07: Seconds or Less - Book excerpts (Marion)

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Around the Suns
An inside look at Phoenix's run-and-gun attack and talented but mercurial forward Shawn Marion


By Jack McCallum, SI.com

SI senior writer Jack McCallum spent last season behind the scenes with the Phoenix Suns. The following is an excerpt from his book :07 Seconds or Less. We pick it up during the first round of the Western Conference playoffs against the Lakers with the series tied 1-1.

Reprinted by permission of Touchstone, an Imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc., NY.

"Around here, 'it's Steve this and Amare' that. What people forget is that I had to adjust my game to different people."
--Suns forward Shawn Marion

The friend Suns assistant coach Phil Weber has brought along to the morning coaches meeting in head coach Mike D'Antoni's suite in the Loews Santa Monica hotel looks familiar. Weber introduces him as "Jim."

It doesn't dawn on me who he is until Mike asks him what film projects he's been working on. "I was gonna say, 'You look like the guy,'" I tell him, "except you are the guy." It's Jim Caviezel, the actor who played, most famously, Jesus in Mel Gibson's controversial The Passion of the Christ. He and Weber met years ago when Weber was working out players at UCLA and Caviezel was an avid pickup player.

"He gets that a lot," says Weber.

"I feel confident now," says assistant coach Alvin Gentry. "Phil Jackson doesn't have Jesus sitting in his meeting."

"Phil's probably got some Eastern guy in a white robe," says assistant Marc Iavaroni. "Advantage, Suns."

The mood changes quickly. The Lakers' 99-93 win in Game 2 two nights earlier in Phoenix had put a dark cast on the series, the presence of the Son of God notwithstanding. Nash had played well with 29 points, but, with the exception of Raja Bell, who had 23, everyone else pretty much disappeared, Shawn Marion most conspicuously. Marion had 13 points (only two in the first half), while the man he was most responsible for checking, Lamar Odom, had an active game, making nine of his 12 shots.

A graver concern is that Marion has gone into the tank, or at least stuck one foot into it, partly because news has leaked out that Steve Nash has won his second straight Most Valuable Player award. Marion legitimately likes Nash, and, at some level, recognizes his greatness. Marion never openly challenges Nash's primacy within the team and seems to have accepted his own role as a kind of vice president. When he is critical of the ways the Suns are playing, he generally leaves Nash out of it. "I could be under the basket by myself and don't nobody pass or want to push the ball," Marion complained to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic late in December. "Steve's the only one pushing it. He can't do it by himself."

Still, Marion sees himself as every bit as valuable to the Suns as Nash, and, further, his people around him, in particular his agent, Dan Fegan, see him the same way. During the regular season, Fegan had lobbied with D'Antoni to include Marion in any MVP conversations with the press. Over the next couple of weeks, D'Antoni did exactly that. Yet voters, taking note of his limited ball-handling skills and inability to get off his own shot, don't see him that way at all -- only one of 127 MVP voters had Marion in their top five.

His delicate psyche is never far from the coaching staff's collective mind. On the one hand, Marion is outwardly confident, cocky even, buying into that wonderful nickname, Matrix, given to him by TNT commentator Kenny Smith early in Marion's rookie year. The special-effects-driven movie was hot then, and "Matrix" was perfect for a player with an uncanny ability to suddenly materialize in the middle of a play (Marion seems to come from nowhere when he makes a steal, grabs a rebound or makes a quick cut to the basket) and leap from a standing start as if he's on a trampoline. Sometimes Marion refers to himself as the Matrix, as if he has bought into the idea that he is a super-hero who defies normal physical laws. His teammates call him "Trix."

On the other hand, Marion lives in a perpetual state of fear that he is being overlooked, underrespected, ignored, dissed, persecuted, singled out, patronized, whatever. He grew testy with Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic when the columnist asked him about past playoff failures. (Specifically, his 7.8 points-per-game average when San Antonio's Bruce Bowen locked him up in last year's Western Conference finals.) Back in January, Marion told reporters that, in regards to the Olympic team, "Jerry hadn't asked me." At that time, stories were beginning to filter out about which players Colangelo was inviting to the summer tryouts in Las Vegas. Marion was clearly upset; Colangelo was clearly stupefied and came over to resolve it at a practice session.

"Do you remember we talked about the Olympic team last May?" said Colangelo. "During the Dallas series?"

"I remember that," says Marion, "but, you know, I read about the formal interviews and stuff going on and we haven't done that."

"All right, Shawn, look at me," says Colangelo. "Are you in?"

"Yep," says Marion, breaking into a smile.

"Good." And they shake hands.

The Colangelos have always been strong supporters of Marion -- it was Bryan who squelched any franchise talk of trading Marion (managing partner Robert Sarver wanted to at least entertain the notion when he took over), and it was Bryan who gave him a contract that pays him $13.8 million this season and about $48.6 million through 2009. That is substantially more than Nash, who on his free-agent deal is getting $9.6 million this season and about $34.2 million through 2009. But Marion's view is that no matter how hard he tries, no matter how completely he fills up a box score with points, rebounds, steals, blocked shots, and assists (well, not assists), he cannot gain traction in an organization and a press corps bent on canonizing Nash and anointing Stoudemire as the next superstar.


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Valuable asset

Even when it works out for Marion... sometimes it doesn't work out. He went through a streak in late February when he was playing at a level equal to anyone in the league, and D'Antoni, speaking sincerely, carried it a step further, saying that "Shawn Marion, right now, is playing the game as well as anybody ever played it." Marion had scored 30 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in four consecutive games when D'Antoni, unaware that he was going for five straight, a milestone never previously reached by any Phoenix player, took him out of a safely won game against Milwaukee. When he realized it, D'Antoni hurried him back in. It was awkward, for Marion and both teams, and he missed two shots and one of two free throws to fall one point short.

All this angst gives Marion a certain joylessness from time to time. He really is a good person who should enjoy the game and life a little more than he does. Before a game in New York on Jan. 2, Gentry was lying on a bench in the locker room, felled by the flu, complaining that he needed something to fill his stomach. As Eddie House waved a bag of greasy chicken fingers over Gentry's nose, Marion said, "See, Alvin, that's what you get when you take three Viagra in one night." Even Gentry laughed.

The day after a home game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Jan. 14, one the Suns had won 115-106, I asked Marion for his thoughts on the game. "Man," he said, "I don't know what it looked like for you guys. But it was a fun, fun game to be in, you know what I mean?"

I did know what he meant. It had been a fun game, an outstanding game, and I was glad that Marion felt that joy. Maybe he feels it more than he shows. A more tender Marion moment came in early February, when, before practice, he suddenly blurted out to his teammates, "I want to thank you all for treating my family nice when they were out here." Marion is extremely close to his mother, Elaine, who was just 14 when she gave birth to Shawn and his fraternal twin, Shawnett. Two children followed, and Elaine worked two jobs to raise them. "She did everything for me," says Marion, who does not speak of his father other than to say that he was "recently released from prison." Whenever D'Antoni gets exasperated with Marion, he usually ends up saying: "But Shawn is such a good guy at heart. A really good guy."

There is also a charming naiveté about Marion. He chows down on Hamburger Helper and doesn't care who knows about it. He's an avid cartoon watcher. He's a little, well, thrifty. He favors Holiday Inn Express when traveling on his own dime. One day we were having a conversation about the advantages of having kids close together and Marion pointed to what he considered the key factor -- the savings on baby clothes. During his annual pilgrimage to Friedman's, the Atlanta shoe store that caters to large-footed jocks, Marion spent thousands of dollars, then complained about the $17 it cost to mail them. One day last year, one of the trainers was thumbing through a luxury car magazine and musing about making a six-figure auto purchase.

"Why don't you just buy it?" asked Marion.

"Shawn, how much money you think I make?"

"I don't know," said Marion. "Two, three hundred thousand?"

(That is reminiscent of the comment made by Darius Miles, a young player for the Portland Trail Blazers, after he heard that a player had been fined $300,000. "My mother would have to work over a year to make that kind of money," said Miles.)

The question is: Does Marion have a point about being treated unfairly?

A minor one, perhaps.

"I mean, damn, I'm doing things in this league nobody else is doing," Marion had told me a couple of days before the Laker series began. "Come on, now give me my respect. I'm not no big man. I'm a basketball player out here doing things at my size that no one else is doing."

Marion has his defenders around the league. "You can say what you want about Nash and Stoudemire, both great players," Indiana Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said during the season, "but Shawn Marion's ability to run the floor at breakneck speed forces you to play their game. He's more important than anybody knows. If you don't run with him, he goes ahead and dunks it. Or somebody has to pick him up who shouldn't be guarding him, like a guard, and that leaves the three-point line open."

Marion's constant complaint is that, at a lean 6-foot-7 and 215 pounds, he is frequently asked to defend against players who are much taller, wider, and more physical. (And though he doesn't mention it -- but is probably thinking it -- the Suns sometimes have to hide Nash on defense.) Marion desperately wants to be known as a "3," a small forward, generally the most athletic player on a team, rather than a "4," a power forward, generally a bigger and slower player. What the coaches want to communicate to Marion is that going against bigger players, filling the power forward spot, is precisely what has made him an All-Star. He can use his speed, quickness, and leaping ability to leave other fours in the dust, whereas, against the typical small forward, some of his athleticism would be negated.

I ask Marion if he's happy in Phoenix. He says he is. He even feels that it was "my destiny to be here." While playing in a junior college tournament in Mesa, Ariz., a decade ago, Marion took a side trip to watch the Suns play and got a chance to take one shot on the court. "It was a three-pointer," says Marion, still smiling at the memory, "and it went in. First NBA three-point shot I ever took. I thought, 'This is where I want to be.'" He was elated when the Suns made him the ninth pick of the 1999 draft.

"But, still, there are certain things I can control, certain things I can't," he says. "The things I'm doing now are the things I've been doing since I've been here, before anybody got here."

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It hurts him that he has never been The Man in Phoenix. Jason Kidd was The Man, then Stephon Marbury was The Man, then Nash became The Man the moment he showed up in the summer of 2004. There have always been other Hamlets, while Marion has been consigned to the role of Rosencrantz or Guildenstern. Worse, Stoudemire, before his injury, seemed to have settled into Second Man status behind Nash, leaving Marion as the Third Wheel.

After he was selected as an All-Star reserve, Marion said, "Ever since I've been in Phoenix, I tried to make myself the face of the Suns on and off the court. That's what it's all about."

But he is not the face of the Suns. Nash and D'Antoni are the dual faces, and, whenever Marion's face appears, Stoudemire's is likely to, also. That drives him crazy. He appreciates Nash and gets along with him, but he doesn't feel the same about Stoudemire.

"Around here, it's Steve this and Amaré that," says Marion. "What people forget is that I had to adjust my game to different people. I had J-Kidd. I had Steph. Now I have Steve. All of them are different. I made the adjustments. You got to give me credit now. Don't overlook that.

"The other thing is, people judge players on points. And I think that's wrong." That is obviously directed toward Stoudemire.

During the season, Marion was angry that his likeness didn't appear among the huge bobblehead dolls in the Suns' team store in the arena -- the featured ones, of course, were of Nash and Stoudemire. During a couple of regular-season games, a drum line of young men performed during timeouts, all wearing replica jerseys of either Nash or Stoudemire. No Marion. He noticed. It sounds trivial to be complaining about that kind of stuff, particularly when you're compensated as a maximum player, but Marion had a point. There is Stoudemire, not even active, clowning around on the bench, and there is Marion trying to defend Odom, and yet Stoudemire gets all the love from the drum line. For all the bravado and posturing in the NBA, it is a breeding ground for insecurity.

Marion is also distressed that he doesn't have more of a national profile, both on and off the court. Stoudemire, in street clothes, got more All-Star fan votes than Marion did this season. Marion's main endorsement is with the Room Store in Phoenix, a deal that supplies him with furniture for his mansion in Scottsdale, and the commercial Marion did for the store loops endlessly on local television. He isn't one of Nike's main men, but he does have a signature sneaker, and his swoosh commercial -- which was quite good; it showed Marion dominating a pickup game while wearing a weighted vest -- ran often during the regular season on national TV. None of the Suns, in fact, Nash and Stoudemire included, are big-time endorsement figures.

Feeling dissed is a common malady in the NBA; the issue is, how does a player react to it? Marion, when feeling undervalued, sometimes gets inspired and sometimes goes into a funk, which is what the staff doesn't want to happen in the remaining games of the series. Two Marion problems had emerged from Game 2. The first is that he wanted to stay, in Iavaroni's words, "hooked" to Odom.

"A certain situation came up in a huddle and I said, 'Okay, Shawn, just switch,'" says Iavaroni. "And he says, 'No, I want to stay on him.'"

That is a frequent problem coaches face when trying to communicate the importance of team defense and shared responsibility. A player might come off his man to double-team or trap another player -- Marion is adept at that part of the game when motivated -- but then get ripped in the press if his man scores a lot of points.

The coaches also have to figure out how to get Marion running on every play, on every turn from defense to offense. Matrix in full flight is the Suns' most potent weapon. But Marion, who averaged 40 minutes per game during the regular season (five more than Nash), argues that he can't always run if he's under the defensive basket wrestling with giants. Marion is fond of mentioning that D'Antoni rarely calls a set play for him, and that he needs to get his points "in the flow of the game," as he said after the depressing Game 2 loss. This ignores the fact that the Diaw-to-Marion backdoor lob is probably the "settest" play in the Suns' arsenal.

Acting the part
There are other worries, or, rather, just a kind of undefined, general one. The Suns didn't play well, really, in either of the two games. Their offense, in fact, has really not played well since they scored 72 points in the second half to thump Sacramento in a statement game on April 11. Bryant has not yet taken over, which he might decide to do at home in the Staples Center, and the Suns perhaps won't be able to weather it. Each coach deals with the uncertainty in his own way, Iavaroni digging into his personal vault of defensive schemes, D'Antoni latching on to his personal credo that, "We're not scoring because we're not pushing," Dan insisting that it's all about effort and will. "I don't think we came out in Game 2 and played like you should in a playoff game," he says. "We didn't come out and say, 'F--- you.'"

"That's it," says Iavaroni, endlessly searching for the perfect phrase to tell the team. "We have to get back the f---- you factor."



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As the morning shootaround gets underway at the Staples Center, Marion spies Jim Caviezel, sitting courtside.

"Hey, I know you," he says, shyly.

"I'm an actor," says Caviezel.

Marion smiles. "I'm an actor, too."

"Yes, he is," says Iavaroni. "And in the role of the Matrix . . ."

"I loved you in that," says Caviezel.

Marion positively beams. Most athletes quickly learn now to adopt a superior attitude to the public at large, but they still turn into little kids in the presence of movie stars. Stoudemire, on hand as a spectator, edges over to Caviezel during practice and talks to him for 15 minutes, no doubt positioning himself as a future action hero. "Black Jesus meets White Jesus," says Iavaroni. (Stoudemire has a "Black Jesus" tat on his neck.)

During the film session, Gentry, the pro's pro, sits by Marion, clarifying points from time to time, but mainly just letting him know that the coaching staff is still behind him.

Later, at a restaurant near the hotel, Jesus doesn't make the check disappear, but he does buy lunch.

Lost in L.A.
It's 30 minutes before game time at the Staples Center and nobody looks overly nervous. Perhaps it's an act. In trying to figure out what mentality they should adopt, the Suns finally decided upon "loose," having concluded after Game 2 that they had, according to Eddie House, "lost that carefree attitude they had during the season." Gentry emerges from the wings meeting, doing the that's-right-I'm-bad walk that Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder did in Stir Crazy. Stoudemire, who was born in Lake Wales, Fla., and whose favorite team is Florida State, and James Jones, who graduated from the University of Miami, are engaged in a spirited debate over which school has sent the superior talent to the NFL, going through it on a position-by-position basis. If Stoudemire is able to devote half that degree of attention to the rudiments of defense, the Suns will be a much superior team next season.

D'Antoni's main message is to be offensive-minded:

"Okay, guys, catch and shoot. Catch and drive. Dribble-ats. Spread the floor. Attack, Spread the floor. They do have a habit of touching the ball and messing with it. [He means that after the Lakers score they sometimes catch the ball or bat it away to keep the Suns from quick-breaking.] We'll try to bring it to the refs' attention, but you should just grab it and get running. Okay, Noel."

That is the signal for Noel Gillespie to turn on the video. Last season D'Antoni came upon the ploy of ending every pregame session with a minute or so of hig-octane Suns' offense. Every possession ends in a basket. The players watch raptly. They can never get enough of their own success.

"This is when we're at our best," says D'Antoni as the video runs, "when we're changing ends on the fly. They have no answer for it. Kwame is awful. Odom's a very average defender. Vujacic [backup point guard Sasha Vujacic] can't guard anybody. And Bryant in the open floor takes chances that aren't good. Let's go get 'em."

The coaches retreat to the small office. Like many arenas around the NBA, the Staples Center devoted little money to the visitor's dressing room. Suddenly, from out in the hallway, comes the voice of Nash.

"NINETEEN ON THE CLICKETY!"

The "clickety" is Nash's word for the clock that clicks off the time until tip-off. Lately, he has taken to loudly shouting out the minutes, screaming it in fact, partly as a joke but also to get his teammates to follow him onto the court to warm up. Those sports movies in which a team comes charging out of the dressing room together? It doesn't work that way in the NBA. Players drift out in drips and drabs and finally congregate outside the door where they then shout out some sort of war chant and trot onto the floor.

"There's four on the clickety," says Weber to the other coaches. "We better get going."

The game could hardly begin worse for the Suns. In the first minute, Luke Walton knocks Tim Thomas to the floor as he drives, picking up a flagrant foul. Thomas glares at Walton for a moment, and, predictably, several players move toward the action under the basket. From outside the pack, Bryant pushes Diaw, who falls into Smush Parker. Eddie F. Rush, a veteran referee, calls a technical on Diaw.

"Eddie, Eddie, did you see it?" D'Antoni pleads with Rush. "Boris never pushes anybody. He didn't do it. He got pushed."

"I saw what I saw," Rush tells him.

"But did you see the push?" D'Antoni says.

"I saw what I saw."

A few minutes later, Diaw is hit with the obligatory three-second defensive call, which results in an automatic technical foul shot. It's like a little beeper from the league office goes off during the first period of every game, reminding officials to make the call, after which they will ignore the defensive three-second call the rest of the way since virtually none of the spectators -- and only half of the players -- understand it.

In the third quarter, Bell gets elbowed by Kwame Brown, and, in an ensuing scrum, Diaw falls. Brown is whistled for a technical foul. But then Brown stands over Diaw, his crotch somewhere over Diaw's midsection, and glares down at him. Perhaps Brown is still trying to prove something to his coach; earlier in the season, Jackson had called him a "sissy." Jackson said he didn't mean it like it sounded, but it resonated for Brown, who had been called a "******" by Michael Jordan, who drafted him when he was a Washington Wizards executive, then torched him when he was a Wizards player.

Brown's action is exactly the kind of thug behavior the NBA is trying to curtail, but no technical foul is called. Nash moves toward the action, and, in the process, pushes away Vujacic's arm. Bryant then trots over to Nash and they jaw at each other. Later in the third period, Bryant is called for a foul on a blocked shot attempt and, irritated, walks away, lifting his jersey over his head in front of another veteran referee, Bill Spooner. Spooner tells him, "Put your jersey down."

Clearly, L.A. is trying to punk a team it considers punk-able. The Lakers never really run away and hide, but they seem in control, calm even. When Bell is whistled for fouling Bryant with 4:18 left, he explodes in anger and draws a technical foul. Then D'Antoni, rushing to support him, gets one, also, the second and third T's the Suns have received. Leandro Barbosa's layup brings Phoenix to within 92-90 with 3:28 left, but Walton and Parker score consecutive baskets and the Lakers go on to win 99-92.

It is the nightmare scenario presented by Iavaroni. Bryant scored only seven points, but every other starter was in double figures. Kobe played the role of Prospero, directing everything, seeing all, being all, and acting quite superior about it all. D'Antoni decides on a psychological ploy, telling the media that Bell has done a great job subduing Kobe. Perhaps that will rile up the Laker and precipitate a shooting spree that will freeze out his teammates.

But with a 2-1 series deficit and Game 4 on the road, reality has set in: The Suns are two losses from an ignominious first-round exit.

Epilogue
The Suns, improbably, rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Lakers in seven games, then needed seven games to knock off the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western semis. Their season came to an end when the Dallas Mavericks beat them in six games in the Western finals. Considering the season-ending injury to Stoudemire, it was considered a monumental achievement.

As for Marion, he finished the playoffs with scoring and rebounding averages of 20.4 and 11.7. Every time a Suns' coach criticized Marion's attitude, another would say: "Yes, but look what he does for us." He remains, at once, an elite player and a $17 million-per-year riddle.

