Luke Waltons Forehead presented by the Sports Dude.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005 at 9:01 AM

The Joe Dumars Post.

Joe Duuuuuumaaaaaaaarrrrrs!!!!!

That sound still rings in my head every time I see Joe D., now President of Basketball Operations for the Pistons, sitting and watching the team play. It is the sound that I grew up on, as a kid, every time he did anything in a Pistons uniform, whether it was the pre-game intro or him making a shot. While we are speaking about it, who could forget that shot, the high arching rainbow that seemed to touch the rafters every time he let it go. I mean, I think his style is the very definition of the rainbow shooting technique. He was the calm quiet one on the Pistons Bad Boy teams; one of the few that stayed to shake hands with the Bulls after MJ finally eliminated the Pistons, and a truly nice guy at heart. He is, in fact, the man that his airness, Michael Jordan, said was the one player that gave him fits on the defensive end of the floor. That, to me, should be enough to get him elected in, but I am not a voter, just a fan.

His on the court achievements are respectable, from MVP’s to All-Star games. He spent his entire 14 year playing career as a Piston, retiring after the 1999 season. His #4 jersey hangs from the rafters, with the likes of Isiah Thomas, Vinnie Johnson, Bob Lanier, Dave Bing, Bill Laimbeer and the #2 for Chuck Daly and his two championships won. He was the back court mate of Isiah Thomas on those Bad Boy teams which won back to back titles in the 1989 and 1990 seasons. He was voted Finals MVP after the 1989 win and was also an All-Star six times in his 14 year career. He holds the Pistons records for most games played (1,018), a team record 90% from the free throw line in 1990 and for threes made in a single game (10 against Minnesota on November 8, 1994). He is third in field goals attempted by a Piston (13,026), third in field goals made (5,994) and averaged 16.1 points, 4.5 assists for his career with percentages of 46% from the field and 38% from the free throw line. After he retired the league also renamed its sportsmanship award to the Joe Dumars Trophy to honor the way he carried himself on and off the court.

He also has had some success in the front office as well, something that not even Michael Jordan or Isiah Thomas have been able to achieve. He took over the reigns in 2001 as Pistons President of Basketball Operations and had to deal with a mess of a franchise without an identity. One of the first real tests for him was the Grant Hill situation and we all know how that turned out. He was forced to work a sign and trade with Orlando for some relatively unknown players, Chucky Atkins and Ben Wallace. Now we sit here and can say that it worked out quite well, we all know that Big Ben is the face of the modern day Pistons team. Dumars built a team of hard workers, cast offs and made them believe that they all could be special if they worked hard and focused on the team aspect of the game. Dumars himself was the ultimate team player, never one for chest thumping of individual accolades. He made a career out of being quiet, letting his play do the talking for him and he runs the Pistons much in the same manner. He got more involved in the international aspect of the game, finding such gems as Okur, Milicic and Delfino. He was awarded the 2003 Executive of the Year Award for his work and we all know what his determination resulted in last year – 2004 NBA Champs. He continues to make smart moves – McDyess, Rasheed, and Carlos Arroyo this year. He drafted Tayshaun Prince when no one else saw anything and went fired Rick Carlisle to get Larry Brown in another bold move. He isn’t afraid to take risks, he isn’t afraid to take chances and he has done a remarkable job at getting the Pistons back to respectability quicker than anyone could have honestly imagined. In the little time he has been in that front office he has turned the Pistons around to the way they were in his early playing days, a contender and not a pretender.

This is, however, his first year on the ballot and that is where the situation gets tricky. For whatever reason many voters out there feel that unless your name is Magic, Bird or Jordan you shouldn’t get in on your first try. Whatever their reasoning is I am not too sure, but it is likely to happen again. Joe Dumars has clearly cemented himself as someone who deserves to be in and whether or not it is on his first try remains to be seen. All I can say is he we know Joe – he will take whatever happens with grace, dignity and class, just like he was as a player for all those years. He will get in someday, that is for sure, and then we can officially say what we here in Detroit have known for years – he is one of the greatest to ever play the game, period. Thanks Joe, good luck and whenever it happens – congrats. The sports dude.

at 8:51 AM

Another damn name???? Give us a break!!!!

Sorry about this, but leave it to me to screw it up. Let us just say that by having it as simply "Luke Waltons Forehead" I was having some issues, some trouble, etc. So I changed it, found that it was not very popular, so now I have come up with a combo name. This way there will be no trouble and all will be well - I hope. Again, my apologies and thanks for your patience and support. If you linked to me I don't care what name you use, so long as there is a link I am grateful. Thanks again - the sports dude.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005 at 9:02 AM

Playing catch up.

While I was gone, it seems I missed a lot of interesting things. I guess I will just take a few moments to discuss them and then move on for good.

