by A.J. Coltrane
1. I used to own part of a Sonics season ticket package. At one time or another, I saw almost every great player of the last fifteen years play against the Sonics.
But never Shaquille O’Neal. Because Shaq almost never made the Portland/Seattle trip, usually citing a minor, probably ficticious, injury. It got to the point where I never requested the Lakers tickets. I’d go see LeBron instead, thanks.
2. Last year the Spurs kept Tim Duncan and other stars out of a game in Miami, which prompted a $250,000 fine from the league:
Popvich’s decision to send Duncan, Parker, Ginobili and Danny Greene home instead of having them play for the second game of a back-to-back Nov. 19 in Miami created a stir around the league. It was the finale of a six-game road trip, finishing with four games in five days. The Spurs did not give the NBA or Miami prior notice of the players’ absences, which led the NBA to fine San Antonio $250,000.
The Spurs have done stuff like that pretty much forever, just not at that scale. Naturally, some nitwit lawyer who purchased tickets on the secondary market decided to sue, though the lawsuit eventually was dismissed.
3. Curiously enough, the Spurs were scheduled to play a game in Mexico City on Wednesday. I’d say that was absolutely a case of NBA commissioner David Stern throwing his dick around. “Blow off a game in Miami? Great! Here’s one in Mexico!” I think it’s fair to say that neither the Spurs nor the Minnesota Timberwolves were very exited about the prospect.
Both teams *and* David Stern flew down to Mexico, but an electrical fire filled the arena with smoke and caused the game to be rescheduled for a later date in Minnesota.
That leaves a couple of ridiculous conspiracy angles.
I. The Spurs were somehow responsible for the fire:
No game in Mexico. The game was intended to further globalize NBA basketball, and a lot of that good press went to waste. Stern would be pissed about that. Plus, he wasted a plane flight down there and a day or two of his own time! All of that negotiation and preparation down the tubes! Nobody tells the Spurs what to do!
II. David Stern was somehow responsible for the fire:
David Stern makes the Spurs fly down to Mexico, then fly back having accomplished nothing. The game will be shoehorned later into the season when the Spurs will need the rest even more. David Stern always gets the last laugh!
And now, here’s the 2nd most famous Zapruder film of all time: