When I was a kid, my grandfather, who had come to this country as an immigrant with a tradesman skill, believed that education was the way to a better life for his kids and grandkids. Nonetheless, he held onto the idea that one should always have a trade/skill to fall back on if necessary. His world-view was that a skilled trade was something that would always be in demand somewhere – - whereas book-smart jobs or professional jobs might just evaporate one day as they had in the Great Depression. Forget how this affected me in my growing up; that is not important. Consider how my grandfather would advise anyone who might think of becoming the Head Coach of the Detroit Pistons. This is not exactly a “steady job”:
Rick Carlisle was NBA Coach-of-the-year in his first season in Detroit and then took the Pistons to the conference finals in his second year, 2003. Then they fired him.
Larry Brown came in and won the NBA Championship with the Pistons in 2004; he and the team “parted company” in 2005.
Flip Saunders then took the Pistons to three consecutive Eastern Conference finals and the team fired him.
Michael Curry was just fired as coach of the Pistons after the team finished under .500 and made an ignominious 0-4 exit from the first round of the playoffs.
It would seem as if being coach of the Detroit Pistons is about as stable a position as being a wife of Henry VIII.
Stephon Marbury is an NBA free agent. He has no agent so he speaks for himself; and evidently, what he is saying is that NBA free agents should think twice before they sign with the NY Knicks because of Coach D’Antoni’s system and because of the way the organization treats its people. Here is what he said to the NY Post:
“I wouldn’t want to play in that system. That system can’t win championships. You can’t win championships if you don’t talk about defense. In Boston, the coaches even play defense.”
This is an amazing statement from Starbury on so many levels that it could be the basis of a senior thesis on sports psychology. First of all, Stephon Marbury was never – as in not ever – a defensive minded player for the entirety of his career in the NBA. Yes, he can defend marginally better than Jason Kidd; on the other hand, a garden gnome can defend marginally better than Jason Kidd. Secondly, since Starbury has never – as in not ever – won a championship at any level past high school, what credentials does he bring to the discussion about what it takes to win a championship? He may, in fact, be absolutely correct in his assessment; but he has too much baggage with the Knicks and too little in the “accomplishments section of the ledger” over his entire career to run his mouth with any credibility here.
Yesterday, I wrote about some of the financial doings and decisions going on in the NHL. Here is another one. About a month ago, the NHL held its awards presentation ceremonies in Las Vegas. That is a great idea since this is a celebratory event and Las Vegas is a great place to go for “escape” and “vacation” and things of that ilk. Obviously, that led someone to ask the question about if there might ever be an NHL franchise in Las Vegas and reportedly George McPhee – GM of the Washington Caps – answered in this way:
”I wouldn’t have a problem with it. Our sport has been remarkably successful in places that aren’t traditional markets.”
I too would have little problem with a franchise in Las Vegas. It is a place where visitors from all over North America – and indeed all over the world – are routinely in town. Even if there are only 5,000 to 7,000 dedicated hockey fans living permanently in town (and there are likely a few more than that), there will always be visitors who might be interested in taking in an NHL game while on holiday there. Having said that, George McPhee must not be paying close attention.
Memo to George:
1. How are the NHL and its franchise in that non-traditional market known as Phoenix doing? Does the word “bankruptcy” come to mind?
2. How are the Florida Panthers doing at the gate and in terms of local radio and TV deals? Does the word “pathetic” come to mind? They played to 22% empty seats at home even though they discounted tix below face value.
According to an item in the Totally Random column in the LA Times, a high school soccer goalkeeper named Meghan Huggins in Arkansas earned a soccer scholarship to Lamar University. Her comment to the local newspaper on that accomplishment was as follows:
“I wish I could major in soccer in college, but they make you get an actual degree in some kind of something.”
Please copy that down and tape it to your computer screen so that when you read the next bloviating nonsense from the NCAA about their “student-athletes” most of whom will go on to become pros in something other than athletics, you can reach back and ground yourself in reality with Ms. Huggins’ words. I checked the Lamar University website for her, but could not find a major in “Some Kind Of Something”…
With regard to current events, it is pretty clear that waterboarding is not an activity that is in favor with the current administration to the degree that it was with the previous administration. I do not want to get into any debate about whether or not waterboarding is or is not torture; that is for the administration in office to determine. Nevertheless, I do have a question for the powers that be when it comes to hostile interrogation of suspects regarding terrorism:
Would it be torture to make these captives watch – on a continuing basis – reruns of ESPN’s Cold Pizza?
I would probably do just about anything to make that go away…
Finally, here is an insightful analysis of the “Alex Rodriguez phenomenon” from Bill Simmons of ESPN.com:
“No modern athlete brings more to the idea table. He plays in New York for a team that stopped making the World Series as soon as he arrived. He has made statistical history but cheated to do it. He’s our highest-paid athlete in a tanking economy. He’s the star client of this generation’s most despised agent. He’s handsome and articulate, only his polished personality is so contrived nobody can connect to him. If gossip rags and blogs had a Thank God for This Athlete fantasy draft, he’d unquestionably be the first pick.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…