FoxSports: NBA players are ruining the league
Old 03-01-2011, 02:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default FoxSports: NBA players are ruining the league

From Jason Whitlock who is a very good writer.

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This whole NBA scenario — from LeBron’s Decision to Melo’s Madness to Deron’s Escape — reminds me of the American housing bubble.

You don’t need to read Michael Lewis’ latest book to see the NBA is headed for collapse.

That is not a statement about the product. The product is strong. We’re in the middle of one of the best NBA seasons in quite some time. Every night, there seems to be at least one must-see matchup, and the television networks — ABC, ESPN and TNT — trumpet the record number of viewers.

There are six legitimate championship teams — the Celtics, Spurs, Heat, Lakers, Bulls and Mavericks. There is a seemingly endless list of compelling superstars worth paying to see — James, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Dwyane Wade, Amar’e Stoudemire, Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki, etc.

We’re at the height of the bubble. We’re at the brink of collapse.

For close to a decade, NBA players have walked the thin line between love and hate with their customers. The players crossed it when Ron Artest and several Indiana Pacers climbed into the stands to brawl with spectators. Commissioner David Stern instituted a string of new rules — dress code, tougher restrictions prohibiting fighting, 19-year-old age requirement for the draft — to push the players back on the other side of the line.

Those Band-Aid policies are starting to break. The players, many of whom have never grasped the need to understand and satisfy their customer base, are beginning to unwittingly push back.

Soaked in the arrogance of fame, wealth, immaturity and business ignorance, the players have dramatically reshaped the league with their free-agent and impending free-agent maneuvers.

In doing so — in destroying basketball in Cleveland, Utah and Denver — LeBron, Melo, Amar’e and Deron reinforced the perception among fans that teams don’t matter.

“As a player, you have to do what’s best for you,” Wade told reporters in reaction to the Carmelo trade to New York. “You can’t think about what someone’s going to feel or think on the outside. You have to do what’s best for you, and that’s what some players are doing. I’m happy for those players that felt that they wanted to be somewhere and they got their wish.”

That pretty much sums up the mentality of the modern-day American and modern-day pro athlete. Pleasing the individual takes precedence over everything else. It doesn’t matter that the collective strength of the NBA made Wade rich. Wade and other NBA players must be concerned only with themselves. That’s the American way.


The problem for basketball players is that they’re perceived differently than other pro athletes and Americans hold higher expectations for athletes than they do for themselves.

If NBA players were smart, they’d consider the health of the entire league.

They won’t. They can’t. They’re too young, too uneducated, too compromised by a society that intellectually cripples its physically gifted, beautiful and famous. You can’t see the big picture when you’re surrounded by male and female groupies.

It’s up to David Stern and the owners to protect the future of the league. They have to protect the players from themselves.

The problems facing the NBA are not unique. The problems are just more acute in the NBA as opposed to the NFL and major league baseball.

It’s easiest to see the break from traditional sports values in the NBA. The embrace of rebellious, hip-hop music culture, which is in direct opposition to the patriotism associated with sports, and the devastation of college basketball because of early entrants into the NBA put pro basketball players at odds with their fan base.

American sports fans love basketball. It is our most beautiful and graceful game. They don’t like or respect the participants. The fans don’t believe the players share their values. Fans care about the teams. The players don’t.

As the NBA heads for labor unrest in an attempt to negotiate a new collective-bargaining agreement, Stern and the owners should be super aggressive in addressing this fundamental problem.

A franchise tag for the league’s biggest stars won’t fix it.

Tying a significant percentage of player compensation to wins and losses is the solution, along with financial incentives for players to stay in college and pursue an actual education while there.

I’ve written in detail about these ideas in the past.

American basketball is in need of a major overhaul. Everything should be on the table. People should think outside the box. Money has changed pro sports. It’s long past time for the rules governing construction of teams and compensation of players to be fundamentally changed to reflect today’s reality.

The teams have to matter. Winning has to matter. It can’t simply be about players re-creating their AAU teams in their favorite NBA cities. That bubble is going to burst. The thin line between love and hate soon is going to be crossed irrevocably.
NBA players are wrecking their league - NBA News | FOX Sports on MSN
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Old 03-01-2011, 03:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Another very good piece. This time from Yahoo!

