Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

From Prime Time to Part-time

We’ve seen this drama unfold many times over in the last few years – Stephon Marbury with the Knicks (you can throw in Nate Robinson into the mix now), Allen Iverson with the Detroit Pistons, and now Tracy McGrady with the Houston Rockets. All have chafed with their reduced roles on the team despite a once fearsome reputation for being big time players. Despite being celebrated for their gaudy numbers, all three have not exactly been upstanding athletes in their respective communities. If ever, they have been disruptive forces. No longer considered as franchise players but journeymen, clearly, they are on their last legs.

The way the worm has turned for them is revealing – you’re only good as long as you can put people on the seats, Ws on the standings, and buckets into points. Management will even look the other way to accommodate a player before they are jettisoned for their fat contracts and team-killing ways. They may have made some money but they’d still love to play and be recognized. Not all the money in the world can salvage their rep. If you’re a winner, people are willing to forgive and forget but it doesn’t work all the time.

TMac has been given permission to go home to Houston as he will sit out the Rockets' next two matches. That sends a message to McGrady that he is no longer in the Rockets' plans and it smacks of total disrespect for him. Whatever TMac's shortcomings as a player, he does not deserve to be treated that way (as commendable as Rick Adelman has done for the franchise this year, he has always had issues with his players everywhere he's gone).

The problem with many of these players is that they grew up poor and without the benefit of proper rearing by adults so when the money comes in it changes them. The NBA has seminars for rookies where they are taught how to handle money, the media and other matters. In this matter, schools (and the players’ families) should step in and look at the young men they are raising. Sports has gotten way out of hand to the point where it’s a breeding ground for corruption and questionable values.

Even locally, high school kids even have managers! There ought to be a law against these parasites who don’t even have an ounce of talent in them except to sweet talk people into deals. If that is considered a skill then we are truly in deep shit.

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