"What had happened was..."
So often we hear the same clichés circulating when NBA stars are interviewed. But what do they really mean? What words are concealed behind their perfunctory statements issued to media?
Frustrations sometimes loom beneath the surface. Other times, players are just avoiding the question. But the one thing that is certain is that the clichés dropped by players and coaches are usually just ways of averting attention from what is really on their minds.
Let's take a few examples of clichés and look at what the guys really wanted to say.
"We're taking it one game at a time"
What they really mean: Things are going so bad that we can't project our minds more than beyond this game. We're tired of losing and if we look at a stretch as potential losses, it's only going to discourage us, so it's best to just focus on the upcoming loss and hope it isn't one.
"We've gotta step it up..."
What they really mean: We're playing like crap. We're not giving full effort. If we don't pick it up, we're going to be running a lot of suicide sprints.
"It's back to the drawing board"
What they really mean: Nothing is working. Our offense and/or defense isn't doing what the coach is asking, so we better figure it out quick.
What they really mean: If I say what I think here, I'm getting fined.
"It's the nature of the business"
What they really mean: Just because we get paid millions doesn't mean we like everything about our jobs. How would you like it if you had to relocate to a worse job with horrible circumstances because your boss found an employee he liked better and traded you for him?
"It just didn't go our way tonight"
What they really mean: Refs. The refs screwed us. Again.
"We've gotta play team ball"
What they really mean: I'm not getting to shoot enough. My teammates aren't passing and everyone is looking for their own shot first.
"Both teams played hard."
What they really mean: We won/lost, but we have to give credit to the other team because it makes us look better. (How often, when this is said, did one team just mail it in?)
That's just a sampling of what guys may really mean when they're dropping time-worn clichés. Next time a player says something somewhat enigmatic clouded in obscure terms, stop and contemplate what they really want to say. Chances are, it's hardly as benign as the words they choose to loft at media.