King Kaufman's Sports Daily

Trash talking? Fine. Everyone traveling? Sure. The NBA's real problem is the players' incessant whining about being fouled. Plus: Barkley and Rocker -- wit and half-wit.


Salon Staff
May 12, 2005 11:00PM (UTC)

With all the whining NBA players do about fouls, can any of it do any good? There's not a play that goes by in the NBA without at least one and usually two or three players on each team bitching to a ref that they were fouled. And with rare exceptions, when a foul is called, the whistled player objects. He's shocked.

What? Are you serious? Me?! My God, this is a joke.

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When you count the grumbling by the coaches, there have to be 200 complaints for each of the three officials every night.

The players and coaches believe you have to stay on the refs or you'll never get any calls, but is that true? Do you think the refs are even listening to this mewling?

I mean, they always kind of nod and even sometimes rebut the argument, but do you really think that this complaint, the one being made right now, No. 132 out of the 200 tonight, is having any effect? The calls seem pretty random to me anyway.

Middle aged guys like me complain a lot about the NBA's trash talking and chest-thumping and showboating, none of which bothers me. What bothers me is the whining. I have a 2-year-old, and if he ever wants to play in the NBA he's going to have to learn to whine more.

I don't listen to him when he whines. Maybe the refs should say the same thing to the players: Na-ah-ah, Rasheed. Use your normal voice.

Maybe I'm sugar-coating my memories but I don't recall Jerry West or Julius Erving bellyaching this much. I'm too young to really remember Bill Russell but did he constantly gripe to the refs the way today's players do? Players have always argued about fouls that were called, but the lobbying for uncalled fouls seems to have increased a hundredfold, to use a made-up factor.

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And I wonder if this is a related observation: There are way too many technical fouls called these days.

When you're looking around trying to figure out who the technical's on -- and it's not a penalty for something like delay of game -- it probably shouldn't have been called. That happens twice a game now at least. Someone gets T'd up, and when that player is identified, you look at him and he looks calm and collected, maybe a little surprised.

If there isn't foam coming out of the guy's mouth, he shouldn't get a technical. Let the players decide the game, not the delicate sensitivities of the officials -- though they do have my sympathy for having to listen to all that whining.

Here's my modest proposal: The players should quit bitching so much and the refs should quit calling so many ticky-tack technicals.

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Speaking of common complaints [PERMALINK]

I'm also not one of those middle-aged guys who's always complaining about how everybody in the NBA travels all the time. I think it's fine the way players wander around for a few steps when they catch a pass, for example. My favorite is when a player comes to a stop as he receives the ball, and the rhythm goes catch-step-step ... step. And then he switches his pivot foot.

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I'm also OK with players taking two or three steps on the way to a layup. I notice it, but really, who cares? As long as it's the same for everyone, I'm fine with it.

Having said that: Before he launched that 3-pointer that would have won Game 2 for the Suns over the Mavericks Wednesday night had it gone in, did Quentin Richardson take four steps or five?

Two good games Wednesday, Mavs over the Suns and Pacers over the Pistons, tying both series 1-1. First time all week we've had two good games on the same night.

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Fast forward to halftime [PERMALINK]

It's been almost a week and I'm still laughing at something Charles Barkley said on "Inside the NBA," TNT's studio halftime and postgame show.

Kenny Smith was impersonating Spurs point guard Tony Parker on the studio basketball court, demonstrating some point about the pick and roll. Barkley stayed at the anchor desk so Smith brought in Barkley's cousin to play the part of the Seattle player guarding Parker. Smith dribbled past the cousin and scored, which quickly led to some ribbing of Barkley by Smith and host Ernie Johnson.

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Without missing a beat, Sir Charles said, "We're not a family of defenders."

On Wednesday night, Barkley watched Suns coach Mike D'Antoni collect his Coach of the Year award in front of the home fans in Phoenix. "They didn't spend a lot of money on that trophy," he said.

"Inside the NBA": Best damn live-action show on TV.

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John Rocker's half wit and wisdom [PERMALINK]

John Rocker is in the news again, saying stupid things, which is kind of his bag. You kids might not remember this, but there was a brief period, in 1998 and '99, when pitching was Rocker's bag.

The former big-league reliever, 30 years old and most famous for hateful remarks he made in a Sports Illustrated interview six years ago, is pitching for the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League these days. That's about as far as you can get from the majors and still have a uniform issued. And he's pitching badly.

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"I've taken a lot of crap from a lot of people," he told ESPN.com. "Probably more than anybody in the history of this sport. I know Hank and Jackie took a good deal of crap, but I guarantee it wasn't for six years. I just keep thinking: How much more am I supposed to take?"

He didn't mean Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf and Jackie "the Jokeman" Martling. He meant Hank Aaron and Jackie Robinson.

You've probably heard that quote by now, but what you might not know from the media coverage is that it appeared in a profile last week by Wayne Drehs that was sympathetic to say the least. Rocker didn't make the comment, as most of the coverage would lead you to believe, after getting into a beef with a fan in Atlantic City the other day.

The ESPN.com piece was all about poor John Rocker, signing autographs, being a nice guy, searching for redemption and forgiveness, wondering why people just can't seem to forgive and forget the racist, homophobic, misogynistic things he said in 1999 and has never given anyone reason to think he no longer believes.

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The irony and imbecility of Rocker not only comparing his experience to that of Aaron and Robinson but saying they didn't have to "take" it for as long as he has goes unremarked-upon by Drehs.

I'll refrain from further comment too, because where would I begin? And anyway you're smart enough to get why the quote is so moronic, and if you don't get it you're smart enough to Google Hank Aaron and Jackie Robinson and learn about them.

OK, one little comment: It seems to me that the utterances of a person whose statements don't affect people's lives are only worth noting for one of three reasons: That person has something to say, has an interesting, amusing way of saying it, or is so good at whatever it is he or she does that the comments, interesting or not, become noteworthy simply because they came from such an interesting person.

I'm wondering which of those applies to Rocker.

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Previous column: Nash's MVP: The readers write

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