You know, I hadn’t realized just how much Bill Simmons’ writing had suffered from having two jobs. I guess it just gradually got worse and I didn’t realize it. Now that he’s off the show though, he’s back as strong as ever. It’s like night and day from a month ago. It’s a great thing.
I was listening to Jim Rome today at lunch. Actually, it wasn’t really Jim Rome, just his show; Rome’s on vacation and Skip Bayless was hosting. The entire time I was in my car, Bayless was going on and on about how Kevin Garnett should have punched Anthony Peeler after Peeler jacked him in the jaw. Bayless was relentless. He said that Garnett wasn’t a man. Over and over, he added “but that’s just me.” Really? Just you, Bayless? Do you get in a lot of fights Skip? I wonder how many times he’s had to deal with a similar situation? Personally, I’m guessing that if an angry pro athlete elbowed him in the face, Bayless would piss himself and go have a good cry.
Now, back to Garnett (this is old news, I know, but that’s what was on the radio today), I think he did the right thing. What did he have to gain by hitting Peeler back? He’d make a few ersatz tough-guy reporters happy? No, he’d have gotten a technical foul and been ejected. Then, he would have been fined and suspended by the NBA for the next game. Remember, this was game six against Sacramento, so he would have had to sit game seven. Minnesota’s best player, the league MVP, on the bench in game seven because he had to prove his manhood. That makes a lot of sense.
Now, if KG had decided to pop Peeler back, I wouldn’t have blamed him one bit. That’s one of the rules of life – if somebody pops you, you have every right to pop them back. I have no problem with that. At the same time, it doesn’t make you brave and it doesn’t make you tough. It’s human nature – fight back. I’ve known plenty of pusses in my life who when smacked, intentionally or not, have gone into a tizzy. It didn’t make them any tougher, it just showed them for the scared spaz they were.
So, KG decided not retaliate. Maybe he was scared to fight back, but instead I think he showed restraint and courage. He was man enough to know that he didn’t need to prove anything. What was the point of hitting back? All that would show is that you can get to KG. Rough him up and he’ll respond and get himself tossed. You better believe that more guys like Peeler, an NBA journeyman, would try to take shots at him. You sacrifice your team’s eighth player for the other team’s best player – that’s a trade-off that any coach would take.
The thing is, Kevin Garnett has been the best player on his team on every team he has ever played for. 99% of the time, he’s the best player on the floor, period. You don’t think guys have tried to rough him up and get in his head before? He’s not a big, strong guy, so guys are going to try to be physical with him. He’s had to turn the other cheek a thousand times in his career. If he didn’t do that, he’d be Ron Artest or Kenyon Martin. A head-case. A guy you can get to.
Why is it that everyone jumps on KG in this case, but no one says that Shaq is a pussy? When’s the last time Shaq punched someone? And that guy takes more abuse than probably anyone in the history of the league. Every game, teams pound on Shaq. They try to foul him to take him out of his game and send him to the line. But Shaq always maintains his composure. He takes his beating, and then goes and misses his free throws, yet no one calls him out for not fighting back. Why doesn’t little 5’10” Skip Bayless think Shaq’s not a man?
I think KG did the right thing. He took the shot, acted like it didn’t hurt (I bet it did) and waved Peeler to the bench. Then, he came out and absolutely punked the Kings in game seven (32 points, 21 rebounds and 5 blocks) and moved on to the next round. He acted the way a team leader should act.
And Skip Bayless? He acted like a jock-sniffing wanna-be, pretending that he knows what does and does not make a man.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend. I’m going to be out of town, so I won’t be posting anything new until Tuesday.
UNC is considering adding permanant advertising in the Dean Dome and Kenan Stadium. UNC is the only school that I can think of that doesn’t already have ads. If the ads are kept to a reasonable size, I don’t think it’ll affect anyone. No one seems to mind or comment on signs in Cameron.
Normally, Ralph Wiley’s Page 2 stuff is unreadable. This one is actually pretty decent. It drifts into incomprehensible babble on occassion, but it’s a good read. His point is that the Lakers really aren’t that good, and he thinks the Pistons would have an excellent chance to beat them.
BALCO documents being studied by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency were released Tuesday by lawyers for Jones. They include a 2001 training calendar bearing the initials M.J. The calendar contains letter-codes that could be a guide for taking the steroid THG, a drug designed to avoid detection.
Hmmm. Now, that’s a bit mysterious, just being initials and saying that the letter-codes could be about THG. M.J. is a pretty common set of initials. That said, it’s just more smoke around Marion. Is there a fire under there, or is it just the fires of her burning acquaintances? I still don’t know, but it’s getting harder to have faith that she’s clean.
Michael Wilbon talks about how the NBA Draft sucks both in general and this year in specific. This is nothing new, but Wilbon writes it better than most.
Josh Powell played a game in Raleigh the other night for his latest team, the WBA (who?) Southern Crescent Lightning. Powell seems more than a little defensive about his bad decision a year ago to turn pro. Instead of playing in some minor league for pocket change, he could be a rising senior at State with likely preseason All American honors.
Kentucky and Florida to the ACC? No. Not going to happen. This guy’s just stirring the pot.
This article focuses on the recruiting needs of the Big Four schools. It also breaks down who to watch in Bob Gibbons’ big AAU tournament this wekeend in the Triangle.
The Mummy breaks down the ACC basketball recruiting status of each school, including its misses and wishes.