I don't do a lot of "Public Service Announcements" in these rants but I ran across two items in my readings over the past couple of days that tells me
that I just might need to do one here. A pub in Clearfield, PA - you know, the town right by Plymptonville, PA - has on its menu a hamburger made with
10 lbs of meat and 25 slices of cheese with lettuce, tomato and a "bun". If you finish it, you get your name engraved on a plaque.
Meanwhile, in Decatur, GA a restaurant there offers a double bacon cheeseburger served between two Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Ladies and gentlemen, as a
public service let me be sure you understand a couple of things here:
1. If you eat a 10 lb cheeseburger and finish it in a single sitting, your spouse needs to keep the local funeral director on speed dial. Remember in
your estate planning that it will cost extra to have that plaque engraved with your name permanently mounted on your headstone.
2. If you eat bacon cheeseburgers served on doughnuts, the fat content therein will turn your blood to the consistency of warm Cheez Whiz.
It can't be a surprise to anyone that I am not a big fan of Bob Huggins and his basketball program at the University of Cincinnati. I know that the
defrocked members of the coaching fraternity who are doing TV commentary say he is a fine and gentle man who is "misunderstood". I keep waiting for
them to explain to me what I need to know to "understand" why he is anything more than the lout I take him for, but they never seem to do that. I am
smart enough to "understand" if they can explain it and since I still don't get it, maybe it's because there is no valid explanation to be
In any event, it appears as if Huggins is on the outs at Cincinnati at the moment. After years of having players who do not graduate and who have
gotten into scrapes of varying magnitudes and after years of Huggins' bullying and boorish behavior on the bench during games, Huggins himself got
arrested for DUI. Nominally, the Cincinnati program was being upgraded in terms of imitating a collegiate endeavor at that juncture of history, and
Huggins' arrest was not what it needed. He did his time and his rehab and it seemed as if his only punishment from the university was that it
suspended the automatic rollover in his contract. Every year, Huggins' contract was extended by a year to give him a four year deal ostensibly so he
could recruit and tell players he'd be there for the full four years of their tenure at Cincinnati - as if that would matter to any of the top quality
players he would go after. That seemed like no big deal.
Evidently, the university president, Nancy Zimpher, did not feel as if the program was yet heading in a proper direction. Maybe an indicator was that
one of Huggins' players was arrested recently on the Cincinnati campus for brandishing a handgun that somehow "went off". The player's name was Roy
Bright and you might say that his behavior earned him the nickname:
Roy "Not All That" Bright.
Based on a meeting between Zimpher and Huggins in the past couple of days, his contract will not be reinstated and the rollover is not in effect.
Huggins has only two years to go. In the existing contract, it says that Huggins now has the option to resign within 90 days of receiving notice that
the rollover will not be granted and collecting the salary due him for the remainder of the term, but Huggins held a press conference and said he
isn't going anywhere. The university then released a statement saying that UC "is no longer in discussions with men's basketball coach Bob Huggins
concerning his contract. The university has neither restored the rollover nor extended the contract term."
My question here is simple. If Huggins gets fired in two years, where will all the thugs who can play street-style basketball take their game? Tark is
out of the business; Jim Harrick doesn't have a major job; who will inherit this treasure? Which school will step up to try to claim the title of
In a column in the NY Post, Mark Berman said that the flirtation between Phil Jackson and the Knicks over the Knicks' coaching job had become tedious.
Frankly, I agree with him entirely on that point. However, he went on to say that "it is an honor and a privilege to coach the Knicks and they should
not have to play second, third or fifth fiddle, not for $10M per." Forget the salary figure for a moment and forget the obvious fact that there are
less than three dozen head coaching positions in all of the NBA so it is an honor and a privilege to have any one of them at any moment in time. This
statement says that the Knicks represent an honorific opportunity and that is where I get off the train.
The NY Knicks were an elite team in the late 60s through the mid-70s; the Knicks had a solid contending team that never lived up to the hype that the
NY press gave it from the mid-80s through the mid-90s. Other than those intervals, the Knicks have been nothing special in the NBA; and for the last 5
- 7 years, the Knicks have been a bad basketball team who play uninspired and boring basketball. It is no more an "honor" to coach the Knicks than it
is to coach the Charlotte Bobcats or the Atlanta Hawks except for the exposure and celebrity component of the job that accrues because it is centered
in NYC. If I were Phil Jackson, I'd tell the Knicks that my going rate for coaching a good team that has an immediate shot at a championship is $10M
per year but to coach the Knicks it will take a whole lot more than that in terms of money and anything else I think is important. Oh and by the way,
I think the honor of coaching your team is worth - - nada.
Dennis Rodman is about to publish his third autobiography; the working title is The Worm Returns. Reportedly, it will deal with his life from 1998 to
now and will discuss his alcohol addiction and his struggles in that realm. Not meaning to minimize those kinds of problems, I do need to ask what
makes Dennis Rodman's life so crammed full of important events and things that led to insights into the human condition that he was compelled to break
it into three different "volumes". When I think of autobiographies that might need such grandeur, I think of Sir Winston Churchill or perhaps Abraham
Lincoln - had he been around long enough to have written his autobiographies. But Dennis Rodman?
Finally, a comment from Dave Thomas in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
"Amare Stoudamire dominates the Mavs in the Suns' 119 - 102 win with 37 points and 14 rebounds. OK, all you Dean Martin fans, let's all sing together
now: 'When a Sun sets the pace and is dunking in your face, that's Amare.' "
But don't get me wrong, I love sports...
Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon