bird, McHale and Parish with Walton coming off the bench. That’s four hall of famers and four members of the NBA’s top 50 team. Not to mention the fact that Howard, Webber and Rasheed were all best used at the 4 spot.

  • http://truthismygame.blogspot.com/ truthismygame

    great article. i’d love to see a run-and-gun team win it all, but teams like GS and Phoenix def have their backs up against the wall when good defenses clamp down and the game slows down a bit during the playoffs..

  • Boing Dynasty

    Chris Webber is not a HOF’er.

  • Paul

    The artilcle for me is ok. Sport writers often times take unfair shots at certain athletes and Chris Webber is one of them. The way some writers portray him and him legacy in flawed. For instance his time at MI all most of you remember is the time out. It’s unfair and foolish to define a player by 30 seconds in their career. Now I will school you including this writer from Slam. Chris was the engine that made the Fab Five go. His play in the tournament where every game is a big game was sick. They were a young team that excelled together reaching the champioship game twice. That is a major accomplishment when every game is win or go home. He’s labled as a choke artist which is also ridiculous.

  • Paul

    Chis was the best wolverine on the floor against NC. He scored the last basket for MI before the TO. But I guess to shallow minded sports writers if you score with 2min left but not 1min left you are a failure. Hog wash. The game before that in the final 4 Mashburns Kentucky team were 7 point favorites over MI that’s a huge number in college basketball and it was Webbers 27pts and 13 boards that carried MI to victory over Kentucky in overtime. Shall we move on to the nba the writer of this article states with each TEAM Webber was traded to there was much build up but he failed to deliver. Again, hog wash. Golden State rookie of the year. Washington allstar.( he had a bad shoulder injury that kept him sidelined) They were young but made the playoffs. Getting bounced by Jordans bulls. Sactown. That franchise was horrible when he got there. One of the worst teams in the league. In a year they were a playoff team led buy C-webb who in multiple years led the team in points rebounds and assist. That was the team to win a title but in the series against the Lakers there were all kinds of proplems. Peja was injured second leading scorer. The refs, during most of the series the Kings big men were in foul troubled. Chris being one of them refs called mad offensive fouls as well which I think changed their game a bit. The kings all shot poorly from the free throw line. Chris has never been a good free throw shooter. During those years at times the kings dominated the best teams in the league including Iverson’s sixers, Dirk’s mavericks and Duncan’s spurs. The year after falling short to the Lakers the kings were the favorite to win the nba title. Unfortunatley in a playoff game against the mavericks Chis had his worst injury yet tearing cartlidge in his knee when he left the game I think he had about 30pts but that injury ended the kings chances for an nba title. With their leader and best player gone the kings lost to the mavericks in that series for the first and only time of Chris’ stay there. He had bad ankles the entire time as a king but played through the pain because his team needed him. Writers give Chris all the balme but none of the glory. When Chris was traded from the kings they were I think the 4th seed in the west. They droped and haven’t stopped dropping thay are now back to being one of the worst teams in the league an haven’t won a playoff series since Chris left.Chris for his career prior to his knee injury was a 20 and 10 guy and shot close to 50% thats with a jumper. His time with teams post knee injury should not be mentioned in a negative way.He is now just doing the best he can through pain and uncertainty. One day the knee feels ok and he plays well and the next day it doesn’t and he may play poorly. As a sports fan and good athlete in my high school years I get tired of the media labeling people. They don’t know what the athletes go through injuries, bad coaches and situations. What I know is one player wins you nothing. Teams win titles and that includes coaching, health, luck and player skill. If any one of those things is missing chances are there will be no title. Poeple say Peyton Manning got the monkey off his back no his team played better. His numbers were not that much different from previous years. The defense played well as well as the runnings backs who were the real mvp’s. So stop defining people by moments they came up short and ignoring moments they came up big this way of thinking teaches our children nothing. Life has it’s ups and downs you have to keep moving.Losing is when you give up the fight and Chris has had many reasons to give up but he keeps trying. Remember most teams in the nba needed multiple times to beat their rivals to make to the championship game and win. Thomas’s pistons lost to the Celtics multiple times in the playoffs before beating them to win titles. Jordans bulls lost multiple times to the pistons before beating them to go on and win titles. Shaq and Kobe were not successful early on. They played with great veterans and a hall of fame coach which is something Chris Webber has never had. Again post knee injury teams Philly and now Detroit are not even fair to mentention because he’s now physically half the player he was. The injury he has has ended many players careers and through the pain and media bashing he keeps trying that makes him a winner. Also much is written about him from a media point of view about him as a teammate. During his charity events former and current teammates attend all speaking about his heart and friendship. I watched his high school coach get tears in his eyes talking about how good a person he is and why he can’t understand the medias negative slamming of him. His college coach attended still a friends much years later. Former Golden State teammates,Sac,Washington,Philly and Detroit teammates. Shav R.from Philly calling him a brother for life and how Chis took him under his wing (even though he came from Duke) There is much to be said but the media is selective. Don’t try to recreate what I watched a player do and stop with this riduculous argument about who can win a title. Many great players will not win a title and many ok players will.