From :07 SECONDS OR LESS by Jack McCallum. Copyright © 2006 by Jack McCallum. Reprinted by permission of Touchstone, an Imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc., NY
 

scoutmasterdave

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Theoretically the wife will be buying this for me for Christmas - can't wait to read it.
 

HooverDam

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The stuff about Marion needing attention and appreciation is so disappointing. I wish he would realize all the extra crap is just BS and how much he means to the team. I wish I could run into him in public some time, shake his hand and tell him how much the fans appreciate him- don't know if it would mean anything to him, but I'd hope.
 

Black Jesus

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Marion bleeds insecurity. Its clear watching his demeanor on the court... He is like a little kid.
 

BC867

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Marion bleeds insecurity. Its clear watching his demeanor on the court... He is like a little kid.
Early in his career, I used to see Shawn at the Yoshi's at 24th St. and Indian School regularly. Whenever the Suns had a home game, he would stop in for takeout.

His personality was like that of an eight year old child. Mumbling and embarassed to even have a one-on-one conversation in public.

I wondered if he had it in him to mature to a reasonable level as he gained experience.

I'm sure he's tried his best, but alas, he just doesn't have it in him.

That's life.
 

msdundee

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Whatever he has "in him" it's making him $15 million this year. Must be depressing for you.
 

BC867

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Whatever he has "in him" it's making him $15 million this year. Must be depressing for you.
Huh? His salary doesn't affect me at all.

'Just discussing how his personality affects his skills, confirming Black Jesus' opinion that "Marion bleeds insecurity. Its clear watching his demeanor on the court... He is like a little kid."

The fact that sports stars and entertainers earn obscene incomes is a reflection of our society. People are willing to pay up the ol' wazoo to be entertained.

To be able to put some imagination into our lives beyond the daily routine by idolizing someone who can stuff a basketball, make music or read a script convincingly.

Nothing's going to change that.
 

msdundee

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Huh? His salary doesn't affect me at all.

'Just discussing how his personality affects his skills, confirming Black Jesus' opinion that "Marion bleeds insecurity. Its clear watching his demeanor on the court... He is like a little kid."

The fact that sports stars and entertainers earn obscene incomes is a reflection of our society. People are willing to pay up the ol' wazoo to be entertained.

To be able to put some imagination into our lives beyond the daily routine by idolizing someone who can stuff a basketball, make music or read a script convincingly.

Nothing's going to change that.

True, money and material possessions have nothing to do with maturity. But for fans to make statements that an athlete "bleeds insecurity" or has not yet reached a "reasonable level of maturity" is pretty silly when it assumes you can judge a personality based on court demeanor or articulation.

The excerpts from the book are probably factual. To some extent Marion's petulance about his lack of recognition is childish, and as also noted, to some extent he has a good point. The game is a major part of his life. But regarding the evaluations above:

He's 28 years old. He has strong family ties. He has a longtime relationship with the same woman since UNLV. He's been with this team longer than anyone on the roster right now and discounting the first year's surgery, in the last seven seasons he sat out a grand total of ten games so he's more than dependable. Unlike a large percentage of the NBA, he's stayed out of trouble -- no DUI's, no drugs, no shoot-em-ups outside the strip clubs, no on-court fights, no sexual assaults, no run-ins with the law.

Sounds overall like he's more secure and mature than the average bear.
 
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MastersofCombat

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Bryant is called for a foul on a blocked shot attempt and, irritated, walks away, lifting his jersey over his head in front of another veteran referee, Bill Spooner. Spooner tells him, "Put your jersey down."

Brown's action is exactly the kind of thug behavior the NBA is trying to curtail

Clearly, L.A. is trying to punk a team it considers punk-able

That nailed it and summed up the series
 

DeAnna

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I got my copy the other day.

I loved the part where Sarver told one of the radio announcers at Staples that 'if I ever see you getting in the face of any of my players, you'll have to answer to me.' The guy then called him an *******, and Sarver said 'I may be an ******* but you'll still have to deal with me.'
:thumbup:
 

msdundee

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I got my copy the other day.

