Keith Glass: 7 Foot Man-Eating Chicken

Keith Glass: 7 Foot Man-Eating Chicken

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Keith Glass: 7 Foot Man-Eating Chicken

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Excerpted from 7 Foot Man-Eating Chicken. Copyright © 2019 by Printopya. Used with permission. 

Keith Glass is a longtime sports agent who has represented numerous pro basketball players

Here is a question: Why is there a one and one free throw regulation in all of basketball except when you get to the NBA? These are allegedly the greatest athletes on the planet. They average $9 million plus per season in salary and yet THEY get the relief from the “pressure” of having to stand up in the guts of a game and make the first foul shot in order to earn the second. We can’t have that. People may realize the product is not as great as advertised. So instead of going back to the gym for however long it may take to improve this flaw the league changes the rules to disguise this. You “give” that player two foul shots. The kid in high school has to deal with it but not Dwight Howard. I mean how can you expect poor Dwight to work on his foul shooting for only $24 million a year?

This automatic 2-shots, however, was not enough protection for some of the NBA’s “Star” players. This is an actual quote from the Sports Illustrated Wire of July 12, 2016:

“The NBA has announced rule changes meant to discourage teams from intentionally fouling poor free throw shooters.” Known as ‘hack a fouls,’ teams often employ the intentional fouls on struggling free throw shooters by grabbing them away from the ball…with many complaining the hacks significantly reduce the entertainment value of the game.”

Honestly, the actual “rules” themselves are irrelevant to me and should be to you. The concept that they are necessary or even remotely considered a good idea is the issue.

10 years ago when I wrote Taking Shots, I made some suggestions to help the game. They were generally ignored but the league is starting to come around. For example, my complaints and suggestions regarding “time-outs” are now being addressed. Unlike our current President, I’m not taking credit for the change but I’m glad they are doing something to make the flow of the game better. The stock market, however, is all me!

This morning I realized that I’m right again on this foul shooting “enabling.” theme. I hope you get it that when I criticize a Dwight Howard or another poor free-throw shooter it is done with the understanding that if he worked on anything he could conquer it. That’s how great I think these players could be. There is really nothing athletically beyond them.

Andre Drummond, the center for the Detroit Pistons, was possibly the worst foul shooter of them all. It was literally painful to watch him shoot free throws. If they really cared about the fans, the league should have issued special glasses to shield their customers when Andre was attempting a free throw. As recently as last season he was constantly intentionally fouled away from the ball just to put him at the foul line. He was shooting free throws at a 38% clip. His coach, Stan Van Gundy, wanted to play him for his obvious other contributions. But he did have to at least consider taking Andre out at the end of games to prevent him from being fouled. This, in spite of the fact that the Detroit Pistons had recently invested well over $100,000,000 in Andre to actually PLAY in the games.

This is the exact dilemma that the NBA faced when it came up with the “brilliant” idea of enabling or hiding this problem. Don’t improve the sport; hide the flaws so the people keep coming without realizing that they are watching an inferior product. Well thankfully at least, for now, Andre Drummond didn’t want to be enabled. Apparently, he wanted to get better. Andre was asked about his 6 for 6 start coupled with his 75% free throw shooting during the preseason. He said that during the summer of 2017 he worked on his weakness. He spent:

“Many, many, many weeks and thousands of hours developing a repeatable free throw. For me, it’s like running now. I put the work in. I put the time in. I’ve done what I was supposed to do this summer.” – ANDRE DRUMMOND

Good for you Andre! While the league was busy devising rules to allow you to cover up your inadequacies, you were working to get better. Wow, what a concept!

The behavior that further causes me concern is the actions of the players in the actual game. Some have bought into the notion that they are “entertainers.” I mean they’ve been told they are. They can read the advertisements just like the rest of us. The preening, the flexing, the screaming if they make a lay-up, the celebration of the most mundane accomplishment is all part of what I think will eventually turn off a lot of fans.

It’s amazing that a Bruce Smith or a Walter Payton or a Tim Duncan could somehow have accomplished the things they did on fields and courts without celebrating each and every tackle or lay-up. It’s all too much and the saying, “act like you’ve been there before,” is simply an overused meaningless refrain spouted out by guys like me yearning for a way of conducting oneself with class, which may never return.

There is no desire by NBA nor other professional sports teams across the board to hide what they’re doing anymore. There is an actual cottage industry for all of these distractions and gimmicks. They call it “In-Game Entertainment.” The NBA proudly has a highly successful division called NBA Entertainment. The NBA assigns a game presentation manager to all 30 teams in the league. This person’s job is to help and then evaluate their “in-game” performance. Not of the players but rather of the “entertainment”. So much for the spontaneous joy they attempt to project. It’s all part of the act. It’s a show. A couple of years ago, the Orlando Magic employed 9 “entertainment” teams to deal with their “in-game” presentation. This included dancers, face painters, jugglers, and balloon artists. They finished that season with 27 wins and 55 losses. Jugglers are fun but maybe they should have hired a real point guard instead!

Just so no one mistakes my feelings here. I like jugglers. I’ve got nothing against face painters. I’m not a big bearded lady guy but that’s just me. I love the circus. I just don’t need it breaking out at a basketball game. That does presuppose that the basketball game is as advertised. That it is a legitimate competitive sporting event. If not, then “here come the elephants!”

None of this is new with me. I know its “old school”. I know it’s corny but it is true! The part that riles me the most is when these coaches who are making incredible sums of money through salary, endorsements, camps, etc. pontificate about “our game” and the lessons of the great coaches who influenced them. I wonder what those “mentors” would really say about how some of today’s coaches have hijacked the sport for their own purposes.

I think it’s fairly pompous to quote yourself but this is what I wrote in Taking Shots in 2007.

“I have seen this coming for a long time. I have been the guy tilting at the windmills of the NBA for 23 years (now it is 33). I have had issues with the league itself, the players, the player’s union, the fans, all the way down to my fellow agents. What follows in these pages will attempt to show how we got to this point. I’m not a great philosopher. I’m not an investigative journalist. I’m a storyteller. I will not preach. I would rather have you think about something after I get you to laugh. I’m going to tell my stories and then leave it to you to figure out if there is some meaning. (I can’t do all the work).”

I wasn’t exactly hiding my opinions 10 years ago when I wrote that. It’s on PAGE TWO!! I wasn’t wrong either!

I guess the kid in me has never left. The feeling I got when my Dad and Mom took me to sporting events has stayed with me. I even made a career out of it. You grow up in New York and you get to go to Yankee Stadium. You sit at the Polo Grounds before it was reduced to just another apartment complex. My friends and I got to “sneak” into Shea Stadium after the fourth inning, although I suspect the ushers simply closed their eyes and let us in!

I remember taking the train or the subway or driving in the family car through all that traffic and concrete and buildings and being overwhelmed by the throngs of people. After all those intimidating and mostly gray surroundings, you entered the portal which led to your seats. Suddenly there it was! GREEN!! The grass on that field was so out-of-place and so beautiful! It’s a feeling I’ll always remember and I want it back!

And then if you really got lucky you got to go to the “The Garden!”

Excerpted from 7 Foot Man-Eating Chicken. Copyright © 2019 by Printopya. Used with permission. 

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