My phone rings. It’s Chucko. “You read the MX today?” The MX is a free Melbourne newspaper that you usually read on the train. It’s 6pm, I’m still at work, so no I haven’t read it. “See what they said about Donaghy?” I wasn’t aware but I felt a bitter rant coming from a Suns fan who still feels screwed over knowing Donaghy’s involvement in that Spurs series last year (and rightly so). “They reckon, and this is a direct quote, that Donaghy’s ability to accurately referee games has no connection to his compulsive gambling condition. Ha! I mean, what the f–k is that!” That quote did sound a bit strange, but I looked it up and its true. A New York gambling treatment counselor made that comment about Donaghy, and the more I think about it the more ridiculous it sounds.
“His ability to accurately referee games has no connection to his compulsive gambling condition”. Ahhh, are we sure about that? Doesn’t his gambling condition cause him to bet on games he’s refereeing, thereby affective his ability to call things accurately? I know Tim Donaghy is a massive idiot, we’re all clear on that now. But is he idiotic enough to bet on his own games and then keep reffing in a completely unbiased fashion? If he’s put money on the Spurs and there’s a 50-50 call, do you think maybe, just maybe, he’ll be leaning in the Spurs favour? Isn’t that the whole freaking point of what he was trying to do?!
We will know tomorrow if Donaghy will go to jail and for how long. There has been lots of talk about how Donaghy’s cooperation with federal agents and prosecutors will lessen his sentence, but I sure hope they don’t go too soft. He needs to be made an example of. He violated the most sacred trust in the game – the trust that every player and fan has that the games are being refereed in the most impartial and accurate way possible. I sure as hell don’t think about NBA refs in the same way since the Donaghy story broke. The sentence handed out tomorrow goes a long way towards the NBA’s healing process in the wake of this ugly mess. Will be interested to see what happens.
Now on to more serious and pressing matters. I get home tonight to see this headline at ESPN.com:
Dumars: Brown agrees to two-year deal with Pistons
A few things went through my head when I glanced at this headline. “Dumars: Brown” – the last time I saw those two names together was when Larry Brown was our coach. Has Michael Curry inexplicably been axed before he even started? Has ‘ol Pound for Pound returned to Motown? I highly doubted it. The headline still didn’t make sense though, and I started to worry. Is Dee Brown making a comeback? Is it possible we signed PJ Brown until he’s 47? Did we get Devin Brown? Oh my God tell me we didn’t sign Devin Brown. Recent memories of Dumars echoing “You can rest assured we’re not asking for the second- or third-best player on those teams…” I did a quick mental check. I confirmed my suspicions – I don’t know any Browns that are the star player on their team. There aren’t any. After what seemed like an eternity (but was in reality more like four seconds) I clicked on the link. I read the first sentence and nearly passed out…
“Kwame Brown’s search for another fresh start is taking him back to the Eastern Conference”.
No. That can’t be right. Not Kwame. No fresh start, not in Detroit, please. No way. Not Joe Dumars. Not after the Darko debacle. This can’t be happening. NOOOO!!!
I read the rest of the article stunned. It didn’t make sense. Two hours later it still doesn’t. It’s weird. I used to like Kwame. I honestly used to like him. I distinctly remember back in ‘01 or ‘02 (whichever one was MJ’s second season with the Wiz) when Kwame had a monster of a pre-season. He had a game where he went 20 points, 10 rebounds and 8 blocks, and to make things better (for a Ben Wallace fan) he picked out his afro and finally started to look like a menacing dude. That turned out to be false hopes – he was decent that season, but he still clearly sucked. When he ended up with the Lakers I thought it would be tough for him. I read stories about how MJ treated him with the Wiz and I feared Kobe would do a similar thing – destroy his fragile confidence even more. By the way if you haven’t heard those stories go read “Nothing Else Matters“, a book about MJ’s final comeback. It paints a fairly brutal picture of MJ, and puts the man we call GOAT in a very different light.
Anyway, there came a point where I started to like Kwame again in LA. Probably around when they were giving the Suns a handful in the ‘06 playoffs and it was partly due to Kwame Brown. Phil Jackson always rated him defensively, and I always thought he was just trying to be nice and make up for Kwame’s complete lack of ability. But during that series I saw it. Kwame Brown gave the Lakers a presence, and while his numbers never showed it, he actually plugged the middle fairly well and gave Jackson a big body to work with. He also has one of my favourite dunks of the past few years, this monster on poor Nocioni.
You can tell, I’m trying to be positive here. Bear with me, this is a Pistons fan still in shock. I’d like to think that the Pistons could be the ones to revive Kwame and finally let him live up to his #1 Draft Pick expectations. But seriously, how many times have we heard that? Well, probably three times now. And at this stage of his career Kwame has still basically shown us… nothing. More interesting than the Kwame-to-Detroit move though is the hint at what possible moves there are to come. Detroit are loaded at the big man position with veterans Rasheed Wallace and McDyess, and young guns Jason Maxiell and Amir Johnson. Just yesterday one of my mates told me a rumor that Detroit might send Amir Johnson and Prince to Atlanta for Josh Smith and Speedy Claxton. I don’t know if I’m thrilled at that move, but with Kwame on the scene, I think something involving Amir is quite likely.
So Detroit fans, watch this space.
Everyone else, please no Kwame jokes. I’m still very sensitive at this point.