Put A Straw Under Baby
Regular readers will recall that we did our fair share of biting back at that beloved American institution known as March Madness. Frankly, I was in favor of piling-on even more, but I would like to think that we were screaming with our silence during that utterly unwatchable Final Four. In case I haven’t made it clear in the past, I have no problem with college ball per se. I love watching the early rounds of the tournament and cheering for outrageous upsets just as much as the next guy, but it frustrates me to no end when people feel the need to demean my dear Association in order to justify their preference of an obviously inferior brand of basketball. Chief among these myths is that college kids play harder than the pros. For proof of the immense effort exerted nightly in the L, one needs to look no further than last night’s Laker game, where “stoned-slacker” extraordinaire Lamar Odom hit the hardwood for a loose ball before going between Dunny’s legs to Kobe for a 360. And I defy anyone who watched UConn, a team supposedly stocked with talent, struggle against Albany, Kentucky, and Washington before succumbing to mighty George Mason, to tell me how much harder college kids play.
Unfortunately, however, there are some players in the league blessed with enough raw talent to excel without consistently giving the proverbial 100%. These players, despite being the exception and not the rule, provide obvious fodder for all Association haters. The two players in this mold that most readily spring to mind are Ray Allen and Vince Carter. Both are famous detractors of that pest known as the Rash, and I don’t see how this can be a coincidence. It seems that Bowen’s mere existence is an affront to Ray and Vince, and I imagine that their ability to get by on sheer talent is offensive to the forever-hustling Bowen.
(Apologies, Rick. Photo credit to John Loomis and the Fader Blog)
Recently, the Allen-Bowen feud reached a new level when Bowen kicked Allen after the two were tangled on the floor. We discussed this in great detail at the time, but in the days following that post it came to light that Allen personally called the NBA’s VP of basketball operations, Stu Jackson, to complain.
"When we landed in Memphis I called Stu and asked him if he saw the game. He
said he watched it that night, and he didn't think much of it. He said I'm going
to watch it again. I told him I was just sitting there and he kicked me in the
back and something more should have been done than him getting a technical foul.
Then he started watching it, and he thought I was on his ankle."
Obviously, you would never catch Melo placing such a call, but frankly, it offends me that NBA players have nothing better to do with their nights than call the league office to complain, ESPECIALLY after a game that they won. They should be hitting the clubs, recording albums or updating their MySpace page. Petty bitching should be left to people like me.
Walter Ray responded in the ultimate way by hitting a go-ahead 3 in the final seconds to get his team a W. Point taken. If, for some reason, that still wasn't enough for him he could have spoken to Stu Jackson through the media as Shaq recently did. Calling the league office is just a bitch move, and it's indicative of many of my problems with him as a player. Like, why does it take a Bowen kick to get him to play with passion? Why does Seattle go 52-30 during his contract year and 33-44 once he gets paid? (And before you come at me with any argument about Seattle being a different team this year recall that their main free agent losses were Antonio Daniels and Jerome “Big Snacks” James, and then look at what Gilbert has done in Hughes' absence). As much as I hate being the one to say this, if we're really serious about silencing all these erroneous anti-NBA stereotypes, I think we need to call out the guys who help perpetuate them every bit as much as we (deservedly) call out the Bowen's of the world for their cheap and boring brand of ball.