DA's Morning Tip
Morning Tip Mailbag: Your questions on All-Star snubs, LeBron James' future and more
See if you can guess where Hadi and I part company. From Hadi Sabaa:
I have always admired your column, as well as you never-ending zealousness to defend what you see as injustice, regardless of whether or not it is NBA or even basketball related. You have, on numerous occasions pointed out to perceived inequality in say, the number of GMs of color in the NBA. Or the number of coaches of color. The other day I heard Stephen A. Smith on ESPN mention that it is highly plausible that by the end of this NBA season, only two coaches of color would be coaching in the NBA (Dwayne Casey and Nate McMillan).
And here is where I think I have an issue. I am all for pointing out any injustice. And I am all for doing everything possible to make things right. However, lamenting the fact that not enough people of color are active NBA coaches or GMs seems to me as completely illogical. Now, if you wanted to point out that say, David Fizdale is not coaching while he is one heck of a coach! I understand that. Ditto for Lionel Hollins and Mark Jackson. I have no problem with that. You would be making the case for individual people (regardless of skin color). But do we really need to maintain some sort of an unwritten quota of NBA coaches or GMs based on skin color? The entire movement of the 1960s was to create equality, not necessarily leading to quotas, but rather, to make sure everybody gets a fair chance.
Think about it this way: why do people not complain that there are way more black players than white in the NBA? Well, I think because African Americans are genetically wired to be generally more athletic. So it makes sense. Now, does that mean that we have many more white NBA coaches because white people are smarter and better motivators? ABSOLUTELY NOT. But it might so happen that at a point in time, the ratio of white people who are better qualified to be NBA coaches is higher than people of color. The ratio might change later.
I understand your point that it cannot be that among 30 NBA coaches and 30 GMs, the ratio of qualified black coaches has historically been so low for so long in a game has historically had way more black players than white. However, I think that if you, and others, make the case for particular individuals who should be NBA coaches or GMs because of expertise as opposed to making the case for people of color in general, the ratio of NBA coaches/GMs/whatever occupation of one skin color to the other will take care of itself.
I have no problem in having 30 black coaches. Nor do I have a problem in having 30 of any other ethnicity. I do have a problem, however, in maintaining some sort of an unwritten quota because this will only lead to injustice in terms of “hey, was this guy/lady chosen simply because of his/her skin color?”. And I have a problem with GMs preferring one candidate over another simply to maintain that quota and not be bashed for his choice even if he was objective in his choice. Should it not be purely based on merit?
“…African-Americans are genetically wired to generally be more athletic”? That sounds like something out of The Bell Curve, Hadi. I mean, I sucked at everything I tried on a field or court. Did I not get the proper wiring at birth? But, leaving that aside (somehow), I don’t know how else to point out that people of color aren’t represented in numbers off the court that reflect their numbers on the court than to say just that. It goes without saying that David Fizdale, specifically, is qualified for a coaching job.
It has to continue to be said that, generally, black men don’t get as many opportunities to coach, or be executives, or team doctors, or capologists, or whatever else you’ve got on the non-playing side, as white men do. I’m not certain how else you can get the point across.
In 2015, a writer/blogger named April Reign created the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite on Twitter to decry the lack of nominations in almost all of the key categories at the Academy Awards for anyone of color. The hashtag went viral, and started a movement that brought attention not only to the lack of people of color who were being nominated, but the lack of people of color doing the nominating. And it had an impact. There’s still a long, long way to go, but there were a lot more black people nominated for Oscars for their work in the last couple of years. And it wasn’t by accident.
Reign didn’t say, “why doesn’t someone recognize the outstanding range of Octavia Spencer with a Best Supporting Actress nod in her next movie?” She said #OscarsSoWhite. Everyone got the message.
