NBA Ironies: Kind and Unkind

Here we are, not even a fortnight into 2009 and life in and around the NBA is showing itself to be the usual kaleidoscope of colors, sights, and sounds. Fresh off of the beating of a lifetime, perhaps Hawks players need to find something else to focus on for a minute, and so do Hawks fans. And before I go on, we WILL talk Hawks basketball by the end of this post. In the meantime, let’s look at some other things going on in and around the NBA.

First, there’s this Charles Barkley “scandal.” Why are there so many serious minded articles being written about him getting caught for a possible DUI? Okay, so he ran a stop sign. Does anybody have ANY idea how much both of these things happen? Not to undermine the seriousness and the potential of tragedy behind it, as those who know enough about me know that I take this seriously. But is this news somehow? I cannot believe that people are actually writing articles about Barkley and whether or not he can be taken seriously. I thought that was his whole appeal! Is he not the comic relief for Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith? Some writers say that he cannot be taken seriously when talking about being governor of Alabama, as well as any other “serious” jobs. And people are taking Arnold Schwartzenegger seriously (sigh…only in California). I think it’s his wife that they’re taking seriously. But Barkley? Give me a break. The guy is a fool court jester, and a loveable one. He made a couple of mistakes. How many guys haven’t? How many guys in the NBA? Look, I know it’s bad on his image. It’s bad on anybody’s image. But what gets missed is that nobody got hurt. Nobody got run over or run into. No resisting arrest. No flag-burning or national anthem blasphemy. No gun waving, no shooting. Just Charles being himself and getting caught. Again.

Why is Charles gambling big time news? Michael Jordan did it too. He still does it. And he loses at least as much as Barkley has. Only now he’s doing it with NBA budgets and owners’ money. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather see Barkley lose a few million in a casino. What Michael Jordan does is straight ugly….

It’s not that we should expect Barkley to mess up. But don’t talk about him being taken seriously when he has done everything in his power to be otherwise, the whole time he’s been retired and on television. Don’t castigate the man for something he’s never been. Clown him for what he is. But don’t forget that he has given millions to charities and done a thousand wonderful things every year. And he always is quick to admit that he has been living a very good life, one that has been a gift to him. You want to talk about somebody who comments on the NBA and shouldn’t be taken too seriously? Anybody remember Marv Albert? Of course you do. He comments on games even now. But does anybody remember what HE did? How about getting sued by a “working girl” for biting her on the hindquarters (and I heard his tupee fell off from the sheer impact) while frolicking in the hotel room that he was staying in (was that pre-game or post-game?). He ended up settling in court with her. MMhmm. Talk about unexpected and (what I saw as) out of character. I swear this guy was the voice of every Michael Jordan and Da Bulls games back when Jordan was winning it all. Now THAT was embarrasing. Anyway, moving right along.

Remember that horrid start the San Antonio Spurs had to begin the season? You know, the one that had most of the media starting the same old noise? They’re too old. They’re too slow. They’re not exciting enough. Scratch that. I’ll tell you what they are (if you weren’t paying attention). 24-11. Second in the West. Fifth overall in the NBA. And 9-1 in their last 10 games. Yep. Every year, we hear the same things. Every year it’s the demise of the Spurs. Granted, it’s only 35 games into the season. But the Spurs are back. And they have new guys to throw at you in their rotation, just like they do every year. This year’s flavors include Matt Bonner, rookie George Hill, and the hard-working Roger Mason. Big names? Nah, the Spurs don’t do the flashy thing when it comes to free agent pickups. They just do the smart thing. And keep on winning.

And then there’s the Celtics. Suddenly, the trash-talking guys in green aren’t talking so much trash. Suddenly, the dynasty in the making is a dynasty in doubt. Suddenly, the soon-to-be all-star Rajon Rondo isn’t looking like an all-star. It’s typical. You have to be established before you can be untouchable. And while the Celtics are the defending champs, they are the one-time defending champs (at least THESE Celtics are). Fame is fleeting. So are top free agent bench players. One could argue that the loss of James Posey (this had to be the biggest hit), Sam Cassell (at least as a player) and PJ Brown (veteran big to hold things down) should have been a clue that breezing through the East, much less winning 70 games, was not a given. The Celtics are still one of the top teams in the East, and still one of the best in the NBA. But suddenly, like many things in the NBA and the entertainment world, life is not quite as grand as it was. We’ll see just how much champion these guys are by the way they handle the adversity.

