Magic fans brace themselves for second departure of Shaquille

I remember exactly where I was when I first heard Shaquille O’Neal was leaving Orlando. 

This might not seem like a big deal now, considering he played for six teams over his 18-year career (only four of those in Orlando), but back in the day, for an expansion team trying to make its mark on the league, Shaq’s departure spoke volumes about NBA star power and the ever-widening gap between the haves and have-nots.

The ever-circulating trade rumors surrounding Dwight Howard these days are like déjà vu all over again, and not in a good way.

I was living in Orlando in the early to mid-90s when Shaq, along with Horace Grant, Dennis Scott, Nick Anderson and Anfernee Hardaway led the Magic all the way to the NBA Finals.  Needless to say, I had become quite the fledgling fan.  The team had been largely irrelevant since its inception, but drafting O’Neal in 1992 changed all of that.

That glory was short-lived.

The afternoon Shaq signed with Los Angeles, I was playing pickup basketball at the blacktop courts less than a mile from my house.  A regular at those courts broke the news.

We had all heard rumors that Shaq was unhappy and wanted to make a splash in a bigger market, aka, Los Angeles, to work on his acting (Kazaam) and his rapping (Shaq Fu).  Despite those questionable career moves, Shaq did win three championships in L.A. with a young Kobe Bryant by his side.  Meanwhile, Orlando floundered in Shaq’s seven-foot wake until some kid named Tracy McGrady came along, but even then they didn’t amount to much, never making it out of the first round of the playoffs.  Across the country, Orlando’s former top draft pick was on his way to becoming one the five greatest centers of all time.

Forever darlings on draft night, the Magic struck gold again in 2004.  With the third number one pick in franchise history, a dubious category to lead the league in, the Magic selected Dwight Howard, a 6-foot-11 high school kid from Atlanta with immeasurable upside.  They had finally found a big man to replace their long lost big man.

It’s safe to say that pick turned out pretty well.  Dwight’s dominance reestablished the Magic as a legit contender.  They made it to the NBA Finals again in 2009, where they lost to none other than… the Los Angeles Lakers.

After some questionable roster moves, the team has since gone downhill.  As a result, disgruntlement has returned to the vacation capital of the world.  Orlando’s big man wants out… again.  And again, it sounds like he’s going to get it, either via trade or free agency.  New Jersey, Golden State, Atlanta and yes, Los Angeles, are rumored to be potential destinations.  Meanwhile, Magic fans are left wondering whether the franchise, that just built a new arena, can once again stand to lose the most dominant player in the game.

The team is sticking to their guns, or at least hasn’t received an offer worthy of releasing Howard.  It’s unlikely they’ll find one.  He’s that good, and without him, the Magic will be that bad.

With every passing comment and Tweet, it seems less likely Dwight will stay put, forcing Magic ownership to rebuild once again, searching for the game’s next dominant big man, which won’t happen any time soon.  Players like Shaq and Dwight come along once in a generation.

If he’s lucky, Dwight will find new home on a contender.  He currently feels Orlando is not one.  He’s right.  They’re not… and they’ll be less of one when he leaves town.

Rooting for the Magic seemed pointless after Shaquille left.  It was a long time before we had anything good to cheer about again.  The same can be said about a Dwight-less Magic.  Orlando can ill afford to lose their second Superman.  Unfortunately for Magic fans, it’s probably too late.

46 thoughts on “Magic fans brace themselves for second departure of Shaquille

  1. Well son, speaking as a REAL fan, I have no use whatsoever for the bandwagon fans that seem to be everywhere. I became a Celtics fan in the 50s and I’m still a big fan. Even through the championship drought lasting 22 years, I stuck with my team.It has nothing to do with who’s name is on the uniform. It has to do with the uniform period. If it was the name, then you would have no problem rooting for Dwight Howard wherever he landed. There is no rule that says you have to be a fan of a team in your area. If that were that case, I would have been a Knicks fan all those years. I got to be a Celtics fan through circumstances and here I am 55 years later. Its not about Dwight Howard at this point. Its about Magic ownership and the fact that they really don’t care about their fans. If DeVos cared, he would get rid of the problem by firing Otis Smith. Cut the head off the snake and the body dies, only to rise up stronger than before. The Magic ownership has the money to make it happen, if they wanted to.

