Word on the Street

Retired Legenditis (re-tird’ lej’-uhnd-it’-is) noun. An acute psychological disorder that causes some (but certainly not all) NBA legends to lose their damn minds during retirement. At best, the ensuing erratic and unpredictable behavior embarrasses both them and their families. At worst, it sullies their legacy forever.

Usage example:Reggie Miller is the latest former NBA great to contract Retired Legenditis.”

Word history: The term was coined last night (August 11, 2009) by Sonny while we were discussing Reggie Miller’s very public feud with Alex von Furstenberg, a Malibu surf shop owner and son of fashion legend Diane von Furstenberg. Apparently, Reggie spent several months flirting with von Furstenberg’s fiancé – clothing designer Ali Kay – which caused von Furstenberg to go apeshit. It probably didn’t help that Kay sent Reggie a couple sizzling pics via text message. Restraining orders were filled out by both parties but never filed, and von Furstenberg paid a small plane to fly a banner over the beaches of Malibu to warn Reggie off of married women. Bad times all around.

This mess was of course preceded by Reggie having a tramp stamp tattooed around his belly button and pouring vodka down the gullet of some barely-legal babe while wearing a ghastly sweater vest. Remember when NBA legends retired with dignity?

Oh, right. You probably don’t. Not with Charles Barkley getting busted for DUI and then telling the arresting officer “I was gonna drive around the corner and get a blow job.” (Later at the police station, Sir Charles told another officer “I’ll tattoo my name on your ass” if he helped “get him out of the DUI.”) Oh, and let’s not forget Chuck’s gambling addiction or that time he had a civil complaint filed against him for a $400,000 gambling debt he accidentally forgot to pay. He also joked about Isiah Thomas’ alleged suicide attempt at a press conference (more on that below).

Hey, I guess it’s tough being a basketball legend who doesn’t play basketball anymore. Julius Erving made a sex tape with a woman who was not his wife, and that tape was mysteriously released during his messy divorce trial. Elgin Baylor spent a couple decades ruining the Clippers. (And after Elgin was FINALLY fired, he filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against the Clippers, team owner Donald Sterling, and the NBA. He alleges that he was underpaid during his tenure with the team and then fired because of his age and race.) Kevin McHale completely McFailed as GM of the Timberwolves. Larry Bird is still running the Pacers into the ground. Magic Johnson made a couple ill-fated comebacks (the second of which featured an ejection and suspension for bumping a referee and then claiming the ref bumped him), embarrassed himself with an ugly 16-game coaching stint with the Lakers (during which the team went 5-11), and then totally bombed as host of The Magic Hour (after which he blamed his failure on a lack of support from African American celebrities).

Michael Jordan completely mismanaged the Washington Wizards (epitomized by his selection of Kwame Brown with the number one overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft) until he was fired by owner Abe Pollin. The sacking came despite MJ’s two-season comeback with the Wiz, during which he “led” the team to back-to-back 37-win seasons and utterly failed to make the playoffs (despite guaranteeing a postseason berth). Things have gone only slightly better with the Bobcats …seeing as how Mike only wasted the third overall draft pick of the 2006 NBA Draft on Adam Morrison. But that’s the sole improvement. MJ also likes bumping and grinding with the barely-legals. And there’s more evidence that his divorce didn’t exactly break his heart.

And then there’s Isiah Thomas. First, he destroyed the CBA. Second, he got fired as coach of the Pacers by his former rival Larry Bird. Then he became GM and later the coach of the New York Knicks …otherwise known as The Greatest Epic Fail in NBA History. Shortly after the Knicks finally canned him, Isiah apparently tried to commit suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills. He then claimed it was his daughter who tried to kill herself. The truth was never made clear, but when asked about the situation during a press conference, Isiah couldn’t deny it was a suicide attempt.

The moral of this post? Maybe it’s better NOT to become an NBA legend.

Symptoms of Retired Legenditis may include becoming the target of humiliating banners flown over southern California beaches.

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Labels: Isiah Thomas / Reggie Miller / Charles Barkley (Sir Charles, Chuck) / Julius Erving / Kevin McHale / Larry Bird / Magic Johnson / Michael Jordan (MJ, Mike) / Kwame BrownAdam Morrison / Donald Sterling / Abe Pollin / Washington Wizards / Indiana Pacers / Charlotte Bobcats / Los Angeles Lakers / New York Knicks / Minnesota Timberwolves / Los Angeles Clippers / 2001 NBA Draft / 2006 NBA Draft / NBA Playoffs / CBA / NBAWord on the Street

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