By Richard Chandler Burroughs
At times, basketball can seem bigger than life. The fast pace, high-flying dunks and last second dramatics are thrilling for both fans and players and every summer, after the Larry O’Brien trophy is awarded, the league is a hive of off-season activity with an eye on that two foot high prize. It’s a constant jockeying for position, though most of it is in earnest since it can only be one holder of the bolder at the end of the NBA season. Each franchise wants to host the championship parade downtown, so the wheels of activity keeps spinning, as the first week of summer comes to a close.
The “twenty-four hour news cycle” is oft mentioned in the same breath with celebrity, civil unrest, political uprisings, papal conclaves and yes, professional sports. The term off-season may have gradually morphed into a misnomer as it’s tons of trades, the draft, injuries, intrigue, arrests, controversy, the occasional rap-album release and of course, summer league play, which goes on long after the regular season has ended. So it is through this prism that the league and it’s players are now viewed and with impending free agency arriving a week after the Summer Solstice, we’re right in the thick of the action. John Hollinger’s ESPN #TradeMachine makes it more interactive since everyone can play a fantasy GM or at least an amateur, salary cap guru once and figure out if Theo Ratliff’s expiring contract is still on some teams books.
Though fans want their teams to win and pick up the splashiest names on the free agent market, and players want to align themselves with other great players and replicate the title-winning, paradigm shifting, team-build of the Miami Heat, the cold hard truth is that basketball is not bigger than life. No sport is….well, maybe soccer, but I live in Bushwick and not Barcelona so that conversation is above my (non)pay-grade.
Dwight Howard is the cream of the crop (was just about to go all House Of Pain on you) of this summer’s NBA free agent class, but regardless of who has the most attractive team and situation, I think that he should resign with the L.A. Lakers. This isn’t for basketball reasons. Perhaps the Houston Rockets would be a better fit for D12, with a budding super-star in James Harden, a space the floor shooter in Chandler Parsons and coach Kevin McHale, who, as a HOF Big Man, can introduce valuable nuances to Mr. Howard’s repertoire in the post.
Not to mention Hakeem Olajuwon probably still has a locker at the Toyota Center and is apparently teaching the dream shake to any player willing to fork over $50K a week to bolster their chances of making dudes look foolish in the paint. Perhaps D12’s second go-round at the Shake Shaq (oh man, i made that Danny Myers + Olajuwon + The Big Aristotle) might be discounted for repeat business.
But again, this is about life.
I just read a story that Dwight Howard has 6 babies with 6 different mothers. I kept googling just to make sure I was reading correctly and saw various sites stating the same thing. Half of the baby claims are unsubstantiated without official paternity tests, but as it often is in these cases, where there’s smoke, there’s diapers.
Without going on about how utterly offensive that is on a personal level and how it strengthens the negative, black male narrative that is GLOBALLY understood as the gospel about black men; I will say this.
When pro athletes are going broke nearly as fast as #PaulaDeen is losing endorsements and with Dwight’s professional and personal behavior reeking of immaturity and imprudence, It would be wise for him to re-up with the Lakers.
If he bolts from the Purple & Gold, he leaves $30 Million on the table. That’s Floyd Mayweather fight money. That’s Warren Buffett’s weekend in Paris money…but to most of us, its several lifetimes worth of earnings. So it seems to my untrained eye that L.A. is the best fit because he could make the most money chasing a title, chasing tail AND dealing with the financial consequences of being Shawn Kemp 2.1 (it was 2.0 but it’s a patch included that fixes those Shawn Kemp dunk faces). Maybe he wanted to have six babies with six women and none of it was a mistake, but in any case, he now has TWELVE people to take care of for the next EIGHTEEN years and that’s without figuring in any blood relatives or old school buddies that he may also be carrying.
What looks like a long career can suddenly come to a crashing halt and his next contract could be his last contract. He has responsibilities to those children and those mothers and if he ever feels differently, the courts will have the last say. After having all of those kids, with all those women, his decision on where he plays next year should not be purely a basketball decision.
He’s a superstar basketball player, but guess what? He’s like any other dude who has fathered multiple kids with multiple woman, as he is obligated to take care of them. He’s got real world problems and needs real word solutions. That means taking the best paying job he can find and that job is playing center for the Los Angeles Lakers with a guaranteed contract of $118 Million dollars; and if he happens to win a championship as well, then it’s a win for everybody.
and now for House Of Pain