  2. Chris

    I for one would like to thank the Magic cfront office for their complete ineptitude ! Furthermore Orlando city mayor Buddy Dyer must now rue the day he agreed to be duped by the Magic into throwing down millions into what will soon become a hideous white elephant ! ‘nough said on the matter as you where I’m coming from on this issue when it comes to multi millionaire and billionaire sports’ franchise owners and they’re obtaining public funds for the construction of edifices that the vast majority of the populace will never be able to afford in terms of attendance for a game .

    So Selig won’t be retiring after-all at the end of this year as he’s now agreed to a two year contract extension that may or may not see him step down in 2014 .

  3. Snake…

    I didn’t mean to suggest with the piece that I was a bandwagon fan. I kept rooting for the Magic once Shaq left and, as you know, still do to this day.

    I originally became an NBA fan when Jordan and Dominique were doing there thing. I would watch the great Celtics-Lakers rivalries before that but could associate with neither one of them. Little did I know back then that I was watching brilliance.

    Moving around a lot as a kid, I never grasped on to any particular team, which is why, when I landed in Orlando and their team was up-and-coming, I gravitated towards them.

    Now, you also raise an interesting point. As sensible adults, we reserve the right to no longer become a fan of a certain team if their ‘decision-makers’ make bone-headed moves that hurt the franchise, just as one wouldn’t stay at a job where the boss was an ass. I think we can both relate to that one.

    Your dedication is your C’s is commendable and it’s paid off. It wasn’t all that long ago that they were horrible.

    But you also cheer for a franchise that is pro-active to winning, not reactive when its players feel the urge to leave town.

  4. Aer…

    My grandpa almost bought some land in Orlando back when it was a grove.

    Unfortunately, he didn’t, otherwise it would have been ME who owned the Magic.

    And I would have gone all Rex Ryan and guaranteed a championship too.

    If you thought Steinbrenner, Al Davis and Jerry Jones were brash owners, wait ’til they got a load of me.

  5. Al…

    We’ve beaten Otis Smith’s bad decision-making to death. How’d that Gilbert Arenas signing work out, Otis?

    When I was living there, ownership was begging the city for a new stadium. Well they got it, now what?

    And Selig, really? How the hell did this happen?

  6. Hey Chris, I know you’re not a bandwagon fan. You loved the Gators when they were bad for a few years. It is about wanting to win on some level, but you’ve got to look at the Chicago Cubs fans to see what devotion is really all about. They haven’t won in a 100 years but the fans still come out to support their Cubbies. It should never be about the name on the back. After Jordan left the Bulls, their attendance really took a nosedive. That’s an example of bandwagon fans. Guys who wear the jersey or T shirt of the moment. Love your team, no matte what. Hell,I even loved the Cs during the horrible Rick Pitino years. That was very hard to do.

  7. Pingback: Magic fans brace themselves for second departure of Shaquille - BallHyped, NBA | BallHyped Sports Blogs

  8. Snake…

    I’m a Gator fan because I went to school there. And newsflash, they’re bad NOW!

    And I’m not sure your Cubs fan comparison is entirely accurate. Sure they haven’t won in a century BUT and yes they’re dedicated but going to Wrigley Field is more about the party and the experience. I’m not too sure how many knowledgeable Cubs fans you’d find at those beer-fests.

    Maybe I’m mistaken. Besides, hasn’t being a Cubs fan become fashionable these days? How many people jumped on the Red Sox bandwagon after they finally won. Imagine how obnoxious that will be when the Cubs finally win one. They will win one, won’t they?