And then, we could have the snubbed players vote for players they thought got snubbed, and so on, and so on … From Remo Gana:
I‘m always reading about All-Stars that get snubbed during the All-Star Game selection. One of the solutions they thought of (I think last year) was to have the players vote themselves. I would like to extend this suggestion to allow players to vote those that they think got snubbed during the selection process. Then let the All-Stars (selected by fans) and the snubbeds (selected by fellow players) duke it out. I think this will make for a more competitive All-Star Game. It will limit the players selected by fans though. Perhaps the fans can determine the selection of up to 20 players to address it.
I don’t know, Remo: I think the current system is just fine. We can’t make everyone happy. The whole point of the All-Star Game is to recognize the absolute best players in the league in a given season, not them and some others who may or may not have been quite on their level. Let’s just leave it lie with 24 players for now. I like changing the format to basically get rid of the conferences. The next step … well, you know what I think the next step should be.
This would quality as bold. From Ed Nasser:
I see all the discussion on who to trade for to keep James happy. If I owned the Cavs I would be asking James where we could trade him and get a king’s ransom for him. Sign Isaiah Thomas, we’d still have Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson, plus the Brooklyn pick and could start a rebuild. No way James is coming back next year and my guess he would love to join Houston or OKC. James is 33, but the organization probably doesn’t have the guts to do what is really the best for the Cavs’ future.
Well, that would be an interesting phone call, Ed. There’s no way it would happen here on Earth I, but it would be interesting.
Send your questions, comments and refusals to compromise when you know what looks good on you to firstname.lastname@example.org. If your e-mail is funny, thought-provoking or snarky, we just might publish it!
(Last week’s averages in parenthesis)
1) James Harden (25.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 9.3 apg, .405 FG, .750 FT): Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
2) Kevin Durant (20.7 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 9 apg, .447 FG, .846 FT): One gets the feeling that there will be a lot of Durant cameos, gratis, in Two Buck Chuck commercials in the near future.
3) LeBron James (26.3 ppg, 9 rpg, 10.7 apg, .527 FG, .750 FT): Dubious Quad, which sounds like a garage band, for James in Friday’s win over Indiana.
4) Kyrie Irving (30 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 5 apg, .569 FG, .867 FT): Watching Irving duel with Steph Curry Saturday night, it’s easy to see why Irving wanted, so desperately, to be out of LeBron’s shadow. That was fun.
5) DeMar DeRozan (17.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 6.3 apg, .429 FG, .778 FT): Later that night, he bent a steel post outside Air Canada Centre in half with his angry thoughts.
BY THE NUMBERS
15 — Consecutive losses by Sacramento in Miami dating back to 2001, a streak that the Kings ended Thursday at American Airlines Arena with a one-point win over the Heat on De’Aaron Fox’s last-second putback dunk. The Kings’ last win on South Beach came on Nov. 10, 2001, when Peja Stojakovic went for 22 in a 90-75 Sacramento win.
9 — Consecutive wins for the Oklahoma City franchise over the Wizards in Oklahoma City, dating back to 2008, when the Thunder was in Seattle and called the SuperSonics (sniff).
292 — Points needed by Sacramento’s Vince Carter to hit the 25,000-point mark in his career. Carmelo Anthony became the 22nd member of the 25K club on Saturday. If Carter reaches the mark, he’d be the oldest player (41, as of this morning) to ever do so.
I’M FEELIN’ …
1) See: even LeBron and Steph agree. Televise the 2019 All-Star player Draft!
2) While DeMarcus Cousins’s season-ending Achilles’ injury is shattering to the Pelicans in the short run, I still see New Orleans and the big man coming together quickly this summer on a long-term deal. May not be for the max, and the Pelicans may ask for partial guarantees at the back end. But they need him and he likes them (“the first thing he said was ‘coach, I’m sorry. I still want to make the playoffs,’ Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry relayed Saturday from New Orleans), and the partnership has gone more than well enough to continue.
