Editor’s note: Being a lacrosse fan puts you in the unique position of appreciating not only one sport, but a variety of sports that use the same basic skills. Basketball has similar fast breaks and zone defenses, football has raw physical violence, and soccer/hockey have vaguely similar rules and field set ups. With that in mind we welcome you to “The Lax Newb Chronicles”. This is a place where we have writers talk about the most compelling topics in the sports world and get their unique takes on the game of lacrosse. Strap in because its going to be a wild ride. Our first “Lax Newb” article is by new LAS writer Land Before Time:
2008-2009 NBA All-KNUCKLEHEAD TEAM
by Land Before Time
The following is a completely objective and comprehensive list of every NBA team’s biggest knuckleheads for the 2008-2009 regular season. When I say “knucklehead” I mean REAL team killers… guys that would cause Charles Barkley to shake his head in disgust and mutter the phrase over and over…just turrible. Like Mr. Blue Sky, I’m a rabid Blazermaniac, which consequentially resulted in my viewing of about 80 out of the Portland Trail Blazers 82 games this past regular season. This, as expected, caused tremendous strain on my relationship with my girlfriend. (“She gave me a bunch of crap about me not listening to her, or something, I don’t know, I wasn’t really paying attention”)
Anyways, my dedication to the ‘Zers allowed me the opportunity to check out the other 29 NBA teams in their entirety. Over the course of the season my hatred for certain individual players grew to unhealthy levels. This hatred has led to my inaugural article on LacrosseAllStars and I’m very excited to become a regular contributer to LaxNation.
For now, forgive me for sticking to what I know…I’m going to break down for LaxNation every one of the NBA’s biggest malcontents and morons from the 2008-2009 NBA regular season. Regardless of the sport, we’ve all had terrible teammates in the past and I think you will recognize a few familiar bad apples from your own playing days
Before I go any further, I think it is necessary to explain the criteria for being labeled an knucklehead. Here is my definition: any player who exhibits rampant unprofessionalism on and off the court, who excessively postures on the court after a made basket, who gives himself self-proclaimed nicknames or any other player this season who has seriously rubbed me the wrong way. Got it? Good. Here is the list, followed by the All-Knucklehead Team, and Most Valuable Knucklehead award.
Boston Celtics – Kevin Garnett
During a December match up with the Portland Trail Blazers, Kevin Garnett got on all fours and barked like a dog at Blazers point guard Jerryd Bayless during a Portland inbounds play. Most Boston fans would contest that this is just “Kevin being Kevin” and psyching himself, his teammates and the fans up. I would contest that these antics are just one in a long history of KG being a supreme jerk. That’s what happens when you don’t go to college.
Golden State Warriors – Monta Ellis
When you are fresh off from signing a 6 year, $66 million dollar contract extension in the offseason then proceed to tear ligaments in your ankle from a “low-speed” moped accident, proceed to lie to the team that just gave you $70 mill by saying you injured your foot playing pickup basketball, well guess what? You’re a knucklehead.
New Jersey – Devin Harris
This one is actually pretty simple. How. Does. This. Happen?
Los Angeles Clippers – Zach Randolph
New York Knicks – Nate Robinson
He went to the University of Washington. And while I’m going to try to be unbiased and impartial in the future…seriously, Huck the Fuskies. (By the way this comment completely disregards the fact that Brandon Roy went to UW and is the best thing to ever come out of that school). See? Being a fan is way more complicated than it seems…
Los Angeles Lakers – Black Mamba aka Kobe Bryant
Every Lakers player is in the running for the All NBA Knucklehead team, but to be fair to the rules of the list I can only pick one Showtime player and it’s got to be Mamba. Where do you even start with this guy? You have to respect his game, the guy is legit and has been so since he came into the league, but he makes it impossible to like him. I can’t name a professional athlete I loathe more than Kobe Bryant. The guy’s smug levels are off the charts. Also, he might be the dirtiest player in the NBA, just ask Ron Artest. News flash Kobe. You are not Michael Jordan, even though you watch videos of him and try to copy his every move, you will never be MJ and any chances you had of being compared to him flew out the window after that whole incident in Denver. You can’t win without Shaq and everybody knows it. You really gave yourself the nickname “Black Mamba”? Are people even allowed to give themselves their own nickname? Wow. Phheeeewwww. I’m glad I got that off my chest. I feel better.
Philadelphia 76ers – Elton Brand
Elton Brand convinces Baron Davis to leave a team that adores him (Golden State), to play for the LA Clippers so that the two of them can team up and help pull the Clips out of the NBA cellar. Baron Davis buys the pitch and comes to LA. Elton Brand then turns his back on the Clippers and Davis, and takes a max deal to play for the 76ers. (He then was sidelined the majority of the season with injuries and his new team arguably played BETTER without him) That’s pretty cold, Elton. Welcome to the All-Knucklehead team, buckle up because its going to be a bumpy ride.
Phoenix Suns – Robin Lopez
Pictures really ARE worth a thousand words. Really Robin? Really?
Toronto Raptors – Andrea Bargnani
Bargnani was the #1 pick of the Toronto Raptors in the 2006 NBA draft ahead of the likes of Brandon Roy, Lamarcus Aldridge, Rajon Rondo, and Rudy Gay to name a few. He has been a disappointment due to his inconsistent play, but he is only 23 so one would think he hasn’t reached his ceiling yet. On second thought Andrea isn’t a moron, the front office of the Raptors in ’06 gets that distinction for picking him.
Sacramento Kings – Spencer Hawes
See Nate Robinson.
