(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Sunday, January 13, 2008

When You Thought All Sanity Was Lost in the NBA, This. . .

The Chicago Bulls' players voted to bench rookie Joachim Noah for two games for his conduct, including having a run-in with assistant coach Ron Adams.

Coach Jim Boylan had benched Noah for one game for his actions, but the players said it wasn't enough.

That's right. The players said it wasn't enough.

Boylan thinks Noah is a great kid who is growing up.

The players, well, they do want order after what has been a terribly disappointing start.

Yes, there are long-term contracts, yes, there are players who are in outer space (and unions who protect them), but here is a team that took a stand and said "we want to do things a certain way, the right way."


Of course, that Noah is a rookie and not (yet) a star makes a big difference, methinks. The teammates of Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant would have been within their rights to vote to bench Iverson for his periodic histrionics during his tenure in Philadelphia and Bryant for his bad behavior in training camp for the Lakers this year. They would have had every reason to do so.

And the team would have been better off in each and every instance.

But they didn't do it.

The Bulls are a relatively young (and awfully shooting) team, so role players and potential stars combined to make this decision. It's a good move, but it doesn't happen as frequently as it should, especially given that the tenure of the average NBA head coach is short, players make a lot more than most coaches, the stars have long-term contracts, and, well, they're the draws and the main cogs in the engine, so the rules are different, and, where they're not, they're enforced differently. Still, what the Bulls players did should give all players in all leagues cause for pause -- about discipline, about unselfishness, about the true meaning of playing for a team.

It's all good.


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