Of dopes and Our Man Pape
That’s how slow things are getting around here, although I do commend you for the flooding of the in-box I got with mail submissions yesterday.
With the aforementioned radio gig and ball game tonight, another ball game and a team barbecue and potential hangover-inducing celebration of Yankee greatness tomorrow and the fact Super Son becomes a teenager Sunday, I’m not sure when the mailbag gets up, but it will.
Until then …
How about that Rashard Lewis, eh?
The details of his positive drug test are here in the Orlando Sentinel tome but the short story is he took some over-the-counter supplement before the playoffs began last season and it contained a banned substance. His testosterone level went up, he tested positive and – bam! – mandatory 10-game suspension without pay to start this season.
Lewis’s explanation – that he didn’t know what was in it – rings true to me, actually, and I think the only thing he’s guilty of is being extraordinarily dumb.
In this day and age, taking some powder you bought at a store where the muscle-heads and bodybuilders also shop is fraught with peril and Lewis’s decision not to show anyone on the Magic staff what he’d bought smacks not of duplicity but of dumbness.
Every NBA team tells every NBA player about the dangers of over-the-counter supplements – along with the dangers of any performance-enhancing drug they think they might like to try – and all Lewis had to do most likely was show the label to the team’s strength coach and he would have been pointed in the right direction.
The one thing is going to do is allow the NBA to crow about how it’s testing program works but I think only the truly naïve would take that at face value. Yes, the testing program is okay – four random ones a year for veterans – but it’s not perfect because it doesn’t including random, out-of-season testing.
If you ask me if there’s a steroid problem in the NBA, I’d say no; if you ask me if some players don’t get into the bottle in the summer, I’d say there have to be a few.
But as an overall issue? I don’t think it’s a significant problem in the game at all.
Lewis made a silly mistake and will pay a rather substantial price – he’ll lose about 12 per cent of his pay for the coming season – and if this case does anything, it’ll make other players sure to show the stuff they take to people who understand what it is before they go ahead and ingest it.
Now, being a big fan of Tammy Sutton-Brown, and realizing there is a dearth of role models for young female basketball players, this should come as no surprise to any of you but here’s a plug for her camps coming up out this way, in Oakville and Mississauga in the coming weeks.
I honestly think Canadian women’s basketball is back on track to a place high in the world rankings and the more young players who can take advantage of chances like this, the better.
There was a time back in the day – kids, ask your moms and dads if they remember – when Canada was routinely ranked among the top four or five basketball countries in the world in the women’s game and I’ve said for quite some time that the group of young women playing the game at the international level had a chance to do some great things even before the men’s team got back to any place among the top squads in the world.
I have a feeling a few of you have adopted Senegal as the team to cheer for at the AfroBasket going on in Libya these days, given Our Old Friend Pop is on the team and Boniface N’Dong has developed somewhat of a cult following off his one big game.
Well, the kicked some Central African Republic butt in Game 2, as you can see from this boxscore, and they’ve got a huge first-round game against Cameroon coming up later today.
Me? I’m still trying to find a favourite team, there doesn’t seem to be a hoops version of the Black Stars so I guess it’ll be Pape Pop and Senegal for now.
On the digression side of things, how about them Real Madrids?
They show up and it’s like the Beatles and somehow 18,000 people or some crazy number like that pay $15 to watch them practice on Thursday night?
We’re talking about practice, right?
I will never quite understand the footballers among us.
Oh yeah, more on the exhibition schedule, official news of which was delayed yesterday.
Well, a couple more things got out while I was supervising Super Son and some of his urchin colleagues at a pre-birthday birthday golf thingy:
After the Sixers game in London on Oct. 6, we’re all traipsing back to Toronto for a return match on Oct. 7 – those are the lidlifters of the exhibition season – and there’s a date in Hartford, Conn., against Boston is what’s also going to be a two-game series with the Celtics.