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This is today’s NBA: The stars not only understand the appeal of playing on a larger stage – a lure that has existed for years – they also now see a benefit in teaming together with players who had been their personal rivals. From the creation of the Big Three in Boston to Pau Gasol’s(notes) trade to the Los Angeles Lakers to LeBron James(notes) and Chris Bosh(notes) joining Dwyane Wade(notes) in Miami to a trade deadline that sent Anthony to New York and Deron Williams(notes) to the New jersey Nets, the NBA’s superstars are forming their own super teams – a transition that has many questioning whether the league’s small- and mid-market franchises can continue to compete.

“I always thought it was special to be in one place and you could put together a team, especially in a small market like San Antonio’s,” said Hall of Fame center David Robinson, who won two championships and spent his entire 14-season career with the San Antonio Spurs. “But it’s real tough because the small-market teams don’t have the money to do what a New York can do and the Lakers can do. It’s going to be hard for a lot of small-market teams.”

The transition began in the summer of 2007 when the Boston Celtics engineered a pair of trades to acquire Ray Allen(notes) and Kevin Garnett(notes). Unlike four years earlier when the Lakers brought in an aging Karl Malone and Gary Payton to join Kobe Bryant(notes) and Shaquille O’Neal(notes), Allen and Garnett were still close enough to the prime of their careers to help Paul Pierce(notes) turn Boston into a championship team. Spurred by Bryant’s trade-me-or-get-me-some-help demand that same season, the Lakers plucked Gasol away from the Memphis Grizzlies in a steal of a deal that has since delivered L.A. two championships and three straight trips to the NBA Finals – in two of which they met the Celtics.

“The Celtics laid the blueprint for everything, and it showed that you can be successful with three superstar guys,” Bosh said. “I know a lot of people were kind of skeptical when they first came together on how it would work out. Was the ball big enough for them? They proved they can they can play together and put the ego aside as a team.”

After the Heat went from NBA champions in 2006 to first-round fodder in three straight seasons, franchise president Pat Riley brought in the biggest free-agent haul in NBA history by luring James and Bosh to play with Wade. After a slow start to this season, the Heat trail only the Celtics in the East and look like legitimate title contenders. Meanwhile, the former teams of James and Bosh – the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors – own the league’s worst and fifth-worst records.

Miami wasn’t the only major-market franchise to benefit from free agency. The Chicago Bills signed former Utah Jazz forward Carlos Boozer(notes) to play with All-Star point guard Derrick Rose(notes) and also brought in one of Boozer’s Jazz teammates, shooter Kyle Korver(notes). The Knicks gave Amar’e Stoudemire(notes) a $100 million contract after Stoudemire’s previous team, the Phoenix Suns, didn’t want to guarantee him that much because of concern about the long-term health of his knees. New York then landed Anthony and Nuggets point guard Chauncey Billups(notes) – a former All-Star himself – at the trade deadline. And the Knicks might not be finished: Depending on how much flexibility they have under the league’s new labor agreement, they could try to sign New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul(notes), Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard(notes) or Williams, who hasn’t committed to a contract extension with the Nets, in the summer of 2012.

“I think this is what’s really happening: After a team wins a championship, the teams that want to get there build like a championship team,” the Celtics’ Pierce said. “The Lakers did what they did with Pau Gasol. We did what we did with our ‘Big Three’ and know you see what Miami did in free agency. Now you are seeing teams and players around the league trying to build to get to that [level]. They’re saying, ‘What better way to do it than bring superstars together.’

“What LeBron, Wade and Bosh did was a start of a new era in basketball, and it changed where superstars will go for the next five or six years.”


The decision of Chris Bosh and LeBron James to join Dwyane Wade in Miami not only made the Heat a contender, but changed the league's landscape.
(NBA/Getty Images)
Anthony left Denver after refusing to sign a three-year, $65 million extension with the Nuggets – the same deal he signed with the Knicks upon being traded. Williams’ impending free agency in the summer of 2012 had already begun to take its toll on the Jazz. One of the league’s model stars who rarely complained publicly, Williams had begun to express some frustration at losing key teammates in free agency and trades. The resignation of Jazz coach Jerry Sloan in early February, and the subsequent criticism Williams endured when it was revealed his relationship with Sloan had deteriorated, heightened fears in Utah that Williams wasn’t long to stay.

“A lot of players want to go to those [big] markets to play in those cities,” Williams said during All-Star weekend, four days before his own stunning trade to New Jersey. “They’re fortunate enough to do that. With teams stacking up three or four All-Stars, it’s kind of hard to compete when you don’t have three or four All-Stars. You have to think about that.”

