Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Continuing the Vince Carter tradition

Bill Simmons nailed it describing Mark Blount. The Mark Blount case is a good representation of why sport fans dislike NBA players more than other professional athletes:

Meanwhile, the Celtics and Wolves met three days after their big seven-player trade ... and an "inspired" Mark Blount exploded for a 20-10, hustling on both ends, skipping down the floor and mocking the Celtics bench after two baskets. Here's a guy they overpaid (six years, $40 million) who immediately decided to take the next 18 months off -- stopped smiling, stopped working hard, bitched behind the scenes, zoned out during timeouts, tried to undermine the coach, did everything he could to force a trade, basically ran up and down the floor and shot 18-footers and that was it -- and when they finally traded him, he gave 110 percent and did everything he could to show them up. Good guy. Wait, that's not all! In the same trade, they also traded Marcus Banks, who stopped trying this season because (a) he was being buried by the coaching staff, (b) the team didn't pick up his 2007 option, and (c) he was coming back from a stress fracture in his leg. Knowing he had nothing to gain by trying in Boston, he mailed in the next few weeks and played at 3/4 speed so he didn't get hurt again. Then they traded him. Well, now Banks has a chance to make an imprint in Minnesota and possibly get a new contract! Last night, he was flying around like T.J. Ford, beating guys off the dribble, guarding his guy for 94 feet, driving into traffic and making plays ... he was a man possessed. In this case, the situation wasn't nearly as loathsome as Blount's situation -- after all, Boston's coaching staff buried Banks for two years and Doc Rivers turned the Delonte West/Banks situation into a "good son/bad son" thing. That's why Banks needed a new start somewhere else. I just think it's interesting that, when an NBA player was faced with the choice of ... Option A: Busting his butt to get minutes and prove the coaching staff wrong. Or ... Option B: Going on cruise control, getting paid every two weeks, waiting to get traded, then busting his butt as soon as he finds a new team. ... Banks chose Option B. (The NBA ... it's fannnnnnnnn-tastic! I love this game!)

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