The Brooklyn Nets hung a Biggie Smalls banner from the rafters of Barclays Center this past weekend. The “that’s the only banner the Nets will ever hang” joke writes itself but is obviously way too easy.
I get that Biggie is a Brooklyn native, but where do we draw the line when it comes to retired jerseys and numbers by sports teams? Does this mean the Knicks have to respond and raise a Tupac banner because he was born in Harlem? (Oops, don’t want to give greedy Dolan any ideas).
The Biggie banner raising is only slightly less bizarre than when the Miami Heat retired Michael Jordan’s No. 23. For the record, Jordan never played for the Miami Heat.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Celtics, who retired the number of basically every player who played for them from 1960-77. By those standards, Kevin Garnett (who played six seasons in Boston and won one title), should absolutely have his number retired. The guy was, ya know, a better player than “Jungle” Jim Loscutoff, but this is somehow a debate.
What’s going to happen 100 years from now? Do we have to start unretiring some of these numbers or are we going to have to venture into double-digits?
Never let it go
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There is carrying a grudge, and then there is what college basketball head coaching legend Bob Knight said about his former employers.
The 76-year-old Knight was unceremoniously fired by Indiana University in 2000, but time has not healed the wounds. Here’s the exchange he had on The Dan Patrick Show this past week.
Patrick: Would you ever go back [to Indiana]?
Knight: As far as the hierarchy there at that time, I have absolutely no respect whatsoever with those people.
Patrick: Aren’t all of those people out of there, Coach?
Knight: I hope they’re all dead.
If you don’t recall, Knight was accused of choking one of his former players and – in turn - Indiana then adopted a “zero tolerance” policy. He allegedly grabbed a student’s arm that year after a brief encountered and was subsequently fired for “an unacceptable pattern of behavior.”
What have you done for me, lately?
For anyone who thinks that Bill Belichick would never – under any circumstances – trade Tom Brady, take a hard look at Malcolm Butler’s current situation. Just two years ago he was the toast of Boston, as he made arguably the greatest play in Super Bowl history with that game-winning interceptions against Seattle. In the 2015 and 2016 seasons, he improbably became an elite cornerback all while playing for relative chump change. Now, Belichick is trying to trade him because the Pats head coach doesn’t think he’s worth the bump in salary.
According to the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe, the Patriots “told Butler last season they wouldn’t pay a CB more than $10 million annually, so the [Stephon] Gilmore contract was definitely a gut punch.”
CSSNE’s Mike Giardi tweeted: “Source tells me Butler & his camp remain extremely frustrated by Pats position & Gilmore signing. Courting offers elsewhere. Wants new home.”