NBA Free Agency: The 10 Funniest Quotes From the Summer of 2010

Bryan Toporek@@btoporekFeatured ColumnistAugust 3, 2010

NBA Free Agency: Top 10 Funniest Quotes From the Summer of 2010

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 21:  Los Angeles Lakers small forward Ron Artest salutes the crowd while riding in the victory parade for the the NBA basketball champion team on June 21, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers beat the Boston Celtics 87-79 in
    Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

    This summer, while LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh were busy flipping the NBA upside down, NBA fans were flooded with a deluge of instantly memorable quotes from players, team executives, and more.

    Naturally, once Ron Artest won his first NBA championship, the League's best interview fired off a few gems right away.  When ESPN handed the keys of their flagship magazine over to Artest for a day, later in the summer...all bets were off.

    And given the self-aggrandizing nature of the free agency process—specifically, "The Decision"—a few of the free agents managed to top Artest's hilarity with their preening.

    Players weren't the only ones chiming in with brilliance this summer. We've got an always opinionated coach weighing in with his two cents on "The Decision," and a general manager who proved he just doesn't know when to stop.

    The NBA summer of 2010 truly was "where amazing happened." Check out 10 of the funniest quotes and happenings from these past few months.

10. Bryan Colangelo Calls Chris Bosh a Quitter; Bosh Retaliates

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 14:  NBA player Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat Speaks backstage at the 2010 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 14, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images for ESPY)
    Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images

    "I'm not even questioning Chris' injury. I'm telling you he was cleared to play subject to tolerance on his part, and the tolerance just apparently wasn't there and he chose not to play."  —Bryan Colangelo, Raptors GM, July 28

    Last week, the Raptors GM took the lead of Dan Gilbert, the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, in accusing his former franchise player of quitting on the team before the end of the season.  Unlike Gilbert, who simply questioned LeBron James' motivation, Colangelo called Bosh's toughness into question.

    In other words, Colangelo called Bosh a five-letter word that rhymes with wussy.

    Bosh, like LBJ, didn't take kindly to his former executive's words.  In fact, Bosh responded with this gem the next day, to prove that he played hard every game last year: "On the back of my jersey it says 'Bosh'...The Boshes are hard workers. We have a lot of pride in what we do, in our jobs and in life."

    Well, then.   That's one way to prove that you didn't quit on your team, Chris.  Something tells me Colangelo doesn't buy it.

    Honorable mention: "We tried in vain to put pieces around Chris. Different pieces, different styles. It didn't work out," he said. "No matter what type of player we brought in, it didn't seem to have the right mix with him as that centerpiece." —Colangelo

9. What Happens in Vegas With LeBron James, Stays in Vegas (Almost)

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    MIAMI - JULY 09:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat is introduced during a welcome party at American Airlines Arena on July 9, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    "I wish they'd have one of these girls with no panties do that instead of the guy."—LeBron James to ESPN's Arash Markazi, from an article dated July 28

    In one of the more salacious NBA stories since "The Decision," Markazi, a Los Angeles-based ESPN writer, somehow found himself with a seat at LeBron James' table during an exclusive party for James in Las Vegas late in July.  What he uncovered that night lasted on ESPN's website for all of about 15 minutes.

    Markazi stumbled upon a debaucherous scene in Vegas (surprise, surprise), with "apparently nude women in a bathtub full of water and rose petals" awaiting LBJ at his party.  Bottles of Ace of Spades champagne and Grey Goose vodka start flowing.  A gigantic cake in the shape of a crown arrives for King James.

    While the scene sounds fitting for a suddenly self-indulgent James, nothing in Markazi's report demanded that ESPN pull the story from their website...except that Markazi reportedly didn't properly identify himself as a reporter that night.

    That's a big no-no for journalists with any sort of ethical code, and ESPN decided to kill the story because of Markazi's lack of identification.  Luckily, sites like Deadspin have screenshots of the story in its full glory, so you and I can get a glimpse into James' decadent Vegas lifestyle.

    Honorable Mention: "The more you hang around James, the more you realize he's still a child, wrapped in a 6-foot-8, 250-pound frame." – Markazi

8. Matt Barnes Tweets That He's Going to Toronto...Whoops.

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    Nxt season I will b playing for the Toronto Raptors. I wanted to thank the fans in orl you guys were amazing the way u guys excepted (sic) – Matt Barnes, July 19, on Twitter

    Usually, when you're announcing that you're leaving one team to join'd want to make sure that you're actually joining that team.  As it turns out, Barnes broke that cardinal rule.

    Somehow, Barnes' agent and the Raptors negotiated a two-year contract "in the $10 million range" without ever actually consulting the NBA's collective bargaining agreement.  If they had, they would have noticed that Barnes' new contract didn't work under the CBA's rules.

    Instead, Barnes fired off his infamous Tweet, and before morning, his deal with Toronto had evaporated.

    Barnes ended up signing a two-year, $3.6 million contract with the L.A. Lakers two days later—he took much less money for a legitimate chance at an NBA championship.

