The start of the weekend mail and the end of a classic career
I would imagine everybody’s heard the news or read the story that Perk’s all done, a big 30 on a great 40-year career.
Now, I’ve worked with a lot of the greats in this era, either as teammates or colleagues and, pardon this little digression, but Perk is the cream of the crop, the best, the top.
We did Olympics and big games and championships together and it was always a delight, a great guy to work with, story-teller nonpareil.
Know where he was best?
Driving a big old car in New York City. Man, that was a trip and I don’t know how many of us took The Perk Tour but it was unreal. He’d have about a foot-long cigar and stories:
“This is where Albert Anastasia got whacked.”
“There’s the Dakota where that nut got Lenon.”
“This is where the filmed this movie, that movie, did this show, that show.”
It was about a two-hour journey of storytelling and history and laughs – always seemed to start from PJ Clark’s after a great dinner – and is an enduring Perk moment.
Two more and then I’ll get to the mail.
There was no pretense to Perk as a writer, no scream factor which is just about the highest compliment I can pay someone, no ego. He was the ultimate teammate. We’d be an Olympics or some big game on tight deadlines and it’s hard sometimes to find the balance for a columnist and a beat guy to get the right story without telling it twice and, trust me, a lot of times the beat guy is left with the dregs.
“Smitty,” he’d invariably say. “What way are you going? I’ll play off your ball.”
One more then I gotta go, although I’m sure I could sit here all day and tell Perk stories.
Perk and I and the One And Only Mighty used to sit it in the Fun Bunch Corner way in the back of the newsroom before they renovated it into an insurance office and we’d sit back there and mock and joke and it made going to work a bit bearable.
One of his favourite lines? Something crazy and less than desireable would come up on the schedule, maybe a big pucks game or something that was not Perk’s cup o’ tea.
We’d say, “Hey, Perk? Doing the Leaves Saturday”
And he’d say, and we’d laugh every time:
“Can I lend you a twenty instead?”
Okay, one more.
Perk’s not a big fan of the soccer, I don’t think that’s a big secret.
I’m at TFC game one night and all of a sudden the e-mail “ping” goes on the machine. Now, every now and then something would arrive from Perk, just a quick one-liner.
I open file and all it says is:
“I got the under.”
I send him back a note that says it’s wise bet since it’s 0-0 and he says; “Already?”
I tell ya, I wish I could spend the entire afternoon sitting on a stool swapping stories; it's a perfect way to spend a day and Perk's the perfect subject. And we all know sitting around telling stories and laughing is one of the most delightful ways to spend a day possible.
But now …
(And, yes, there’s some left for tomorrow but not an awful lot so if you’re so inclined)
Thanks again for all your hard work/ entertainment.
With the signing of Daye, I imagine the Raptors roster is close to "set", for now.
I think the starters are pretty clear, but who gets the back-up minutes?
My largest concern with the roster is if JV gets hurt for any length of time. He may not be the star-yet, but he may be the hardest guy to replace on the roster.
Can the Raptors start Amir Johnson and Tyler Hansbrough (at C and PF) and have a shot at winning, or do they have to start Rudy Gay at the 4?
I can see them playing these two together for short periods when JV is resting on the bench, but not starting.
What are your concerns with the current roster (besides general lack of talent)?
A: Everybody connected with the team would be concerned if a promising young big man got hurt for any length of time, not sure that’s a big revelation.
But, sure, in some matchups they could start Amir and even Novak or Hansbrough or Gay; they could also do what they did a bit last year and run Aaron Gray out there for five or six minutes to start a game and a third quarter.
It’d be a game-to-game decision, I’m pretty sure and not one anyone wants to contemplate at the moment.
Q: Hello...Ossie Schectman recently passed away at 94. He was the guy who scored the first basket in the NBA. (on the Huskies) If he had played in the current era, would Bayless have passed him the ball for the lay-up?
I recently watched a rerun of the Showtime Lakers versus Larry Legend's Celtics. Any reason for the refs swallowing their whistles in the last few minutes of game seven? Why don't the refs call the game the same all game long, and indeed all season long? So what if they decide the game? Unless the ref's name is Donaghy of course. Whatever happened to him?
Ah August...Back to school ads, can the Ex be far behind?
Bob E, Kanata
A: Bayless would have as a last resort I bet; I know my man John Lucas III would have shot it and then been ticked if Ossie didn’t get the rebound.
(That’s a joke, I like John an awful lot)
And we know that any time a ref does anything like that it’s because of the mind-meld with David Stern, it’ll be interesting to see if Adam Silver has the same powers.