    And on a side note, that’s a problem with rooting for expansion franchises. Whether it’s the NHL, NFL, NBA or MLB, entrenched franchises will have a leg-up on the newbies. Why WOULDN’T you want to play for the Yankees, Lakers, Packers or Rangers and why WOULD you want to play for the Nationals, Timberwolves, Jaguars or Thrashers.

    Do they still even have the Thrashers? See my point?

  9. Chris

    What Otis Smith knows ’bout basketball could be written on the back of a first class stamp and be posted to Timbuktu for all of the use it’d be !

    You tell me …. how Selig was able to finagle a two year contract extension ? I can only surmise he has inappropriate pictures of several high ranking league executives and team owners engaged in unlawful acts with farm animals !

    I’m glad that Barry Larkin made it into the Hall of Fame . A class guy and a really classy act ! Will be hitting up the site about that and other recent observations in the world of sports .

    What to make of the following ? Raiders’ front office fires Hue Jackson ? Why don’t they simply install a turnstile/ revolving door at the head office and then alongside the head coach’s parking spot a sign reading ………. ” limited parking space and waiting time ” .

    Roy Disney nephew of Disney co-founder Walt now wants to post a bid for the Dodgers through the family’s holding company Shamrock Holdings. Does that mean that there will be thrill rides at the ballpark for the customers along with them being able to meet Donald Duck , Mickey & Minnie , Goofy , Jimminy Cricket, Dumbo , Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs ? Inquiring minds need to know . LOL,LOL ,LOL !!!

    tophatal …………

  10. Let’s tackle these one by one, shall we, Al?

    First of all, it’s a shame that there’s no recourse for bad GMing. Let’s say Otis kills the franchise with bad personnel moves. He gets fired, then finds another job. Well, the Magic are still hand-cuffed by his bad decisions. He should somehow be held accountable for that, no?

    Two more years of Selig? MLB has had a successful run as of late so maybe he just wanted to ride those coattails. Someone tell him it doesn’t matter as he’ll still be the Commissioner that presided over the steroid era.

    Larkin was a great player, Al, but let me ask you. Would he have gotten in a) on any other ballot or b) had no players in that era been accused of using performance enhancers? Food for thought.

    Raiders, Al? Is it safe to say yet that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree?

    And if I had the money, I’d buy a stake in the Dodgers. Sure they’re bad and have been for some time, but it’s still a blue chip franchise. When they do eventually win again, I’d be laughing all the way to the bank.

  11. I found myself in Chicago in 1988 and all I wanted to do was to go to Wrigley to see what it was all about. I’m not even a baseball fan. Way too slow for me. The truth is that all around me were real Cubs fans who were knowledgeable of the game and their team. Believe me, I asked a lot of questions. Even after they lost, the Cubs fans stood to give their team a standing ovation. I was impressed. As for what tophatal said about Otis Smith, I would make that a bulk mail stamp. There’s nothing first class about that dufus.

  12. Hey man, Disneyland CA was the only happiest place on earth before Walt bought up that swamp and transformed it into a mouse eared megametropolis…So if you have to sacrifice an All-Star center to L.A. every so often it’s a small price to pay for a built in economy courtesy of Tinseltown.

    D12 wants out, period.
    Orlando has had seven years to make it happen and he’s still ringless. That won’t happen if he pulls a purple and gold jersey on.

    I think Magic management is grasping at straws thinking he’ll stay. They’re wisely trying to appease the fan base in doing so. But in reality I think what’s going on is they’re biding their time and waiting for a better offer than Bynum and pieces…Namely they want Pau included…But that won’t happen. You get ONE big man, that’s it. The Lakers would be foolish to give up both. It would be even more foolish for Orlando to keep him through the season only to lose him without compensation as a free agent…Shades of Shaq…Get what you can, while you can now.
    D12′s agent has permission to deal with Dallas, New Jersey and the Lakers.
    Of those hand picked by Howard teams, who has a better option with an upside combination of talent and age than Bynum?

    …Exactly.