    Honorable mention: "Wat orlando fans 5 days n2 the freeagency & NO offer from the Magic yet. Plenty of others teams have reached out but no numbers from magic??" — Tweet from Barnes on July 6; Magic GM Otis Smith was reportedly none-too-pleased with Barnes' decision to voice his frustrations out on Twitter.

7. Stan Van Gundy Calls Chris Bosh a "Lapdog"

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    BOSTON - MAY 24:  Head coach Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic reacts as he coaches against the Boston Celtics in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden on May 24, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts.  N
    Elsa/Getty Images

    "Well, [Bosh has] been following [Wade] around for two weeks like his lapdog. So that doesn’t really surprise me." – Stan Van Gundy, to the Orlando Sentinel, July 7

    Van Gundy has never been a coach who minces words.  When the league's biggest superstar booked an hour-long special on ESPN to announce his free agency decision, how could Van Gundy resist weighing in with a few digs?

    The Orlando Sentinel captured Van Gundy's thoughts on LBJ's "Decision" special, and in the midst, captured Van Gundy's brilliant burn of Chris Bosh.  (Lapdog?  Ouch.)

    And when SVG wasn't busy bashing Bosh, he was lamenting the current self-promoting state of the NBA, as embodied by King James himself.  Van Gundy openly wished for more superstars like Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant, guys who focus on basketball before self-promotion.

    All in all, it was a typical Van Gundy interview, chock full of bulletin board material.  And, keep in mind, this came before The Decision.  Can you imagine SVG's instant reaction afterwards?

    Honorable mention: “It takes 15 seconds to say, ‘I’ve decided to stay in Cleveland,’ but we’ve got another 59 minutes and 45 seconds to, what? Promote LeBron James? As if we don’t do that enough.” — Van Gundy

6. Ron Artest Interviews Himself For ESPN; Hilarity Ensues

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 24:  NBA player Ron Artest  arrives at the premiere of Summit Entertainment's 'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse' during the 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on June 24, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by
    Kevin Winter/Getty Images

    When you need a stop, who you going to call? Not the goddamn Ghostbusters, I'll tell you that. You call me." – Ron Artest, in an interview for ESPN the Magazine.

    After winning his first NBA championship this past June with the Lakers, ESPN chose Ron Artest as their annual athlete guest editor-in-chief at ESPN the Magazine.  Beyond Charles Barkley, I couldn't have imagined a better pick in all of sports.

    Artest kicks things off by facing his "toughest interview yet"...himself.  Yes, following in Dwight Howard's footsteps from the 2010 playoffs, Artest grills himself for the issue's lead feature, and leaves readers with a few instant classics.

    Most notably, Artest doesn't shy away from touting his own defensive ability.  In addition to the awesomeness he uttered above, he led off that statement by saying, "I own defense. It's like my corporation. I'm the CEO and everyone else is just an employee."

    Throw in Artest admitting that his secret weapon this summer is spin class, naming Titanic as his favorite movie, and talking about his slight phobia of tidal waves, and you've got one of the funniest athlete interviews you'll read all year.

    Honorable mention (tie): My character would be a basketball player who secretly doubles as a bounty hunter."—Artest, describing his dream life-as-a-movie, Hoops Hunters.

    "I'm 100% sure this coaching thing will work. All I need is a good staff, and to watch more tape. One thing I don't do is watch tape. I gotta start if I want to coach."—Artest, on his future

5. Amar'e Stoudemire...the Jew?

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    PHOENIX - JUNE 22:  Amar'e Stoudemire of the Phoenix Suns attends the Major League Baseball game between the New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on June 22, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    "I haven't checked to see if he's circumcised, but regardless, it's a stretch to call him Jewish at this point." – Happy Walters, Amar'e's agent, to NBA FanHouse

    In one of the more unexpected stories from the summer, the New York Knicks' newest star, Amar'e Stoudemire, is currently vacationing in Israel to explore his Jewish roots.

    Stoudemire's mother has Jewish blood somewhere in her family tree, according to Walters.  Given Stoudemire's Twitter page—which has been filled with Hebrew terms like "Shalom," "Boker Tov," and "Le'chayim"—he's decided to take his heritage seriously.

    On July 29, Stoudemire cleared up the confusion surrounding his sudden Judaism by Tweeting, "2 clear everything up: I'm studying history & want 2 learn about all religions. I think I might have some Hebrew Roots & i'm researching it." 

    Well, according to a recent Sports Illustrated slideshow, Amar'e has just taken the torch as America's most prominent Jewish athlete.

    Honorable mention: "I'm the new Reggie White. (RIP) I'm going 2 Israel 2 study Hebrew. It's time 2 get a better understanding on who we R. Follow me !! Shalom" – Tweet from Stoudemire, July 24

4. LeBron James: "I'm Going to Take My Talents to South Beach"

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    GREENWICH, CT - JULY 08:  LeBron James speaks at the LeBron James announcement of his future NBA plans at the Boys & Girls Club of America on July 8, 2010 in Greenwich, Connecticut. James announced during a live broadcast on ESPN that he will play for the
    Larry Busacca/Getty Images

    "In this fall, this is very tough, in this fall I'm going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat." – LeBron James, to Jim Gray, July 8

    The minute LeBron James uttered these words, they went down in NBA history forever—for obvious reasons, and then for the hilarious reasons.

