Union issues, a rare compliment, and a fighting singer. It's all here
We’ve got a whole bunch of little items here today, was a quiet day with nothing that absolutely stands out so let’s go all over the place, shall we?
I always had a sneaking suspicion that something was amiss with the NBA Players Association through the two lockouts I’ve paid close attention to.
It struck me that the leadership was somewhat lacking, that it was a “get mine, forget out yours” kind of organization that threw young players overboard to get a deal (and I don’t have a big problem with that, to tell you the truth; I’d rather pay for performance rather than promise) and there seemed to be something just a little “off.”
Guess others thought so, too.
An independent investigation into the union’s leadership came out with a scathing report yesterday, damning executive director Billy Hunter for his apparent disregard for conflict of interest issues and suggesting that perhaps the union might want to change its leadershp.
I think the ultimate result, now that there is some semblance of labour peace for a few years at least, has to be a new leader there, just as there will be a new chief negotiator for the league the next time the collective bargaining agreement comes up for discussion.
I’m not nearly smart enough to break down all the minutia of the report or the issues and the legality of everything but, as we know, perception is reality and the perception of the union to those who pay even close attention to it has to be that it’s broken and needs to be fixed.
I know agents who have been highly criticial fo Hunter for years, they think he gave too much in every negotiation and wasn’t nearly as forceful as he should have been. And I am equally certain that when players ask their representatives for advice – and they should because that’s what they pay them for, advice and counsel – it will be suggested to them that it’s time for a change; that regardless of what poeple think of Billy Hunter that maybe it’s simply time for a new voice.
Don’t blame them, but I’m also glad it’ll be years before anyone has to worry about contract talks and a lockout.
Wonder what Don Fehr will be doing then? Maybe there’s another players association he can “save.”
So I wander up to the nice lady at U.S.Customs and Immigration at Pearson yesterday, present all the requisite papers and she says, "how long will you be in the USA."
Now, at this time every season, I'm never quite sure what day it is, so I reply:
"Um, tomorrow. No, wait, Friday. No, sorry, Saturday. Whatever two days from now is."
No, she was not impressed.
"Which one is it? What do you mean."
So I explain that I'm a sportswriter, I had flown to New York on Monday, covered a game Tuesday, flown back Wednesday to cover another game and was now going to Philly and that I was basically confused.
Thankfully, instead of reaching for her copy of the Patriot Act and re-booking me to Gitmo, she laughed.
Then she holds up my passport to check me out, stamps the forms and says:
"Have you lost weight? Your face looks a lot thinner than in this picture."
I don't care if I have to stand in line for hours, if she's working, I'm waiting to be processed by her.
Oh, what might have been.
Did you see the one about Kevin Durant wanting to be a Raptor as a Raptors fan growing up?
Pretty cool all these years after the fact and, frankly, a testament to Vince Carter, who absolutely put the franchise on the map.
It’s not entirely new – our friends at the excellent Ball Don’t Lie blog link to a conversation back in 2008 where Durant mentions Toronto – but it’s fun to look back and wonder, isn’t it?
Of course, if I know Raptors fans – and I do – we would have to go through two, maybe three years of hearing them complain about how he was too skinny and really didn’t have a position and how could Bryan have passed on Greg Oden because you always draft big if you get the chance, right?
Anyway, was a fun diversion for an hour or so.
Sure, you think of Philly and you might think of Philadelphia Freedom or the theme from Rocky or whatever.
How about a sporting icon warbling?
And check out the outfit, Smokin’ Joe had some style.
Oh, you zany NBA fans.
(I read about it; couldn’t watch an hour-long TV show about it) and fans are to commended.
Of 10 starting spots covering the two conferneces, they only got two wrong. Well done.
I presume the coaches will correct this – like they always do when the voters go off the rails – but electing Dwight Howard over Tim Duncan was senseless and giving Kevin Garnett a lifetime achievement award instead of voiting in Tyson Chandler was borderline scandalous.
It is what it is, of course, a popularity contest driven by home fans and on-line clickers so I don’t think anyone expected the people to nail it.
They did all right, everyone had their fun and now the coaches can fill out the rosters correctly.
Oh, and I’ll help them out the first of the week, it’s going to be slow around here next week since I’m not heading to Florida and I’m going to have to figure out how to fill this space.
Talk about your crisis being averted.
My iPad Mini and I plop ourselves down on a stool at The Field House, an excellent sports bar about 100 metres from my hotel, to watch some games and get some mail together and as I am wont to do in Philly, before the barkeep can even ask, I say I'll have a Yeungling.
Crushed, I was about to ask what else they had when she says, unprompted, "try the Stoudts Gold, you'll like it."
And I did.
And I only go places with smart servers.
When I Rule The World, Vol. 12,484,809
Every saloon worth its liquor license will not only have a free jukebox with my iTunes playlist but it will also have wireless Internet access.
No, I did not see a second of Lance Armstrong, mainly because it’s been my experience that pathological liars, cheaters and bullies don’t ever come totally clean or apologetic and some self-serving interview bores me to tears.
It’s like Ben Johnson without the bullying part; or Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds, I wish they’d just go away forever.
Yes, of course I can use some more mail, haven’t heard from some of you yet and it’s not a regular week until I do.