Fear not light duty

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Some things are so obvious that to say them borders on cliche. And when it's the kind of thing you're kind of known for spouting, then you run the risk of unveiling self-parody. But fuck it, this has to get communicated: Keith Van Horn has no right to take the year off, much less get praised for it. Having a family is nothing special; many NBA players have serious partners and children. And I guarantee you that if any NBA'er ever took a year off to get to know their illegit seed, it would be mocked to all high hell. Certainly, a non-descript vet spending time with his stable, wedlocked bunch doesn't deserve a medal.

The realness, though, is that Artest's request for absence has become a running joke. This despite the fact that, as the heart and soul of his team, Artest had a far more demanding job. And, as someone with a history of disciplinary problems and possible psychological issues, his walking away might've been a pressing need. Were Van Horn a remotely important player, he'd be getting ripped right now. If he weren't white as a porpoise's fangs, there would be a tacit suspicion about this "family" he so cherished. And why can Van Horn weasel out of a dreadful reputation with the panacaea of gleaming woman and children? HE IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST BUMS OF THE LAST DECADE. THIS IS A SUGAR-COATED COP OUT.

Or maybe it comes down to this: if KVH skipped the year and no one wrote Gene Wojciechowski's column, would anyone even notice? No, and that's why he's a quitter fading out gently, not a bold statement to a league full of punks.


At 11/03/2006 4:52 PM, Anonymous White People Don't Know said...

Never before have I agreed with a post so completely.

The whole situtation is made more ridiculous by the facts that:

a) He probably would have missed about 35 games anyway, being an old, overpayed white stiff with shitty knees.

b) The people who are unquestionably happiest about this are the fans of the teams he almost ended up on (Denver and oh-fuck-that-was-close Boston).

Hopefully Van Horn has so many kids that he'll need to call Sczerbiak away from the Lig to be his au pair.

At 11/03/2006 5:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can applaud the dude for wanting to spend more time with his family, but it's that espn article that makes me hate him for it.

At 11/03/2006 6:09 PM, Blogger He manTooth said...

That stiff was the 2nd pick in '97 after Duncan. The nightmares Popovich must have about that alternate universe.

At 11/03/2006 8:22 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

wow! duncan just made lebron's latest poster. the replay doesn't even do it justice.

amen to everything said about KVH.

At 11/03/2006 9:31 PM, Blogger T. said...

I have slightly more sympathy for KVH, only because I played against him in high school* . . .and I didn't want the best player I'd played against to be Jacque Vaughn or Charles O'Bannon.

Was LeBron's head above Duncan's hands?

*For about 1 minute. In that minute he found time to unleash a really nasty dunk that I got caught in the undertow of, of course, I'm 5'7".

At 11/04/2006 12:07 AM, Anonymous ronaldjamesdavis said...


At 11/04/2006 12:14 AM, Blogger The Electric Zarko said...

Gene Wo. is a pretty good 180 degree indicator, in that you can take a completely opposite stance to whatever he writes about and come off as pretty astute.

Pat Forde pretty much has the same act going on too, with more hair and less neck.

At 11/04/2006 12:25 AM, Blogger T. said...

Who the hell is craig smith and why is he dropping a 10-15 for 20 points stat line?

(Oh, he's the tough forward from Boston College. Still. Nice game.)

At 11/04/2006 3:45 AM, Anonymous Bluebeard Curry said...

Craig Smith was improbably ridiculous tonight. He scored 3 or 4 buckets in a row in in a 2 minute span. Being there 20 feet from the court, you'd have thought the wrath had been unleashed on Denver.


I don't know what to say about the dude except he has a long way to go. Matured, yes, but Ricky Davis ran by him a lot. Like he wasn't even there(he was). A dude named Yak did a better job defensively.

Melo looks like he's on some Matrix type shit the way he handles getting to the hoop. Don't let the box score lie to you; he dropped three of those misses in the last 39 seconds. Himself.

Same thing about the box score with Miller. His line looks nice, but, he took some of the most ill-advised shots in history tonight(including one over two defenders, including everyone's favorite #21).

George Karl has a big ass puzzle to figure out right now. Wait and see on this one.

At 11/04/2006 7:10 AM, Anonymous JK said...

There was never ANY doubt about Freedarko's collective opinion on this thing, was there? It's like a perfect storm - uncool, overpaid white player has the nerve to take a year off to be with his wife and kids, and a guy who actually gets paid to write about sports (for the hated ESPN no less) praises him for it. It just doesn't get any better.

