Stray Thoughts---And Worse---On The NBA's Big Show.
By Tom Danehy
THE CHICAGO BULLS beat the Utah Jazz in the NBA Finals last week, making the world safe for smug front-runners for at least one more year. Their fifth championship in seven years wasn't a horrible thing like, say, Allen Iverson winning Rookie of the Year. Still, it marked a benign embrace of the status quo by a league which has put all its eggs in one basket. The win by the money-and-hype Bulls over the blue-collar Jazz was nothing more than a victory for the predictable over the poetic.
WHILE I'M disappointed that the Bulls won the title, I couldn't be happier for Steve Kerr, whose 15-footer with five seconds left in Game Six was the winning basket for Chicago. Kerr should be the patron saint of all short, goofy white dudes who dream of playing in the NBA. Or college. Or making the freshman team at Palo Verde.
Here's a guy who's completely self-made. He taught himself how to shoot, then worked on his shot every day to where it's one of the most deadly and reliable weapons in all of basketball. Way too many kids want to grow up to be Michael Jordan, when the plain truth is that virtually none of them will. One or two of them have a chance to grow up to be Steve Kerr. Unfortunately, most kids don't have a lick of sense.
I've followed Kerr's career since he was a freshman at the UA, through his triumphs as a Cat, the devastating knee injury, the early, ugly years in the NBA and now through his crowning moment.
He deserves all the accolades (and money) he gets. He's the model of hard work, determination and guts.
And for all y'all sorry dogs who still don't give Lute Olson his proper respect, tell me that Steve Kerr would've been in the NBA if he had played for any other college coach in America.
MY FAVORITE NBA Story From This Year: New Jersey Nets star Jayson Williams tells the story of the time he was riding around Los Angeles in a car driven by NBA journeyman and industrial-strength clod Benoit Benjamin.
Speeding through the streets of L.A., Benjamin is driving twice the speed limit when he runs a stop sign. When a cop pulls him over, Benjamin tries to BS his way out of a ticket. The cop knows who Benjamin is, but, understandably, is not impressed.
Then, Benjamin tries to talk his way out of it by saying that he slowed down at the stop sign. The cop says slowing down is not enough, but Benjamin persists. Finally, the cop pulls out a small leather blackjack and cuffs Benjamin upside the head a couple times.
"Now," says the cop, "do you want me to stop or just slow down?"
REMEMBER WHEN BRENT Musberger used to rule the airwaves for CBS and then suddenly fell from grace? I know why. The guy is flat-out annoying.
I'm driving around in the car listening to the NBA games, and Musberger insists on referring to Kerr as "Stevie." What the hell is that?
The thirtysomething Kerr was playing the games with ugly black socks and the nastiest haircut in America. Ain't nothin "Stevie" about him.
HOWEVER, IF MUSBERGER is annoying, TV announcer Bill Walton is just plain awful. He talks when he should shut up, and then says stupid stuff. He was commenting on Game Three when he mentioned the horrible play of Mark Eaton. The only trouble is Mark Eaton hasn't played for the Jazz for years.
Walton tried to laugh that mess off, but it was obvious he was having a flashback to the days he used to eat those mushrooms and hide Patty Hearst.
MY FAVORITE MEDIA moment of the entire Finals was on The Daily Show on Comedy Central. They sent Edie McClurg (the squeaky-voiced actress perhaps best known as the principal's secretary in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, where she said the immortal line, "Everybody thinks he's a righteous dude") to cover the events. She spent most of her time knitting during press conferences and chasing Dennis Rodman around.
At the end of her report, she tried one last time to talk to Rodman, who rudely waved her away. She turned around, looked in the camera, and said, "Some people think Dennis Rodman is misunderstood, that he's a complex individual. I think he's just a punk-ass bitch."
I laughed hard and long.
FINALLY, I FEEL honored to be one of the people who witnessed a miracle in Game Five. See, to hear the media tell it, Michael Jordan got up out of his death bed to play in the game. He had a temperature of 147 degrees, the highest ever recorded. Plus, he's the only person in medical history to have the dreaded "flu-like symptoms."
Still, he rose from the dead and played in the basketball game, even making the final three-pointer to win the game.
Immediately after the game, Pope John Paul II nominated Jordan for sainthood, which Jordan declined because that club isn't exclusive enough for his sorry butt.
I know the short-attention-span media has to come up with a new angle every 10 minutes, but that was ridiculous.
And if you think the media don't have enough influence on people, my friend Jay down at the gym took that sick-bed angle and extrapolated it to new depths.
According to Jay, not only was Michael Jordan deathly ill, he was sick because the Mormons poisoned him.
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