Monday, November 19, 2007

The National Sports Landscape

There is so much going on in the world of sports these days, that I felt compelled to comment on a few things. Lets start with the hateable Scott Boras. This whole about face A-Rod has taken with his super agent was a stunning turn of events. Reading all of this stuff this morning blew my mind. From the sounds of it, after all of Boras' low class moves - allowing the announcement to "leak out" that A-Rod was opting out DURING Game Four of the World Series, then lying about how it leaked it being the worst of them all - A-Rod has had enough of Boras and has gone back to the Yankees on his own, hat in hand.

According to
Bob Klapisch of The Bergen Record: A-Rod decided he had to repair the damage on his own. The slugger contacted the Yankees through a third party, asking what it would take to reignite talks. The response was swift and unwavering: A-Rod would have to speak directly to the Steinbrenner family, he'd have to take less money and he'd have to walk into the room without Boras.

Incredibly, Rodriguez agreed to all three conditions, which said plenty about his desire not only to remain with the Yankees, but his willingness to remake his image in greater New York -- even at the expense of Boras' reputation. This time it was the client who controlled the super-agent, instead of the other way around. That prompted one major league executive to say on Wednesday, "This is the greatest day of my life, seeing Boras get put in his place."

It's a pretty amazing story, but not unexpected. See, Boras and A-Rod go way back. I believe this could be a ploy set in motion by Boras to get his client back in pin stripes because the fallback money he thought he could get in LA or Anaheim just isn't there. Maybe I'm way off, and this is the beginning of a black-balling of Boras by Major League baseball owners who (other than the Rangers Tom Hicks and the Tigers Mike Illitch) cannot stand dealing with him anyways. There may be no more arrogant man walking the streets of America.

Either way, A-Rod is still so unlikeable nationally at this point that all the money in the world cannot buy him what he desperately wants the most; the love a guy like Derek Jeter gets. Now the reports are that A-Rod and the Yankees agreed to the outline of a new 10-year, $275 million deal. I guess he wins. But Boras may lose more than he thinks. Now there are reports that the equally hateable Kenny Rogers fired Boras and will represent himself in his contract negotiations. Rogers is the guy who told the press during the season that there was nowhere else he'd play other than Detroit, then did an about face last week saying he and his agent wanted to "explore other options." Oh by the way, A-Rod was just awarded his third MVP award.

Man that Phil Jackson is funny. The man who made his bones coaching MJ and Scottie, Shaq and Kobe, and Kwame Brown and Smush Parker has been known to say some crazy things in his day. He is a quote machine. He once referred to Sacramento as a "Cow town." Ripping the young NBA: "Despite their tremendous talent, (NBA players) are still, by and large, young adults, seeking validation from an authority figure, and there is no greater authority figure on a team than the coach. Needless to say, in today's warped, self-indulgent climate, too many players couldn't care less about appeasing the coach." In Full Sooth-sayer mode: “Wisdom is always an overmatch for strength.” Regarding his religion and basketball: "If you meet the Buddha in the lane, feed him the ball.”

But none may be better than this blast after last night's Lakers loss: "We call this a 'Brokeback Mountain' game, because there's so much penetration and kickouts. It was one of those games." Of course, the PC Police is all over him, saying the quote was completely insensitive and "in poor taste." So the Zen Master, forced to make an apology, followed up with this classic blast: "If I've offended any horses, Texans, cowboys or gays, I apologize. It's societal right now. Some people can do it. Some people can't. That's something that's appropriate for certain categories." You gotta love that guy.

Is there a bigger loser in the NBA than Stephon Marbury? No matter where he has been in the NBA, there has always been a problem. Drafted by Minnesota, once Kevin Garnett arrived, Marbury said he couldn't play second fiddle to anyone, so he was shipped to New Jersey. He wore out his welcome there in two and a half seasons, and was sent packing to Phoenix for Jason Kidd. Talk about the steal of the century. Phoenix did nothing with Starbury running it's show, so they sent him back East, the the team of his dreams, the New York Knicks during the 03-04 season.

Since arriving in New York, Steph has been involved in a bevy of strange events. Among those was an interview with New York's NBC show "Mike'd Up." In said interview Steph said the following: “[My sister Stephanie’s] been praying for this day forever, and it finally happened yesterday when I kissed her, and I felt her body, and I felt her soul. I was delighted to be kissing her.” That's right. His sister. I tried to find the youtube video, but it has been taken down.

His next transgression came out during the Isiah Thomas/MSG sexual harassment suit, in which Marbury was called to testify. He admitted to
sleeping with a Knicks female employee in the backseat of his car outside of a Manhattan strip club. "We got together right across the street," Marbury testified in Manhattan Federal court. Classic.

Now, the $20 million a year Point Guard went AWOL for two days as his team was heading West for a road trip after coach Isiah Thomas had talked about cutting his minutes. The rift between Isiah and Step got so bad, the Bergen-Record reported
the two even exchanged punches on the flight to Phoenix. Could two losers deserve each other more than Marbury and Zeke? Steph was fined $195,000 for his AWOL routine, but in typical Knicks fashion, he was welcomed back with open arms Wednesday in Los Angeles. He even played 33 minutes in the 84-81 loss to the Clippers. So much for discipline.

You think that $195,000 means anything to a player who has made well over $80 million in his career? Plain and simple, the guy who once had all the talent in the world is nothing but a coach-killing cancer. All the money in the world couldn't make this guy any classier. There is a reason someone with his game has been on four different teams in his career; he is a flat out loser. Teams get worse once the self-proclaimed "best point guard in the NBA" arrives and get better once he leaves. All you have to do is look at the numbers. The T'Wolves went to a conference Finals after Marbury left, replaced by Sam Cassell. The Nets went to not one, but two NBA Finals with Kidd running the show; the same Jason Kidd who was traded for our boy Steph. The Suns have been completely revitalized and are one of the three best teams in the NBA thanks to Steve Nash, the man who replaced Marbury in Phoenix.

Here are some classic Isiah spin quotes: "My goal is to try to win a basketball game. I've played with people I don't like, I've won with people I don't like. We're a professional basketball team. My job is to try to win a basketball game. However I feel about a person, that doesn't matter. We're trying to win. Whatever happened in the past is in the past and we move forward."

"There's work to be done here. Unfortunately, sometimes lessons in life have to be learned on a public stage. But this is what we do and this is what sports is all about. This is how you overcome tough situations and this is how you overcome adversity. He's a kid that made it out of Coney Island. I think what I'm asking him to do, he's capable of doing it. If he can't do it we have to find someone who can."

Is there a bigger mystery an all of sports than how Isiah Thomas is still in power with the Knicks? As I said earlier, these two losers, Zeke and Starbury, deserve each other.

1 comment:

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