    Tick-tock.

  13. It’s a shame that Otis Smith & crew weren’t capable of putting a good enough supporting cast around Dwight. I too remember exactly where I was when Shaq bolted. Same thing for when Magic announced his retirement the first time. Funny how those things have a lasting effect. Oh well, guess they’ll have to suit you up man…

  14. Coming from a Warriors fan, at least you had one of the most dominant players in the league playing for your team. That’s never happened for us as long as I’ve been alive. Who knows, maybe they’ll get a Nuggets/Melo type haul from someone and be better than they were with him. I doubt anyone in Denver regrets that trade at the moment even with a bunch guys still stuck in China…

  15. Chris

    Not only had Otis killed the franchise from a competitive and financial standpoint . But should Dwight go then the Amway Center literally becomes an elephants’ graveyard .

    I swear Selig must have some inappropriate pictures of some of these owners league hierarchy w
    members acting improperly with farmyard animals . Because that’s the only he could have obtained this contract extension that will pay him in excess of $15 million a year for the next two years.

    The list of nominees alongside Larkin were in large part holdovers from previous years and many of them have struggled to get the 75% of the vote needed to make it into the Hall of Fame .

    See link provided …. Larkin elected to Hall of Fame .

    Also note who’ll be up for election in the ensuing years . Bonds , Sosa and others associated with the steroid era. Never mind the fact that some of the adjudicators on the panel of the BBWAA actually voted for McGwire and Palmeiro this year . ‘nough said on the matter I think !

    Nothing new concerning the Raiders it’s simply asinine for anyone to try and suggest that this move is in the best interest of the organization unless their next hire just happens to be a proven commodity . Rumor has it that Gruden’s name might be atop of their list of candidates ?

    And as far as the Dodgers are concerned . If the Disney family assumes control of the team then I hope that they will be offering deep discounts to Disneyland and Disneyworld as an incentive for fans in attendance for the games . Blue chip or not the organization has been a complete mess during the tenure of Frank McCourt .

    tophatal ……….

  16. This is a continuation of a disappointing NBA trend that started in Miami. NBA players have learned that they can construct their own teams now by simply calling their buddies in other cities to build what amounts to their own teams. As it stands small market GM’s will find it more difficult to build teams from the ground up after the good fortune of drafting a superstar.

    The sad thing is that many (if not most) of the players support this in theory. But what they fail to recognize is that the game and league suffers when fans can no longer count on seeing a core group of guys together on the court for more than a couple seasons. Essentially they (the players) risk biting the hand that fees them if the league is weakened or even worse contracts.

    For the most part owners and GM’s care about the views of the fans but lack the ability to fight the strong arm tactics of players like Howard or Lebron James.

    Right now Orlando managment is in a catch 22. Despite an angry fan base it’s better to trade Howard now and get reasonable value in return because he ain’t staying…

  17. Bleed…

    Bynum and Gasol for Dwight is something even I’d listen to. Another offer that would at least make me feel like I wasn’t screwed without having dinner bought for me first, would be David Lee and Monta Ellis for Dwight.

    I could live with both of those, especially considering they’re probably going to lose him anyway.

    Let me ask you this though. How many years does Kobe legitimately have left? I know we’ve been saying three or four for a while but that has to be about true by now, doesn’t it?

    Another thing I’d like to know is how much say Dwight had in the moves Orlando’s made over the past four years. Was he at all consulted? If so, then he needs to be at least partially to blame, not that there would be any recourse.

    If he wasn’t, well that’s on ownership.

  18. Donny C….

    If I suited up, I’d bring back the short shorts… or at least ask Stern to go easy on the league drug policy.

    And of course, I’d reserve us a regular VIP suite in Anti-FREAK-ua

  19. Chap…

    I’ve heard trade possibilities involving just about every team.

    What’s your take on Monta and Lee for Dwight?

    That way you could finally have the world’s most dominant player on your roster. But that’d be about all you’d have.

