NBA: 20 Things I've Learned From Watching the League

George McCannContributor INovember 9, 2010

NBA: 20 Things I've Learned From Watching the League

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    There are many lessons you can learn from the NBA and here's what I've learned throughout the years.

    Some are old lessons, some are new.  This isn't everything that can or has been learned, just the cream of the crop.

    I have included some rumors, whether they are true or not there is still something that can be learned from them.  Let the lessons begin.

20. From: Gary Payton

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    The Story:  One day I found a link to an eBay auction.  Up for sale was a used custom Bentley.

    In an effort to drive up the price of the car, the owner was willing to acknowledge that he was a famous NBA All-Star.  But that is it!  You cannot have the player’s name.

    Since it was a custom and both the driver and passenger’s seat were embroidered with GP20, it wasn’t that hard to make a guess at whose car you would be buying.

    The Lesson:   Anonymous only works if it is umm, anonymous.

19. From: Charles Oakley and Jeff McInnis

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    The Story:  There are two sides of this story, the fact and the rumor.  The fact is that while warming up to playing against the Clippers, Oakley walked over to the other side of the floor and punched Jeff McInnis in the head.

    The rumor part is that Jeff either knowingly or unknowingly had hooked up with one of Oakley ladies.

    It was never told as Oakley’s girlfriend, always some version of “one of.”  Even better was the fact, in the rumor, that it didn’t matter if Jeff knew about Oak or not.  Showing no sympathy like a pain toll collector, McInnis still had to suffer the consequences.

    The Lesson:   Check around before you get down.

18. From: Steve Francis and Cuttino Mobley

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    The Story:  Franchise and Cat became fast friends when the rookie Francis joined second year Mobley on the Rockets.  When Houston found it time to part with Francis, they even traded Mobley with him.

    The Orlando Magic didn’t feel they needed both of them, so they traded Cuttino to the Sacramento Kings later that year.  Upon finding out, Francis was very distraught and said, among other things: “Him not being here is going to be tough for me.  I don’t know what I’m going to wake up for.”

    The Lesson:   There is a line where friendship ends and…well, moving on.

17. From: Michael Jordan and Carmelo Anthony

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    The Story:  Both were said to be sure things when they were in the draft.  Both owned NCAA championships.  Both were drafted third.

    You can defend both not being No. 1.  Olajuwon and LeBron were both freaks of nature no one could pass on.  But No. 2?

    The Lesson:   Never, ever, ever pass up a sure thing.

16. From: James Edwards, Robert Parish, John Salley

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    The Story:  Thanks to Phil Jackson calling on each of them at the end of their careers they have an additional championship to their credit.

    With John Salley, this happened twice.  His last two years he won championships with Jackson, the second after he spent two years retired.

    The Lesson:   Always answer when opportunity knocks.

15. From: Jim McIvaine

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    The Story:  McIvaine averaged 2.1 blocks per season for the Washington Bullets while playing around 15 minutes a game.

    The Seattle Supersonics then signed him to a big contract with their eye on the five blocks per game he would get playing 40 minutes a game.  They tried.  He still got two.  Back to 15 MPG.

    The Lesson:   Not all things are scalable.

14. From: Antoine Walker, Charles Barkley

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    The Story:  Both Chuck and Antonie have lost millions of dollars gambling over the years.

    Walker gets the poll position based being tossed from a casino and filing bankruptcy, no doubt the gambling got out of hand.

    The Lesson:   If you can’t stop, you have an addiction and need to seek help.

13. From: Daryl Dawkins

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    The Story:  Dawkins was a big man, but his mouth helped him become even bigger.

    He didn’t just break backboards, he became Chocolate Thunder.  Dawkins didn’t just electrify you with a monster dunk, he dubbed it.  From the “Rim Wrecker” to the “In-Your-Face-Disgrace” Dawkins always announced he was there. On the court he wasn't a legend but off the court everyone has heard of him if you are a b-ball nut. Just youtube his Wheaties commericial for a crash course.

    The Lesson:   Style points count.

12. From: Rick Fox

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    The Story:  The Lakers and Kings had a bitter rivalry in the early ‘00s.  When Rick Fox and Doug Christie came to blows on the court it was quickly broken up.

