And the number one reason I hate the NBA ...

June 09, 2003|by MARK KELLER

I think I've found at least one of the reasons I hate the NBA.

I'm sure there are many others, but this one came to the forefront when I was watching a sports talk show on TV the other day.

The topic was this: Is Tim Duncan's image bad for the NBA?


Now, I admit I do not watch the NBA. I do not pay any more attention to the NBA than is necessary for me to do my job.

In fact, I stand up, wave my hands and yell: "I hate the NBA."

That said, I do know enough about Tim Duncan from his time at Wake Forest and with the San Antonio Spurs to know that he appears to be a solid guy.


No arrests, no brawls (on the court or off), no contract disputes. This is just a guy that plays the game ... and obviously does so very well.

How can a guy like this be bad for the NBA?

Duncan is a superstar in every sense of the word. The only problem is he doesn't tell everyone that he's a superstar like the other top players do.

Give me players like Duncan over Shaq or Iverson any day.

Then again, just take the NBA. Please.

I don't want it.

Class act

A combined note of congratulations and thanks to Jim Hutson, who stepped down after 27 years as head baseball coach at Clear Spring High School.

I was always impressed by how Hutson's teams played for him and how he consistently got more out of his players than you might expect they were capable of giving.

Win or lose, Hutson was always pleasant to deal with after a game, whether talking face-to-face or over the phone. And he always seemed to go out of his way to help make our jobs easier ... and let's face it, don't we all want that?

But the thing about Hutson that stands out to me is a trait that is becoming increasingly difficult for school administrators to find as they fill coaching vacancies.

Hutson coached because he loved coaching, he loved teaching kids and he loved doing right by kids. And it's for those reasons that you'll probably still see Hutson at Clear Spring baseball games in 2004.

He'll just be on the other side of the fence.

Wiffle ball redux

So what's the big deal about Sammy Sosa using a corked bat? When we were kids, nearly every one of the bats we used in Wiffle ball was doctored.

My brother, Doug, was the master of the "corked" Wiffle bat. He would cut off the top of the bat, stuff it with newspaper and wrap the whole thing with electrical tape.

It's no wonder he led our league in home runs. We might just have to put an asterisk beside those numbers.

Sammy slammed

Actually, Sosa getting caught with a corked bat is a big deal. The fact is Sosa probably didn't get the punishment he deserved.

Yes, baseball set a precedent for such suspensions a few years back, but who would have dreamed you would read Sosa's name in the same sentence as those of previous corkers Wilton Guerrero, Albert Belle, Chris Sabo and Billy Hatcher?

OK, Sabo's bat really wasn't his own, and Belle was a very big name (with a very big attitude) at the time of his suspension, but this is Sammy Sosa.

How many times in the last week have you heard that Sosa is the most marketable player in baseball? The game simply doesn't need its most popular player getting caught cheating.

That, in itself, explains why Sosa didn't get a longer suspension. While baseball should have made an example of one of its biggest stars, it also doesn't need to have him sitting on the bench for an extended period of time.

Mark Keller is sports editor of The Herald-Mail. His column appears every Sunday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2332, or by e-mail at

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