  20. Al…

    I guess I should check out a game in that new arena before Dwight skips town, huh? Maybe I could persuade him to stay with the Magic.

    And boy am I looking forward to the next 365 days of Hall of Fame talk.

    This is gonna get REAL good.

  21. Chris,

    Larkin was a Michigan guy that said no to Bo about playing foots. Hall of Fame material? Nah, Cooperstown is being diluted and the admission process is tainted. Barry was good but hung around too long. Besides shouldn’t we hold him partially responsible for not ratting on Rose’s gambling activities. LOL

  22. Look at Liar North with the lengthy comment.

    To what do we deserve the honor, sir?

    Let me rebut by saying only this.

    I’m assembling an All-Star team to bring to Augusta. You wouldn’t want me bringing a bunch of scrubs, would you?

  23. Al…

    I gotta tell you I’m with Ronbets on this one. Larkin benefited from being in the class he was.

    2340 Hits, 198 HRs, 960 RBIs, .295 BA?

    Does that scream best of the best to you?

    Are we now rewarding players for NOT taking steroids during that time?

  24. Chris, Al, Ronbets…
    I agree on the Larkin point. By putting Barry in the Hall with those numbers you almost HAVE to consider players like Don Mattingly. In my opinion, Mattingly may have been HOF-worthy had he not been crippled with injuries… Yet his numbers are better than Larkin.
    2,153 Hits, 222 HRs, 1,099 RBIs, .307 BA.
    Can… Of… Worms…

  25. Yeah I saw those trade rumors too… I think the only way I’d be okay with that trade is if it happened really soon, like yesterday. If Dwight doesn’t sign an extension, I’d rather keep D-Lee and Ellis especially if he’s only on the team for half a season. What’s the point in that! If we made that trade, and he left, it’s a huge failure by the new ownership.

    Plus, the Warriors are the second youngest team in the league, so I’m willing to wait this season out and see what we have before making a trade in hopes of keeping him. We just beat the Heat last night, so maybe these guys starting to get used to eachother!

  26. Bynum & Gasol won’t happen.
    Even Dwight wouldn’t want it to go down like that because then he’d be stuck here with only Kobe and a bunch of scrubs. Defeats the purpose.

    The only way both Pau & Drew could possibly be had would be for D12, Jameer Nelson, Ryan Anderson, Big Baby, JJ and/or Hedo. Too complicated contract wise.

    …Nah, the Magic will wait til after the All-Star game then cave and ship him to LA for Bynum and a scrub or two.

    As far as Kobe, he has more left than everyone thinks. He is more concious of his legacy than any player in history. He LIVES to silence the doubters.

    His quote after dropping 48 was, “Not bad for the 7th best player in the league” …Referring to an ESPN player ranking. Little things like that motivate him. His drive, obsessive conditioning and those little jaunts to Germany don’t hurt either.

    Steve Nash, Grant Hill and Ray Allen are a few years older than Bryant and still playing at a high level. Jordan was still effective in Washington so it can be done. I wouldn’t bet against him playing into his late 30′s/early 40′s.

    As far as Dwight’s input, who knows?
    I know LA didn’t consult Kobe about hiring Mike Brown or trading Lamar but Lakers management is a far cry from Orlando’s.

  27. I hear ya Chump, I remember rooting for that same Magic team with Anfernee.

    I’ve actually been hearing a lot of Dwight and the Magic down here in Michigan lately. With the Devos’ being so close to where i live and work, it’s hard to imagine what they’re are feeling w/ him on the cusp of departure. If I were them, I would at least try for two or three first rounders and a couple decent replacements, instead of nothing in return.

