Sports Beat “The Newest Nets”
By Lloyd Carroll
The Brooklyn Nets introduced the three iconic players that they acquired in a Draft Day trade last Thursday. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry all dressed in similar dark suits that reflected the Nets’ color scheme and all said the right things about wanting to win at least one last NBA championship.
“Like nearly everyone else I don’t like change,” said Kevin Garnett, an eighteen-year NBA veteran when asked about having to uproot himself to a new city. He credited Paul Pierce, who had played his entire career in Boston, for convincing him to accept this new challenge rather than retire.
Paul Pierce said that his first concern would be finding a place to live. The Nets complicate things for their players because while they play their home games at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center their workout facility is located in East Rutherford, a vestige from their days as the New Jersey Nets. “I will have to consult with my family and friends about schools as well as my CPA to discuss the tax implications of where I live,” he told me.
Kevin Garnett was no nonsense when he was asked what it takes for a team to be a champion. “Everyone has to sacrifice. You can’t have one person taking all of the shots or having isolation plays (a fancy term for one-on-one basketball) drawn up for them,” he said. I can’t imagine that Joe Johnson is very happy right now.
Nets general manager Billy King believes that the Nets will be one of the NBA’s premier teams for at least the next three years. He conceded that the criticism of the Nets striking a Faustian bargain by trading away their first-round draft picks for 2014, 2016, and 2018 for three players who are all at least 35 years old, has some merit.
King told me that the Nets would not be handcuffed in future years because he believes that he’ll be able to make trades and that he knows that money is no object to his boss, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, when it comes to trying a win an NBA championship.
Prokhorov made a rare appearance in Brooklyn last week to welcome both his new players and his new head coach, Jason Kidd. To his immense credit, he made himself available to anyone who wanted to chat with him.
Since he has long been a force in Russian politics as well as industry, I asked Prokhorov if he thought that Edward Snowden would stay in Moscow. “I don’t know what will happen with him but I am sick of the all the spy stories between the US and Russia such as Snowden and Anna Chapman. “Our countries should concentrate on sports, culture, the arts and the trading of goods and services.”
Prokhorov laughed heartily when I told him that Anna Chapman was at least entertaining.
The Oakland Convention & Visitors Bureau saluted Athletics’ slugger Yoenis Cespedes for winning the All-Star Game Home Run Derby at Citi Field on its homepage. Oakland has some very beautiful neighborhoods and in many ways its relationship to San Francisco is similar to that of Queens to Manhattan.
The four-day All-Star Game break is when a lot of ballplayers return to their off-season homes. Mets pitcher Dillon Gee spent a few days in Fort Worth, Texas which he claimed felt cooler than Queens did last Friday.
A number of Mets decided to stay in the Baked Apple. Relief pitcher David Aardsma said that he and his wife walked all over Manhattan in spite of the heat. It probably benefitted them that they are from Phoenix where summer temperatures frequently go north of 110 degrees. Daniel Murphy said that he and his wife watched films and TV shows in their apartment. Two eligible Mets bachelors, first basemen Josh Satin and Ike Davis, went out to enjoy the beach social scene in the Hamptons.
The term “horses for courses” is definitely applicable in baseball. Jeremy Hefner who has pitched very well this season always gets beaten up like a pinata whenever he faces the Phillies. On the other hand, Mets rookie centerfielder Juan Lagares, who can’t hit his way out of a paper bag, turns into the second coming of Willie Mays against the Phils.
I mentioned to him that Subway does not use Mets manager Terry Collins and his Yankees counterpart, Joe Girardi, for commercials the way that he and Joe Torre were utilized by the nation’s largest sandwich restaurant back when George W. Bush was in the White House. “I am glad that you noticed that. Being mediocre doesn’t sell anything in this market!” he said smiling.
The Miami Marlins may be baseball’s worst team (except when they beat up on the Mets of course) but you have to tip your hat to them for a promotion that they have scheduled for August 24. They will be hosting a “Legends of Wrestling” event that will feature such baby boomer grappling greats as Bill Goldberg, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, Bret “The Hitman” Hart, and one of my all-time favorites, Lenny “The Genius” Paffo whose gimmick was coming up with wickedly funny poems that insulted his opponents. The guys will face off in the ‘squared circle” before the scheduled Rockies-Marlins game and sign autographs during it.
Considering that Mets’ home attendance is down 9% from last year, and given the team’s recent history of falling apart after the All-Star Game, it would be wise for them to borrow this fun promotional idea from the Marlins.
Last Saturday marked the 44th anniversary of Neil Armstrong becoming the first man to walk on the moon which I consider the single greatest feat of my lifetime. Since then we have all heard at least a million times the cliche “If they can put a man on the moon, then why can’t they (fill in the blank.)”
There is now one item that we can cross off from the “moon” wish list. A company called Dry Dudz (drydudz.com) has come with quick-drying bathing suits that can double as walking shorts so you don’t have to change clothes when going to a beach or pool.
If you are crave a sinfully tasty dessert, you have to try one of those oversized cream-filled whoopie pies from Wicked Whoopies (www.wickedwhoopies.com) in Gardiner, Maine. Just tell yourself that you’ll begin your diet the next day.