And with the word adversity, we get back to our beloved Hawks. Hang in there, you know I talk a lot, but I was getting to this part. Adversity is nothing strange, and until you go through it, you don’t know just how good you are. This is a step on the path towards being a truely good team. Okay, so we got smacked in the mouth really good. What do we do now? How do we approach the next game? The next FEW games? How the Hawks coaching staff and players handle tomorrow’s 2 p.m. game will be the beginning.  A start in determing how this team handles this latest adversity, which I might remind myself and others, was only a two game losing streak, to the same division-leading team. What the Hawks can’t afford to do is hang their heads and mope. What they can’t afford to do is make the SAME mistakes AGAIN, which is what they did with Orlando. I don’t believe they will. Take it one game at a time. Identify the rhythm we want, and get in the flow. Philly is first. What do we need to do to beat them?

21 comments Add your comment

doc

January 10th, 2009
9:05 pm

nice stuff ray, only the idea the guy was floating with a .150 blood level and with his background for him or anyone in that situation is something to take seriously if you dont take the person sir charles seriously. it is a health issue and pleased he and his bosses are taking it serious by the fact he is taking time away from his TNT perch. many said he wouldnt at the height of their criticism. they were wrong and for charles suggests he means more to them than to enable him further.

plan to be there tomorrow hoping this past week was a mirage.

yup seems spurs get coached up again. that guy is good, really good.

Big Ray

January 10th, 2009
9:37 pm

**”Not to undermine the seriousness and the potential of tragedy behind it, as those who know enough about me know that I take this seriously.”**

I must have been using that invisible ink again when I typed that one part…

Big Ray

January 10th, 2009
9:43 pm

Heh, Heh, Heh. :) Enjoy the game with Ando.

And wait for a classic Ando post that’s coming soon. It’s gonna be some goooood stuff!

HB Ando

January 10th, 2009
9:55 pm

doc, I’m curious: does a 300-pound man have more liters of blood than a 200-pound man? Because if not, I’m wondering if there isn’t variability in the actual “inebriation” of 2 men, with 100-pound difference in body weight, who both have the same blood alcohol level.

Seriously not making light of Barkley’s drinking, but from what I know about his time in Atlanta (TNT), this was a slow night……….

At what level does his employer take some accountability? I’ve got a hunch that many, many times, over the years, his “coffee” cup has been filled with vodka, while he’s rambling on any tangent that suits him.

This event, like many that have preceded it recently, continues to the beg the question, “why don’t rich people, who like to get hammered, just pay somebody to drive them around?”

doc

January 10th, 2009
11:10 pm

ando blood volume is blood volume and is usually given as an average size individual about 170 lbs. of 5 liters. alcohol blood levels are given for contents within a dl of blood just like glucose. so there is no variability for the size of a man the blood volume for the actual inebriation of the man any more than someone 300 lbs or 200 lbs has different glucose levels. it is individualized to how someone metabolizes alcohol but that is the only variability, period. someone who drinks has enzymes to help his body get rid of it as it really is a poison so they might be able to metabolize and drink more. bottom line .150 is .150 whether it is in a 100 lb woman or 300 lb man.

by the way the highest level i ever saw in someone alive and still breathing was, now get this, 768. that means his blood was almost completely made of alcohol. he was still in the emergency room sleeping it off when i came back for my shift 12 hours later essentially in an alcohol induced coma for 18 hours. folks can die in the 300 and over levels and what gets the young college kids their first time out on a spree. sir charles’ level was not inconsequential. i am sure ray has seen higher in his time. i have never have talked to many police about it but it is serious and as you say probably not an isolated event. it even may be his natural level on screen.

BA

January 11th, 2009
7:36 am

This was a superb article, Ray- creative. Look, I don’t judge anybody who’s had a DUI. I haven’t, and I think the problem should be solved permanently- a damn life sentence for DUI. It’s inexcusable, on any level of society, for any individual. So many people DIE from DUI- a lovely young girl in our town was killed over the holiday from by some drunken dirtbag.

If our lawmakers were really interested in stopping DUI, this is what would happen. Maybe not life, but make it the equivalent of “attempted murder”. Of course, that will never happen, because the government has a great racquet going with the probations and breath machines and fines…can’t get all that revenue if you just lock the slobs up for good.

doc, in regards to ando’s point- what about the breathalizers that cops test them with on the spot? Would the difference in weight matter in that case? Always wondered about that one.

Being that the laws are what they are, why should Barkley have to be suspended, or whatever they’re calling it? The guy is the centerpiece of the best (and most original) sports show on TV. He got a dui, just like millions of other people.

I think people in this country are hypocritical. If DUI’s are so offensive, then let’s get some tougher laws- not higher fines, hard time.

