King Kaufman's Sports Daily

Don Nelson loves Chris Webber: Now he tells us. Plus: A golden age for the Super Bowl logo.


King Kaufman
January 30, 2008 3:30PM (UTC)

The Golden State Warriors have announced that they've signed veteran free agent Chris Webber, who hasn't played since the 2007 playoffs with Detroit, and if I may just speak to coach Don Nelson as a lapsed Warriors fan: What?! Now you like Chris Webber?

It was the insane feud between Webber and Nelson that drove me away from the Warriors a dozen years ago. Webber responded to Nelson's treatment of him by demanding a trade following his Rookie of the Year season in 1994.

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The Warriors could have chosen Webber and said to hell with Nelson, under whom -- I said then, I said when he coached the New York Knicks, I said when he coached the Dallas Mavericks and I'm still saying now that he's back with the Warriors -- no team will ever win an NBA championship.

The franchise threw its lot in with Nelson, who was authorized to make a hideous trade, which he did. He traded Webber for Tom Gugliotta and three first-round picks. That doesn't sound too bad, even considering how useless Gugliotta was, because three first-round picks is a lot.

Until you remember that it was the Golden State Warriors who had to make those picks.

The first of them was Todd Fuller, who right off the bat had the best year of his career. He averaged four points a game. The Warriors had picked him over Kobe Bryant, Peja Stojakovic, Steve Nash, Jermaine O'Neal, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Derek Fisher. You can go all the way to the end of the second round and you'd still be naming guys better than Todd Fuller. Watch: ... and Shandon Anderson.

The second pick became Vince Carter, who was flipped in a prearranged deal for Antawn Jamison. The last one was packaged with John Starks to get Larry Hughes and Billy Owens. By Warriors standards, that trade was an outrageous success. This team dared you to be a fan.

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Webber played in five of the next nine All-Star Games.

Nelson decided he'd had enough and quit soon after the Webber trade, which made the Webber trade even worse, because the only reason they'd traded Webber was to keep Nelson happy, and now Nelson was gone, and let's review here: Tom Gugliotta.

Tom Gugliotta. I still can't get over that. I was a young man then. I'm a middle-aged man now. Someday I'll be an old man. And I'll still be all: Tom Gugliotta? I will, you watch.

I can't remember if I turned my back on the Warriors before or after Nelson left, but I know it was long before they drafted Todd Fuller -- ahead of Kobe Bryant ... and Shandon Anderson! -- two years later. This was a team that simply didn't deserve my fanhood. It's the only time in my life I've ever made that decision. The Warriors descended to utter ineptitude until last year's stirring playoff run.

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I took up with the Sacramento Kings, who were lousy, and had been mostly lousy since back when they were in Cincinnati and I was in diapers. But they didn't seem to be aggressively pursuing crappiness, and they drew a fun crowd. And look, a few years later here came Webber, complaining about Sacramento being a cow town at first, but growing to like it.

Being a Kings fan has been fun, especially when they became a Western Conference power for a while, and there was the whole name thing for me. When I lived in St. Louis I picked up the Memphis Grizzlies as a secondary, neighborhood team. I go for the underdogs. As long as they're not just dogs.

But now the Warriors, back to being my home team and back to doing something that can be recognized by a reasonable person as playing basketball, have become attractive again. I know they'll never win a title as long as Don Nelson is coaching, but that's OK. They probably wouldn't win one with anyone else coaching either, and Nelson's 67. He won't be around forever. Besides, his teams are undeniably fun to watch.

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But does he have to make niceys with Chris Webber now, bring him back to town so he can play out the string as a shell of the self that once made the Warriors look so foolish? Bring all those memories back? Oh, I just flashed on a vision of Rony Seikaly. And here I was just about to invest in a "The City" old-school T-shirt.

Don Nelson loves him some Chris Webber. Now he does. It's hard to be a fan sometimes, isn't it?

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Best Super Bowl in years, in one sense [PERMALINK]

We seem to be entering something of a golden age of Super Bowls. Not the games, though. They've been a little drab the last couple of years. I'm talking about the logos.

Look at all 42 Super Bowl logos and you get a little history of recent American graphic design, from the meat-and-potatoes simplicity of the 1960s through the stylized '70s, the deco-influenced '80s and the blotchy, busy '90s.

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Look at that Super Bowl III logo, man, from the 1968 season. Does that say love beads and incense or what?

Of course it doesn't. It says white business shirts and black horn-rimmed glasses and green rotary telephones on big gray metal desks. The dirty little secret of the '60s is that there were like 14 hippies in the whole country. They just got their picture taken a lot.

Anyway, we've been in dark times, graphically speaking, in the sports world. The trend in the last two decades has been toward busier and busier, fussier and fussier design.

Look at the NHL logos introduced in that time. Compare the bold, easily recognizable old-style logos of the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings, for example, to the globs of color, indecipherable from more than 10 feet, that adorn the sweaters of, say, the Atlanta Thrashers and Minnesota Wild.

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Or compare any of the first 16 Super Bowl logos, with emphasis on the words "Super Bowl" in the early years and on the Roman numeral later, but all of them clear and bold, with the crazed mess of 1995. "Sunday, January 28, 1996," it says. And "Super Bowl XXX" and "Sun Devil Stadium, Arizona." I don't know why they didn't just go ahead and print the rosters as part of the logo.

But things have been getting better. The logo two years ago harked back to the early days, in good ol' red, white and blue, with the Roman numeral, not some stylized version of a local landmark -- what bridge was that supposed to be in the Jacksonville logo? -- the main element. The logo included the city and date, but at least the date was abbreviated.

Last year's model wasn't quite as good, a little busier, but it was still an improvement on all the others since the early '80s.

And now this year we have a big improvement. The NFL design crew seems to have decided that a mash-up of the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins color schemes was just the thing, but never mind that: Nowhere in the logo does the date appear, not even the year. Nor does the city or the name of the stadium. The only text is "Super Bowl XLII," and that text is the logo.

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Clean, simple, bold. The best thing about the last three Super Bowl logos is that, seen from a distance, they're all recognizable. The 20 or so before that become blobs pretty quickly.

I have a feeling this subject interests only me, but I'll be damned if I'm going to write about Tom Brady's stupid walking boot.

Previous column: Talking about steroids

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  • King Kaufman

    King Kaufman is a senior writer for Salon. You can e-mail him at king at salon dot com. Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr

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