I promise you that this is my last ever article about the NBA and for that matter, Allen Iverson and David Stern.
I figured that if Stern and ESPN (as well as some other insiders such as Stephen A. Smith) have the audacity to sabotage A.I.'s career and marginalize the careers of T-Mac, Shaq, Vince Carter, Antawn Jamison, etc, then I could boycott the NBA too.
I make no apology to the fact that I take this personally as many of my all-time favorite players are either getting unfairly marginalized (and badmouthed by the media in an effort to turn ordinary fans against them) or blackballed because they are seen as hindrances to LeBron James' ascent. Their popularity is too great to give LeBron James and Kobe Bryant godlike status.
Note that none of these players ever got a top five payroll, a luxury James and Bryant enjoy annually (Cavs had a top five payroll in James' last five seasons there) and none of them ever had a decent supporting cast.
Here's the blacklist just FYI:
Tracy McGrady: Rick Adelman only gave him seven minutes per game as he worked his way back from microfracture surgery, and needed games off every now and then. This surgery is no by means a career-ender: just look at Amar'e Stoudemire, who had several setbacks and washed out of pretty much two full seasons during his comeback and Jason Kidd as well.
The official reason was that the Rockets can't afford to have T-Mac in and out of the lineup due to chemistry issues. I said back then that they were trying to sabotage his career and won't treat Yao Ming the same way when he comes back. Well I was right. http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=AqaUS9OYjmFvOTntsn8dNIC8vLYF?slug=ap-rockets-yao Why the hell does Yao get maintenance days, and continues to get to start while the Rockets, presumably with direct instruction from Stern, slapped T-Mac in the face by giving him seven minutes per game and essentially destroyed his career last year with the Rockets? The same Rick Adelman who allowed the media to vilify T-Mac for just wanting to play.
What's funnier is that the only NBA team that signed T-Mac this summer was Detroit.
The same Joe Dumars who played an active role in Stern's operation to drive A.I. out of the league in 2008. I guarantee you that T-Mac would be out of the league by the end of this season, if not sooner.
If T-Mac is healthy and realizes that scrubs are playing ahead of him, he would speak out, then the media would have a field day and then the league could have a legit reason to blackball him. If he doesn't speak out, then the media would say he's washed up when next year's offseason starts and he would be blackballed in free agency.
This is the same Joe Dumars who ran the Pistons to the ground due to his infatuation with this "Rodney Stuckey" character. The same Joe Dumars who plotted with David Stern, the media, and his yes-man Michael Curry in sabotaging the career of one of the greatest of all-time.
So yes, they are going to use the same exact formula that drove A.I. out of the league to get rid of T-Mac. Same time, same places, same supporting characters (Stuckey and Rip Hamilton are still on the team). Only this time it would be easier because T-Mac didn't average 27 points, seven assists and shot more than 45 percent (higher than Kobe Bryant), and help his team set franchise record in wins last season.
The result is that Air Canada is getting marginalized on his own team with only 25 minutes per game playing time. If you know anything about the NBA, you would know that anybody can put up stats if given playing time, and that shooting percentage doesn't matter if you're not drawing contacts and getting on the free-throw line for cheap points.
Vinsanity had a poor series, but so did Rashard Lewis, their highest paid player and pretty much the entire team except Dwight Howard.
Shaquille O'Neal: Most centers who were putting up 14 points 7.5 rebounds at the All-Star break for the team with the No. 1 record would be All-Star candidates especially in the East (see Jamaal Magloire, Mo Williams, Al Horford and Rashard Lewis). Shaq not only got passed over by Horford, who is a decent role player but no star despite comparable stats and a superior team record, but got a bad shake from the media and had to take a cheap deal with the Celtics. At least he still gets to start.
Antawn Jamison: I figured that since James skipped town, Jamison would have to carry the team. He's clearly their best player who has had success playing with many different teams in many different capacities, including a Sixth Man of the Year award in his lone season with a contending Mavs team.
Well, that was not to be.
He not only has to come off the bench this year behind scrub J.J. Hickson, but he is only getting 21 minutes per game (not the typical Jason Terry, Jamal Crawford, Manu Ginobili sixth man role). This is the same guy who averages 20 points, eight rebounds in his career. The same guy who shows no signs of slowing down last season. The same guy who could both rebound and spread the floor with his perimeter shooting. Unsurprisingly this is Jamison's contract year.
The only logical reason for targeting such an unassuming player is to make him look bad, so the media could make the argument that James' failure last season was the result of his crappy "supporting cast" headlined by Antawn Jamison, Shaquille O'Neal and Mo Williams.
Rasheed Wallace: Disillusioned with the NBA (presumably the source of this article http://insider.espn.go.com/insider/blog/_/name/player_x/id/4937084) and the officiating at last season's final. He announced his retirement at age 36.
Anybody remember that one time when he threatened a ref in Rose Garden after a game seven years ago? http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/news/2003/01/18/blazers_wallace_ap/ He ended up getting suspended for seven games (which allowed Zach Randolph to showcase and pad his stats and Sheed ended up getting shipped out of Portland shortly afterwards). The threatened ref's name? Tim Donaghy. Maybe Sheed already knew something we didn't.
Ruben Patterson: Career year in 2007 yet had to settle for a minimum in 2008 and released midseason.
Steve Francis: Maybe Stevie Franchise isn't the athletic freak he once was, but I refuse to believe that he's not better than Rodney Stuckey, Mike Conley, Jonny Flynn, Chris Duhon and pretty much half of the starting point guards in the NBA.