BA

January 11th, 2009
7:45 am

While we’re on the subject, what about this kid Mason with the Spurs? That’s a nice backcourt, Mason, the Frenchman, Ginobli and the ghost of Micheal Finley…

I was writing about Posey last week- he’s very underrated. Now he’s doing the same thing in the Big Easy that he did in Miami and Boston- they’re a top five defensive squad and he’s leading them in three-point percentage.

We need to RUN (to beat Philly) Ray. We need to RUN. And I’d like to have the Georgian available.

doc

January 11th, 2009
8:01 am

ba society has a hsrd enough time paying to keep the criminals it has now. unless you and i and the rest of society are going to raise their taxes higher to support more jails to hold them all then it will continue as it is. i guess we could really do somethng and stop selling liquor. oh yeah tried that and it didnt work and tax revenues were lost to boot. we are suck only the statistics suggest if one has a dui it is almost certain their is a drinking problem . we ignore that one fact as well. just arent going to be judgmental are we? yes occasional first timers or celebrators are caught but by percentage those caught have an issue.most times it is the tip of the iceburg andwe tend to cover that up and was rally to my point.

dont know much about breathalizers, their accuracy and how they actually work as they werent part of the lab assessment. however, gas is a liquid as well so it is the same construct; it is done by amount of substance in a volume of a gas substance. the lungs are used to dispel toxins as well just as the skin is. they can be used just as well to absorb things like nicotine and cocaine or meds.

i pray barkley is getting treated for a substance abuse issue and though it wasnt stated that way it seemed such by the language used in explaining his time off. rehab is still the best way for society and the individual, it is less costly if taken seriously and why the courts do it that way ba. only the mind and society tend to ignore it, play to it and excuse it just as the individual denies it in his own mind.

as far as charles he will either be contrite or he will try to deny it like he does with his significant gambling issue he has. in other words, be the funny charles. doesnt everyone love the funny drunk?

doc

January 11th, 2009
8:09 am

nice to see zaza get a little love.

BA, agree, posey is a winner in the image of the player that looks like wil smith whose name escapes me now. was a spur, laker? and rocket on their championship teams and always came up big. posey is the man and cant believe boston let him go

Big Ray

January 11th, 2009
10:54 am

BA,

Thanks. It was just stuff bouncing around in my head, as I was thinking of other things besides getting the stuffing beat out of us. No, we as a society are not that interested in taking a LOT of things seriously. Hence the “war on drugs.” Too much money involved. Or too little, depending on how you choose to look at it. Either way, money is the real issue. Too many times, people take it for granted until they see the potential tragedies realized right in front of them. Then they want to be serious. Until then, it’s “hey, we all have our rights, and I don’t want anybody trampling on mine. As long as it doesn’t affect or touch me, I don’t care what’s happening.” But we could talk about this all day, and I’d rather not. Too damn depressing. As it is, I half-regret having brought the subject up anyway. My real point was that writers are making THIS of all things, the crux of whether or not Barkley is to be taken seriously, when he has been playing the fop all along. The man has never tried hard to be taken seriously. He’s not even well-spoken half the time, and perhaps has never worked with anyone to help improve that. And would he be so popular if he wasn’t what he is? This latest batch of incidents are a completely different matter altogether.

And the gambling? So what, it’s his money and his problem. Did not Michael Jordan get caught doing the SAME thing, if not moreso? The difference was that he was a man of championships and endorsements, a permanent media darling. Charles was the fop and fool, and continues to be. Yep.

Doc suggests that maybe, just maybe, Barkley is seeking help (therefore explaining the time off), I take a more cynical approach. I hope he seeks help too for whatever he needs. But we know this game, do we not? I doubt that was the true motive for the time off, and doubt that it was all his own decision. With the amount of attention it got, TNT most likely decided they needed him to take the time off. Perhaps he agreed without reluctance. Cynical? Yeah. And probably correct. Look how long it took Marv Albert to “get back in the game”….

I agree on the approach to Philly today. Run like hell. And don’t look back. Energy, energy, energy. That’s really how we win all of our games. To do otherwise is to find a way to lose, unless our jumpers are falling like Orlando’s were the other night.

Big Ray

January 11th, 2009
11:01 am

By my guess, Ainge figured he could replace anybody he lost in free agency, and that any vet would be glad to come to Boston, or that any that were there would be grateful to stay. Wrong. Cassell is there, but doesn’t play. PJ is gone, and Posey said goodbye. They could have had Dikembe, but told him “don’t call us, we’ll call you…after we sit around, smoke a stoagie, and think about all the other FAs that aren’t coming yet but will surely prostrate themselves before us freely, grateful of the chance to be part of the return of a dynasty.”