Chicago Bulls – Joakim Noah
The ugliest woman in the Association. ESPN’s The Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, was even able to convince his 5 year old daughter he was a “she” just for kicks. These things don’t just happen by accident, people.
Houston Rockets – Von Wafer
If it’s not for the fau-hawk haircut then it has to be for the simple fact that he was a Blazer last year and was released because he was a malcontent and showed no desire to play in Portland. We all saw what he did to the Blazers in the playoffs plus he was just thrown off the court BY HIS OWN COACH and forced to wait on the bus during a playoff game against the Lakers. Why Von? Why?
Detroit Pistons – Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson had an injury filled year with the Detroit Pistons and at one point during the 2008-2009 campaign returned from injury and was ordered to by Pistons coach Michael Curry that he would be coming off the bench. Iverson refused and was then barred from competing in the teams opening round playoff series with Cleveland Cavaliers, which Cleveland swept 4-0. Way to be a team player Allen. “Were talking about practice, man!”
Memphis Grizzlies- Darius Miles
Personal story: Last year when Darius Miles was still with the Trail Blazers, I had the opportunity to meet him at the Blazers practice facility in Tualatin where a good friend of mine was an intern. One happy summer afternoon I was invited to work out at the Blazers facility with said intern. Upon arrival there were only two Blazers working out, Darius Miles and Channing Frye. Darius came into the league as a quick, athletic, explosive small forward, but when I met him he looked more like a “post-Rain Man” Shawn Kemp. Basically, Darius was out of shape. He introduced himself to me as “D-Miles,” (which is comical in of itself), and proceeded to stand and watch my friend and I run Channing Frye through a series of wind sprints. When asked if he wanted to join in “D-Miles” quickly said no. The one guy who needed to do wind sprints the most sat and watched as two amateur athletes and Channing Frye outworked him. Not too long after this incident the Blazers released “D-Miles” after his knee was examined by a team doctor and it was determined that “D-Miles” was physically unable to continue his career in the NBA. We all know what happened next… the Blazers threatened to sue any team that signed him due to salary cap ramifications and the Grizzlies then picked him up (causing the Blazers to pick up the $9 million tab). “D-Miles” ended up having a minor bench role on the Grizz the rest of the year and really looked like he should have been running windsprints with me and Channing back in the summer. Welcome to the team, Darius!
New Orleans Hornets – Tyson Chandler
See: Tyson Chandler swings at Joel Pryzbilla’s broken wrist. (Although both guys tried to look really tough while running away during this “fight”. )
Indiana Pacers – Jeff Foster
The dude looks like an Easter Island statue. Welcome to the Knucklehead’s, Jeff. You might even be the team mascot.
Milwaukee Bucks – Charlie Villanueva
San Antonio Spurs – Tim Duncan
Just because nobody else would put him on a list like this, he’s on it. There’s has to be some skeletons in the closet, right?
Denver Nuggets – Chris Anderson
Aka “The Birdman” Chris Anderson is in a league all his own. When he isn’t posturing after a dunk or pretending to slick back his greasy spiked hair after a block he is waving his arms up and down (guess what? Like a bird!) every time something goes the Nuggets way. He has been kicked out of the NBA before for violating the league’s anti-drug policy, and adorns multiple tats including bird wings on his shoulders, no doubt a decision made during a drug induced haze. Possible All-Knucklehead Team selection.
Miami Heat – Chris Quinn
Shaq on Chris Quinn when referring to his trade from the Heat to the Suns, “I love playing for this coach and I love playing with these guys. We have professionals who know what to do. No one is asking me to play with Chris Quinn or Ricky Davis. I am actually on a team again.” Truth bombs, Shaq. Truth bombs.
The Team that Shall Not Be Named aka “The Zombie Sonics “– Robert Swift
Possibly the weirdest bench player in the NBA. I don’t know what else to say about him. It’s like he came into the league and his idol was the Birdman. Good choice, Robert.
Orlando Magic – Dwight Howard
Everyone knows that the dunk contest is rigged and after this years staged Superman battle between Dwight Howard and Nate Robinson. I’m pretty sure that the the lore and legend of this event (dating back to Spud Webb and the epic Jordan/ Dominique Wilkins battles) has been completely destroyed forever. What was once a spectacle pitting our NBA heroes against one another for the right to be named the top dunker in the NBA, is now a staged sideshow where athletes are running out of phone booths and dunking on twelve foot hoops. That isn’t a dunk contest. That’s a circus. Cool Dwight. Really Cool.
Utah Jazz- Andrei Kirilenko
He’s a homeless man’s Ivan Drago and this guy makes $15 million a year. This guy right here.
Washington Wizards – Agent Zero
Gilbert Arenas signs a 6 year, $111 million dollar contract extension then suddenly has to have knee surgery and hasn’t been anywhere near his old self since signing the deal. Just Cut That Check, Gilbert. CTC.
Portland Trail Blazers – Greg Oden
Yes, I know it’s only my first post you’re already getting tired of my blatent Blazer homerism so for the sake of being unbiased…..besides being the saddest panda in the NBA can anyone say Sam Bowie? I sure can.
NBA All Knucklehead Team
PG- Monta Ellis
SG- Black Mamba
PF- Kevin Garnett
C- Chris “Birdman” Anderson
Most Valuable Knucklehead
There you have it LaxNation, a (kinda) objective list of the NBA’s biggest malcontents for the 2008-2009 regular season, and congratulations to Chris “Birdman” Anderson for just inching past Kobe as the biggest knucklehead of them all. I really hope you don’t recognize some of these characters from your lacrosse playing days but somehow I imagine that a few of these guys sounds familiar.