Here are my nominations for the two people that just really need to shut the hell up and disappear - Jermaine O'Neal and Jose Canseco. Both of them really just need to be beat upside the head and get some sense knocked into them - if that is even possible!

Look, Jermaine, I am trying to not talk about the brawl anymore. It sickens me, disturbs me and I really just want to move on. However, your stupid hip-hop ass keeps bringing it up, talking about street cred and asking what would you do? Listen, the majority of NBA players would not have jumped into the stands. The majority of NBA players would not have sucker punched an old security guard. It takes a thug to act like a thug, and that is what you are - no more, no less. Hey, and for the record, Ben Wallace threw a wrist band at Ron Artest, after your coaches let him continue to talk shit, get in Ben Wallace's face and not go back to the bench - then lay down on the scorers table, talk live on the radio to most likely promote his CD and just taunt some more. I posted on it before and I say it again - the brawl was more the Pacers fault than the Pistons, think about that! You guys need to shoulder some of the blame too, and to say Ben Wallace did not get enough? He got a six game suspension buddy - when all he did was shove Artest in the face because Ronnie threw him a cheap shot. See, that in normal circumstances would have given Ben a one or two game suspension - he got six. I know you never went to college, but that is four extra games he got just because Stern had to give the Pistons something. You went into thug mode, Artest, Jackson and your teammates went flying into the stands like thugs, not the Pistons. And if you think that Ben throwing the wrist band made John Greene throw the beer, buddy, just go back to school you dumb ass. Done.

Jose Canseco - not going to talk about it too much. He is broke, he needs money, so now to him all baseball is juiced. I truly believe he did it, but I think there are some stories in there he is telling just to sell the book. I am not saying that baseball is "clean", but something tells me that Jose is stretching the truth a little. However, the story about him and McGuire in a shitter together, sticking needles in each other asses - that made me laugh out loud, I will give him that. Done.

Emmitt Smith retires - sorry, he was the ultimate stat whore and always will be second fiddle to Barry Sanders in mine, and most peoples, books. If Barry would have stayed he would have broken the record quicker than Emmitt without ever having a real offensive line. Emmitt always had the best line that money ( and coke ) could buy, along with some talented pieces named Troy Aikmen and Michael ( coke head ) Irvin. Lets see, Barry had Eric Kramer, Rodney Peete, Andre Ware, Scott Mitchell, Herman Moore was okay - he had no one! Sorry Emmitt, you got the record only because you never went away, thank god you finally are. Later stat whore - done.

Hey, one last thing - does anyone think Stern will reinstate Artest for the playoffs? Talk about street cred, Stern will lose all of his with me if he does. But if there is a chance, say the #2 seeded Pistons against the #7 seeded Pacers in the first round of the playoffs. Conspiracy Theory all over that - I could see him doing that in a heart beat. Stern is a money and ratings whore just like Emmitt was to stats, that has David Stern written all over it if you ask me. I could see it happening and I would not put it past Stern, but that is just me.

Well, that is all for now, the Pistons are back tonight against the Knicks, the Tigers are in Lakeland and football is still there thanks to the waiver wire! Hockey, well, I am just waiting for the next "season is saved" story to start up any second now. Later - the sports dude.

Monday, February 21, 2005 at 3:43 PM

Going for the Garcia.

To be or not to be, that is the question here? Sorry to get all Shakespearean on you and stuff, but it makes me feel important to do those things from time to time. In all honesty, of all the options out there for the Lions to sign, I feel Garcia is the best of the bunch. If everything works out the way it appears, Bledsoe, Garcia, Warner and Brad Johnson will all be released by their current clubs tomorrow. If you ask me that is one rag-tag bunch of veterans, but Garcia sticks out to me and here is why.
He is familiar with Mooch, he has succeeded quite nicely under Mooch and I think that last years season in Cleveland was more the crappy Browns team than a washed up Garcia. If you want to push Joey, to me, Garcia is the best option. If I were Joey I would look at Garcia as a threat because of the success that Mooch and him had together in San Francisco when they were together. If someone like Warner came in, for example, I would look at it as a washed up veteran that is just cashing a check and backing me up. But Garcia, he has had three pro bowl seasons under Mooch and still has something left in the tank. I think Garcia would be a great push, I think Joey would finally have some competition in camp and I think Garcia would do better than Joey. My pick out of the casualties is Garcia, to me he is the only one of the bunch that has anything left in the tank and I say go for it. Make Joey sweat a little, make him feel nervous; make him fight for a change. Damn, he has had Mike McMahon behind him for three years, what kind of push is that? Joey may as well have had me as his back up for three years, with a blind fold on and wearing flip flops! That is how good McMahon is and I don’t think Joey is much better.