  28. It unfortunate that this “superstars” dont want to play in the smaller markets. The communities here embrace these players much more than the big markets. It seems like a preferable situation to be in. We have the same problems in Memphis. The best you can hope for is assembling a strong core of mid-level players

  29. During one of our posts back-n-forth, I mentioned I watch some college basketball, but not NBA. I remember sharing that the last time I probably watched NBA was when Magic was in the playoffs years ago (a Florida Native supporting home team, ya know). Anyway, you suggested I watch Miami vs Clippers on 1/11/12. Well, when I saw what time the game started, I really didn’t think I’d see much of the game, if at all. As it turns out, it’s one of my sleepless nights and I began watching early in the third. I was honestly torn because MLBN has been running the top 40 memorable LCS games and baseball is my first sports love with football close behind. I definitely gave the recall on my remote a work out in these wee hours of the morn trying to get a good “dunkalicious” experience out of NBA and also see these LCS highlights.

    Well, NASCAR has “rubbing is racing”. Does NBA have “bumping is basketball”? If not , they should! These fouls could have been forced by academy award acting…or did I miss something? It reminded me of wrestling drama (no, I don’t watch it) because bumping is part of basketball, which will result in a fall, and I guess it all depends on how “well” you fall? Is it like Derek Jeter getting “hit” on the hand in that Rays game not so long ago resulting in a free pass to first? Or possibly a kicker falling down so nicely to get a roughing the kicker penalty called? Guess it is the same everywhere in our beloved sports and yes, I’ll watch NBA again.

    Yaz also wanted me to share with you what I told him Tuesday morning , which was “Someone lined LSU’s pockets handsomely to have laid down as they did in that championship game.” He thought you may get a good chuckle over that. It’s 3:00am and I’m probably rambling so thanks for “listening”. Dee Dee

  30. This article is very inaccurate. “Rooting for the Magic seemed pointless after Shaquille left” is very wrong. They still had Anfernee Hardaway and Nick Anderson, and everyone around Tampa and Orlando knew they were still good. When Penny and Nick Anderson got injured in 1996-97, the team floundered, but still made it to the playoffs. Everyone in the area had hopes for the Magic for many years, and was surprised each time they lost in the first round of the playoffs. You cannot compare Dwight Howard to Shaq in any way. Ever since Dwight Howard came, he hasn’t made the impact that Shaq made or wowed anyone like Shaq did. When they lost the NBA Finals in 2009, everyone knew they weren’t the best team in the Eastern Conference, like they were in 1995. Dwight Howard has never been the only reason that the Magic have won. They will be the same as they were last year, if he leaves.

  31. Dwight sounds like he wants to be in the movies and work multiple careers in the bright lights. If he isn’t in a Laker uniform by the trade deadline somebody in L.A. ought to be fitted for Mickey Mouse ears. Orlando will once more join the lower-class of the NBA, serving as cannon fodder for the superteams and having to mine for gold in the drafts.

  32. Chris

    Either way Dwight’ll be missed . It’s up to the front office of the Magic to prove to the fans whether not they want to be seen as contenders or merely as pretenders . And for the last few seasons to me they have been the latter of the two !

    The BBWAA’s process is archaic ! Should the adjudication process be subjective or an objective ? You have guys in the Hall of Fame with sub par stats as well as outstanding stats . So which is it to be ? Should we deem Barry Larkin to be a borderline candidate or simply that he made it in because the other candidates on the ballot didn’t stand out ? I’ll have that piece up later on today . Been spending too much time taking stuff from work to home to finish off .

    So the Wizards finally win their first game of the season having beaten the Raptors . Does that mean that Flip Saunders’ position is now safe as the coach of the team ?

    Will you be “Tebowing for Jesus” this weekend ? Inquiring minds need to know .

    In The Words of Herm Edwards ….”You Play The Game To Win ! “

    tophatal ……………

  33. Chris

    If Roy Disney’s estate is successful with the winning bid to own the Dodgers what chances of there being discounts for the theme parks as well on their cruise ships as an incentive for the fans ?

    tophatal ……….

  34. Mun…

    I’ve always argued that Mattingly should be in the Hall, and that comes from Yankee Hater Numero Uno.

    It’s not like he was ever brash with the media. I think he was just a quiet player on the Yankees at a time where they weren’t their normal selves.

