Everbody Beats the WIZARDS: A Magic Touch Is Needed to Turn around D.C.'S Chronic NBA Losers and Placate Their Disgusted `Fans.' the Problem Is Wh
Cohn, Bob, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Before his team played the Washington Wizards on Tuesday, Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan stood outside the visitors' dressing room at MCI Center and tried to explain why, other than having future Hall of Famers Karl Malone and John Stockton, his teams have been grindingly, consistently successful through the years.
Malone, perhaps the best power forward ever, and Stockton, the quintessential playmaker, are the obvious reasons. But it's more than that. Rigorously avoiding anything self-serving, Sloan, whose Jazz teams have made the playoffs in each of his 11 seasons, talked mainly about the importance of having players who know how to play basketball; players who are smart, tough and unselfish and who are committed to winning.
For example, Malone, the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, worked out for two hours on the off day between games after arriving from Toronto. Maybe that's why he's still a force at 36.
"For the most part over the last few years, we've had just about everybody step on the floor and play hard," Sloan said. "I like to win. People sell that game of wanting to win a lot, but I haven't seen a lot of guys willing to pay the price. And that's the difference. It should be explained when guys say, `Hey, I really want to win.' How bad do you want to win?"
How bad, indeed? Just moments after Sloan said this and about 40 minutes before tipoff - during the time players are warming up or watching tape or preparing for their opponent or generally immersing themselves in the basketball environment where they earn their living, Wizards point guard Rod Strickland showed up for the game.
Strickland put up good numbers - he usually does - but the Wizards collapsed in the second half and lost 101-80. The atmosphere inside the 2-year-old arena, such as it was, varied from somnambulistic to surly. The biggest cheer came when two people dressed as Santa and an elf hurled T-shirts into a crowd announced as 13,921.
But the actual attendance was much less in the 20,674-seat building, with many disguised as fans who didn't seem to care very much. The Wizards' attendance ranks 25th in the 29-team league.
As the game slipped away, the boos began. Again. Few teams, if any, …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Everbody Beats the WIZARDS: A Magic Touch Is Needed to Turn around D.C.'S Chronic NBA Losers and Placate Their Disgusted `Fans.' the Problem Is Wh. Contributors: Cohn, Bob - Author. Newspaper title: The Washington Times (Washington, DC). Publication date: December 19, 1999. Page number: 1. © 2009 The Washington Times LLC. COPYRIGHT 1999 Gale Group.
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