Look, I hope someday I eat my words on Joey, I really do. The reason is this – the better Joey does the better the Lions do. But Joey is not a starter; he is a back up at best in this league and nothing more. He went to a crappy Pac-10 school, Oregon, played against a bunch of crappy teams and got drafted by the Lions because he had inflated numbers in college against minimal competition. When we drafted him I said two words to a guy I work with – “Andre Ware.” Enough said.

Well, that is all I have for right now; check back later for my Joe Dumars write up and how I feel about him being on the ballot for the Hall of Fame. Until next time, god speed and wear your ear muffs, it is cold outside! The sports dude.

at 9:53 AM

Bend it like Bettman.

Well, it is finally over? I missed an exciting week last week, it appears, but Bettman finally cancelled the NHL season. Like putting a sick pet out of its misery, he finally called the whole thing off. Now, even days later, I hear the sides were not as close as we all thought. For what it is worth I wish the words “lock out” and hockey were erased from my memory because I am sick of hearing them. It dragged out for too long, it was a dirty little day time soap opera and, in the end, we got what we all knew was coming – the first North American sport to lose an entire season due to labor strife. And the more and more I listen to sports radio stations, the more and more I hear it may last almost two seasons. Scary thing is, I am not sure if the NHL can even survive this one, let alone two.

Now, being a non-hockey fan, I look at it like this – the players and the union are at fault. That has been my opinion since day one and I am going to stick by my guns. You can say what you want about Bettman, but what it comes down to is this – representation. Forget all the dumb rule changes the guy instituted, forget the expansion in dumb markets and look at this – how did he represent the owners compared to how Goodenow represented the players? Bettman did a better job. All along it was clear hockey owners wanted a cap and felt they needed one to survive. Bettman never caved, never folded and never backed down. Call it being stubborn, call it arrogance, call it what you will, but I will call it a business man protecting his business, nothing more, nothing less. Everyone knows that if Goodenow would have taken a poll that the majority of the players would have accepted the cap, it was just his ego that got in the way. He didn’t want to be the one to lose, he didn’t want to be the one to break, and he didn’t want to go back on the word “never”. Well, like the old cliché goes, “never say never”. By the time Goodenow realized that it was cap or bust it was too late. His ego got in the way in these negotiations and ruined any chance at a hockey season, period. Blame it on Goodenow, not Bettman. Bettman represented the owners perfectly, to a “T” and never waned because he knew hockey would not survive without the cap. Goodenow didn’t even come close to representing the players; he was just representing his ego.

Secondly, don’t even get me started on the concessions the players made to get this deal done. 24% roll backs, kick backs, whatever! That may solve it up front, but what about a couple years from now when you all get greedy again? Oh, you’ll just go on strike again, that’s what. It is ridiculous to even think what goes through the minds of these unions sometimes, but that is something that I could bitch about all day, so let us get back to hockey. There are actually owners out there, right now, who are making money by there not being a season. How screwed up is that? The game was eating itself alive quicker than you can say the word “chew” and it had to stop. Whether people around here in “hockeytown” want to admit it or not, but the Red Wings were right at the heart of it. They were the Yankees of the NHL, the only difference being that in baseball there is a revenue sharing system, so Steinbrenner pays for his greed. There was nothing like that in hockey, so the Wings could go unchecked and be as careless as they chose. They helped drive the salaries up, the ticket prices up, the game was dying. And, another fact that hockey fans don’t want to hear, is it is NOT A POPULAR SPORT!!!! It doesn’t have the fan base to survive this type of bleeding, it doesn’t even have enough revenue to share! Of the four majors, hockey is #4 behind football, baseball and basketball – and that #4 ranking is even slipping away. Whether people like it or not, a cap is the only way to stop the bleeding and the sooner someone beats it into Goodenow’s head that $42 million dollars in MORE THAN ENOUGH for a hockey team then all you hockey lovers can get your damn hockey back, and I can have something on my TV again at night to help me fall asleep!

Look, Bettman is not at fault for this lock out, he really is not. He may have expanded to shitty cities and made some stupid rule changes, but in defending the owners he did a remarkable job. He is right, hockey won’t survive without the cap, roll backs are just a temporary band aid, and until Goodenow is removed or killed then the players will continue to be at fault. Goodenow gets the blame in my book, he misrepresented the players, let down the fans and caused this lock out more than Bettman. $42 million was in his face and he should have taken it and ran, because that was more generous than the owners needed to be.

Look, like I said earlier, hockey is losing its hold on that #4 spot to NASCAR, golf, shit even poker! The point is, the players need to realize enough is enough – the sport, as it stands today, is not in a place where it can afford to pay $10 million dollar salaries. There is not enough TV money, there is not enough revenue, and quite frankly there are not enough fans. Do you really think people in Florida right now are missing hockey? If you answered yes, you must be blind like Goodenow. The point is, hockey is losing ground a little more each day, and each day another fan walks away to something else. The problem is, when there aren’t that many to begin with, how can you really afford to let any walk away. The sports dude.

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