Never mind that:

1) KVH isn't under contract so he's free to do whatever the fuck he likes - unlike Artest, whose completely insane and irresponsible requests for time off deserve nothing more than ridicule.

2) To my knowledge, Van Horn has stayed quiet about the whole thing - there wasn't a single quote by him in Wojciechowski's piece. Yet FD spins it like KVH is demanding league-wide respect for taking a year off. He probably doesn't give a fuck about what anyone else thinks.

Sometimes the predictability of this site is really sad.

At 11/04/2006 11:04 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

Some things are so obvious that to say them borders on cliche. And when it's the kind of thing you're kind of known for spouting, then you run the risk of unveiling self-parody. But fuck it, this has to get communicated: Keith Van Horn has no right to take the year off, much less get praised for it.

i'm supposed to not weigh in on something just because you can guess what the basic outline might be?


1) You're right, he's not under contract. That should blow my argument out of the water.

2) No, I spin it like there's a major media outlet trying to hand him a bronze star for it.

At 11/04/2006 11:05 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

that was me quoting myself, fyi

At 11/04/2006 12:25 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

wait, what about spree? not under contract, and yet his not being in the league is a constant source of amusement to some. . . .

At 11/04/2006 1:31 PM, Anonymous jk deux said...

JK, it's not such an obvious point I don't think. Artest and KVH were not in the same situation with their respective wishful Leave-takings. And the non-equivalence of their careers only deepens the conspiracy. KVH is a goat; all beef should be with Stern. And it's critical to renounce him. Stern has already set the terms of the debate: style and lifestyle are his ideas, too: only for stern, this means proper comportment & representation of oneself to the big other of Capital.....Melo/Sheed Ejections, Dress Code Year 2, and KVH's ideological vacation are a trinity of gesture & from the same orifice. These FD columns are so important cuz only here it becomes clear that Stern's special interests, and our perhaps fringe obsessions, are converging.

At 11/04/2006 2:39 PM, Anonymous Jesse said...

We can't act like we judge any lifestyle choices here, absent assessments of character's style on the court, right? Amare writes some poetry about strong women and readers are going to assume it's deep because his game is deep. If KVH had talked about writing poetry, the assumption would have been that it was J.J. Reddick's shit.

Same thing here -- KVH makes a perfectly defensible decision, but because his style is lacking, the lifestyle becomes a symbol of that.

Ethos is a form of style, but on-court style ain't ethics. Figuring out where the two converge and diverge is thought and taste. Conflating the two is just plain lazy.

At 11/04/2006 3:29 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

actually, i wouldn't call amare's game "deep." totally fucking awesome, but not deep.

regarding kvh, i don't think there's any way that hanging out with your family could be stylish. someone reconnceting with lost kin would be more interesting, but i have no idea what kind of game would correlate with that.

At 11/04/2006 3:48 PM, Anonymous Jesse said...

Yeah, I didn't mean to say that there was any style in his lifestyle. Just that the judgment of one seemed to be the judgment of the other. And that there's a desire to find something moral in the style, we turn to the lifestyle and say it's the same thing. So KVH's game is lacking, and really folks want to take moral issue with that. But then a boring lifestyle choice comes along, and folks can take issue with, so they do. But really, they're talking about his game. Same thing goes on in the Amare and Odom discussions below, except with opposite moral valence.

The one place where it does seem to come together: Kobe. On-court and off-court, sense of complete control (people believe that he traded Shaq) coupled with the unbearable responsibility of every decision. Totally ethically inflected (and conflicted) on-court style. Slavishly following a law that he has given to himself.

At 11/04/2006 4:29 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

to me, this shouldn't be an ethical issue. but that column made it into one. and were it another player, the ethics of it would likely be turned upside down.

At 11/05/2006 2:45 AM, Blogger Nate said...

Get off of KVH. You guys act like he had a terrible career or something...The guy played 9 years and averaged 16 and 7 and shot 36% from three. You're acting like we have an Olowakandi on our hands or something.

As well, the Sprewell/Van Horn comparison is not a good one, because Spree decided not to play because he wasn't going to play for anything less than the mid-level and because of the fact that he looked like a fool from the whole "family to feed" quote and the embarrassment that came from turning down the contract that spawned that quote (hindsight is always 20/20). Van Horn's decision was just to get his personal shit together.