The Ex? Am about to go hone my Whack-a-Mole skills, someone needs a new stuffed animal.
Q: Hello Doug,
I was wondering if Jason Collins has signed with a team yet.
He's only 34. 7 foot centre.
I would think he'd be a great player off the bench.
His story is inspiring.
He would bring courage and conviction to any team.
Gary from Uxbridge
A: No, he hasn’t but history would suggest that players of his stature, veterans who’ll work on one-year, minimum-value deals in perpetuity are generally signed much, much later in the summer. Sometimes, it doesn’t happen until right before training camp so I wouldn’t read anything into it.
I’m sure someone out there will offer a deal and he’ll have to decide if it’s where he wants to play for a season.
Q: Hey Doug Smith
Why is Rob Sacre not attending national team camp?
A: He was invited and after discussion with Canada Basketball officials, it was decided he’d be better off spending the summer working with the Lakers to enhance his NBA life.
And, frankly, I’d be surprised if he ever played for Canada again given the young talent coming down the pike.
My name is Devin Holterman, a long time reader of your blog and a long time Canadian basketball fan (I've had it tattooed on my chest for 10 years - the logo that is).
I haven't been able to follow you this summer as much as I'd like and thought I maybe missed this, but is it possible to sit in on the senior men's training camp tomorrow? If so, do you know the time and I'm assuming it will be at the ACC?
Thanks in advance. Keep up the great work.
A: Nope, nothing’s open to the public, which is not out of the ordinary in any way. You can see ‘em next Thursday and Saturday at Ryerson against Jamaica.
Q: Hi Doug,
Just wanted to ask about your opinion re: a D-League team in either Vancouver or Seattle sometime soon? All the rumours re: the Kings moving to Seattle and Hornets coming to Vancouver ended up being more or less a tease for us out here. I've heard that once Stern is out of the picture they want a full 30 D-League teams so perhaps we will get one of these days in the Pacific Northwest.
Right now I need to go to Portland if I want to see a live NBA game, I've done it a couple of times and like it but it would be nice to have something closer to home, even if it's just D-League haha.
FYI: like your reporting when it comes to the Raps. I think Colangelo set the table but I really like what Masai is doing by trying to go cheap and young to fill out the roster.
Thanks and take care,
Scott – Vancouver
A: Do you think minor league basketball would go in Vancouver? I’m dubious. I think it’s far more suited to the size of city that it’s in now; I think it would get lost in a Vancouver winter because it would be seen as second rate. Which it is, by the way.
But I have heard nothing about D League expansion anyway so the question is probably moot.
Q: Hi Doug,
Love your blog and your articles on the raptors. My question is regarding Rudy Gay. We hear lots about the other players mainly Demar and how's he's developing and working on his 3 point shot. What's going on with Rudy?
Is he committed to Toronto. I love how DD loves to be in Toronto and I think he has the potential to be a good player (he's 23) but Rudy is the natural leader now. We haven't heard much from him this summer. Give me your thoughts. I actually think Rudy can be our "franchise" player.
Avishek from Scarborough
A: Can you define “franchise player” because I think it’s one of those throwaway lines that people use without really knowing what it means.
Yes, Rudy Gay can be a very significant player on a team, no question. But can he do anything alone? Like Kobe and LeBron and Wade and Durant, no, he can’t.
Committed to Toronto? For the rest of his contract he is and then we’ll see, I do know he went out to Vegas of his own accord at the start of the Summer League season so he’s committed to making the best of his situation and giving his best until the organization trades him or moves in another direction.
Q: I saw this little story on RealGM, "USA Basketball will build a new $350 million training facility next to Arizona State. The 10.5-acre site in downtown Tempe will include a 4,500-seat event center, a 300-room hotel, 500 luxury apartments, a 30,000-square-foot conference center and 200,000 square feet of office space."
First of all, I was surprised by the size of the organization that is USA Basketball and then by the amount of money in the organization.
Does any other country have as big an organization as this or this kind of money available? Can any other country reasonably expect to compete against such a large country with apparently unlimited resources? It sure makes the Spanish team look like overachievers.
Dave B, Cornwall
A: With its various sponsorship deals and tie-ins with the NBA and WNBA, USAB is by far the richest basketball organization out there, as far as I know.
But as we’ve seen with Spain and Argentina and a couple of other countries, I’m not sure wealth is the only thing an organization needs.
But, yes, USAB has more money than anyone.