I loved the part where Sarver told one of the radio announcers at Staples that 'if I ever see you getting in the face of any of my players, you'll have to answer to me.' The guy then called him an *******, and Sarver said 'I may be an ******* but you'll still have to deal with me.'
:thumbup:

Sarver's shutting down Penny Marshall was even better, lol.
 

krispydude

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man, we should so bring the old jerseys back full time. they look sweet.

they got the madhouse on mcdowell feel...mmm
 

DeAnna

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I can't believe that Shawn is so sensitive and defensive. Always feels slighted by the coaches - he truly believes that when things go wrong, they blame him. With all his God-given talent (not to mention the money they pay him), they do expect a lot from him.

Surprised me that after Game 5 vs Dallas last year Coach D had to have a pow wow with him behind closed doors. Again, he felt that no one ever criticizes Nash. Coach told him true, but when Nash makes a mistake it's not because of lack of hustle.
 

Covert Rain

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Is most of this so surprising? There are so many athletes just like him. Most of these guys have egos and forget that they are getting played to play a game. They all think they need respect and when you play for a talented team, it's sort of like Mom not paying attention to one of the kids.
 

DeAnna

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Is most of this so surprising? There are so many athletes just like him. Most of these guys have egos and forget that they are getting played to play a game. They all think they need respect and when you play for a talented team, it's sort of like Mom not paying attention to one of the kids.

Maybe because we (or at least I) don't hear any of the other Suns whining about not getting respect. He seems to be the only one we always hear it from.
 

elindholm

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Most of these guys have egos and forget that they are getting played to play a game.

That is unfair and insulting to professional "ballplayers." They are paid to be world-class athletes and to entertain millions of fans. Their work takes the form of a sporting contest, and in that sense can be considered a "game," but it's nothing like what most people mean when they say "game."

Some people like to cook, but we don't demean chefs. Some people like to drive, but we don't demean truck drivers. We should not demean professional athletes for doing something that superficially resembles one of our hobbies.
 

Covert Rain

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That is unfair and insulting to professional "ballplayers." They are paid to be world-class athletes and to entertain millions of fans. Their work takes the form of a sporting contest, and in that sense can be considered a "game," but it's nothing like what most people mean when they say "game."

Some people like to cook, but we don't demean chefs. Some people like to drive, but we don't demean truck drivers. We should not demean professional athletes for doing something that superficially resembles one of our hobbies.

I don't think I am being unfair or insulting. At the end of the day these guys are in fact being paid to play a game. They are not teaching our kids or saving lives. However, that doesn't mean I don't appreciate what they do. I am a huge sports fan. Sports fans create the market conditions from which these guys get paid.

However, if you put the complaining into perspective, it's hard to feel for a guy who is getting paid to play a game and has been shown respect in terms of his contract. In a way he is complaining about being on a more talented team then many of his peers. So are fans suppose to feel sorry for him being on team with other players who get the attention?
 

elindholm

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They are not teaching our kids or saving lives.

Fine, then castigate everyone who isn't a teacher or doctor. What do you do for a living?

Our society values quality of life, not just life itself.
 
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DevonCardsFan

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I don't think I am being unfair or insulting. At the end of the day these guys are in fact being paid to play a game. They are not teaching our kids or saving lives. .
QUOTE]


You gotta remember nobodys lining up to buy tickets, to watch Mrs. Wilson teach 4th grade Algebra, Doctors get paid accordingly as well, plus becoming a Doctor is pretty much something anybody on this board can do if they put enough time and effort into it. But I know for a fact if I try day and night to pull off a 360 dunk it aint happening. NBA guys have a tough grueling schedule in a League watched by the entire world, you have to remember out of a Country of 300 million people and a world of 6.5 billion people, there are only 30 Starting Point guards openings in the NBA. Put that in perspective, its alot bigger then just a game.
 

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It is bigger than just a game and it's more than just entertainment because it involves that competition to win. Regardless of how well they may be compensated for the athleticism and talent needed to "make it," sports figures are as human as chefs, teachers. truck drivers, doctors, for that matter the kid who mows your lawn -- or the other big moneymakers, actors, rock stars, television personalities, corporate moguls. Everyone looks for recognition for a job well done. Some look harder than others. And some are just more honest about it than others.
 

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DevonCardsFan said:
...plus becoming a Doctor is pretty much something anybody on this board can do if they put enough time and effort into it.

Have you read some of the posts on this board? There are a number of people I am not going to trust with a scalpel in their hands. :D
 

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