"We're trapped in the bottom of this 40 foot hole!"
"But at least we found the treasure!"
The hinges creak as the lid of the treasure chest is forced open. Gold, silver, and jewels spill out, overflowing the chest and gleaming in the torchlight.
"Oh my! This must be worth over 4 billion gold pieces! We're rich beyond our wildest dreams!"
"All we have to do is climb up, lower a rope, tie it to the treasure chest, and pull it up, and we can live like kings for the rest of our days!"
"We're going to have to work together to get up without a rope. If we stand back to back-- like this-- and link our elbows-- together, yeah, that's it-- we can climb up together. Put one foot on the wall-- there. Now I'll do the same."
"Yeah! There we go! Another foot, up! Unh. Yes, it's working!"
"Back to back, arm in arm, we can make it out of here!"
"Unh. Keep climbing. A little more. Unh."
"Getting closer. Then we can just lower my rope, haul it up, and split the 4 billion!"
"Yeah! Unh. Who gets to keep the rope after we split everything?"
"Whaddya mean, 'Who gets to keep the rope?' Unh. It's my rope. I'll keep the rope."
"No way! That's not fair! What about the middle class?! We should cut it in two!"
"I'm keeping the rope! And the padlock we busted off the chest, too! Take it, or leave it! And any lint I find in the lining of the chest! OR THERE'S NO DEAL!"
"YEAH?! Well, I have a bundle of dynamite here, and I'm lighting it right now--"
"Don't let go! Whadder you doing? We're gonna FALL!"
"--and dropping it down the hole, so you better change your nasty tone when you're talking to me, and give me--"
Both men fall in, the hole collapses, and they are totally buried, and no one ever remembers that they existed.
* But, fortunately, a team of lawyers arrives and, after years and years of arguing about the correct length of shovel to use, and the proper dimensions of the scaffolding and support timbers, they rescue some of the gold, which they keep for themselves. yippee. *
"My gift is to be able to make you listen, to get an emotion out of you, and to make you feel better, feel good inside. That’s me. I’m the happy music man. I’m the candy man."
We could use a happy music man right about now, couldn't we? NBATV's documentary "The Wayman Tisdale Story" recently aired, and it wasn't much about basketball. For a man who was a 3-time All-American, member of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, and 2nd overall pick in the NBA draft who went on to play 12 seasons in the league, including 3 with the Suns, it's exceptional that the story is more about Tisdale the musician and Tisdale the man. He was an extremely talented basketball player, but that's only a small part of what made Wayman Tisdale an amazing person.
First, take a moment to look at the smile on Tisdale's face in this picture. I've seen countless pictures and videos of the man, and that beaming smile is always there, bringing his joy to share with the rest of us. That is a gift in itself, but it also presented a man who achieved success in basketball, music and life, and who never let life's setbacks take his smile away from him.
Tisdale was a phenomenal college basketball player. Making first-team All-American three times in three seasons is no small feat. His performance as a freshman at Oklahoma was so dominant that the outstanding freshman of the year in college basketball each year is given the Wayman Tisdale Award.
He was selected #2 overall in the 1985 draft by the Indiana Pacers, later traded to the Sacramento Kings, and signed as a free agent with the Suns in 1994. It can be said that Tisdale's pro basketball career was a disappointment (he was drafted ahead of Karl Malone and Joe Dumars), but basketball turned out not to be his true passion.
When Tisdale retired from the Suns in 1997 to pursue a music career, I admit that I was a bit skeptical. OK, yeah, an athlete wants to play around in music. Ah, but I was wrong. His musical aspirations were no lark at all, and Tisdale played bass and sang on eight studio albums, reaching #1 on the contemporary jazz charts with "Face to Face". The man could play.
That 2009 performance came after he was diagnosed with cancer and lost half of his right leg. He needed a little help walking, but he didn't need help to play bass, sing and thrill the crowd. Tisdale did this until his end.
To push through, the 6-foot-9 "gentle giant" recalled the challenges he faced during his basketball career. "I had some coaches that literally didn't want me to make it, and one in particular was [Team USA coach] Bobby Knight," Tisdale says. "At the time, I frowned on that … I look at it today that had I not persevered through a lot of the stuff he put me through, I probably wouldn't be here today. I thank God for that dude because he pushed me."
"The average Joe comes in, thinks the world's over, they're all alone, disabled, etc.," Sabolich says. "Someone like Wayman goes through the same experience of losing the limb but he's such a stellar personality that this didn't faze him much. You ask him if he's OK and he says 'I'm fine, this is just a little roadblock.'"
Tisdale succumbed to cancer on May 15, 2009. His spirit has yet to give in. And that, more than his considerable talents at basketball and music, is his legacy. A world class athlete has his leg taken away, and he's still meeting the challenge with a smile.
The current NBA labor and Suns mediocrity situation is troubling. None of us can say definitively when either will be solved. But it will pass.
"I'm fine, this is just a little roadblock."
During the last days of the this-is-our-last-offer-and-if-you-don't-take-it-we're-never-going-to-make-another-one-well-at-least-not-until-four-days-from-now-but-then-THAT-will-be-our-last-offer-unless-we-reconsider-which-we-likely-will lockout talks, rumours swirled that certain players were not on the same wave length as the rest of their team when it came to making money-related decisions.
Most talked about in this instance was Los Angeles' point guard, Steve Blake, who LA player rep Shannon Brown, name checked and then threw under the bus by stating: “I spoke to (Blake) and he was one of the guys who wanted to take the deal" which wouldn't have been so bad had Blake not then come out and denied ever saying such things:
BOOM! Who doesn't love a lack of chemistry over in Lakerland?!
But the main issue highlighted by that very public exchange is one that may be being played out in all 30 ball clubs in the NBA: Internal arguments.
At first glance, unity appears to be league-wide amongst the players as they band together to try and upset the 'Establishment' (Stern and the Owners). But if you look a little closer, there are individuals who have voiced their concern over the decisions made on behalf of the players and likely more still who agree but just haven't found their voice.
There's a lot at stake for everyone involved in the CBA discussions and people's livelihoods could be greatly affected (no, not you Sprewell) based on the consensus decision so to expect every player to be singing from the same hymn sheet would be unrealistic. For every 'Kobe Bryant' who earns enough money to graciously offer to loan his fellow professionals money, there is a Garrett Temple who is struggling to get by (leading an NBA life) and needs to be earning a regular wage.
So if the disparity between players wages is as great as we know it is, what's the likelihood that some of the lesser paid players (along with those who side with Stern) are unhappy with the stance the Players Union took? If there are some disgruntled players in teams, isn't it possible that those same players who were in the minority in wanting to take the deal are now p*ssed off at the very people who they feel are responsible for the current Union position and subsequent lockout - their own team-mates?
If/when the season does start up, are we going to see divisions in squads between the Union supporters and those who wanted to make the last minute deal? And more importantly, does this lockout have the potential to not only stop this season but also affect future seasons with teams having underlying issues all caused by the decisions made during the Summer/Autumn of 2011?
If the NBA isn't careful and allows it's franchises to fall apart with team-mates and friends no longer on speaking terms thanks to the Lockout, it's letters will no longer mean 'National Basketball Association' but will instead stand for: Not Brothers Anymore.