RIP Earl Lloyd

Earl Lloyd passed away yesterday at 86 years old. Lloyd was the first Black player in the NBA back in the 50s. I remember seeing him play for the Syracuse Nationals – now the Sixers – back in the early-50s on a small black-and-white television set.

Rest in peace, Earl Lloyd…

I got an e-mail this morning from #1 son saying:

“Saw this headline on today:

    “Hoyer calls McCarthy a ‘coward’

“I had to think – what the Hell could have happened that Brian Hoyer would call Mike McCarthy a coward in the middle of free agent singing when Hoyer needs a job and the Packers need a back-up QB. This MUST be juicy!

“But alas, it was two conveniently-named Congressmen arguing over an appropriation bill.

Sometimes sports and politics intersect in strange ways…

Brandon Bostick is the former Green Bay Packer who flubbed the onside kick in the NFC Championship Game allowing the Seahawks to recover and go on to tie the game in the final seconds and then win the game in overtime. It was not Bostick’s “finest hour” by any stretch of the imagination. However, a report on yesterday said that Bostick got more than a few death threats in the days after the game and that goes way over the line.

At the bottom line, folks, these are games. In the NFL playoffs, there has to be one winner and one loser in every game. And simply because IT IS A GAME, the entire notion of a “death threat” aimed at someone on the losing team is out of line. Obviously and fortunately, none of the threats turned into actions but anyone who thinks that “death” is an appropriate consequence for some error in a sporting event needs to seek help. Anyone who acts on that thought and actually sends a death threat should be required to undergo counseling.

The Miami Heat are struggling to hold onto a playoff slot in the NBA Eastern Conference. As of this morning, they are 7th in the East but there are 5 teams behind them within 2.5 games. Compounding their predicament is the fact that Chris Bosh – arguably their best player – is out for the season with blood clots on his lung. That is a potentially fatal condition and clearly the correct choice for him is to sit out and make sure his is recovered before he plays again. So, the Heat need a big man as a replacement and the trade deadline is past and – truth be told – there are never any good big men in the D-League because if they were any good they would be on an NBA team.

So, the Heat signed Michael Beasley to a 10-day contract. Beasley is big and he has talent; the Heat once took him as the #2 pick in the draft. So, how was he available?

    This is Beasley’s third stint with the Heat. He spent two years in Miami followed by 2 years in Minnesota followed by 2 years in Phoenix followed by a year in Miami and a season in the China Basketball Association.

    The euphemism applied to Beasley is that he “lacked maturity” in his previous career stops. In fact, he has had a handful of marijuana-related incidents and a few other run-ins with the police since coming out of college. And he is still only 26 years old.

There is no question that Beasley can play and score on the basketball court. This year he scored 59 points in the Chinese Basketball All-Star Game. The fact that he was available for a 10-day contract tells you that the Heat are taking a chance on his “maturity level” here. As I understand the current CBA, a team can only sign a player to 2 10-day contracts in a season. If the team wants the player for even a day after that second 10-day contract has expired, they have to sign him for at least the remainder of the season. Twenty days from now, the calendar will be in mid-March and the Heat will have about 15 games remaining on their schedule in the final month of the regular season.

Absent something really bad, the Heat are pretty much committed to Michael Beasley for the rest of this season. You will get an indication of the degree to which he has “matured” in the off-season when the Heat make a decision as to his presence on their roster next year…

Michele Roberts is the Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association having succeeded Billy Hunter in that job. She has demonstrated her rhetorical prowess already denouncing the concept of a salary cap as “un-American” and saying that there is no such thing as a salary cap in her DNA. She has also correctly – and unoriginally – observed that people pay to see the players and not the owners making the owners “expendable”. The current CBA has a few years to go, so I just consider that she is using this time to gather her momentum for the upcoming negotiations that will surely be contentious.

However, I think she recently took her prep work a bit too far and she may want to “evolve her position” a bit. Michele Roberts said that allowing the media access to locker rooms and practices is:

“…an incredible invasion of privacy.”

Literally, she is correct. In the real world, the media is the means by which the players – her employer – generate and maintain the attention of the fans to the point where the fans shell out money for tickets and take the time to watch NBA games on TV. In the real world, she is going to need some of the media to “push her message” when the negotiations start. I am not sure that the idea of limiting media access to teams has ever been a critical issue and I doubt that it will be one in the next round of NBA labor negotiations. Unless of course, Michele Roberts wants to make it so…

Finally, here is an item from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald that is sort of basketball related and definitely speaks to media coverage of basketball players:

“There was a WNBA trade: Epiphany Prince for Cappie Pondexter. You know how they keep records for everything? This was first sports trade in history involving two players named Epiphany and Cappie.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………