Athletes, for all intensive purposes, are liars. They lie all of the time. They lie when we know what they really mean (“it’s not about the money, I felt that I could have a better shot at winning a championship in insert name of team that hasn’t seen the playoffs in a decade“). They lie for endorsements, for their image and for their respective teams and leagues (“everyone played hard tonight, we win as a team and lose as a team” – translation, “if that dumbass would have hit all those open shots I gave him tonight we would not be having this conversation”). That is why it is so utterly refreshing when an athlete decides to be brutally honest. And why it is also so disappointing when the media subsequently vilifies them for it instead of really examining the issue.
Today on the Michael Irvin radio show, Dallas Mavericks forward Josh Howard admits that *gasp* he smokes weed in the off season. The same Josh Howard that has been a starter on one of the best teams in basketball the last 5 years, averaged 20 points and 9 boards this season, and made $9.5 mil this year. He spoke candidly about the subject and mentioned what the majority of any non-dense basketball fan knows, that he is not alone in his recreational activity. I applaud Howard for at least being honest about a something that can have a negative stigma attached to it, yet I would venture that a large percentage of the population does or has done. When asked what he will do when the media undoubtedly attacks him and blames any poor play on this statement, he responded by acknowledging that it simply would not be true but he is prepared for that backlash. Dude averaged almost a double-double on a team where he is the 3rd option. It clearly does not adversely affect his play, and he has never failed a drug test so why is this such a big story?
The easy answer is that it is not. But of course the media were all up on this like flies on shit. He was getting blasted from every angle saying that it is illegal, it is irresponsible, how could he possibly say that many other players in the league blaze in the summer time. Nevermind the fact that in 2001 ex-NBA star Charles Oakley said in his estimation 60% of the league smokes. Or in a 2005 study they found that easily at least 30% of the league smokes regularly. Lets not forget that I doubt you know someone who doesn’t smoke regularly or at least smoked a few times in college. It is asinine for people to so blatantly attacking this guy for responding truthfully to a question. Should he probably not have said it, sure, but you can’t straight up label him a villain like King of the Blowhards Stephen A. Smith did on SportsCenter. (Have I mentioned that I think everything that comes out of Stephen A. Smith’s mouth is complete garbage and if he never “analyzed” another basketball game for the rest of my life I might be smarter?)
Way to be true to yourself Josh, if you want to get a little lifted after an 82 game season plus playoffs on your own time, by all means go for it. Fuck you hypocritical media trying to act all high and mighty that this is such a bad thing, or it is so unfair to acknowledge something that only a blind, deaf and dumb person would think doesn’t exist. I love how the talking heads are saying this is so irresponsible because so much of the league is black and so many of its patrons are white and this sets such a bad tone for things. Give me a break and think about something a little bigger than image and the bottom line for a second. Raise your hand if you would be surprised to know that your favorite athlete smoked pot every once in awhile. Wow, no hands raised, imagine that. IF David Stern fines him for this that is only perpetuating a problem instead of rationally and intelligently discussing a legitimate issue not only in professional sports but all aspects of society.
In honor of the NBA playoffs getting started I have decided to pay homage to some of the leagues past, uh, greats. Actually the only thing great about this post is this awesome picture. For those of you who don’t know, Manute Bol has been the tallest (and arguably skinniest and most awkward) player in the league’s history. Muggsy Bogues on the other hand, was the league’s shortest player. (note: I conducted zero research to back up these facts and am just operating under the general understanding that I’m a genius and the Gospel of TurtleDog is infallible). The third member of the band appears to be a stuffed hippo or some other cuddly looking creature. I don’t know if he ever played in the NBA, if he did it was probably for the Bullets because they sucked pretty much every year they didn’t have Wes Unseld, the hippo was really easy to take off the dribble. Enjoy this picture, if it doesn’t make you at least smile you are probably a communist and should have that checked out…Why do you hate America?
The NBA: where incredibly awkward marketing pictures happens!
I laughed out loud at a few of these:
Chris Andersen, the New Orleans Hornets forward known as the “Birdman”, (not to be confused with this Birdman from New Orleans
or even this Birdman)
has officially been reinstated in the NBA by commissioner David Stern.
Andersen was suspended from the NBA in January of 2006 for violating the league’s drug policy and is expected to re-sign with the Hornets to play this season. Wow, tough gig, get suspended for drugs and come back to get paid a few million to play basketball. He wasn’t even suspended for those lame ass performance enhancing drugs that baseball is concerned with, but instead the fun drugs that rockstars do. Although Andersen has never publicly admitted to what he tested positive for, the drugs on the banned list include; methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD, opiates (including heroin, codeine and morphine), and PCP. From the look of him, it was probably some combination of ALL OF THEM, but I guess we will just have to speculate.