Williams never demanded a trade. But the Jazz – having seen how Anthony’s season-long drama weighed on the Nuggets – thought it best to move their franchise point guard rather than risk being leveraged into a worse deal a year from now. They received point guard Devin Harris(notes), rookie forward Derrick Favors(notes), who was the No. 3 pick in last year’s draft, and two first-round picks from the Nets.

“If I put myself in the [players’] shoes and look at it, what I see is there is a fairly short window of opportunity to earn as much money as I can to the benefit of my family, me and so on,” said Jazz owner Greg Miller. “I respect their right to do that. And my sense was – and this is just my sense, it’s not anything I read or anything Deron said to me – Deron probably felt like he could attain those objectives in bigger markets. If that’s how he felt, I don’t want to hold him against his will. I don’t want him to be unhappy while he is here.

“We all want to become all we can be to our full potential. If our franchise could offer Deron the things to help him feel that way, I think it’s probably best he goes somewhere where he can get those things.”

The question now: What hope do small-market franchises like the Jazz have for the future?

Most of them are seeking significant help once the current collective-bargaining agreement expires on June 30. Already, some of the league’s owners are pushing for increased revenue sharing for small-market franchises, a hard salary cap and possibly even a franchise player tag like the one the NFL uses to allow its teams to keep star players.

“Our goal in these negotiations is to come up with a system where all 30 teams over a period of time have the ability to compete,” NBA commissioner David Stern said. “What you’ll also see is that teams that have been competing the hardest in terms of moving along in the playoffs are tax players. And we don’t think that your ability to pay taxes to have a roster should be part of a competitive landscape.”

James himself pitched the idea of contracting some franchises earlier this season. The league, James said, would be better off if a young All-Star like the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love(notes) played on a team with more established stars than trying to grow a young team around him. Stern said during All-Star weekend that the league’s owners will continue to discuss contraction internally.

“Someway, somehow, it needs to be a little bit more spread out so the revenue can pick up in the NBA and the fan bases can pick up in every city,” Love said.

A look at the NBA standings today shows that just one team among the league’s top six record-wise is a small-market franchise: the San Antonio Spurs, who are a league-best 49-10.

The Spurs have ranked as one of their league’s most successful franchises over the past dozen years, winning four championships and reaching the West finals on two other occasions since the start of the lockout-shortened season in 1999. They’re now on pace to finish with a franchise-record 68 victories, a staggering total that would rank as the second-most ever by a Western Conference team. And yet, the Spurs have largely been overlooked – even ignored – this season because of the attention given to the star-driven rosters in Miami, L.A., New York and Boston.


“The big teams getting the best players might be what [people] want to see. It might be the biggest draw,” conceded Spurs forward Tim Duncan(notes). “But obviously, if the league wants to stay competitive all-around, that makes room for much better games on a nightly basis.”

Even now, however, the Spurs’ success is seen as an anomaly as much as a blueprint for other small-market franchises. Duncan praised Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and the team’s front-office staff for continuing to draft and find not only stars like Manu Ginobili(notes) and Tony Parker(notes), but also top-quality young role players in George Hill(notes), DeJuan Blair(notes) and Gary Neal(notes). “We continue to replenish our team every time we break down,” Duncan said.

But “pure luck,” Duncan admitted has also had a lot to do with the Spurs’ ability to sustain their success. In twice winning the NBA’s draft lottery, the Spurs landed two franchise-defining big men in Robinson and Duncan who were content to play out their careers in a small market.

If a new labor agreement doesn’t put the San Antonios and Utahs of the league on more equal footing with the L.A.’s and New Yorks, then the Spurs will soon face many of the same problems as their small-market peers. With Duncan owning just one more year on his contract, the Hornets’ Paul and Magic’s Howard possibly eyeing moves to bigger stages and the Portland Trail Blazers trying to overcome career-threatening injuries to two of their young cornerstones – Brandon Roy(notes) and Greg Oden(notes) – the Oklahoma City Thunder appear to be the only small-market franchise poised to contend for titles in the future.

The Thunder signed Kevin Durant(notes), the league’s leading scorer and one of its brightest young stars, to a five-year, $85 million contract extension last summer. They also figure to do the same with All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook(notes) once the league reaches a new labor agreement.

“Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the big city,” Durant said. “I was born and raised in Washington, D.C. I’m used to that. But I love my teammates, my organization and the city so much. I thought that was the only place for me. It’s not that I don’t like the big city, but Oklahoma City fits me well.”

