Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NBA Players: Plenty of Dollars, No Sense

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NBA Players: Plenty of Dollars, No Sense

Article excerpt

Why is everybody so shocked and appalled at the lack of

professionalism?

Why all this indignation and hand-wringing over two players who

came to blows?

"This is the stupidest thing I've ever seen," sniffs NBA

analyst Bill Walton.

"I can't believe this happened," says Dave Checketts, president

of the Madison Square Garden, which owns the New York Knicks.

Oh, stop it. Quit acting like this is some awesome awakening.

They knew it was going to happen sooner or later. And we did,

too. If not between the New York Pugs and the Miami Mugs, then

one of the other goonish, garish collection of bangers and

bruisers who have turned the NBA into an upscale version of the

East Coast Hockey League.

Miami and New York will duke it out in the final round of their

first-round playoff scrum today without the services of Alonzo

Mourning and Larry Johnson, who Thursday night solidified what

we have long suspected: That the NBA, once a league of artistry

and aesthetics, has become a collection of bullies, brawlers and

immature maulers.

Talk about your bad investments. Here we have the most

important game of the season for these two teams, and they will

be playing without two stars who combine for $200 million in

guaranteed contracts. How is it that the NBA can pay nearly a

quarter-of-a-billion dollars to a pair of yo-yos whose

collective brains aren't worth 25 cents?

Mourning and Johnson have been suspended for today's game all

because their misplaced machismo wouldn't allow them to walk

away from an elbow and a lame attempt at a punch. Instead, they

began swinging away like a couple of barroom drunks fighting

over a spilled drink.

Pro basketball doesn't need referees anymore, it needs

bouncers.

Whatever happened to the beauty of the game? The grace and the

style and the precision and the passing? And, believe me, it's

not just the Knicks and the Heat who have made the NBA a

collection of boors -- and bores. Last Saturday, the Rockets and

Jazz combined for 64 fouls and 89 free throws. …

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