White Hat Sports Headlines

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

No Country for Old Men

The tale of the former professional athlete is a rocky road that is littered with the once upon a time superstars. In the NBA what happens to the great is that they are taken care of like aging members of the mafia. They are put into cushy jobs in the front office of either their home town team (Larry Bird going back to Indiana with the Pacers) or they take a job with the team in which they attained their greatness (Magic Johnson with the Lakers). Other sports don’t work like this, except for very rare cases. I mean can you imagine Rob Dibble being tabbed as the new General Manager of the Reds? Of course not, but for whatever reason seeing Karl Malone running the Utah Jazz makes perfect sense to me.
The main reason for this is to make a plea and ask a couple questions at the same time. (Yes, I am looking to you for reasoning, I’m fallen this low.) First the questions:
Why is it that the off guards playing for great teams are getting the GM jobs on their former teams now instead of the star? My case for this is Danny Ainge over Larry Bird. Bird in his time with the Indiana Pacers proved himself as a good head coach leading a team to the NBA Finals, before laying back into a President of Basketball Operations role. Danny Ainge, who played 9 seasons with the Celtics during the glory days of the 80’s, is the current GM of the Celtics. Until this season, Ainge has not had any success as the General Manger of the Celtics and was pretty close to getting fired before this season.

The Plea
“The Legend” has had success in a similar role with his home town Pacers, and HE’S LARRY “FREAKIN” BIRD!!! Isn’t that enough to make him the GM? Doesn’t that count for something? I feel like the Celtics are making a huge mistake not having Bird in the fold. Wouldn’t this whole new run by the Celtics feel that much more palpable if Larry Bird was somehow involved?
The Plea ends
The one argument against this of course is Isiah Thomas. Thomas and Joe Dumars were stars on the “Bad Boy” Piston teams of the late 80’s and early 90’s with Isiah playing the role of the star. Now Joe Dumars is the one who is making moves and has been arguable the best GM in Basketball, while his back court mate in the President’s seat and Coaches bench of the New York Knicks has been the laughing stock of the Association. Denied by the team in which he made his name, and not offered the Bulls job, Isiah forced the issue and went to the Knicks after a forgettable (for him) stint as the owner of the Continental Basketball Association. He ran the now defunct league into the ground. The process works if the player goes to his home town or his place of glory, but not New York I guess.
McHale went back to the Minnesota where he was born, raised and went to the State University. (Determining whether or not McHale is actually still working for the Celtics is up for debate after the Kevin Garnet trade). I’ll leave you with this final thought. Just remember how great Bird and McHale worked together when they played together?
Imagine that, but in the front office.
Think about it. Just, think about it.

~Sterling Pingree

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