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Vescey: Why I Love This Game
I know we've all had our problems with Petey over the years,
but this is a very good column:
WHILE I loathe Jerry Colangelo's decision to sell the Suns (the moment
Marriott puts the Camelback Inn on the market I'm out of Arizona) there are
still 999 reasons to love this game. These are just some:
* Because of the NBA League Pass on DirecTV.
I love the ability to surf the satellite and watch a Clippers-Warriors game .
. . catch a post-game interview with Tracy McGrady, in which he humbly brands
his 62-point effort a "great performance."
. . . Observe a Palace of Pistons fans hanging around to the end of a 38-point
Bulls blowout to cheer anything Darko Milicic does during 10 minutes of
. . . Listen to Tommy Heinsohn's detached critique regarding the refs'
treatment of Shaq.
"You cannot establish defensive position against him. He's allowed to just
back into you as forcefully as he wants with that 300-pound body of his,"
ranted the former Celtic player/coach and current TV commentator. "He gets
away with more than any big man in league history. When's the last time he was
called for a 3-second violation? His two feet never leave the lane. The league
widened the lane to try to counteract Wilt's dominance; the refs reduced it
* I love this game because the Garden crowd grumbles at the sight of Frank
Williams wearing Bernard King's No. 30.
. . . Because of Terry Porter's loyalty to Mike Schuler (in forced retirement
the last few years), hiring his former Blazer coach to assist him on the Bucks
. . . Because of Lawrence Frank's loyalty to Brian Hill. Upon replacing Byron
Scott his first move was to hire the guy who gave him his first NBA coaching
break in Vancouver.
. . . Because of Eddie Jordan's loyalty to Tom Young. Before the Wizards even
made a commitment, his former Rutgers' coach was part of his staff.
* I love this game because Vlade Divac plays point center like Meadowlark
Lemon/ Magic. If Jerry West knew he'd be this good, he never would've traded
him for Kobe.
. . . Tim Duncan constantly encourages teammates with a love tap to the back
of the head.
. . . Steve Francis acknowledged Luke Ridnour's expertly executed crossover
after the Sonic rookie beat him off the dribble.
. . . Grant Hill zealously refuses to stay down when no one would blame him
for taking the remaining money and calling it a career after so many ankle
. . . Jerry Sloan is a dinosaur dominatrix in a player's league. Show up on
time, play hard, keep your strings in and rubber bands off your wrist, that's
all he asks and you, too, can a be a member of his playoff contending
. . . Hubie Brown's two unit, 10-deep philosophy. "That's what got him fired
in New York," Chuck Daly chuckled on WFAN.
. . . Jason Kidd has a hand or his head in every play.
. . . Kevin Garnett never takes off a game.
* I love this game because Jason Williams, Earl Watson and Chucky Atkins know
its history and revere those who made it great.
. . . Because of the respect shown Danny Whelan by Willis Reed, Bill Bradley,
Walt Frazier and Dick Barnett, who acted as pall bearers for the former Knick
. . . Method Man eats cotton candy at courtside like a real fan instead of
pretending to be one.
. . . Al Harrington stands at attention during the national anthem with his
hand over his heart.
. . . Argentinean Manu Ginobili does the "Shammgod" as well as any American.
. . . Of the nightly professionalism exhibited by P.J. Brown, Malik Rose,
Aaron McKie, Eric Snow, Eric Williams, Elton Brand and Voshon Lenard.
. . . Perseverance pays off (Speedy Claxton, Raja Bell, Damon Jones, Carlos
Arroyo) or you can come out of nowhere (Flip Murray, Stephan Jackson, Chris
Anderson) and be back there before you know it if you're careless.
. . . A non All-Star like Chauncey Billups is one of the top five feared
players at crunch time.
. . . Steve Francis and Cutino Mobley went to their pockets for 50G when
Calvin Murphy was trying to solicit money to buy a new van for his charity
work with kids.
. . . Bobby Jackson has never forgotten the young wife and son of former
Timberwolves teammate Malik Sealy.
* I love this game because of Shaq's dad, the mothers of Mark Jackson, Ray
Allen, Terrell Brandon, Jamal Mashburn, Lindsay Hunter, Eric Snow and Amare
Stoudemire and the grandmother of Baron Davis.
And, no matter what I write, Allen Iverson never fails to show my wife and
family the utmost respect.
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