The Time for Combat Basketball Has Come: An Open Letter to Joe Dumars
There’s no denying you got off to a great start as the Detroit Pistons President of Basketball Operations. Your swift ascent from ex-athlete to sports exec god was, well, messianic. No, you never turned water into wine, but you did trade a perpetually injured Grant Hill for the unheralded duo of Ben Wallace and Chucky Atkins (who you eventually traded for Rasheed Wallace). Pretty close. You assembled a team of scrappers (dare I say, “in your image”) and led them to the promised land. For this, I will always be grateful.
But in recent years, you’ve fallen on hard times and yesterday you fired head coach Michael Curry. I’ll let others debate the merits of that decision. The reason I am writing you now is to tell you that your next decision should not be up for debate.
You must hire Bill Laimbeer.
I know what you’re thinking. “Hire Laimbeer? My whining, flopping ex-teammate whose only coaching experience is with a women’s team?!”
Yes. And not just because he won two championships as your teammate and three as coach of that women’s team. Not because he elicits simultaneously hilarious and fearsome nicknames like “Man of War,” “Prince of Darkness,” and “The Shocker.” Not even because he’s the only guy on earth with the guts to follow up the phrase “Michael Jordan may be a very good, outstanding basketball player” with the word “but” (45 seconds into the video, priceless).
You must hire Bill Laimbeer because he was the inspiration and namesake for the 1991 Super Nintendo game, Bill Laimbeer’s Combat Basketball.
What’s that Joe? You were too busy playing actual basketball in 1991 to mess around with video games? Let me fill you in. Bill Laimbeer’s Combat Basketball is a game featuring admittedly horrible graphics and astoundingly simple usability. The Game presupposes it is the year 2030 and Bill Laimbeer has become the NBA’s commissioner. This, as you can imagine, presents several fascinating possibilities:
“Seeing as he’s in charge, he fires all the refs and throws the rulebook out the window [sic] basketball the way he likes it. Now the players wear armor as weapons and mines are thrown from the stands, adding a whole new element to the game of hoops.”
What I’m trying to say, Joe, is that by hiring Laimbeer, you will singlehandedly begin the NBA’s gradual evolution from a snooze-inducing-one-man-dribbles-and-shoots league into its future existence as a league in which armored warriors fly around and punch each other while fans throw fireballs at them. And I can’t think of anything more entertaining than that.
Ignore Michael Rosenberg when he says Laimbeer should never coach in the NBA because he walked away from his job with the Detroit Shock. C’mon Rosenberg! Do you really expect a guy who imagined a league where fans can throw mines at players to spend the rest of his career (forgive me ladies) in WNBA purgatory where fans barely even show up? The man’s a visionary. While other kids at his high school were flipping burgers for spare change, Laimbeer was cashing residual checks from his performance as a giant lizard-thing in the TV show, Land of the Lost. I’m not kidding.
The power is in your hands, Joe. The power to change the NBA forever. Sure, you can hand over the keys to Avery Johnson and maybe he’ll be respectable. But will he help bring about the eventuality of “space basketball?” Think about it Joe. You’ll be immortal.
Or at least, you’ll make the 2009-10 season entertaining.
HT: This commenter on MGoBlog