A Word From Our Sponsors


Thuggish and Sluggish

I wish my notsomuch-anticipated return to blogging wasn't punctuated by a darling set of embarassing squads taking up residence at Madison Square Garden.

Your New York Knicks actually won tonight, alarmingly at the hand of $tephon (a little too clever, perhaps?) Marbury, against one of the league's best teams. I've decided that's not really saying much, given the disgraceful state of the NBA. It's not just that there are brawls. Hockey has fights too, you know.

What legitimately shocks me is the fact that the foremost role in the brawl was played by the league's leading scorer (Carmelo Anthony), who only a few days ago snagged the title from Allen Iverson, a man who has packed up his locker midseason to look for a better place. What is going on this league? Shouldn't the league's best players exhibit the most class? Take for example, the NFL, where elite wide receiver Terrell Owens is the epitome of class. Or you could maybe sneak a peek at the NHL a few years ago, where upper echelon scorer Todd Bertuzzi showed us how to respect the game and play with sportsmanship. Maybe you'll remember the tale of Barry Bonds, holder of many MLB records, who never broke any laws.

I don't understand why people seem to think that the NBA is doomed as a league filled with thugs. All professional sports leagues are filled with thugs. That's why, in most cases, they become athletes. They have the killer instinct. And in some cases, like that of Bears' DT Tank Johnson, they express that killer instinct by retaining six unlicensed firearms in their homes. Eight Cincinnati Bengals have been arrested this year. Many Vikings were arrested last year.

Baseball and hockey aren't devoid of criminal behavior either. Phillies RP Ugueth Urbina is still held in a Venezuelan jail cell on charges of attempted murder. Former #1 overall draft pick Josh Hamilton was recently selected first overall in the Rule V Draft, despite having prior battles with narcotics that netted him long suspensions. Hockey featured the Bertuzzi debacle, as well as an attempted murder allegedly organized by former Blues winger Mike Danton.

The media problem with basketball stems from the fact that there's really no barrier between the fans and the action, whatever it may be. Also, the players are usually big, black, and tattooed, which unfortunately provokes a subconcious prejudicial disposition in many. Football players may have similar appearances, but they are shielded by helmets, pads, and occasionally sleeves.

Basketball's problem is not unlike the others in sports. It's a mistake to compare this fight to that of a few years ago in Detroit. The fans had zero interaction with the sparring players during this brawl, and the league's suspensions and fines were dished out accordingly.

And to those who say that this fight proves that basketball has a serious problem on its hands, I would counter with this: the fight only proved one thing – that Isiah Thomas must go. His words after the game were startling, as he talked about how the Knicks had surrendered and how Nuggets Coach George Karl was wrong to leave his starters in. Isiah also apparently tried to explain this to Carmelo Anthony during the game, telling him to stay out of the paint.

What Isiah might lack, ironically, is that killer instinct. He lacks any sort of fire, and winds up through his action of dismissing Karl's friend Larry Brown inspiring the Nuggets more than the Knicks. It's not even that Isiah has done a poor job assembling this team, as his gamble on Eddy Curry seems to be a wise move. Hell, Thomas drafted wunderkind David Lee, and traded for Quentin Richardson, who has come alive this year. Marbury seems to be coming along as well.

The problem may lie in Thomas' coaching style, as only a few Knicks see it fit to play defense. It's not as though it takes an inordinate amount of skill to play defense well. Isiah's passive style has yet to yield hustle from the team. He has to go very soon. Bring anyone in. ANYONE.


The Rangers stink. I was at the game on Sunday. Oops.

I will postpone judgment on Renney, Sather, the players, and Brian Leetch until tomorrow.

Here's something of note: Sandis "Fruit of the Vine" Ozolinsh was waived today. If he clears waivers, which he undoubtably will, he will be assigned to Hartford and the Rangers save some of his cap money.
  • Thank god. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to prep more sarcastic remarks next time I went to the Garden.
    I was excited when we got him, but the former All-Star has less than nothing left in the tank, and really likes refueling that tank with alcohol before driving. You might remember when he scored on his own goal during the playoffs last year. Good riddance.

  • Crosstown Rivals is sponsored by JustGreatTickets.com, your home for Chicago White Sox Tickets.

    No comments: