Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Meet Me In The Mourning. Or At Least The Middle

We can forgive Charlie T for being a bit of a homer. The face of his favorite franchise just hung it up like Junior Brown. Well, no one hangs it up like Junior Brown. But, then again, nobody was quite like Alonzo Mourning.

You can call this post a non-aggressive attempt to sway this blog to a more objective place. And I say that, fully admitting that there will always be a place for homer-ism here. We like to hear Bill Simmons talk about the Sox, Celts, and Pats. We like that Cameron Crowe worked Xavier McDaniel into Singles. Those things are endearing.

So let's meet in the middle, Charlie T.


- Certainly one of the best defensive centers ever after Bill Russell. He was a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year. While he played in the league, ballots practically arrived to voters with his name already punched. That's how often he was on the All Defensive Team.

- Speaking of punches, Zo was a fighter. Sure, he mixed it up on the court and had his share of scuffles, but I'm talking about another kind of fight. And that's the fight to come back after a kidney transplant and get an NBA championship. Committing to play D in the NBA is already a sign of heart, but he reached new levels of Unquestionability. Maybe we should call it, in honor of Zo, "having kidney," i.e. "that kid showed a lot of kidney laying out for that loose ball..." Maybe that's inappropriate.

- He was highly decorated. Gold medalist, First and Second Team All-NBA (during a period of particularly good centers), NBA All Star, All Rookie Team,

- He will always be connected to Shaquille O'Neal. They were drafted 1-2 and had a semi-documented rivalry that- come on, Charlie T- O'Neal owned. In the end, it was the Shaq/Wade combo that got Zo his ring. And, Charlie T, don't undersell the impact of Bennett Salvatore and/or Ring Wraith Posey.

- He couldn't get along with Grandmama. His inability to coexist with Larry Johnson got him shipped out of Charlotte, where he led the team in scoring, rebounding, and blocked shots. Now, tell me, if a team is willing to trade Player A (their scoring, rebounding, and blocked shot leader) to keep Player B happy, what does that say about Player A? Further, such was the animosity between LJ and Zo, that Zo went after Knick Grandmama in the famous Van Gundy Grabs Leg Brawl and brilliantly got himself suspended for the 5th and Deciding Game. That's showing some serious kidney, there.

- He complained his way out of his jersey. Literally. The Nets held onto him through his kidney troubles, only to be badtalked once he got back in the game. He vented to the media, which is the classiest way out if you ask, say, Starbury.

- Once Unhappy Zo was traded, he refused to report to his new team, the Raptors. "Pulling A Rony Seikaly" isn't a compliment.

- Despite these character assassinations, the guy is very, very charitable. He has a foundation that does amazing things and helped found Athletes For Hope. Something must've been in the water when he and Dikembe were at Georgetown because both of these guys do a lot of good.

- He was in a Hootie & The Blowfish video. I guess that could've gone in the charities' bullet. Emphasis on bullet.

- He would be the Heat's first retired number. Except they already retired numbers for Michael Jordan and Dan Marino. No joke.

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