As well, just as JK mentioned above, it's not like KVH was calling for praise. The article was giving praise to a guy that's been a man's man since college. I recall reading similar articles about Van Horn while he was at Utah. But I get where you're going with this. Basically pointing out that there doesn't seem to be a level playing field when it comes to writing positive columns like this about a white player compared to that of a black (hip-hop generation) player. This is probably true...but if anything knock Gene-Woj and ESPN and not Van Horn. Just because the messengers might be fucked up doesn't mean the foundation of the story is.

Back to Van Horn's on court production...Compare his productions to the other number two overall picks since 1980. How many of the guys listed below are actually that much better than KVH? Yes you have J-Kidd, GP, Zeke, and Zo in this group, but other than that, whose career has been that much better than Van Horns? Just saying...

LaMarcus Aldridge
Marvin Williams
Emeka Okafor
Darko Milicic
Jay Williams
Tyson Chandler
Stromile Swift
Steve Francis
Mike Bibby
Keith Van Horn
Marcus Camby
Antonio McDyess
Jason Kidd
Shawn Bradley
Alonzo Mourning
Kenny Anderson
Gary Payton
Danny Ferry
Rik Smits
Armon Gilliam
Len Bias
Wayman Tisdale
Sam Bowie
Steve Stipanovich
Terry Cummings
Isiah Thomas
Darrell Griffith

At 11/05/2006 3:15 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

van horn was one of the most overpaid nba players of the 1990's. if not for that contract, would it be so easy for him to take this time away from the game? where's the outrage in that?

his stats have always been misleading. and #2's always suck.

At 11/05/2006 12:20 PM, Blogger Nate said...

There's the other thing I can't stand about a lot of NBA fans... Listen, just because some dumb ass GM decided to overpay Van Horn, doesn't mean that Van Horn was a bad player. In my opinion there are only a handful of "Max" guys in the NBA, but because of the ineptitude of most of the GMs in the league, you have guys that never should touch max contract money being paid $10mil plus a year. Now, are we to fault Van Horn for taking that money?

If you look at the top 30 salaries in the league (they all make over 12.5 million), about half of the guys are very overpaid. So knock the mentality of GMs and not the quality of players such as Van Horn. A lot of times contracts are all about the quality of an agent vs. the quality of a GM.

A good GM is Joe Dumars, who despite the fact that Ben Wallace was the glue to their team, knew that he couldn't overpay for Ben and put his team in a position that they wouldn't be able to re-tool for the future.

Despite the fact that Phoenix has been praised for their management, I have a feeling that everyone is going to be knocking them in a couple of seasons. Peep this: They signed Boris Diaw (a poor man's Lamar Odom, who probably wouldn't be anything in the league outside of the Suns system) to a $9 mil per year deal. You might think that is a great deal. Not really when you consider that Boris is more of a mid-level type player and the Suns already have Marion, Amare, Barbosa, Nash, Raja, and Banks signed to long term deals. How are they ever going to re-tool with all these guys re-signed? And except for Banks, Bell and Barbosa, all of the players mentioned above are making $10 mil plus per year. Although the Suns do have the Atlanta Hawks pick on lock (part of the Diaw deal), so maybe things won't be so bleak.

An example of a very bad GM is Chris Mullin. He's allowed Arn Tellem and Dan Fegan rape him of his team’s salary flexibility. Look at the ridiculous salaries he's given to Jason Richardson, Mike Dunleavy Jr., Troy Murphy, and Adonal Foyle.

But again, my point is don't hate the player, hate the game...

At 11/05/2006 12:29 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

it's not van horn's fault he's overpaid, but his having that contract made him a liability. however productive he might've been, it was counterbalanced by that albatross.

and i do think his exorbitant contract makes his sabbatical possible. or, put it this way: would he be so noble if he'd been paid what he should have?

i am monitoring this diaw situation closely. i wonder if basketball players having career years--or better yet, career halfs--is fd or not? it's totally baseball, but is kind of the utmost in erratic yet promising behavior.

At 11/06/2006 9:00 AM, Blogger c-los said...

Ahhh....Waymon...just as comfortable in the studio as he was shooting that left handed mid range J...one of my favorite players on NBA Live 95

At 11/06/2006 12:00 PM, Anonymous seezmeezy said...

van horn was worse than at least 14 of those #2's, and i'm not counting dudes like bias or mcdyess who would've smashed his career if not for death/injuries.

wojo is so boring that i won't bother reading the article, further enforcing the point of "hate the game not the player."

At 12/03/2006 12:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The league needs more White players,not less. But, I respect Mr. Van Horn's decision to take the year off.

White Pride World Wide.

At 4/13/2009 5:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...




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