Hell, Baron Davis hasn't done much in the past two years and dude is still starting. http://www.slamonline.com/online/the-magazine/features/2010/08/wheres-the-love/ Where's the love? I guess Francis doesn't know as much about the inner workings of the NBA as Rasheed Wallace.
Jamaal Tinsley: Tinsley has never been a great shooter and he's no star, but he's a streetball legend with great court vision and creativity. The Pacers kicked him off the team yet refused to buyout his contract. He did play with the Grizzlies last season, getting sporadic minutes, but his career was already destroyed by then.
Rafer Alston: It's funny how all the streetball legends, hip hop icons, former slam dunk champs and popular superstars not named Bryant and James are getting blackballed and ended up out of the league the same year. Like Tinsley, Alston is no star, but he's a guy who is creative and was the starting point guard who led the Magic to the NBA Finals in 2009. Less than a year later, he was gone.
Larry Hughes: Another guy whose career was derailed by LeBron James (see Wally Szczerbiak, Ricky Davis, Donyell Marshall and David Wesley). It's funny how Ben Wallace, Shannon Brown and Carlos Boozer all got better after leaving Cleveland, and we were suppose to believe James' teammates suck.
Hughes had a career year playing alongside another big ego, Gilbert Arenas. Yet Arenas allowed Hughes to slash and penetrate, which led to a career year. After signing with Cleveland in the offseason, ballhog James relegated Hughes to a spot-up shooter, a role he is not suited for (the only players who co-existed with James are spot-up shooters such as Mo Williams, Daniel Gibson and Delonte West or garbage men who don't need the ball like Anderson Varejao).
There's are a lot to like about Hughes. He's a swingman who is also capable of distributing the ball. He's a lockdown defender at the wing, and regularly leads the league in steals. Yet the media blames him for everything that went wrong in Cleveland and gave LeBron James a free pass. The stigma led to him being out of the league at age 31.
I swear if things go bad in Miami, which is likely given the unrealistic expectations and James' inability to play off the ball, the media would declare Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade washed up and cancerous http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/recap?gid=2010102602 despite the fact that James is among the league leaders in turnovers per game.
Ricky Davis: Like Hughes, Davis is another extremely talented 31-year-old who does a bit of everything. He had a successful career after leaving LeBron James.
He's no superstar, but he could easily be the third-leading scorer on a contending team, or a high-scoring sixth man at worst. I would take him over Monta Ellis and Jamal Crawford any day. Hell, I would take him over Jason Terry.
Unfortunately, Davis was marginalized on his own team the past two years when lesser players are getting more playing time than him. He was eventually released late last season and left the NBA with no fanfare.
Bonzi Wells: Bonzi is the best rebounding guard in the league. He's a legit starting shooting guard at best and a decent rotation player at worse. He never played again after 2008.
Stephon Marbury: It's fair to say that Marbury is one of the biggest names on this list save for Allen Iverson, Tracy McGrady, Shaquille O'Neal and Vince Carter. He could put up huge numbers and carry crappy teams on his back.
It's sad that no team brought him back to the NBA this offseason, and I doubt any team ever will. But the whole thing of getting him out of the NBA was a precursor to persecute Allen Iverson.
I despise the fact that the media constantly compares A.I. to Starbury. A.I. is a superstar, a Hall of Famer and one of the greatest of all-time who genuinely cares about winning. He also gets along great with his teammates.
Why do you think 'Melo wants out now, but not when A.I. was here? Why do you think Eric Snow, Aaron McKie, Larry Brown and John Thompson still support A.I. now? Starbury is more of a loudmouth goofball, and his use of twitter links him more to the current younger generation. They have drastically different personalities, and I fail to see the connection between the two.
In closing, I'm not going to re-chronicle the series of events that led to A.I.'s demise because it's only going to make me upset. A little part of me knew this would happen even back in the summer of 2008 when there were a lot of trade buzz about A.I. and 'Melo. I just didn't know they will go this far.
If you're interested, take a look at my older articles. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/379469-the-latest-attempts-by-david-stern-and-media-to-destroy-allen-iverson And A.I. clearly was the best player for the Sixers last year when he played (stats don't matter. It's all about wins and losses and how competitive the team was when he played versus when he didn't), but the Sixers slapped him in the face and insulted the entire city of Philadelphia when they hired that lying scum Michael Curry as their assistant coach.
Nothing makes me more disappointed than the current state of the NBA. We all know that the world is not fair and in most workplaces, your connections and networking are more important than your merit and ability. However, as fans, we are led to believe that we are watching the best basketball players on the court when we are doing anything but. This is false advertising and quite frankly, I don't want any part of that.
It's like what Allen Iverson said in the John Thompson interview, no one should be given a starting spot. All he wants is for someone to beat him out even though I doubt anybody could.
It's no surprise that the new crop of NBA players Stern is trying to promote are all one and the same. No personality, authenticity, marketability, heart, or desire to win. They don't play with energy or passion. They play defense like girls. They are worse than Tim Duncan clones. Joe Johnson is Stern's idea of how the sideshow of James and Bryant should be, and he ends up getting paid.
Kevin Durant, Brandon Roy, Stephen Curry, Mike Conley, Rodney Stuckey, Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin, Greg Oden, Al Horford, Chris Bosh. You know who I'm talking about. And they are asking fans to show up to watch these clowns because the league is losing money. Well, they got the commissioner to thank for that. Many long-time fans are disillusioned.