Just a glance at the topics I am going to cover today convinces me that I am not in my happy place today. I recognize that late February is one of the “dry spells” in the sporting calendar and that space must be filled. Nevertheless, there are some stories that need to be left to die. Here is one of them:
- Charles Oakley vs. James Dolan
We know about the recent dust up at Madison Square Garden and Oakley’s banishment for life from the venue – which lasted about 100 hours. That is enough of the story; unless one of the parties hires a hitman or goes postal on the other party, just shovel some dirt on this story and move on. But no…
Yesterday, I read on espn.com that Charles Oakley planned to go and see the Knicks play the Cavaliers in Cleveland last night. Do you mean to tell me that this story now can go national and every time Charles Oakley decides to take in an NBA game anywhere, that will become news? I cannot wait to see the lead for the next layer of this story as it seeps into the underground water supply:
- “On his way to Madison Square Garden to see the Knicks play the Milwaukee Bucks, Charles Oakley stopped off at Katz Delicatessen and had a hot pastrami sandwich with a side of cole slaw…”
Memo to ESPN/Sports Illustrated/Others: Put this story mercifully to rest.
Another story that has been over-covered is the head-shaking-inducing trade that sent Boogie Cousins to the Pelicans for Buddy Hield and a couple of Joe Flabeetzes. Yes, it was a one-sided deal; yes, it puts the Kings in the same category of competence as the Cleveland Browns; yes, the pairing of Cousins and Anthony Davis in New Orleans might make the team good enough that the fans there start to meaningfully care about the Pelicans. [Aside: The fact that the Pelicans got blown out last night in the first game with Cousins and Davis together does not alter the fact that the Kings did something terminally stupid here.]
The problem here is the succumbing to temptation by newly minted commentators to book themselves on a flight of fancy and opine that this might be the worst trade in the history of the NBA. Slow down, Sparky; just because something happened before 2003 does not mean that it happened in the Paleolithic Era. Allow me to suggest two NBA trades that happened a while ago but involved players that even millennial fans have heard about:
- In 1956, the Boston Celtics sent Ed McCauley and Cliff Hagan to the St. Louis Hawks in exchange for the #2 overall pick in the NBA Draft. With that pick, the Celtics took Bill Russell. McCauley and Hagan were both very good players; Russell is a “Mount Rushmore Player”. [Aside: The Celtics got Russell with the #2 pick in the draft; the first pick in 1956 was Sihugo Green by the Rochester Royals – – and that team today is the Sacramento Kings.]
- In the middle of the 1964/65 NBA season, the SF Warriors sent Wilt Chamberlain to the Philly 76ers in exchange for Connie Dierking, Paul Neumann and Lee Shaffer plus some cash. Dierking was a journeyman who lasted a year in SF and then was traded to – – you guessed it – the Cincinnati Royals who are now the Sacramento Kings. Neumann played 2.5 years in SF and then retired presumably to the notice of his nuclear family. Shaffer refused to go to SF in the first place and just retired from the NBA. Like Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain is a “Mount Rushmore Player”.
In fact, I would suggest that trading Boogie Cousins is not even the worst trade in the history of the Kings’ franchise. In its second incarnation, the Kings were the Cincinnati Royals and they had a guy named Oscar Robertson on the team. He was more than just “pretty good” and the Royals traded him away to the Milwaukee Bucks in 1971 for Flynn Robinson and Charlie Paulk. Google is your friend here …
Boogie Cousins is a very good player but he is not Bill Russell nor is he Wilt Chamberlain nor is he Oscar Robertson. Please do not get carried away with this…
The third aggravating story of the day involves MLB. Per this espn.com report regarding a new feature coming to MLB parks this year, the apocalypse is nigh. Here is the second paragraph of the story:
“Fans who appear on the scoreboard video screen or during a television broadcast will, for the first time, be able to get the video and share it socially.”
Using facial recognition algorithms, fans will be able to download an app and take a photo of themselves and the algorithm will match their face with one shown on the stadium video board and that will put the video on the fan’s phone allowing for sharing. MLB has someone with the title Executive Vice-President for Business for MLB Advanced Media. That is a tongue-tying acronym but the person holding that job was not tongue tied telling espn.com:
“We think going to a baseball game is one of the best experiences fans can have; so, sharing a memorable and enjoyable experience is very important to us.”
I wish I had a more pleasant offering for you today as we head into a weekend. Perhaps this item from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times will be an uplifting way to close today:
“Paging Kent Dorfman
“A truck lost its trailer on an Indiana highway, spilling 38,000 pounds of marbles.
“Nevertheless, Faber College officials say, the homecoming parade will go off as scheduled.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports ………