NBA Draft Recaps 1989-91

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Am I recalling correctly that some type of emotional condition happened with Pervis Ellison - a depression, a social anxiety disorder -  'cause if there's ever been a number one overall pick who looked more downcast, it eludes me. Ellison's downright glum after taken by the Kings. And his picture has scratches on it -- okay, there's a thing Turner did with the insert photos of the guys with this draft - they had these cat scratches on them, like the cast of In Living Color was getting drafted (who goes third in that draft? Carrey/Foxx are 1-2 given future events, I guess Damon has to go third, right? Particularly if you also get his boy, like he were a thoroughbred.  

-Everyone's got hats! Hats! Glorious hats! Hats began to pop up the year before, but now, every pick, handed a hat - look at all the hats! Shiny Arsenio Hall suits and aerodynamic haircuts are starting to emerge. The 90s are coming!

-Bob Neal just compared the NBA draft to a political convention, because the fun part is "seeing who is going to get nominated next." Bob Neal has clearly never attended a political convention.

-Randy White is Mailman II, in case you were unaware. He comes from a small town, he went to LaTech, he has similar size/speed numbers and similar senior year statistics. He even worked out with Malone's trainer! He's almost a clone! If White had an extra 14,000 rebounds and knocked up a 13 year old girl he'd be going to the hall of fame too.


That convention metaphor apparently percolated in Neal's head all year as he opened up with it in '90, the NBA Draft is like a convention because you're "not exactly sure how it's all going to turn out." I'm trying to imagine Bob Neal on his couch watching a political convention, "It's gonna be Dukakis! They're gonna go with Dukakis! Over-rated! Over-rated! Clap-clap-clapclapclap."

-Rick Barry just called this the Top Gun draft. Is it filled with latent homosexuality punctuated by an appearance by then do-able Meg Ryan? Will the Heat take Rick Rossovich in the 2nd? If Derrick Coleman and Snapper Jones burst into You Lost Than Loving Feeling then it's all going to make sense.

(Meg Ryan raises the possibility of two separate lists - celebrities who you once wanted to sleep with but now no longer do - or celebrities who you still would sleep with just because they're famous, like you were a 20 year old girl nailing Jimmy Page in 2009.  I'm gonna say...Meg Ryan's on the second list.)

-Jones grabs Gary Payton's earring, says Charles Barkley has an earring and that means GP might be a good leader. Raises more questions than it answers. An analyst wouldn't touch a ballplayer's ear bling today; and it's good to note that in 1990 seeing a ballplayer with an earring was enough of a curiosity that its taken note of. I wonder when that happened with tattoos - Rodman's the start of that right - Rodman got the tattoos and it was framed as a sign of his emotional instability, and now there's more ink on the average NBA court than in the entire back catalog of Hi and Lois strips.

-Denver takes the artist formerly known as Chris Jackson. It was near the end of the 95-96 season when he made his national anthem protest; that was the end of his 6th year with the Nuggets, in that year he had career highs in ppg, apg, minutes, and steals/gm - the following year he was a part timer in Sacramento and never started even one more game after that. There's only one type of political speech allowed in American sports, and that is God Bless The Greatest Country on the Face of the Earth; God's Chosen Country, America! You stand for the patriotic song and you remove your hat and don't even think about going to get a hot dog in the 7th inning stretch at Yankee Stadium! If you don't stand here and recognize that God Blesses America you get out of this (partially publicly subsidized) stadium. (edit, completely coincidentally, I just heard the podcast from Dan Patrick's radio show today; he and Rich Eisen talked about not only this topic, but of the specific example of Abdul-Rauf getting his house burned down after his anthem protest. In other places, I've acknowledged my fundamental bafflement that someone could construe the United States of America as requiring compelled political speech, and would be moved to burn down someone's house if not getting that political speech from another. Patrick/Eisen were talking about Jim Brown's criticism of Tiger Woods in the recent Real Sports piece - their take was it's not the 60s anymore and sports fans don't want politics mixing with sports. The analysis is wrong on every level. Sports and politics always mix. National anthems, subsidized stadiums, shows of establishment support like politicians throwing out first balls - shows of military force like the Blue Angels, shows of support for military actions are regularly requested at stadiums, American flag pins are still worn by the CBS NFL pregame crew on Sundays, the corporate hegemony in American life is upheld as good and right and beyond question - sports are drenched in politics, the messages are just so ubiquitous that we don't take note of them. 70,000 people all being compelled to stand as one and salute the state flag is a political act; we don't do it before movies, we don't do it at concerts; we don't do it at the comedy club - we do it at sporting events and it's done without question. And in the 60s the same type of sports fan who would hate an athlete who was outspoken politically today hated the athletes who were outspoken then - it's instructive to read the contemporaneous articles on Bill Russell - or on the Smith/Carlos protest. Muhammad Ali was not beloved hero to all; he was the most polarizing figure in the history of American sport. But he wasn't just hated - he was also beloved - and that's what the sports media misses - yes, there is a sports fan (and maybe most of them) who would hate a high profile activist athlete, a real counterculture, anti-establishment political voice in the Jim Brown tradition - but, just like the 60s, there is a not insignificant number who yearn to hear something more substantive from a hero than "buy my shoes." In a classroom lesson I'll often say something like "the most important thing I need you to get from today is______." If there's one thread that runs through my thought about sports and politics - it's that what mainstream media calls political is only a fraction of what is actually political - the far more constant, pervasive, insistent political messages embedded in sport are the ones hidden in plain sight.) 

-Dennis Scott says he's going to give Orlando "100% every night even if it's cold or hot."

Have to admire that kind of postal service like commitment to his craft.

-Has there ever been a more cartoonish, over the top looking heel than Dwayne Shintzius? I'm half expecting him to get drafted by Cobra Kai. On a totally unrelated note, Mike Awesome really meant to kill himself, right? It wasn't an autoerotic asphyxiation thing like David Carradine and Karl Malden?


-I would have made the Owens/Richmond deal too. Now, I was 20 and had the mancrush on all-court big men, as earlier noted - so it's understandable if I was blinded by the Billy Owens pyrite. Nellie didn't have any of those excuses. 

-'Member how UNLV was everything that was wrong with everything? The ultimate poster kids for a dirty, tainted program?

"We decided we wanted to stay to get our degrees"

-Stacey Augmon, talking about the UNLV seniors.

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