To the victors go the spoils.
They are young men, always on the hunt, and the situation of being hunted possibly feels heaven sent as well as surreal.
Sacrosanct in the locker rooms and clubhouses, the boys wink at each other and compare notes and are obligated to keep their conquests secret, a code among men never to be broken and easy to abide by as long as one keeps his mouth shut. But these days, with sophisticated cell phones and hi tech recording devices both visual and audio, and the swarming media outlets on a feverish hunt for scandal, these great athletes are in jeopardy of some mindless silly juvenile, like D’Angelo Russell of the Los Angeles Lakers, spilling the beans.
And he did. Poor millionaire/hotdog/ball hog Nick Young, of the lowest hoop IQ in the NBA, has fallen victim to Russell’s machine bragging about all the beautiful dishes he’s been nailing while being engaged to a 19 year old female rapper sensation—a match made in hell. Somehow, Russell’s recording made it to social media gossip outlets, and Young’s marriage is in jeopardy as hordes of mortal men cackle and rejected women nod knowingly and scowl and sports pundits condemn Russell or manage a smidgen of pity for the poor dumb kid.
Russell and Young, one 19 and the other 30, are essentially two thirteen year olds in grown-up bodies and have been exposed as idiots by hi-tech toys that only the newly rich can afford. In Russell’s case, his mother should step in and say, “Son, I’m taking your toys away for a year because you’ve been bad, bad, BAD!”
Like when we were all little boys up to mischief in the neighborhood and had OUR toys and rights taken away.
Russell is of course what hoop parlance refers to as “one and done,” which means he dallied at college, mostly doing nothing but playing basketball and being treated like a celebrity, and signing for tons of money enabling him to buy just about anything he wants. Supposedly a professional basketball player who works at his craft, he enjoys being a locker-room silly prankster, has played shabbily, seems nonchalant about it, displays no real hunger or shark like aggressiveness, clowns when he makes threes, and probably, like most of the one and dones, should have taken his mother with him to LA and kept her around 24/7, except in the locker-room, where mother made sure to send him in there without any hi tech machinery.
Commissioner Silver should probably make it a prerequisite that all one-and-dones in The NBA bring their mothers with them their first year in the NBA and forbid them to twitter, tweet or have anything to do with hi tech gadgetry spewing their asinine opinions and observations that only a fellow idiot would read and concentrate solely on basketball.
Does the American sports public hang on every word issuing from the mouth of Lebron James, who one minute wants to play with new bosom buddies like Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony, indicating he is unhappy with the two stars he recruited, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving? Are we fascinated with his opinions on whatever goes on in the sporting world when his tweets are run on ESPN? Is Cleveland happy with his holding them hostage on what his next move is, now that he under-minded his former coach for his hand-picked successor who seems to have made no difference and has to face the fact that Lebron runs the franchise as coach and GM and, like Michael Jordan back in the day, has no idea how to run a team other than on the court? Is the entire American sporting public as well as the media fed up with his petulance and narcissism and his defending toadies—like Stephen A. Smith?
How do Lebron’s teammates feel about playing with a burgeoning corporation and part time movie star who might some day make his own movies and own his own film company?
Best thing to happen to clueless Jim Buss and HIS toady, Mitch Kupchak, is that wash-out Dwight Howard, who nobody wants, and Carmelo Anthony, who can no longer carry a team, refused their money, which would have set the franchise back still further and saddled them with future Kobe Bryant’s on their last legs.
Still, they are saddled with Nick Young’s three year contract and might have to eat that too (like they have two previous coaches and Byron Scott’s next year), since nobody wants a non-passing, non defending chucker who is alien to team concept and would never play for Phil Jackson or Jerry West under any circumstances.
Chicago has doomed their franchise with the lucrative contract of Derrick Rose, who plays timidly most of the time, facial expression miserable even when he manages to get through a game without hurting himself or thinking he’s hurt himself and actually shoots over 40% and makes a difference.
If Andre Iguadala’s ankle is not healthy and he is not at full speed, or at some point can’t play in the playoffs, the Golden State Warriors will not repeat. He is the top 6th man in the league hands down, regardless of his scoring. He’s their best defender at multiple positions and the passer replacing Draymond Green when he’s out. Also, the Warriors, unlike San Antonio, are not peaking.
Will the Lakers try and blow their new wad on a big name super star, like Kevin Durant, or Russell Westbrook, who would be crazy to sign with them, or sign a two or three or even four dependable veterans who know how to play, like the Celtics have, and fit in with their young players? Probably not.
I’d love to see Miami beat Cleveland in the playoffs and Lebron and D-Wade hug and cry together afterwards while Pat Riley smirks and coach Spoelstra keeps a straight face.
Billy Donovan cannot coach Oklahoma City because nobody who has ever played ball feels comfortable watching two guys handle the ball and shoot 80% of the time while teammates are tossed occasional crumbs, even in a pick-up game. It saps your willingness to play defense when you feel discarded offensively, no matter what your role or paycheck.
The Clippers are again headed for also-ran status—a waste of the best point guard and toughest guy in the league, Chris Paul. Maybe Lebron will come to the Clippers and limp around in his autumn years while the Warriors continue to drub them. Best thing they could do is send Blake Griffin home to Oklahoma City after Durant leaves for a team that will assure him a championship—Golden State or San Antonio.
Are NBA defenses finally figuring out Golden State, just in the nick of time, after watching San Antonio dismantle them?