Jeff, at HoopsManifesto, often has very interesting features which involves panels of bloggers. Often we participate on those panels, as we do with his latest weekly feature, “NBA Big Questions.” This week Aaron, Peaceman and I addressed whether their is a line not to be crossed in trash talking and whether Tracy McGrady was washed up as a pro. The Big questions and our answers follow For the entire article and all of the panelists’ answers check out NBA Big Questions: Week Two at Hoops Manifesto.
1) The big story of the week was Kevin Garnett allegedly telling Charlie Villanueva that he looked like “a cancer patient” during a game. Is there a line that a player should never cross while trash-talking or does anything go?
“Perhaps the question should be, “is there a difference between talking trash and talking shyte?” If a trash-talker does not cross a line of civil discourse, he is probably not talking trash. If his talking trash is ineffective then he is probably just talking shyte because words meant to harm have no impact on its target; or the words may possibly have the absolute opposite of the intended result – which is to take the target off his or her game. In fact, the purpose of trash-talking in most contexts, but certainly in sporting contests, is to rattle a person to his or her core in order to take them out of their game and to gain an advantage. Of course some trash talking can be more offensive and harmful than other trash talking. Race baiting, homophobic references, instructions to suck body parts are not uncommon. It all crosses the line and in this age of democratically accessible mass media, what you say and do in any context can be taken out of that context and broadcasted worldwide for massive consumption, repackaging and re-interpretation. That’s the risk of saying and doing anything in a private or personal context today. You risk being blasted to the world and suffering the consequences, rightly or wrongly. What should really be examined is the soft skin and perception of Mr. Villanueva. To allow Garnett to get under his skin was a true sign that his internal fortitude had the strength of almost-jello.” – LIVES
“This is an issue that had the whole sports world buzzing last week and I still don’t think we’ve come to a clear consensus. If the question is whether or not there’s a line that can be crossed the answer is yes. As far as the aftermath goes, Villanueva probably shouldn’t have aired out his dirty laundry on twitter. That’s almost never a good idea. As a man that is near and dear to Knicks fans, Mr. Charles Oakley said via his twitter account @charlesoakley34, “Twitter is not 4 u to go get somebody. If u got something to say to somebody don’t put it in twitter.” I’m guessing KG would have paid a painful penance if the Oak man was involved.” – Aaron Hodges
2) Houston has stumbled to a 1-4 start to the season while limiting Yao Ming’s minutes. Will the Yao experiment end up being successful for the Rockets this year?
“I have no idea. It depends on how you define success. If success is keeping your greatest international asset on the court for most of the season and available for next season, then playing him less regardless of the record is smarter than running him into the ground to accumulate wins while losing the face of your product.” – LIVES
“No the Yao experiment will not work. If a team is too concerned about keeping a player from playing longer than six-seven minute spurts than they are bound to lose focus on continuity and the flow of the game. Yao is too much of a presence to just blend in so the Rockets will struggle with finding a happy medium.” – Aaron Hodges
3) Yao’s former teammate, Tracy McGrady, has had a slow start to his season with Detroit (3.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg). Is the end here for T-Mac or will he have a career resurrection?
“Yes as a business owner. TMAC Burgers & Fries.” – Peaceman
“You can never measure the impact of will power. I recall wondering why Grant Hill wouldn’t just give up, because he looked so bad a couple of years after his injury. I also remember those who swore Bernard King would never regain his form after leaving the Knicks as damaged goods. You may remember Antonio McDyess who was supposed to be wheelchair material years ago after a preseason injury. The other night, T-Mac led the Pistons to their first victory as their starting point guard. Given the fact that he sees that accomplishment as one of many on his way back to health and quality play, I would not bet against him playing in the NBA for a few more years.” – LIVES