Wrong again, so far. It ain’t over yet for Boston. The road to the Finals is still through them, and they are still the defending champs. But they have made many enemies with their chest-beating and trash talking. Everyone wants to take them down, and some have figured out just how to do it, I think. World beaters last year, and they got their rings. But the road back is always tougher, ask the Spurs. And they don’t have all the soldiers they had, either.

Furthermore, I don’t think you’ll see a barrage of iconoclastic, super dramatic commercials featuring a raptor-like KG roaring and pounding his chest like some anemic King Kong. No, the media shall latch onto a new powerful darling. And his name is King James.

doc

January 11th, 2009
11:50 am

ray, now dont go cynical on me. that is my job ray. dont give me the optimist mantle just yet. heh heh

i also see more to sir charles as there is a lot of truth in what he says in many formats and subjects, a modern day will rogers at times. hope he gets fixed up so he can be relevant.

Mason

January 11th, 2009
1:44 pm

Speaking of the Spurs–just how do they do it? They are always in the mix of competitive teams. Always a great possibility of winning it all (albeit in odd number years). How does a team sustain that for year after year?

And why, oh why, can’t the Hawks do it?

Big Ray

January 11th, 2009
4:23 pm

Man, I hate it when one of our bigs is out.

Here we are giving up all kinds of points to a team with no shooters. Gee, it must be the interior defense, eh? How long before we get another big in here? I figure there is two ways to do this: get one that will be a starter, or a vet to come off the bench and enforce things?

Once again, we are putting all of our faith in the backcourt…and getting outrebounded in the frontcourt. Yuck. Hope we can pull this one out, though. We keep getting close…I don’t want to begin spending the rest of the season this way.

Big Ray

January 11th, 2009
4:25 pm

And they pull away again.

I don’t like to give up early, but with the “get close” then “fall behind again” trend, I’d say this game is done. Even though we’re only down by 11. We just don’t have it. Everything is coming from the perimeter. And mostly from two guys…

Big Ray

January 11th, 2009
4:32 pm

There goes the game. And with us going West (without Horford, no less)…

The Hawks are just going to have to man-up. That’s all there is to it. The guards can’t hog the ball, they have to get the wings involved early. They played well, but not enough by themselves to get the job done. Marvin and Josh are going to have to scramble, scrabble, hustle, and fight. Or we’re going to lose some more games. In a row.

RJ

January 11th, 2009
4:59 pm

This team is done if woody is the coach. He couldn’t motivate a roach to avoid Raid bug spray. This team has gone as far as it’s gonna go with woody. Avery Johnson is the coach we need.

BA

January 11th, 2009
5:01 pm

I’ve always liked the way Mike Woodson has run this squad. There’s been a consistent level of professionalism- a cohesiveness.

I’m not seeing it now. It’s time for Woodson to reign these cats in, because I’m starting to think losing Horford could be much harder than losing Smith. At least, today it seemed that way.

The defensive identity is missing, or at least hit-or-miss. The communication is non-existent right now. Woodson has always been good at the whole Indiana hard azz routine. Right now he and his staff need a little Zen Master action, because the balance is off.

Is ol’ Flip worth all of these turnovers?

MannyT

January 11th, 2009
6:10 pm

Would it be to cynical of me to say that a regular 5-10 minutes in November and December sets up a bench player to play a more significant role when a starter is injured? I get that Zaza is just coming back from the flu so his energy might be low, but the Sixers were playing the way we should play with our regular starters.

Run, run, run, as fast as you can, you can’t catch me…I’m an undersized PF/C ;-)

If Al will be out for awhile, I think there should be some tweaking to take advantage of things that these players do well. Maybe some more Solo/Josh tandem if a team drives a lot. More Zaza/Marvin if they just pund the ball inside. It was interesting to see Josh at the 5 for part of this game, but he does not seem committed to working the lane on offense. No way he keeps up with Phoenix or the Clippers at the 5 for more than brief moments against Amare.

Offensively, this might be the time to see if RandMo can truly score against NBA quality big men. Even if his role with the 2nd team is only to be an interior option on offense, it is clearly something we need to look at over the next game or two.

And as trivial curiousity will have it…here’s what I saw about the workings of a breatholizer.
http://www.breathalyzer.net/faq.html#generalbreathalyzerquestions

And if CB won’t get a driver, I suggest getting a room close to the bar for those lucky nights or putting the adult taste in his other passion…food. For example BAM http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/kicked-up-pasta-rags-with-vodka-sauce-recipe/index.html

BWAF

Sautee

January 11th, 2009
9:07 pm

Breathalyzer

April 13th, 2010
3:32 am