*Excuses are a common thing these days, but they are still about as socially acceptable in the business world as wearing underwear on the outside of clothing.
But when it comes to some of our favorite professional athletes excuses are a way of life. They are often a buffer between what we want them to be, what they say they are, and who they really are as players. To be certain, reasons and excuses are not interchangeable but they are distant cousins.
A severe injury, for example, is a clear reason as to why a player might miss a game or not be able to perform to the standard we are used to seeing him perform at. But it is very difficult for the fan to figure out which is which at times. Yet we are to spend our hard earned money on athletes whose performances steadily decrease as their salaries increase?
Fans of the NBA brand of basketball remember the infamous Michael Jordan flu game versus the Utah Jazz in the 1997 NBA Finals, Willis Reed‘s Game 7 appearance in the 1970 NBA Finals against the mighty Los Angeles Lakers, and Isiah Thomas‘ 25-point third quarter burst against the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1988 Finals, while playing on a severely sprained ankle. With all the Herculean efforts fans have witnessed in this league people are used to seeing the very best persevere over insurmountable odds. I feel like it is high time to call out some folks on this one-those who have not have not displayed anything near that type of fortitude.
Those listed here are players and one franchise whose excuses are just about up. This slideshow is a list of several NBA players and one organization who have not lived up to their potential in the past and their excuses as to their incessant mediocrity have completely run out. The only thing that is stopping them from living up to their potential this season — barring injury of course — is themselves.
Ricardo A. Hazell is a freelance writer based in New York City. You may follow him on Twitter at NikosMightyDad or add him to your network on Google Plus.
“Dwight is an extraordinary athlete and has incredible athletic ability, but basketball is a game where the most important muscle that you use on the court is the one between your ears,” Abdul-Jabbar said on ESPN’s “First Take” Thursday. “Dwight’s basketball IQ is not up to speed for him to be a dominant player.”
Howard, who signed with the Rockets during the offseason after a disappointing year with the Lakers, has this message for Abdul-Jabbar:
“You can’t win three Defensive Player of the Year trophies and be stupid. That can’t be done,” he said, according to the Houston Chronicle. “And I don’t think any coach that has ever coached me has said I have a low IQ for basketball.
“Have I done some dumb stuff on the floor? Yes, every player has. Have I done some stupid things in life? Yes, it’s life. We make mistakes and learn from them. It is what it is. I think I am very intelligent when it comes to the game of basketball. I have been playing since I was 3 years old. Each year, I get a little smarter.
“People will have something to say. Is what it is. I’m in (Houston) now. This city has my back and we are going to ride together.”
Howard is a seven-time All-Star who has averaged 18.3 points, 12.9 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in his nine-year career, all but one of the years with Orlando. He’s made one appearance in the Finals, losing to the Lakers in 2008-09.
Abdul-Jabbar averaged 24.6 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in a 20-year Hall of Fame career that included six championships. Howard was thought to be the next great Lakers center, but injuries and inconsistency led to Los Angeles losing in the first round of the playoffs.
“When I joined the Lakers I was the greatest center. When I left, I was the worst,” Howard said, according to the Chronicle. “Mentally, I wasn’t capable of playing center. I understand a lot of things are said out of emotion. I will say if he has anything to say, I am here in Houston. We can talk man to man. That’s how I feel.”
Howard said he had one conversation with Abdul-Jabbar in Los Angeles and asked that they don’t talk about basketball.
“There is no need for me to go back and forth with him,” Howard said. “One thing I would say is that he is old enough to where whatever I do shouldn’t even matter. He is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. If I’m Kareem, I’m like why? Four championships, five championships, whatever. I’ve been in ‘Airplane’ and done movies with Bruce Lee. I am not worried about the young whippersnapper.
“I wish him good luck. People do things different and when I am done playing, I will do what I can to help the younger generations.”
The biggest problem with this situation according to Reed is that her son, Braylon, is without his meds.
Reed requested an emergency hearing from the courts with claims that Braylon went to Californie to visit his father and that’s the last she her from either of them. Then she received word from Dwight’s parents saying that Braylon was in Colorado.
