Andrew Bynum: Setback Shows Talented Center Isn't Ready to Become Face of 76ers

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistNovember 18, 2012

Oct 15, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Andrew Bynum (33) before the game against the Boston Celtics at the Wachovia Center. The Sixers defeated the Celtics 107-75. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

If Andrew Bynum actually cared, his potential would be limitless.

He could be the face of the Philadelphia 76ers franchise, playing a key role in the young team's Eastern Conference uprising.

But he doesn't care—or at least he doesn't show it.

If a player cared, would he go bowling while he's rehabbing his knees? Of course he wouldn't, but Bynum did.

ESPN's Chris Broussard and Brian Windhorst reported the story, that "The Philadelphia 76ers fear All-Star center Andrew Bynum might have done additional damage to his knees while bowling." I read that, and I laughed, but he hadn't confirmed it himself, so there was a chance that it wasn't completely true—until Sunday.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer reporter John Mitchell, Bynum confirmed the laughable news:

Bynum just confirmed that the damage to his knee occurred while bowling.

— john mitchell (@JmitchInquirer) November 18, 2012

Broussard and Windhorst's report did note that bowling isn't one of the activities that are disallowed in standard NBA contracts, but come on. That doesn't give Bynum an out here. 

He's injured, and he's on a new team. He should want to get back on the court as soon as possible to prove himself to his new squad. No way, no how, is bowling benefiting that. Sure, his setback was probably more bad luck than anything, but what does it say about the player who would risk it?

It doesn't say much, and, in Bynum's case, no one should be surprised. This is the same guy who carried Playmates around on his shoulders while he was injured in 2009 (via Sports Illustrated).

He has never had a reputation as one of the league's most mature players, and he's either oblivious to that, or, again, he just doesn't care.

There's no doubting Bynum's ability on the offensive end. He averaged 18.7 points and 11.9 rebounds last year. He shows touch that most seven-footers would never dream of, consistently making shots from anywhere around the paint.

But being a superstar requires more than that. If he wants to be the face of the 76ers franchise, like they expect, then he must grow up and take things more seriously.

Bowling is fun. I like bowling. I've never carried a Playmate around on my shoulders, but I can imagine that that's a good time too—but Bynum's an NBA player. Right now, he's an injured NBA player. Getting back on the court requires rigorous rehab, not living it up until your full-time job begins again.

Bynum is only 25 years old, so there's still time, but Philadelphia should be shaking its head over this one. Instead of making shots, the big man would rather roll strikes.