November 07, 2005

Young Man, Where Have You Been?

Do any of you out there ever pause and think about basketball players who suddenly vanish? Not like in a "was last seen enveloped in a bright light underneath a big round saucer in a corn field" kind of way. More like, Hey, last thing I remember that guy was playing ball for the Grizzlies. What the hell happened to him? For example, I give you Lawrence Moten. Had a nice career at Syracuse, went on to play briefly in the NBA in the mid to late 90's, and -- in the tradition of The Usual Suspects -- like that...he was gone.

Finding Moten isn't the point here -- he's probably playing in Europe, or has opened a successful copy shop, or sells action figures made of tongue depressors at a roadside stand in Des Moines. The point is, guys like Moten -- who are good enough to get noticed but not good enough to stick around in the League -- are kind of meant to disappear. Khalid El-Amin, Kareem Reid, Randolph Childress, Tony Akins -- all of these players fit a certain prototype. They're basketball's equivalent of a 4-A player -- someone who's good enough to make the big leagues but can't quite stick around. So it makes sense that they're prone to disappearing without announcement. (It's not like NBA teams have a big ceremony when they release their 12th man.)

With all of that said, it's kind of rare that a productive player, in this case a super-athletic big man who could legitimately help a lot of teams, completely evaporates from the basketball consciousness. But that's exactly what happened to Keon Clark. Remember Keon? Sure you do -- high-flying lefty with the unorthodox jumper, shiny bald dome, legs skinnier than your average Internet sports commentator. Apparently dude up and pulled a Theo Epstein-- adding in a brush or two with the law for good measure (Keon has been facing cocaine, marijuana and possession of firearm charges). Much like the Red Sox GM had lost interest in being an executive, Keon appears to be finished with the NBA life. He spends his days playing golf and the occasional pick-up run at the local Y, with 30 acres of land to his name and nearly $15 million (or so he says) in the bank.

So many questions: Is this the last we'll ever hear from Keon Clark? Are he, Biggie, 2Pac and Harold Miner actually living on a houseboat somewhere in the caribbean, listening to old Souls of Mischief albums and playing games of 2-on-2 on one of those floaty hoops that sits in the water? Lastly, if disappearing is so much fun, why aren't more people doing it? Or are they doing it and we just haven't noticed?
-Pete Rose Jr. recently pled guilty to drug charges, and quite frankly, this is just kind of sad. Like in a "screwed up dad raises son who screws up" kind of way.

-Presumably by now you've heard about what went down over the weekend with a couple of Panthers' cheerleaders, because every lecherous male on the planet has most likely forwarded this to at least 11 of his closest friends. But I, for one, am not going to take part in this filth. At some point a man has to have principles. And I will not, under any circumstances, be a party to that kind of smut. Whoops.


Blogger samsternjones said...

To torture my wife, I was watching a Euro-league playoff game on NBA Tv a few months back, and Khalid El-Amin was starring for one of the teams (don't ask which or from what country, the announcer could have been sitting next to me on the couch the way he was calling the game). My sense is that there is a whole universe of 4-A basketball players over there (Tyus Edney, Scoonie Penn, etc.). The guys who Billy Packer would drool over in the Tourney cause they had heart, "moxie" and all the other bullshit, but who were 5'10" and slow like white folk.

I would love to keep up with some of these guys, I'm surprised David Stern hasn't yet struck a deal with the Euro-league to be a real minor-league for the NBA...They tend to have offseason seasons, employ a lot of former college stars and future Euro-NBA players, so I think there would be some interest, especially for tie-ins with NBATV. It beats watching the WNBA all summer.

3:24 PM, November 09, 2005  
Blogger jimmyrad said...

Nice thought. So many college guys that you learn to think are completely unstoppable just dissapear. Honestly, Lee Mayberry? How did he and Todd Day not make it as a tag-team package?

And where is Literrel Green? He has literrally dissapeared!! HAHA.

5:19 PM, November 09, 2005  
Blogger The OCC said...

I have caught some of those Euroleague games in -- of all places -- Europe. Pretty entertaining. A couple of years ago I happened to see Acie Earl raining baseline j's for some obscure Euroleague squad. I would have guessed he had died of old age.

Funny you should mention Litterial Green. Loyal reader/cousin Greg played ball with him pretty regularly a couple of years ago at a gym in ATL.

9:55 PM, November 09, 2005  
Blogger Frank G Yak said...

Once saw Tom Chambers and Dominique Wilkins guard each other.

4:12 PM, November 17, 2005  

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