    Not satisfied, Fox ran through the home tunnel around the backstage to the visitor’s tunnel to get another shot at Christie as he left the game.He even fought with Christie's wife.

    The Lesson:   There is always another way to accomplish your goals.

11. From: Gilbert Arenas

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    The Story:  He fired off his fingers as guns in a huddle, while being investigated for having guns in the locker room. He faked an injury and then really got injured. And he has pretty much lost all credibility in Washington. Now his stock is at an all time low and John Wall is the star in town.

    The Lesson:   Everyone reaches a point when it's time to grow up.

10. From: Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, and Even Shaq

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    The Story:  With money and fame comes ego.  Ego can lead you in some very bad directions.

    I’ve listened to more bad rap music made by NBA players than I have seen bad TV moments where someone “street” struck the “rap pose.”  Stick with what you’re good at. Shaq was okay, Kobe was awful and Iverson was scary and awful. And umm, Artest?

    The Lesson:   Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

9. From: Michael Jordan

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    The Story:  MJ is widely considered the best basketball player ever.  Yet, he won’t win any parent of the year awards.

    While being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame Jordan said to his kids about his greatness, “I’d hate to be you guys.”

    The Lesson:   You can definitely be too competitive for your own good.

8. From: Dr. J, Iceman, Magic, Popeye Jones, Kenny “Sky” Walker

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    The Story:  The first three you know by their nickname alone.

    The last two, if you remember them, would you without their nickname?

    The Lesson:   Strong branding elevates every product.

7. From: Michael Olowokandi

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    The Story:  If you’ve watched VH1’s Basketball Wives you’ve wondered two things:

    Do they really not understand what the word wife mean?

    He’s no prize, but Kandi Man couldn’t do better than that?

    The Lesson:   Fame + Money doesn’t = Hot Girlfriend. Really simple math but as reliable as the Pythagorean theorem. And I don't even know what the hell that is.

6. From: Karl Malone and Joakim Noah

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    The Story:  Decades apart, but it’s like they bought their suits at the same shop.  Hell, I want their money back.

    It’s hard to take either one of them too serious, off the court, after being introduced to them at the NBA Draft.

    The Lesson:   You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

5. From: Nick Van Exel

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    The Story:  Nick Van Exel is now seen as one of the best second round gems of the modern era, but coming into the draft he was seen as a definite 1st rounder.

    Rumor of what happened: Nick was said to be bad teammate, because when asked what he thought of his teammate Corie Blount also in the draft, Nick answered he thought he was a career backup/role player.  If true he would be right, but Corie went in the first round.

    The Lesson:   Being too honest is a bad thing.

4. From: James “Flight” White

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    The Story:  James White didn’t last very long in the NBA, yet he made an impression at dunk contests during high school and college.

    This impression was so strong that even though he wasn’t in the league, he was still an option for dunk contest in NBA2K series.

    The Lesson:   Do something spectacular and folks will remember you. Even if your parents barely do.

3. From: Kobe Bryant

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    The Story:  Kobe’s…um…situation a few years back…led to one certain thing: keeping your wife and family after you have to admit cheating on television is not cheap.

    Four million dollar ring.  Four.  Million.  For a ring.  Do you how many houses that is?  That’s a block, both sides, in some parts of the country.  Damn.

    The Lesson:   Don’t cheat, it’s expensive.

2. From: Charles Oakley

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    The Story:  Here is my favorite NBA rumor: Tyrone Hill and Charles Oakley rolled some dice, and Hill lost 54K.  Hill didn’t pay, said it was for fun.

    Oakley didn’t share that opinion.  Later, if Oakley came to town, Hill left town.  If they played, he was sick and couldn’t be at the arena.  Eventually Hill paid up.

    During an NBA on NBC broadcast the story was danced around, but they asked Oak if the situation was squashed.

    Oak said things weren’t cool, that was in the game and after the game is life, and everything in life is double.  If he wasn’t paid 118K (I know) he wasn’t paid.

    The Lesson:   Everything in life is double.

1. From: Delonte West.

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    The Story:  Everyone knows he has a bad temper. He has fought with teammates and he is on meds. He has carried guns around in guitar cases while riding on motorcycles. So he's a little off. But the only story that no once can ever sign off on, is the Mom story of a certain King.

    The Lesson:   Dude, everyone has to follow basic guy rules. Everybody.

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