Still, not everyone sees the league’s current climate as cause for concern. In the 1980s, the Lakers won five titles, the Celtics three and the Philadelphia 76ers and Detroit Pistons each claimed one.

“There were three teams, and that was it,” Rivers said. “There were the Lakers, the Celtics and maybe the Sixers. Other than that, every year you felt like as a kid, ‘When are the Lakers and Celtics going to start the Finals?’

Rivers grinned. “I’m hoping,” he said, “that is true this year as well.”
Stars align in NBA's new galaxy - NBA - Yahoo! Sports
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Old 03-01-2011, 05:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Good reads. What I find somewhat illuminating, is the fact, according to Stern, that the Spurs are losing money at this point. If that's the case, then there really has to be a whole different way of doing business.
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Old 03-01-2011, 06:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Ugh.

I hate to see guys getting paid to write articles about shit we been talking about for years LX.

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Old 03-01-2011, 07:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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How exactly does Whitlock think this will solve the crisis?

"Tying a significant percentage of player compensation to wins and losses is the solution."

I don't see it. Anybody know? The first thing that came to my mind is, isn't that more incentive for super-teams to form?
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Old 03-01-2011, 07:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Yeah that quote is essentially saying to form super teams and thus hurt the bottom half of the league.

And players should be able to go where they want in free agency. Why should a player be obligated to stay with his team if theres a better situation for him and his family elsewhere? Doing it how Melo did it is obviously wrong, but if a player is a FA he should be able to do what he wants and not have to face backlash because hes not thinking about the league and the fans. What kind of BS is that?

If I'm in a job I like, but I find another job in another city that is a better fit and will make me happier, why wouldnt I take that job? Because I might hurt feelings of my current employer? Please.

If they want to fix the league they need to ensure that this offseason, with the new CBA, players like B Haywood arent getting 5 year deals worth 55 million. Thats whats wrong with the league. These idiotic contracts that owners are giving out, crippling their team in the future, because they have cap space and couldnt originally get the player they wanted so they go for the lesser choice and have to overpay due to the market. The market needs to change. Enough of the owners crying about losing money and the players reaping all the rewards. Stop giving out stupid contracts and you wont be in that position, and getting rid of the possibility of these atrocious contracts being given out should be at the top of the list of things to fix come this summer.

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Old 03-01-2011, 08:06 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I don't see players in leagues with hard caps and restrictons complaining too much. They just cash their massive cheques and play on. True, that they are not prisoners to their teams, but none of the guys who are saying to only care about yourself would want to be the owner of an NBA team and have to deal with players that have their outlook.
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Old 03-01-2011, 09:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I'd actually grow less interested in the game without "super teams".

I think incentives would be a good idea, but not based on wins. Restricting players with a franchise tag would be a nightmare. I think they are going to have to look at making player movement easier, so they don't end up overpaying guys out of desperation.
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Old 03-01-2011, 09:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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what a dumb article. this is like telling a cop to not arrest you for doing something illegal because you pay his salary. no team owns any player. no player should feel that they are forever indebted to the team they play for. these players are where they are because they do what pretty much all of us can't. if i could become a nba player, trust me.. i would.

all this bs about how the fans are loyal to their teams but the players aren't?? of course we are. i'm from toronto and i will always be loyal to the raptors. jsut like how every other fan is loyal to their respective city. most of the time a player isn't even playing for the team they grew up watching.

if anything, this is the league and team owners fault for allowing top notch players to do as they please. the contract terms are ridiculous. i'm drawing a blank right now, but i can't think of any other profession where employees are given guaranteed contracts of a tonne of money for years with no guarantees of success or full commitment.

if there is a real concern that these players are having their way and destroying the league, then let a lock out happen.

also.. all this crap about how the wallace / artest debacle casted a dark shadow over the nba.. bs. if anything, it made watching nba so much more interesting. i don't know where anyone got the idea that the only ppl who watch nba are non violent good samaritans. i can't think of a single person i know who stopped watching nba after that event. if anything, i know ppl who started watching nba because of it
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Old 03-01-2011, 10:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thriller92 View Post
If they want to fix the league they need to ensure that this offseason, with the new CBA, players like B Haywood arent getting 5 year deals worth 55 million. Thats whats wrong with the league. These idiotic contracts that owners are giving out, crippling their team in the future, because they have cap space and couldnt originally get the player they wanted so they go for the lesser choice and have to overpay due to the market. The market needs to change. Enough of the owners crying about losing money and the players reaping all the rewards. Stop giving out stupid contracts and you wont be in that position, and getting rid of the possibility of these atrocious contracts being given out should be at the top of the list of things to fix come this summer.
I agree that his comment didnt quite cut it, however, guy like Haywood get those contracts because there is no other way to get these guys to play for you. This is his point, and it's the truth. Look at Toronto, NONE of the top players in the league ZERO, will come here. It's a joke. So how do you get um here?????

