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Farewell to Shaq, hello to Rambis

  • Blog Post by: Jim Souhan
  • June 3, 2011 - 3:10 PM

In Twitterland (@Souhanstrib), I was chatting with Tim Linnemann and others about the brilliance of Kurt Rambis. Not as a coach. As a Larry David-like (thanks, Tom) creator of awkward situations meant to play out in his favor.

Rambis keeps showing up for Wolves events, and today he told reporters that he doesn't know what the future of his job holds, and that he wouldn't have handled the situation this way, but, dang it, he has a job and he's going to keep showing up and doing it until further notice.

Which is exactly the right way for him to handle this. He's making himself look willing and shrewd, and David Kahn look either weak or manipulative. If Rambis had coached as well as he's playing this situation, he wouldn't be in this situation.

This is where owner Glen Taylor needs to step in and remind Kahn what happened the last time he went into a draft without a coach.

-When Shaquille O'Neal retired, my first thought was: Where have all the fun athletes gone?

Kirby Puckett was fun to be around. So was Torii Hunter. O'Neal, even though he could be childish, displayed a sense of humor, a sense of fun, that few modern athletes possess.

Think of the greats in each sport:

Golf: Tiger Woods. At his best, rarely took off his game face.

Baseball: Albert Pujols, Jose Bautista, Alex Rodriguez...boring, boring, used to be egomaniacal but has learned to be boring. And then there's Joe Mauer...

Basketball: LeBron James. Was fun with Cleveland, with the pre-game rituals and funny commercials. Now he's no fun at all.

Football: Peyton Manning is boring in interviews, but he's great on Saturday Night Live. Tom Brady must lead an exotic life, but he doesn't show much of himself during the season.

Hockey: Sidney Crosby is boring, and Alex Ovechkin has learned to be boring.

Maybe being great requires what Denny Green used to call ``that real, fine, focus.'' Maybe the demands of stardom cause most stars to withdraw. Whatever the case, we should miss Shaq as much for his sense of humor as for his dominant play.

-This is what I love about the NBA playoffs: If you don't coach well and your key players don't make good decisions, athletic ability will not carry you through.

Last night Eric Spoelstra blew his timeouts too early, Chris Bosh forgot to foul with a foul to give against Dirk in the final seconds, and the Heat offensive structure disappeared under pressure, and the Mavs pulled off a 15-point comeback.

Dirk is becoming my favorite NBA player, and making a case for himself as one of the all-time greats.

-Giants GM Brian Sabean is getting shredded nationally for ripping on the Marlins' Scott Cousins for injuring Buster Posey in that infamous play at the plate.

To me, Sabean went too far with his rhetoric. He shouldn't demonize a part-time player who thought he was doing all he could to win a game for his team.

But the gist of Sabean's comments are correct: Cousins broke the letter of the rule by going outside the baseline to vault into Posey. The play was wrong. While I keep saying headlines questioning why baseball would change such a long-standing rule, what you have to understand is that the rule is already on the books: You may not go out of the baseline to collide with a player for the purposes of dislodging the ball at home plate any more than you could do it at first base.

Baseball has every right to enforce this existing rule, and should. If a catcher hasn't moved into the way of the plate, he isn't fair game. Sabean's rhetoric is overheated, but his opinion is right on.

-Upcoming: Tom Pelissero and I will run Sunday Morning Sports Talk from the studio this week. The Gardy Show is at 9:30 followed by our show from 10-noon.

 

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