Of Bosh and obscure Raptors and a change in Detroit
Hello from beautiful Troy, Mich. (and I use ‘beautiful’ in the loosest possible term) where it’s like 14 F, grim and ugly. But other than that, it’s great to be alive.
Big day in this country yesterday, as you might have heard, and it really was fascinating to watch the people.
At the time the president took his oath, I was on a concourse at the Atlanta airport and the entire area went dead silent from the time the first showed Obama on the television screen until he was sworn in.
No chatter, not idle conversation, just 100 or so people (and that was in about a 50-metre long stretch of waiting room) pretty much awe-struck watching television.
It was pretty cool, as a matter of fact. As the last two days were in many regards. Martin Luther King Day in Atlanta and then the inauguration. Sometimes this job doesn’t suck.
Jermaine O’Neal sort of summed up the mood – and seeing a couple of million people well behaved on the mall in Washington, D.C. the mood was pretty joyous, when he said this to us the other day:
“It’s a real live, party atmosphere, a family atmosphere in Washington. When was the last time you’ve seen that?”
Now, let’s back to our regularly-scheduled drivel about this basketball team:
One of the more interesting aspects of the last few weeks is the anger and disappointment being aimed at Chris Bosh.
It’s misguided, in my opinion, (23 and 10 a night, team’s best player, bonafide NBA all-star, 24 years old still to hit his prime) but it’s out there and that’s all cool.
The one thing that really gets me is the number of e-mails and comments that have come flooding in mocking Bosh for his early-season comment that he’d like to be the MVP of the league, to be among the true, true greats.
And people are upset about this? Honestly, they are. And there were a couple more yesterday.
Which makes me wonder, what would you have him say:
“I’d really like to be average. Maybe I can just be a guy. My goals are to be okay.”
What’s wrong with setting the bar high, especially when he was averaging about 27 and 12 at the time? Is it wrong to have great expectations?
Now, no, he’s not lived up to that level of play in the last couple of months. But to suggest it was wrong for him to make that statement in answer to a question? That’s just weird.
Pretty big news here in Detroit as the one and only Chris McCosky reports today.
They’re making a big to-do down here about Barack Obama being No. 44, running lists of great Nos. 44 in sports, lists that always start with Hank Aaron and always include Jerry West.
How about this list?
Martin Lewis, Hubert Davis, John Wallace, Derrick Dial, Greg Foster and Corie Blount.
No, I don’t imagine the Raptors getting all wistful about their No. 44 history.
I can’t figure out who’s the most obscure on that list? I guess it’d be Blount but Foster and Dial would be close.
One thing in Dial’s favour: He made a big shot to win a game in Chicago one night, allowing one of us to write: “The Raptors are glad they used Dial” which is a line a very, very, very small percentage of readers got.
I mentioned this in response to a couple of comments yesterday but I assume not everyone reads all of them (and, trust me, that’s a wise, wise, wise stand to take) so …
Q: You mentioned that you wonder when it will be Bargnani's turn to take the big shot, and either you're forgetting, or I'm missing something. Didn't he hit the game-tying three against the Celts (I believe) last week? They ended up losing, but it was still one of those 'moments'. Was it a broken play?
Errol T, Toronto
A: Yes, it was.
If you recall, Bosh got an offensive rebound of a missed shot, kicked the ball back out and it was Kapono, if memory serves, who passed it to Bargnani.
At no time was Bargnani a top option on that play so, in my mind, that doesn’t count.
Looking ahead in the schedule, trying to plan my days, couldn’t help but notice the odd 6 p.m. start time for Sunday’s home game.
Then it hit me: Here we go again.
The Sunday tips are all over the map from now until the end of the season – some 6 p.m., some noon, some 3:30 p.m. – thanks to our good friends at TV and ticket holders can just adapt.
With ABC doing Sunday games from now to the end of the year, they have an exclusive TV window on each day; if a team wants to play on Sunday at home and put that game on TV, they can’t play in the 2 1-2 hour-per-game window that exists for ABC.
So teams like the Raptors jerk around the times for three months or so.
Seems Shawn Marion’s not all that thrilled about trade talk that centres around him.
A couple of post-practice comments from Tuesday, thanks to my man Ira at the Sun-Sentinel:
“I'm actually tired of it. I'm really tired of it. It's very distracting. I'm trying to focus on what I'm trying to do here and I keep getting bombarded with all this other stuff."
And there’s this, too:
“Of course it's going to have an affect on anybody because ya'll keep bringing it up and asking. If nobody brings it up and nobody talks about it, it's not going to be an issue. Think about it.”
Compare and contrast that to Jermaine O’Neal, who’s been openly talking since last Thursday about the possibility of a move and what it means and how it’s all part of the business.
Last one from the mail for now:
Q: As I was procrastinating rather than studying for exams, I saw a video on YouTube and I believe it was from 1984 with high quality retired basketball players playing a game (maybe at all-star weekend). Some of the guys still had game (Pistol Pete and George Gervin). Anyways, I was wondering, why can't the NBA have another one of these games this year or in the future? I think as you say, it would be a "hoot". I'm not sure how they would regulate who can play and who can not, but I think the game would be very interesting. Also I'm sure the NBA doesn't want to be held responsible for injuries and such. Your thoughts?
Eric M, Toronto
A: It was indeed all-star weekend and they used to have “Legends Games” or something like that. Stopped them for a couple of reasons, actually.
One, there were always pulled muscles and busted joints and injuries that the seniors really didn’t want to deal with.
Two, the old guys are not exactly the target audience of all-star weekend. Having first-hand experience of how little some young ‘uns know about the past, it’s a surefire reason for kiddies to click off the TV on Saturday night of all-star weekend and that’s a bad thing.
But, having sat through nights watching such “great” events as Chris Andersen and Nate Robinson having a contest to see who could miss more dunks than the other guy, bringing back the Hall of Famers sounds like a great idea to me.