    Either way, he was one of the best players in the game for a long damn time.

    I think we’ll see him getting in.

  35. Chap…

    I watched that Heat game, although I have to tell you, as talented as they are, I still have my reservations about that team. They’re inconsistent as hell and LeBron absolutely disappeared against the Clippers last night.

    I think I agree with you on the Dwight to Golden State trade. Obviously Dwight’s a guy you want on your roster but not if you have to give up the farm to get him.

    Plus there’s still no assurance on Steph’s health so all you might end up having is Dwight, which is a worse situation that he has right now in Orlando.

    If the Magic are bitter with Dwight though for all the talk he’s doing, I can see them shipping him off to Oakland. If he’s jetting, they have to get something for him. I’m not sure if he has it in his contract that he can veto a trade.

  36. Bleed…

    Speaking of, did you hear Chris Webber say he felt Andrew Bynum was the best big man in the league?

    That’s why I’m glad he’s gone from Inside the NBA. Put him on NBA TV where he belongs.

    Kid needs a timeout saying that…. no pun intended, he he.

  37. Chris Reed…

    Thanks for chiming in.

    I think that’s exactly what made Kevin Durant’s Twitter announcement that he was staying in Oklahoma City so newsworthy.

    Not only was he the anti-LeBron by not attracting attention to himself, in addition to that, he was staying in OKC.

    This is arguably the most talented offensive player in the game choosing to stay in a smaller market and not test the waters to see what the market would bear.

    I think most fans would agree with you that Durant’s move was refreshing. I think most would also agree he’s the exception rather than the norm.

  38. Dee Dee…

    Glad you got a chance to watch some of that game. I was at work, caught some of it, and wondered whether you were watching.

    Your observations were spot on. That game was HORRIBLY officiated. That’s a big problem with the NBA these days. Stars can pretty much sway the referee to blow his whistle if they’re shrewd enough. Heck, sometimes it doesn’t even take that.

    Unfortunately, the days of let them play/no blood no foul are long gone. Come playoff time, we’ll see a lot more physical play allowed, depending on who’s officiating, but all it takes is one ref to blow his whistle on a bad call to beget a make-up call and then you have a whistle-fest.

    Commissioner Stern says his officials are accountable but sometimes fans just want to see the players play. On the other hand, the last thing Stern wants is another huge fight on his hands.

    It’s a fine line.

    Oh, and the best comment I heard about LSU was a friend who posted on Facebook that the team bus took forever getting back to Baton Rouge because someone painted a 50-yard line across the interstate.

  39. SA….

    I’ve always been surprised that more athletes don’t want to stay in Orlando.

    It’s a great town, vacation capital of the world, easy to get in and out of and there’s no state taxes.

    You’d think landing a contract with Disney would make one set for life.

    But what do I know, they continue to leave.

    And if Dwight’s acting is anything like he did in that ESPN spot where he plays Clark Kent, I’d stick to basketball if I were him.

  40. I just don’t know, Al. I fear it may be too late.

    I’m not exactly sure what he wants but he doesn’t seem to be 100% into it these days. I think his heart is already gone and that’s not a good sign, for there’s nothing that the incompetence that is Otis Smith can do to get him to stay.

    Hall of Fame voting is 90% subjective, Al. Over the next few years, we’re going to see players voted in or out based on whether we THINK they took steroids.

  41. It should be interesting to see how involved the W’s get in the trade talks whenever Dwight does become available, because it doesn’t sound like he can block a trade. Tonight should be interesting to see how all the trade pieces play against eachother in Oracle!

    If only the Warriors were in the eastern conference, they’ve already beat the Knicks, Bulls, and Heat this year…

  42. Chap…

    You’re Warriors are currently 0-3 on the road, 0-3 in their division and 0-5 against the Western Conference.

    Stinky!

    I’ll see if I can put a good word in for you with the commish to, as you suggest, get your team to switch conferences.

    Only problem is… Oakland is in California.

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