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Resolutions? What This League Needs Is Solutions

It’s time for our annual New Year’s resolutions. We asked our heroes to send theirs in, but, as usual, the mail is running slow or something and we haven’t had any responses, allowing us to make them up.

A notable omission: Nick Van Exel, who obviously made his early and hasn’t directed a single eye roll at Del Harris. If Nick keeps it up, it will be a welcome change, a resolution someone actually keeps.

The envelopes please:

Shaquille O’Neal--OK, no more hitting punching bags. . . .

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Leonard Armato--Looks like we’ll have to come up with something to replace our latest MTV project, “Rehabbing, the Shaq Way.”

Latrell Sprewell--I have a whole list of resolutions here from my lawyers, agent, tax advisor, accountant and astrologer. Nope, don’t see any I like.

P.J. Carlesimo--Next time, before you see the whites of their eyes, run the other way.

Chris Cohan--Next time someone tries to sell you a rising young team that hasn’t had an empty seat in the ‘90s, run the other way.

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David Stern--Being a lawyer, I understand we may have overshot our precedents a little. How about this for a compromise? Spree misses the rest of the season but can play this summer in the WNBA?

Shaq--And no more hitting opposing centers. . . .

Kobe Bryant--I promise always to keep my head on straight. Oops, I’ve got the ball and there’s only three guys between me and the hoop!

Donald Sterling--Gosh, they told me we were headed in the right direction. Looks like time for another painful reassessment. OK, what are my people doing wrong?

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Bill Fitch--Next time my agent tells me he has this Croatian client who has been used wrong by other teams, I’ll tell him, “You just do the deals and subtract the 4%, that’s what you’re good at.”

Jerry Reinsdorf--Let me get this straight: I run the White Sox into the ground and everybody hates me. I win five titles with the Bulls and everybody hates me. Maybe I’m just having a run of bad luck. What do you think, Tattoo?

Jerry Krause--Right, boss.

Scottie Pippen--Next time I won’t put my surgery off until training camp. Next time I’ll put it off until opening night.

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Dennis Rodman--I have a list here that my agent, Dwight Manley, gave me: “Don’t bite the commissioner in the throat.” OK, I guess I could do that one. . . .

Michael Jordan--What, me worry?

Tex Winter--One more year and we can finally run my triangle offense right, without these prima donnas breaking it off all the time. Then watch us go.

Phil Jackson--As the Lakota Sioux used to say, easy come, easy go. Please fax any offers to my agent, Todd Musburger. Discretion guaranteed this season.

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Larry Brown--Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

Doug Collins--Heard that, bro.

Chuck Daly--Amen. I finally make more than Riles but Penny and I are at odds, he’s hurt and we’re not much without him. Can I flee to Mexico and put it on my $301-a-day expenses? Riles gets $300, you know.

Rick Pitino--I know I’m too impetuous to make personnel moves so I’ll hire a GM. In the meantime, what will you give me for all 11 of my players except Antoine Walker?

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Jim Cleamons--I don’t understand it, I put in the triangle just like Tex told me. . . .

Don Nelson--Let me get this straight: The Mavericks give me $1.5 million a year to be GM but Ross Perot’s kid, who’s the owner, says he doesn’t want me to coach. I trade the whole team, fire the coach, take over and they bump me up to $4 million a year. We’ve won five games. Is this a great country or what?

Ross Perot Jr.--And I thought things were tough when the Republicans tried to sabotage my wedding.

Shaq--And I promise never to do that stupid Merton Hanks dance again when my stomach is bothering me. . . .

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Pat Riley--As I wrote in my best-selling managerial primer, decisive action may be required to protect the core covenant. That’s either from Sun Tsu or Attila the Hun.

Todd Day--Who does Riley think he is, cutting me in front of the whole team because I complained about not playing? Next time I see him, I’m lighting him up for 30. OK, let’s sort through our offers: Quad City, Sioux Falls, Yakima. . . .

Patrick Ewing--I resolve to get a TV set with a remote control.

Dave Checketts--Next time I give a 35-year-old, sore-kneed center $17 million a year, I’ll ask him if he feels lucky. Let’s see, I know Riles is still a little mad, but maybe he’d let us have Ike Austin or Duane Causwell for the right deal.

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Riley--Sure, I’m a professional. How about for Ewing?

Charles Barkley--I’ll never air-mail another smurf through a picture window. That’s what I’ve got Bruno here for.

Shawn Kemp--What resolutions? I did it my way and they gave me $100 million. Oh, it’s snowing again?

Isaiah Rider--What are resolutions? Oh, when you realize you’ve done something wrong, you say you won’t make that mistake again? You suggesting I did something wrong?

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Mike Dunleavy--So much for Mr. Nice Guy. Bring me the whip and the chair.

Mark Heisler--I promise never to take cheap shots at TV people, just because they get all that money to ask, “Your thoughts?” Unless, of course, I run out of things to say.

Ahmad Rashad--Here’s our trusty NBC camera crew, on the trail of heartwarming NBA news for “Inside Stuff.” Today’s topic: young stars discuss their favorite color.

Shaq--And I’ll never, ever, attempt that Fred Lane “Electric Worm.”

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Larry Bird--What’s the hard part? Why don’t you get you a team, Mag, and we’ll see who’s best?

Magic Johnson--Just wait, farm boy. Compared to this, show biz looks pretty peaceful to me.

Stern--Let me get this straight: If we lock them out next fall, are you telling me someone is going to miss this?

FACES AND FIGURES

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The Last Boy Scout: With four technical fouls, no suspensions, no arrests and 71 rebounds in four games, Rodman has regained his good standing with Bull teammates, or whatever it was that he had.

“I always try to shock people and this year I’m shocking people that I haven’t done anything so far,” Rodman said. “I’ve dedicated this year to use the F-word--F-U-N.”

Of course, you may remember that until Jackson began starting Rodman and letting him play long enough to amass high rebound totals, Rodman was announcing he wasn’t into it almost nightly.

Better not hold your breath waiting for that big Maverick turnaround: “I don’t feel bad about people kicking our teeth in here and there,” Nelson says. “I think that’s good for us as a team. I’m here for the long haul. I don’t like losing, but our players will learn from this. We know that we’re going to lose a lot of games.”

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Austin’s agent, Paco Belassan, worried at talk of a three-way trade that would have sent his client to Boston and Mitch Richmond to the Heat, told Miami management that Austin prefers to stay, even at less pay. The Heat is over the salary cap and can offer only about $4 million annually in a long-term deal. “They should not give up on him because they don’t think they could afford him,” Belassan said. “Isaac, right now, is priceless, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be back with the Miami Heat.”

What do the Pistons need with Santa Claus when they have Brown? Jerry Stackhouse scored 70 points in his first three games as a Piston, including home-and-home wins over the 76ers, his old team. In the one at Philly, he blocked Tim Thomas’ late shot to secure the victory. Stackhouse says he never had a feud with Allan Iverson and their posses never rumbled, as was reported, but: “It was just a matter of, he thought it was his job to get the team going and be the dominant part of the offense and I thought I was. That’s where we kind of clashed.”

The Nets’ Jayson Williams after New Jersey Gov. Christine Whitman attended their 100-92 loss to Chicago: “Maybe if we’d have won she’d have fixed I-287 South.”


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