During the Atlanta Hawks loss to the Boston Celtics almost two weeks ago, I felt badly for Joe Johnson when he missed a free throw in the closing minute with a chance to tie the game up. Johnson has played extremely well and has been the Hawks’ go-to guy in the fourth quarter of every close game.
However, looking back on that game the next day, I felt 10 times worse for poor Josh Childress.
Apparently, the NBA and the powers that be at ESPN thought it would be a great idea to check in with J-Chill during the second quarter. With a crisp, clear telephone connection from somewhere in Greece, the Childress interview interrupted a couple of minutes of game time.
(By the way, I hate these interviews in all sports when people are on the telephone or in the booth. The game action goes on and the announcers interview the person during the game action. Terrible.)
ESPN and NBA commissioner David Stern probably thought Childress would come on with some positive feedback in regards to playing in Greece and push forward the NBA’s inexorable agenda of moving toward an actual global league. Instead, Childress sounded miserable, sad, and lonely. He kind of sounded like Simba in The Lion King when he thinks he is responsible for Mufasa's death.
In keeping with the Disney theme, Childress needs to type up a letter admitting that going overseas was a mistake. Then, he should fold that letter up, put it into an empty bottle of ouzo, cork the bottle, and drop it in the Mediterranean Sea. Disney Studios could make another movie sequel of the animated classic The Rescuers and send Bernard and Miss Bianca across the Atlantic to save J-Chill.
Can you imagine the comedic effect of an animated Childress? He would be great, drawn really long and skinny, with the big grin, and the great-big, blown-out hair. He could be in an Olympiakos jersey.
The Olympiakos owner and Chill’s agent would be the bad guys that are trying to steal some huge diamond or something. They need Chill’s defensive skills and wingspan to crack some museum security feature. For other product placement in the movie, he could eat McDonalds, drink Cokes (for the Atlanta connection), and wear some Nike gear.
For Olympiakos, Childress is doing exactly what he did for the Hawks last year. In the tough and competitive Euroleague games, he is averaging about 10 points per game. He continues to play the solid defense and rebounds well for his size. He shoots over 50 percent from the floor, but cannot make a three-point shot.
He probably cannot get his own shot or score clutch baskets in crunch time of games. Give credit to Childress and his agent; he parlayed some limited success as a sixth man last year into a very lucrative contract, but what damage to his career and image?
Here is my advice to Childress: Come back home. Admit you made a mistake. Accept a ride from Miss Bianca and Bernard (or in this case Hawks' GM Rick Sund).
You can be the role player in the NBA that you always were, but you have to do it for three years at $5 million per year. Ask Rick Sund to take you back. Coach Woodson will forgive and forget.
Last night against the Pacers, he could have played you about 25 minutes. Keep the minutes under 40 for Smooth, Bibby, and Super Joe. Pair you with Mo Evans as a defensive stopper.
The Hawks don’t need to make a trade at the deadline to have a great chance to win a playoff series in 2009.