To me, this plays out like the Danny Manning situation in 1995, when the Phoenix Suns and Manning had, as teams and agents like to put it so they don’t get fined, discussed concepts and parameters of a long-term deal that would follow the one-year, $1 million deal Manning signed for the 1994-95 season in Phoenix, all the team could afford that year under the cap. Manning tore his ACL in February, 1995, but the Suns honored their, uh, concepts and parameters and still gave Manning a six-year, $40 million deal in the summer of ’95 while he was in the midst of rehabbing. Besides, Cousins’ game has never been about speed or hops, traits that are often laid low after an Achilles’ injury. He will have to be laser-focused on staying in shape, to be sure. But he’s just 27, not 34 (Kobe’s age when he tore his Achilles’ in 2013), 35 (Chauncey Billups, 2012) or 32 (Dominique Wilkens, 1992).
3) Beyond happy to see Vin Baker join the Bucks’ coaching staff, under interim coach Joe Prunty for the rest of the season. Baker’s past with alcoholism, which occurred while he was a player, is well-known, because he’s been candid and up front about it. But that hasn’t defined him since he retired; he’s worked his way back to being productive, both as an analyst for the Bucks’ games on TV and as a purveyor of fine coffee products.
NOT FEELIN’ …
1) In a business filled with indecent people, Henry Thomas stood out, an agent with humanity and class who never overstated either his clients’ value or his own. That he was one of the best at what he did only drove that point home. Finding out that Henry passed over the weekend was horrible, and for those who knew him best, like Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and Michael Finley and Udonis Haslem, it must be an especially hard morning. Sympathies to them and to Henry’s family, starting with his wife, Susan, and all that worked for and with him over the years. We’ll miss him.
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Dear Hank, I’m writing this letter to you as i cry both tears of SADNESS and tears of JOY. I know— i know—i can hear your voice saying “Come on my man”you got this! I can picture your face and feel your hugs in so—so many moments in my life. Whether it’s you hugging me and saying how proud you are of me or congrats on winning a NBA championship or you hugging me and saying everything’s gonna be alright—we will get thru this. I can’t thank you enough for these last 15 years. You should be so proud of the job you did on this young misguided kid from Chicago. I was a young 21 when we met and i needed a Man’s love. My dad and i had things to work out and i was leaving my father figure Coach Crean—so you stepped in right away and became that MAN i desperately needed. I hate saying my “agent” because you have always been way more than that to me. I cry these tears because selfishly i wanted you to be there when i got my jersey retired or when i gave my hall of fame speech or when i had a daughter. I got so many questions on how to raise a strong, confident, intelligent, independent black woman. I hope you don’t mind but i will still be calling on you for guidance. I love you Henry(Hank)Thomas—THANK YOU for loving me right back. Be at peace—We( your family)got this!!! Your son Dwyane!
2) There is so much to unpack at Michigan State, but there’s nothing that can fill the hole in so many created by the school simply not caring. Not caring enough when numerous women reported to school officials and representatives over the years that one of the school’s employees was using the university’s grounds as a staging area to carry out his own personal depravities on minors and barely-legal young women. Not caring enough about the numerous young women who said they were assaulted and abused by members of the football and basketball teams over the years for the athletic department and administrators up to and including the president of the university to step in, demand accountability and terminate those who would not bring it. Not caring enough about the people who were being harmed for a member of the university’s Board of Trustees to act not mortified at the behavior of the convicted, but sound annoyed that anyone had brought it up, and to issue tone deaf platitudes for that president, who finally had the good sense to resign last week as woman after woman stood in a courtroom not too far away from the school to tell the world exactly what happened to them at the hands of that predator on the grounds of that school, and other places in the claustrophobic world of world-class gymnastics. It is shameful. And no one currently on MSU’s Board of Trustees should still be on that board a year from now.
3) All due respect to Paul George, but I’m Team Lou Williams to replace Cousins on the All-Star roster.
4) No doubt, this bit of never-posited-before information required a $6 million grant from the Chubb Foundation to confirm.
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