Braylon has a undisclosed medical condition. Reed says his Rx bottle is now empty and Dwight hasn’t bothered to get it refilled.
She says without the meds, their son’s health is in danger.
Reed is not requesting that Dwight not be able to spend time or see their son, she just wants him to be ordered to refill the prescription and let her know his exact whereabouts so she can keep in touch.
A hearing date has not been set.
After an agonizing period that seemed like it took forever (because it really kind of did) Dwight Howard packed the memories of his one disappointing L.A. year into a huge suitcase and booked it to Houston to play for the Rockets, leaving the Lakers with one of the strangest, most up-and-down years a supposed superstar has ever had.
Howard’s decision was the last big domino to fall in this crazy (and crazily entertaining) period of free agency. Now, with all the decisions made and ink signed on the NBA offseason, it’s time to determine which teams made out the best, and which teams fared the worst?
WINNER: Houston. You have to hand it to Rockets GM Daryl Morey; he went into last season with a whole lot of spare parts and cheap assets, and over the course of two years has finagled James Harden out of Oklahoma City (for a song, as it turns out) and persuaded Dwight Howard to head to Texas. Harden is a legitimate superstar, and Howard should be more comfortable in Texas, Their moves have at least ensured them a top-four slot in the West.
LOSER: Milwaukee. Treading water is the worst place to be in the NBA – and that’s just what the Bucks are doing. As it stands now, their roster – with Jeff Teague (if a rumored deal goes down), Larry Sanders and O.J. Mayo – is probably just good enough to sneak into eighth place in the East, good enough for a first-round demolishing by the Heat. That’s nowhere to be in the league. You’ve either got to bottom out and be bad (check out what the Celtics are doing) or be truly ascendant. The Bucks are neither.
WINNER: Los Angeles (the Clippers, of course). Adding Jared Dudley and J.J. Redick to Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan helps a lot; getting Doc Rivers to coach them is a masterstroke. The Clippers will challenge for the top spot in the West this year.
Wait, did we really say that? It just sounds so weird…
LOSER: New Orleans. Jrue Holliday is good, not great. Eric Gordon is always injured. Tyreke Evans is the definition of “mercurial.” Austin Rivers is a bust. It’s a weird roster that probably isn’t good enough for anything higher than the 7 or 8 seed in a loaded Western Conference. Fly away, Pelicans.
WINNER: Utah. They’ll win by losing. Their roster is just about barren; they’ll start Trey Burke, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter and get chewed to pieces by the rest of the Western Conference – putting them in perfect position for a high draft pick in the loaded 2014 draft. They’re Celtics west!
LOSER: New York. Their big addition? Andrea Bargnani. Yeah, good luck trying to leapfrog the Heat and Pacers with him.
While at the Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, O’Neal joked about cheering on Dale Earnhardt Jr and Danica Partick but not before weighing his feelings about Howard’s move to the Rockets. According to O’Neal, the Los Angeles spotlight was too bright for Dwight.
“It was expected,” Shaq said. “We’ve all been in L. A., and not a whole lot of people can handle being under the bright lights. Everybody wants to do it, but when you get there, there are certain pressures. I think it was a safe move for him to go to a little town like Houston. That’s right, little town. I said it.”
O’Neal then shifted gears towards his favorite driver Patrick.
“Danica Patrick is one of my favorites. I hope she wins. She’s very feisty. I love the way she competes,” O’Neal said.
But it was clear that O’Neal liked more than just her driving skills.
“Honestly? She’s hot. Smokin’,” O’Neal said. “Hey, Danica, call me. Danica, call me.”
“Don’t do it,” comedian Adam Sandler responded.
Once O’Neal had the pleasure of Meeting Patrick he confessed his feelings. “I’m a huge fan.” The pair posed for a picture (below) together at O’Neal’s request.
O’Neal served as one of the grand marshals for the race at Daytona, joining Sandler and fellow comedian Kevin James as they also promote dtheir movie “Grown Ups 2.” They sang the command to start engines, a rendition that was widely panned on social media sites.