"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--"

KA-BOOM!!!

Both men fall in, the hole collapses, and they are totally buried, and no one ever remembers that they existed.

The End

 

* 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. *


Wayman-tisdale-split_medium

"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." 

~Wayman Tisdale

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.

More.....

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."

from Tisdale Reaches for His Biggest Rebound

"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:

 

"I have not made a decision on whether or not a proposal was right to take.." 

 

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.


Aaron Brooks made one Phoenix Suns offseason decision a bit easier (if there are any offseason decisions to make, that is) by agreeing to terms on a one-year contract with Chinese Basketball...

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In the fall of 2004, Minnesota Timberwolves guard Latrell Sprewell famously claimed, "I'm at risk. I have a lot of risk here. I've got a family to feed."

It was preseason, entering his second year with the Wolves after an exciting Conference Finals run that came up just short to the Lakers, and the 34-year old player he was ranting over an "insulting" $27-30 million, 3-year extension offer. 

Of course, he declined the offer and went on to have a poor season. "Why would I want to help them win a title? They're not doing anything for me." Later, when the offer dropped to $21 million over 3 years, he became a free agent. And when no NBA team offered anything better, he just up and retired. Poof. He was gone. Never to play another NBA game. Too proud to accept less money than he felt he deserved.

At the time, Sprewell was ridiculed for his decision by players and media alike. Crazy to completely retire over what he deemed an insulting contract offer.

Yet now the entire NBA - owners and players alike - have become what they once couldn't fathom. Crazy. Stupid. Absurd. Each side has come to the conclusion that if they can't make more than 2 BILLION DOLLARS a year, with guaranteed annual growth built in, then it's not even worth playing any more. 

Ian Thomsen of si.com wrote a truly insightful piece the other day, lambasting the owners and players alike for their role in this debacle. Please click that link and read the whole story. Makes you go "whoa".

A sample:

For the NBA owners and players to shut down their league during the worst economic times in more than 60 years has got to be the dumbest thing they could imagine doing. At a time when so many businesses are fighting for every last dollar, the NBA players and owners are giving back money to their season-ticket holders -- their die-hard fans -- and saying we don't want it. Put that money back in your pockets for now, and when we decide to start playing again, think about whether we are worthy of your investment.

Sprewell went to browner and darker pastures. He eventually sold his boat at auction to help pay debts, while his house was foreclosed upon (and this was BEFORE the housing bubble burst!). He made more than $96 million in his 13 year career, yet was bankrupt within 5 years of self-imposed, bravado-laced retirement.

Do you think at some point he wished he'd taken the original $27-30 million guaranteed-money extension that would have paid him through his 37th birthday?

So too will 450 NBA players look back on this 2011-2012 season with regret, wishing they'd been able to see through their bravado and take the deal that still made them the highest paid sports league in history, replete with guaranteed contracts, annual raises and a soft salary cap.

The owners will regret this move as well, having voluntarily given away their foothold on fans' discretionary spending in the middle of the worst recession in 60 years. Once that money is re-allocated amongst those households to greater needs, or even different but equally rewarding entertainment, will it ever come back to the NBA?

How many families, who once had earmarked their NBA season tickets (or NBA League pass subscription) as a "sunk cost", will find that they can no longer afford it when the NBA returns next year or the year after?

This is a bad, bad decision for the owners and players.

Just ask Latrell Sprewell how it worked out for him.


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