All of us at one time or another must live with something we said that is detrimental to our reputation, our being, our personage.
For instance, I, still to this day, am living with the horror of one time muttering at the top of my lungs, "'Weekend at Bernie's' is one of the comedy classics of all time."
It's because I live with such pure outrage at myself that I can't seem to forget -- much less forgive -- the words once uttered by Patrick Ewing, words that forever will stick with me as the essence of the modern NBA player, words that rolled off his tongue so easily and guiltlessly that one has to wonder what planet he is from.Words that remind me there was a book written recently that was titled, "Men are from Mars, women are from Venus and Patrick Ewing is from Uranus." The words Patrick Ewing besieged us with were these: "NBA players make a lot of money. But they spend a lot of money, too." I can feel the steam rising off my computer as I type -- either that, or the water from the leak in my roof from all this damn rain in Seattle is dripping into my keyboard. Now let me get this straight, just so we don't have any confusion: "NBA players make a lot of money. But they spend a lot of money, too." And yet, Patrick Ewing is getting comped Gold Bucks at the Gold Club strip joint in Atlanta. I can see that. So was Patrick saying he gets a lot of counterfeit money and spends it at strip joints, or was he saying he makes a lot of real money and spends it at strip joints? Patrick is making what, $18 million a year? Why is it you need to get comped anything when you are making $18 million a year? Has anybody calculated how long it would take to get $18 million worth of lap dances? Apparently, not as long as it has taken Patrick to come back from his Achilles injury. Which begs the question: Are lap dances Patrick's Achilles' heel? From all those strippers sitting on Patrick's lap, I'm surprised he doesn't have bruised tendons in his thighs -- or at least a little chafing. And there's all this talk about Patrick being a warrior. The only warrior that should be used in the same sentence with Patrick is Xena, the Warrior Princess, who was probably giving Patrick a lap dance between takes of her show. (Wasn't Xena one of the party chicks in 'Weekend at Bernie's'?) I can't believe New Yorkers actually consider this guy a hero, giving him a standing ovation when he comes back to play in the Garden, supporting him each and every time he missed one of his first 14 shots. The guy suddenly is not kowtowed to by his teammates in the fashion that he feels is forthcoming for somebody of his standing -- or, in this case, sitting -- for a lap dance -- and now he wants a trade. I can understand why New Yorkers love him.
But then, I saw enough of New York in the NBA Finals last season to realize there are, to steal a line from Doug E. Fresh, 8 million idiots in the Naked City. They fully supported Latrell Sprewell, so why shouldn't they wholeheartedly support Patrick?(Here is a somewhat funny side story from my week in New York, a night which actually originally got me harping on the city. So I'm walking down Lexington Avenue with my friend Bill Evans -- who is now George Karl's media lackey in Milwaukee -- one night after dinner in the Village, tripping over an endless line of garbage bags on the sidewalk and watching the rats drag race up and down the street with the taxi cabs. We are walking past a Bennigans, where people were sitting at the bar drinking beer, when I casually say to Bill, "With all the great places to go in New York, why the hell would you ever go to Bennigans for a beer?"
We walk about 10 more feet -- in which distance I tripped over six garbage bags, a homeless person and won $10 on the rat in the outside lane -- when Bill remarks, "I was thinking the same thing. But then I thought, 'Hey, I like beer.' Then I thought, 'And I'm kind of thirsty.' Then I thought, 'Why not go in to Bennigans and quench my thirst?'"
So we did. And you know what? Beer at Bennigans tastes just as good as beer at Tavern on the Green, and it's way less expensive.)Which shouldn't matter to Patrick Ewing, because even though NBA players make a lot of money, they spend a lot of money, too. Kudos to Larry
I have to give credit to Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller. When I was in Salt Lake City last Friday, Miller denied my Fouled Out column last week that he was going to sell the team when the Karl Malone-John Stockton era is over. (As a side note here, Malone's agent, Dwight Manley, said he thinks Stockton will sign one more contract when his is up after next season, tying his retirement to that of Malone's.) Anyway, I fully expected Miller's denial. If he did not, how much support would he get from a fan base that knows its owner is taking the money and running, as it were? All he has to do is deny it now, and then if he does indeed sell it in a few years, simply say he had a change of mind, or he got an offer he couldn't refuse, or he could no longer afford to support a team that was losing money. Something to that effect. In denying the story, though, Miller, as well as public relations director Dave Allred, went on the local radio station before the game and called me an "irresponsible journalist" who never bothered to even call him. Miller then went on Fox Sports at halftime of the game and made the same accusation. At which point I had to confront Miller and point out to him I had, in fact, called his secretary, who failed to pass on the message. Miller did some checking, found out what I told him was true, then went back to those same media outlets and corrected his statements. He then waited for me after the game and apologized several times for calling me irresponsible. I don't know Larry Miller well enough to know whether he was telling me the truth about selling the team or not. But I do know there are probably 28 other owners in this league who would show neither the courtesy nor respect to issue an apology -- much less several apologies -- to a reporter. So kudos to Larry Miller, for being a down-to-earth, good guy in a league where bloated egos and fat wallets mean there are very few around. Last lap
And now back to my cynicism. I don't mean to punch holes in agent Eric Fleisher's lawsuit claiming that promises of dating models were used to lure some of his clients away from his firm and into a start-up firm, but if you've ever been around an NBA locker room, you would know how ridiculous this sounds. Listen, it's no secret that the NBA is the most groupie-oriented league in professional sports. And let me tell you, many of these groupies are fine-looking women. Some of them would put most models to shame, and most players don't even have to work to get a date with them. So to think players would be enticed to jump agencies just because they were promised a date with a "model" is just plain stupid. Unless the models were giving lap dances. Frank Hughes covers the NBA for the Tacoma (Wash.) News-Tribune. He is a regular contributor to ESPN.com.