  • Paul

    Also he won 3 state titles in hs.I guess he wasn’t a choke artist then. Stop labeling people you do not want anyone diminishing things you have accomplished so stop doing it to onther people and speak all the facts.

  • Mike H

    I am sorry, but I think the author is an idiot! Nelson’s trade for Webber was a horrible mistake. No coach could have managed Webber, especially influenced as he was by the Sprewell cancer. Webber was a spoiled brat whose world revolved around himself. Let’s not forget that this man, Webber, who demands the kind of respect due Martin Luther King placed his Michigan team in jeopardy by taking illegal money. If Nelson had lacked the courage to stand up to Webber, despite getting no support from Cohen, he would not be the man he is today and would have disappeared from coaching completely.

  • Paul

    Mike H. I’m sorry but do you work for the warriors? Where did you get your information? How is it that many of Webber’s other coaches including his college coach adore him? Please,please stop acting like the hypocritical media that knows that many college players over the years received money and gifts it wasn’t who was doing it. It’s about who they choose to exspose. I’m certainly not going to condemn a 19 year old for that. Many have said Ed Martin wasn’t a booster anyway so I’d like to know what that was really about.When Nelly was coaching in Dallas just ask Nelly how much he missed C-WEBB then when Chris was killing them knocking them out of the playoffs every year. Many players have talent but Cwebb is one of those players that makes his teammates better. Like I said in a previous post anything post knee injury is irrelavant because his abilities have greatly declined. The warriors made the playoffs.Now the sixers selecting Shawn Bradley at no. 2 was a horrible pick Chris was the rookie of the year. Nelly was trying to make Chris a center when he was a power forward. If I were Chris I probably would have had a problem with that to and Mike I guess since you want to point out another persons mistakes you have never made one.

  • Paul

    Nelly has clashed with other players including Dirk N.What do you have t say about that?

  • Mike H

    Paul,

    I suspect that your real name is Webber or Sprewell. FYI, I was a Warriors fan until these two began to run the asylum. They have have rarely helped make anyone better and were much better at tearing down. Nelson will go down in history as a great coach while Webber and Sprewell will be remembered only for the psychotic and dishonest episodes. Finally, if you think it’s okay for college players to take huge amounts of money from alumni, you don’t understand what sports is all about. Further debate would be wasteful.

  • Paul

    I’m glad you (Mike H.) do not get to decide how the rest of us remember someone. The real theives in college basketball are the universities themselves. They have set up a system where they make millions of dollars off of college athletes by way of tv contracts, ticket and merchandise sales. Then they tell those athletes many of whom come from poor back grounds that they can’t receive as little as a pair of sneakers from someone because it violates NCAA rules. Even though they can’t work because of their practice, traveling and playing time. Just because something is legal doesn’t make it right i.e. slavery.Further more you are obviously very naive if you think that a large number of college athletes aren’t receiving benefits. I watched a show where football players from the 70′s spoke about how it was common for star athletes to be taken care of so u don’t know what sports is really about.It’s about money. The entire system is corrupt. Rich men getting richer off of many athletes that come from poor back grounds. Then they hide behind the joke that they give these athletes full scholarships. Knowing that they are never going to use it all because they leave school early. Most colleges don’t care about these athletes. For example Dexter Manley, he couldn’t read, but he could play ball so the school ignored his academic requirements and used his abilities to make money. This entire society has been corrupt since the start of this country Killing, stealing and raping so when you get on your little soap box and slam a 19 year old for doing something that most of us would have done you remember that. Mr moral. Chris has touched many lives and those children that he’s touched will certainly remember him for inspiring them through his kindness and generosity. Since you obviously don’t know much about C-Webb you should choose your words more carefully as far as him tearing teams down it’s obvious that you don’t have your own mind and choose to pass judgement on people like someone reading a tabloid magazine in a supermarket check out line. You my friend are the waste of time with your shallow and naive thinking! Wonder if MI gave back all the money they made off the Fab Five? DOUBT IT!!!! But only moral honest people would do that. Why hasn’t Reggie Bush been punished for receiving money? Why hasn’t USC been sanctioned? Oh I forgot USC is a football power house surely the NCAA doesn’t want to go years without USC being in a bowl game. They would loose to much money. Honesty, give me a break! OIh I almost forgot they sanctioned Olklahoma I gueuss to give the illusion that thay are actually taking their own rules seriously. But then again when was the last time OKlahoma was in a meaningful bowl game. Hypocrits!!!!! I guess according to you it was moral to televise Lebrons hs basketball games. I’m sure they made a lot of tv sponsor revenue off of those games but he better not take a pair of sneakers though.

  • Paul

    Oklahoma did win the title in 2001 but lately they have been irrelavant. Usc is and has been the face of college football.

  • liam

    the u-tep two-step!!! timmy hardaway was so sick. when he first came out he was killing it. one of my favorites, i wanted him to make the dreamteam since isiah got cut out………… man the warriors coulda been a dynasty with that team or at least got a ring if this clash didnt happen or if they just let george karl coach c-webb and spree and the bunch……… wow. what a great young team, 50 wins in his rookie year…… imagine how good they woulda been if they grew together into their primes with him and sprewell and the rest of em. WOW! thats a shame.

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