    It wasn't hilarious because LBJ managed to destroy his brand in the course of a single night.  It wasn't hilarious that he devastated his former town by announcing his decision on national TV.

    It was hilarious because LeBron couldn't have been more uncomfortable during the first 10 minutes of the interview, and watching him squirm in his chair should give Cleveland fans the slightest dose of solace.  James clearly felt some remorse about the hearts he'd be breaking back home, which led to one of the most self-aggrandizing quotes in recent NBA history.

    "I'm going to take my talents to South Beach"???  Not "I'm going to play for the Miami Heat" or "I'm going to play for Miami" or God, even "I'm going to team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh"??? 

    As Bill Simmons said, "I'm going to take my talents to…" has now become the chic NBA phrase in 2010, given its applicability to everyday life.  (New job?  You're "taking your talents to…")  Thanks, LeBron, for having the worst scriptwriters in the world.

    Honorable mention: After being shown a live video feed of fans in Cleveland burning his jersey and being asked for his reaction… "I mean, I can't get involved in that" – James, to Michael Wilbon

3. Dan Gilbert Fires Out "The Letter"

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    "This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his "decision" unlike anything ever "witnessed" in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment." – Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, in a letter posted on the Cavs' website dated July 8

    Where to even start on this one.  After LeBron James decided to take his talents to South Beach, Mr. Gilbert decided to vent his frustrations in a very public letter on the Cavs' website.  

    To say that Gilbert sounded like a 13-year-old girl wouldn't do justice to how much he publicly broke down and lashed out at James.

    Gilbert called James virtually every synonym of narcissistic in the dictionary, promised Cleveland a championship before their "self-titled former king" earned one, and swore that James would carry the Cleveland curse down to Miami.  He might be right on the first one, but the latter two…

    The epic tear-down of his former superstar reportedly will be enough to drive other prospective free agents away, as Gilbert lit a torch to whatever relationship he and James once held with his letter.  Consequences for Cleveland aside, Gilbert's letter easily earned a spot in the top three.

    Honorable mention: "I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER 'KING' WINS ONE"a Gilbert proclamation that gets more and more ridiculous by the day

2. Ron Artest Would Like To Thank...His Psychiatrist

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    "I definitely want to thank my doctor, Dr. Santhi.  My psychiatrist…she really helped me relax a lot.  Thank you so much."  – Ron Artest, to ESPN's Doris Burke, in his Game Seven postgame interview

    Immediately following the Lakers' Game Seven victory over the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals, Doris Burke had the best gig in sports: interview a jubilant Ron Artest.

    In the minute-long interview, the glossy-eyed Artest carved his name in NBA Finals interview history by thanking his psychiatrist.  As Burke attempts to reel in Artest to ask another question, Artest rambles on about how he visualized hitting a huge three-pointer in the final minute, then actually went out and did it.

    Keeping in mind that this interview came totally sober—Artest hadn't left the court to get a customary championship champagne bath—the hilarity of the entire interaction can't properly be explained.  At the same time, to Artest's credit, his boyish joyfulness over finally winning an NBA championship is exactly the type of exuberance I want to see from athletes.

    Then, after the champagne bath, Artest took to the post-game podium.  And for nearly 10 minutes, Artest ran the house, as reporters could only sit back and laugh alongside him. 

    Honorable mention: "And my single coming out while I'm talking to you...I got a single, it's called 'Champions.'  I did a song called 'Champions!'  Last June!" – Artest, to Burke

1. David Kahn Calls Darko Milicic "Manna From Heaven"

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    "With us, [Darko] was like manna from heaven.  I mean, he's 7'1", legitimately…he moves fluidly like a forward…I haven't seen a big man pass like him…he really does pass like Vlade." – David Kahn, on Darko Milicic, speaking with Chris Webber and Matt Winer

    In a summer when Ron Artest wins an NBA championship and takes over ESPN magazine for a day, it takes a true champion to upset Artest for the No. 1 overall spot in the most hilarious quotes of the summer.  Kahn is that man.

    In a five-minute interview on from the NBA summer league, Kahn managed to upstage even the most ridiculous of Artest moments by calling Milicic "manna from heaven."  Milicic may legitimately be 7'1", but he's also been regarded as the biggest draft bust in the past decade, after being selected No. 2 overall in 2003 (ahead of guys like Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh). 

    Kahn didn't stop there.  He managed to irritate Webber by somewhat trying to compare Milicic's career arc to Webber's own; Webber stopped him and said, "We're not talking about me and Darko at the same time, though."

    When you remember that the rest of the NBA was playing hot potato with Milicic's contract before February, and that Milicic planned on returning to Europe after the end of last season because he hated his NBA experience so much…Kahn's "manna from heaven" talk sounds even more ridiculous than it did at first.  And that says something.

    Honorable mention: "I thought we started [improving] last season even though there was no improvement in terms of wins and losses." – Kahn, to Webber and Winer


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