His solution is shitty, but his complaint is bang on.
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Old 03-01-2011, 10:57 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Meh, NBA players have piss poor character. Half of um have 30 man entourages, Bentleys and 80000 square foot houses. They don't get it, and dont give a shit how it works.

Its a team game and most of them think its about them. And in the end, its a job....

The guy is right, the culture that Stern created 20 years ago is finally imploding, and there aint a damn thing you can do to fix it. These guys don't even think they are dong anything wrong but hiding from challenges, stacking teams to win hollow trophys. Fuck, half the young guys on this site don't even think it's wrong. It's pretty disgusting to me.
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Old 03-03-2011, 08:40 AM   #12 (permalink)
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In the end, it may not even be the money that stretches a lockout. It could be Stern trying to force restrictions, limits and movement.

Players can hold out as long as they want, but they'll lose because most of them do not have some other business they are running to keep up with the ridiculous spending, unlike owners. That's why so many are broke not long after they retire.

We should start taking bets on which knuckleheads would crack first in a lockout. Probably best to think along the lines of who gets the most technicals in games and who is most likely to break solidarity and sink the ship using social media.
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Old 03-03-2011, 10:12 AM   #13 (permalink)
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if the fans stop supporting these teams you will see change.
But right now, record number of viewers are watching games. why would they change things from a business point of view???
I refuse to watch any game involving Miami or Boston. Except when they play Toronto. I will give no support to them what so ever. Now New York is added to that list. (And I am a Semi fan of that team).
If enough people stop watching them, you will see the advertisers give less support, and Stern's pocket book will be affected. Then you can see change.
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Old 03-03-2011, 11:41 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b55bgc View Post
if the fans stop supporting these teams you will see change.
But right now, record number of viewers are watching games. why would they change things from a business point of view???
I refuse to watch any game involving Miami or Boston. Except when they play Toronto. I will give no support to them what so ever. Now New York is added to that list. (And I am a Semi fan of that team).
If enough people stop watching them, you will see the advertisers give less support, and Stern's pocket book will be affected. Then you can see change.
You hit the nail on the head. The only opinion that matters is ours.

The problem is that there are enough people in those cities to support their own teams.

Frankly, I dont see a solution. This will not be easy. And the lockout might be a year long or more.
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Old 03-03-2011, 12:42 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Deron Williams in no way whatsoever made basketball in Utah, and he definitely won't kill it.

Diddo for Carmelo.

The Cavs were around for quite some time before Lebron showed up. They have a passionate fanbase.

Every single team in the league has had great players come and go, it's a gross overstatement to suggest that basketball was killed in parts of America because of individual players.
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Old 03-03-2011, 12:45 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superjudge View Post
Meh, NBA players have piss poor character. Half of um have 30 man entourages, Bentleys and 80000 square foot houses. They don't get it, and dont give a shit how it works.

Its a team game and most of them think its about them. And in the end, its a job....

The guy is right, the culture that Stern created 20 years ago is finally imploding, and there aint a damn thing you can do to fix it. These guys don't even think they are dong anything wrong but hiding from challenges, stacking teams to win hollow trophys. Fuck, half the young guys on this site don't even think it's wrong. It's pretty disgusting to me.
Stereotype much?
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Old 03-03-2011, 12:47 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Stereotype much?
Yeah, well nothing new there. His hockey players have more personality.
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Old 03-03-2011, 12:49 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Yeah, well nothing new there. His hockey players have more personality.
Hockey players grow into real men by virtue of homophobic abuse in the minor leagues. Something the NBA is clearly lacking.
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Old 03-03-2011, 12:51 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Hockey players grow into real men by virtue of homophobic abuse in the minor leagues. Something the NBA is clearly lacking.
lol
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Old 03-03-2011, 12:59 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Hockey players grow into real men by virtue of homophobic abuse in the minor leagues. Something the NBA is clearly lacking.
i really don't think the nba is lacking in homophobia.
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