For some reason, I had the idea for this post in a dream last week. I’m not sure what that says more about… how fucked up my dreams are or how pathetic my life is that I’m actually dreaming about posts for a shitty blog. I’ll get back to you when I get an official answer.
As I’ve said before, I’m an NBA fan. Serious NBA fan. The kind of fan that would watch my team (the Spurs) play the Hornets in April over watching Syracuse (the school I attended) play any game outside of the Final Four. The kind of fan that avidly checks twitter to see if Eddy Curry is going to make the squad (sadly, he didn’t and this sort of puts his whole career into perspective), the kind of fan that thinks about rescheduling a date with a girl if it conflicts with his fantasy basketball draft, the kind of fan that is just as excited about the one game not on TV on opening night (Wizards and Cavs) as I am about the two that are (Heat, Celts and Mavs, Lake show). You get the point.
I actually own (and I’m not proud to admit this) an Eddy Curry Bull jersey. A red number two, hanging in the former room of one Scott A. Spinelli back home with my parents. I remember, distinctly, taping the Baby Bulls games (remember when that was an actual thing? the idea that was actually ever, ever going to work… drafting two high school big men to compete together in the NBA, amongst men… jesus h. christ) to get a taste of who I thought was going to be one of the more unstoppable offensive big men during his career.
Now, 11 years later, it appears as if he’s just about done. And that’s a sad thing.
Let’s be fair. Eddy Curry’s no good. He wasn’t so good when he was “good” and the league has changed dramatically since then. Big guys like him are dinosaurs, the best centers can move. Gone are the days of the rhinoceros center plodding up and down the court, in its stead are guys like Serge Ibaka who can run like guards or simply the abandonment of the position in its entirety.
There was never really a question about his touch around the rim or ability to score in bunches. But, unfortunately, that was about all he did really well. Defense, rebounding… he was never too interested in doing either of the two with vigor. In his career season (with the Knicks in ’06-07) he averaged 19.5 ppg and 7.0 rpg, which is truly amazing (he was literally the 5th best rebounder on that team among guys that actually played). For a guy who doesn’t guard anyone outside of the paint and solely operates on offense in that area, you’d think he’d accidentally grab at least 9 or 10 boards a game being 7 feet tall. But alas, we all have our weaknesses.
Since that year, it all came spiraling down hill. Fast. He went from a limited offensive player that was at least a starter to an overweight, sad, tabloided afterthought. When he played 25 minutes in a pre-season game with the Spurs this year, it was the most he had played in a game since 2008. (It’s 2012).
Every time you heard Curry’s name, there were a few things you almost always heard additionally:
- A weight joke and/or weight loss story regarding how he, amazingly, had lost anywhere from 50 to 100 pounds, again. He was simultaneously the worst and best spokesperson for dedication to weight loss program.
- A corny, overused joke correlating his actual medical issues with his heart to his apparent lack of heart when it comes to the game of basketball. Something like, “Oh, so now it’s official, Eddy Curry really doesn’t have any heart”.
- The phrase “He’s rededicated himself”, over and over (and over) again.
- Sentences/tweets/internal thoughts beginning “If he could just…”
And you see, that’s just the problem. Eddy Curry can’t just do anything but do him. He is, in the words of Denny Green, who we thought he was. Instead of crowning his ass, we mercilessly made a mockery of him. Sometimes with good reason (if you’re from the New York area and saw the size of him in some of those years, you know what I’m talking about) and sometimes without (this is a dude, say what you will about his on court nonsense, that had his ex-girlfriend and 9-month old daughter murdered). Oh, and for good measure, let’s throw in an absolutely absurd (I’m not saying untrue, simple absurd. True or not, the allegations were bananas.) sexual harassment accusation and being robbed and bound at gunpoint in his own home.
Call me crazy, but this has the makings of a 30 for 30 film all over it. I think what makes it most interesting is that you’re not quite sure whether or not to feel sorry for the guy or to hate him for squandering all of that god given ability and size. He’s one of a few players I can honestly say I’ve loved, hated, wished would disappear and couldn’t wait to see again. All in one career.
That has to count for something. Doesn’t it?