NBA Players We Want Mic'd Up
Maybe New York Knicks owner James Dolan was on to something.
Dolan's decision was a reactionary strike in response to a feud between Anthony and Kevin Garnett that began on the hardwood inside Madison Square Garden when Garnett threw some choice words Anthony's direction reportedly involving Anthony's wife (via NESN.com).
The confrontation extended first to the hallway leading to the Boston Celtics locker room, where Anthony awaited Garnett. Anthony then moved out to the Celtics bus, waiting for Garnett to appear.
NBA commissioner David Stern reportedly threatened "sanctions from the league" for any team attempting to eavesdrop on opponents, but conceded that Dolan's did not violate any rules (according to Mark Woods via ESPNNewYork.com).
What if the microphones weren't meant for "eavesdropping," though? What if they weren't even meant to protect a franchise's star player from a war of words spilling over into the eyes (and ears) of the watchful media?
What if they were installed simply for the enjoyment of the fans dying to hear the in-game chatter of the sport's most colorful characters?
Wouldn't that be something?
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If nothing else, haven't you once craved for a clear "ball don't lie" scream directly from the source of the-now infamous reaction to a supposed errant call from an official? The background recordings just don't cut it.
Not to mention, if Wallace isn't holding his tongue in talks (one-sided, though they may be) with officials, imagine what he's got in store for the opposition.
The demonstrative 15-year veteran has approached the hardwood with no excuses. Not for his prolonged avoidance of the offensive post he's long dominated, nor for his overall attitude toward the sport.
There was a reason for all of the buzz surrounding his return to the league after a two-year hiatus.
And it had nothing to do with his impact on the stockpiling New York Knicks.
Wallace has long enjoyed a standing among the game's most polarizing figures, and it's probably a stretch to suggest that any of us can even dream of what he's barking about during his action.
Metta World Peace
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The guy elected to officially change his name to Metta World Peace. And he did so after once deciding that it was in his best interest to storm the stands of the Palace at Auburn Hills, inciting a grisly scene since dubbed the "Malice at the Palace."
Need I say more?
So what could he possibly be throwing in the direction of anyone sharing the floor with him: opponents, teammates, coaches, officials and, of course, fans in attendance?
If Wallace is the game's most polarizing figure, then World Peace is clearly its most perplexing.
He's either the league's craziest player, or possibly one of the true geniuses of his day.
Either way, I'm more than interested in finding out which one it is.
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His intensity for the sport has garnered both love and hate from the game's fans.
And both emotions have often been felt by the same fans, depending on Garnett's mood.
If he'd been recorded throughout his career, perhaps fans could have better defined their position on the Boston Celtics star.
We'd know whether or not he called Charlie Villanueva a "cancer patient" (as Villanueva has claimed) or simply a "cancer to his team" (Garnett's claim). We'd know with certainty whether or not he used that physical, bruising matchup with Anthony as a platform for a cereal spokesman position.
Besides the trash talk, his passionate approach could provide fans with more energy than any liquid supplement or pill could ever dream of offering. His postgame interview following the 2008 NBA Finals is one of my favorite moments in basketball history, and that has nothing to do with the Celtics bolstering their championship resume.
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King James is a different breed.
He's the best player on the planet, a billionaire-in-training and still opts for a bicycle as his preferred method of travel to games (via streetsblog.org).
Although he's historically shown an openness in his dealings with the media, he's undoubtedly entered most of those encounters with a strong foundation of coaching in public relations.
What makes the game of basketball so intriguing are the individual matchups occurring within the team sport. Any competition brings out one's true colors, and the repeated battles with his opponents may hold the secret to the side of James that fans don't know.
And that's the side I'd be dying to see.
How's his trash talking game considering the tremendous advantage he holds over the opposition on any given night? How did he react when he made the right basketball play in the clutch, yet his team's shooters missed potential game-winners? And now that he's taking more of those late-game shots, how does he handle when those looks miss their mark?
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He's the closest thing to Michael Jordan that the NBA has seen since the six-time champion left the playing floor nearly a decade ago.
His basketball resume may ultimately fall short of the Chicago Bulls legend, but his fiery drive has reached Jordan's level.
His recordings may require a proof of age in order to listen, and those expletives are undoubtedly being fired at opponents and teammates, alike.
Bryant approaches his career in the way that may rub a large section of the population the wrong way, but it's a personal favorite in the world of sports. He simply goes about his business without a second thought about how his words and actions will be received.
His trash talking has approached legendary status. But how's it affected when he's trying to shoot his way out of a slump? And what turn does it take when he finally reaches the other side; what does the unstoppable Mamba sound like?
And don't undersell the entertainment in seeing how Bryant's man reacts to his incessant chatter.
Stern's a little more than a year from retirement. We're all entitled to make a few risky moves once our employers know that we're on our way out, right?