02.08.07

Roots Of The Straight Shot : Tramps Like Us, Baby We Were Born To Suck

Posted in Basketball at 11:09 pm by

(Joey Welz just called. He wants his persona back. And he’d like some money, too)

Though you really oughta read the entire piece, allow me to share the following excerpt from S.L. Price’s profile of MSG supremo James Dolan in the latest Sports Illustrated :

There Dolan was, fronting a band consisting of Garden employees in Hawaiian shirts and belting out a parody of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run”. In the audience was Garden president Dave Checketts, who had helmed the most profitable run in Garden history: 10 years of record attendance and revenues that coincided with the exorcism of a 54-year championship curse on the Rangers in 1993-94 and the Knicks’ rides to the ’94 and ’99 NBA Finals. Now there was talk that Checketts, whose relations with Dolan were strained, would bolt to Salt Lake City to rescue the troubled 2002 Winter Olympics. So Dolan was wooing him in a Long Island accent ravaged by years of substance abuse, the boss channeling the Boss.

Dave, this company rips the bones from your back:
It’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap.
You should have got out while you were young….
Because I have something to tell you: I’m Chuck Do-lan’s son!

Some in the audience cheered. Looking back, most see the moment as a highlight of Dolan’s speckled tenure at the Garden. The disastrous trade of future Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing, which would hamstring the franchise financially for years, wouldn’t happen for another two weeks. As the music rolled on, Dolan sang that he wanted to be Checketts’s friend, offered to rewrite Checketts’s contract, even made fun of his own diminutive (5’6″) stature. “It was a great moment,” says one executive in the crowd that night. “He showed a human side, and everybody was really relieved.”

But some also found the moment startling. Dolan was lampooning himself, yes, but he was also bellowing his power with a pride that could be taken as menacing. After all, he ended his musical valentine with a warning:

Someday, Davey, I don’t know when,
We’re going to get to that place where we really want to go,
And we’ll have some fun.
As long as you remember:
I’m Chuck Do-lan’s son!

With all due respect to David Brent, I think the title of World’s Lamest Boss is forever in J.D.’s paws.  I don’t know if Eddy Curry really believes he has any leverage in threatening a trade demand when and if Isiah Thomas isn’t retained, but he shouldn’t be so quick to hint at such a thing as long as Pau Gasol is on the block.

Much as I’d love to consider Charles Barkley’s assertion that Da Bulls live and die by the jumper (mostly the latter) in tonight’s miserable display against Sacramento (Chicago is trailing, 37-35 at intermission) the ferociously garish All-Star Game Jackets donned by Doug Collins and Kevin Harlan are way too distracting.  Just ’cause the swag is free, gentlemen, there’s no reason you have to wear it.

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