- Joined Nov 11, 2004
[h3] Don't cross David Stern [/h3]
February, 22, 2010
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By NBA Player X
Getty ImagesRemember these guys? Franchise players can be out of the league in a heartbeat.
This story appears in the March 8 issue of ESPN The Magazine.
Sincethe trade deadline just passed, some of you are probably wondering whyyour team shipped a guy out of town. Money is one reason guys gettraded. So is talent. But there's a quicker way to be kickedto the curb in the NBA: getting blackballed.
I see it a lot. Take T.J. Ford,for example. He might be on his way, through no fault of his own. Theguy had a career year last year, yet he was on the bench for a month --and he wasn't injured. Players have been buzzing about him lately,wondering why one of the best guys on the Pacers isn'tplaying much. It could be anything. I know of a situation in which astarter got benched because the owner's son is friends with the guy whoreplaced him.
Stufflike that happens all the time, and it's not always the coaches makingthe decision. Sometimes it comes from above. I'm pretty sure, forexample, that Javaris Crittenton will be blackballed after his gun incident with Gilbert Arenas.Gilbert is a former All-Star with a big contract. He'll play again. Butmost players think Javaris is done, that GMs won't touch him. That'sjust wrong.
On the plane just the other day we were talking about how guys disappear: How Antoine Walker, Stephon Marbury, Bonzi Wells and Steve Franciswere franchise players one day, out of the league the next. You neverknow where it comes from. It could be owners getting togetherto decide no one is going to offer a guy a contract (yes, it happens).Or it could come down from the commissioner. David Stern is not a manyou want to cross.
Stern is not a man you want to cross.
The main thing that gets youblackballed in the NBA is being a bad influence on young players --bad-mouthing the coach or refusing to listen to him, living the highlife. If you're a veteran pulling young guys into that world, your daysare numbered. GMs are wary of guys like that. They do all kinds ofresearch before signing you, like talking to your high school coach andgrade school teachers. The model organization is San Antonio. Theyhardly ever sign a guy who gets in trouble. And if they do, the guyshapes right up. If a GM thinks you're taking young guys out, gettingthem drunk and hooking them up with women, he'll drop you. And he'lltell other league GMs why.
Some guys who've been run outof the NBA, like Bonzi, are doing whatever they can for another shot.Bonzi is better than a lot of guys in the league but won't get a secondchance because of his rep as a bad locker room guy. The NBA doesn'thave a team like the Bengals that gives bad-rep guys another chance.
Sadthing is, you see some of these guys who are out of the league -- likeFrancis, Antoine or Steph -- and they still act as if they're stars.They're still like, "I'm the man. It's never gonna go away." They dressthe same and spend money like they're still making it. I hear a lot ofguys are working out in Chicago, waiting for the phone to ring. But theNBA doesn't really give you a second shot once you've been blackballed.Sternhas the power to say a guy is not welcome anymore. You also have GMswith jobs on the line who don't want to take a risk. Look at whathappened when Isiah Thomas signed bad locker room guys like Zach Randolph. The Knicks imploded, and Thomas got fired.
Ithink this Arenas incident scared a lot of players. But I'm not sure ifit will change much. The phone number the NBA gives us to call if we'restruggling with alcohol and other things isn't going to start ringingoff the hook. Thing is, this wasn't the first time Gilbert messed up.The NBA told him to chill a couple years ago, but I don't think he tookit seriously. Word around the league is that he's at home freaking out,calling the NBA every five minutes to fix things, afraid it all mightdisappear.
Funny enough, I haven't heard much about guysacting up this season. The Hawks used to be notorious for partyingbefore they got Joe Johnsonand got good. They had guys like Antoine, who would go out to clubs andgo wild. It wasn't until they got rid of the bad influences that theystarted playing well. And you can usually tell who the bad influencesare just by looking at how often a guy gets traded. If he's been movedfive times, it probably doesn't have anything to do with creating caproom or getting good value. He's got an attitude problem, and hisbosses sent him packin'.
Player X is an NBA star. This is his second column in a series of unfiltered looks intothe lives of professional athletes.
Originally Posted by vodka99
Allen Iverson & Barry Bonds
How did Mark McGwire get welcomed back into baseball after pleading the 5th before Congress when asked about steroids? How did he get a job as a hitting coach despite his alleged links to steroids yet Bonds gets treated like dirt? Iverson is being black-balled from the NBA because of his hip-hop image. Iverson came into the league with his “posse
Originally Posted by JinKazama
This will not end well...I expect Player X's column to disapper in the next few months. Stern hates stuff like the story above and he'll put pressue on ESPN to squash this.
Am I the only one who dislikes Stern...?