Whitt's End: NBA All-Star Thoughts and Why Are The Mavs Waiting On Dirk?

Richie Whitt

*A bouquet of warm-’n-fuzzies from NBA’s All-Star Weekend in Chicago: The Kobe tributes. Jennifer Hudson. Dallas Mavericks’ original general manager Norm Sonju winning the Jerry Colangelo Award for his exemplary life on and off the court. Luka Doncic’s pull-up 50(ish)-footer in the Rising Stars game. And the main attraction’s competitive fourth quarter.

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But, alas, some tweaks are in order.

1. From now on, only former dunk champions are allowed to be dunk judges. Once upon a time, Dwight Howard received a 49 for simply wearing a Superman cape in an otherwise mundane slam. Last weekend, Aaron Gordon got only a 46 after jumping over a 7-foot-5 human being.

2. The 3-Point contest should evolve into the Long-Distance Shootout from, well, longer. Buddy Hield swishing 24-footers is cute and all, but who wouldn’t want to see Luka, Damian Lillard, Trae Young and Steph Curry matching 42-footers?

3. Though we all adore the rapper, Common, and appreciated his creative player intros, in no language does “honest” rhyme with “Doncic.”

*If you have any “Thoughts & Prayers” handy, funnel them toward former Dallas Cowboys’ special teams trailblazer Bill Bates. Those close to his family tell me the 58-year-old is beginning to suffer debilitating effects of concussion-related dementia. Slowed, slurred speech. Headaches. Even trouble consistently rattling off the names of his five children.

For those of us that watched, wrote about and befriended the mega-hustler, it’s particularly horrible news.


Bates was then what delusional Dallas Cowboys fans think Jeff Heath is now. (No disrespect aimed at Heath's try-hard efforts.) Bates' head-first, kamikaze missions on punts and kickoffs so impacted the game that in 1984 the NFL created a Pro Bowl roster spot just for special-teamers.

Undrafted out of Tennessee, Bates played for Tom Landry, Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer, winning three Super Bowls. He reduced his public schedule late in 2019, but still made appearances at “The Ultimate Bill Bates Tailgate Party” across from AT&T Stadium on game days, and Everson Walls’ birthday party in December.

Here’s hoping we see more of Bill Bates in 2020.

*Cheaters never win. Except for the Astros. And, come to think of it, lots of other teams, and athletes. After all, isn’t America built on cheating? I understand the uproar and pushback on Houston’s tainted 2017 World Series. The Astros were caught stealing signs, relaying them via garbage-can banging and even – in the case of Jose Altuve – wearing buzzers under their jerseys to alert them as to what pitch was coming.

Baseball is pissed, in the form of calls for the title to be stripped and lawsuits filed by players claiming the scheme wrecked their careers. Heck, even basketball – led by LeBron James and Mark Cuban – is voicing its disgust.

The fact that Astros’ players weren’t suspended one day or fined one penny swells the stink. So too did Houston’s preposterous attempts at an “apology” at its spring training press conference.

Owner Jim Crane, a decade ago Cuban’s business buddy in attempting to buy the Texas Rangers at a bankruptcy auction, inexplicably claimed the sign-stealing didn’t impact his team’s games. If that were true, why did players repeatedly do it? And, what then, were Crane and his players apologizing for?

The Astros, mind you, leave nothing to chance. They employ a Director of Decision Science and a Computer Vision Analyst, whatever those are. But while the Astros should clearly use their sneaky, specific skills to steal some decent PR strategy, let’s take a second to peek in the mirror, shall we? Your taxes. Your resolutions. Your spouse. Your diet. Your video games. Your kids’ entrance into college. Your résumé. Your golf handicap.

Chances are, if you’re like me, you've cheated on at least one of them. If not, how about the time you scurried across the middle of the street instead of using the crosswalk? That day you sneaked 12 items through the 10-or-fewer grocery express line? The iPod music pirated off the Internet? The MENSA test answers impatiently pilfered from the back of the airplane magazine? The 79-mph drive home in the 65-mph zone? Alone, in the HOV lane, with beer open and seat belt unfastened? Truth is, we’re living, breathing, cheating humans hard-wired with an insatiable hunger to get ahead and stay there. Cutting corners is ingrained in our society. Cheating is why our prisons are full and our politicians are full of shit.

And, yes, it permeates the games we play and the sports we watch.

Amateur golfers give themselves putts not exactly “in the leather.” James Harden dances the gather-step-step-stepback. Soccer players take dives. Hockey players curve their sticks. Lance Armstrong juiced, times seven. Mike Tyson bit Evander Holyfield’s ear. Football receivers push off; defensive players fake injuries to slow tempo. Gaylord Perry won 314 games and enshrinement into Cooperstown with Vaseline on his cap. Ty Cobb sharpened his spikes. When they’re not spying, the New England Patriots deflate footballs. And, let’s be honest, Michael Jordan’s iconic jumper in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals was made possible by a deft – but illegal – shove of defender Bryon Russell’s hip.

Bottom line: There is no incentive for players not to cheat, because cheating helps them win. The Astros are likely sorry for getting caught. But here’s betting they’d do it all again in order to win another championship.

*Growing up in the Dallas suburb of Duncanville in the 1970s, there were two organizations I trusted: Church. Boy Scouts. These days I cringe at that notion.

In the wake of the Roman Catholic Church’s avalanche of lawsuits brought by victims claiming to be sexually molested, the Irving-based Boy Scouts this week filed for bankruptcy because of, you guessed it, mounting legal costs defending itself from similar cases. More than 300 people in 30-plus states claim to have been abused by the Scouts. Founded in 1910, the Boy Scouts was considered a last bastion of traditional values. Was.

*Las Vegas is only slightly impressed with the Mavs’ 33-22 pre-break performance. On Oct. 19 they were 40/1 longshots to win the NBA title. On Feb. 19 they moved only a little, to 33/1. Biggest gain: Heat went from 50/1 to 20/1 while, not surprisingly, the Warriors dropped the most dramatically, from 12/1 to 1,000/1.

*From the Dept. of The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Oil: Everyone’s seen the viral video of Dallas stripper Genea Sky falling 15 feet from her pole. Broken jaw. Cracked teeth. Sprained ankle. Serious stuff, complete with a silver lining: Sky last week appeared on Wendy Williams, who gave her a $10,000 scholarship to beauty school. And Sky’s GoFundMe page has received donations topping $41,000.

It’s a nice, feel-good story. But a fall you wouldn’t wish on anyone. Or … would you?

I mean, was it worth it? Imagine if Sky would’ve flawlessly finished her shift that night. Tonight, she’d likely be anonymous, preparing to again climb that pole for tips.



*105.3 The Fan made a brilliant hire this week in making Bryan Broaddus a permanent member of G-Bag Nation. A former scout that has worked in NFL front offices, he’s a Dallas Cowboys insider with genuine insight. Much like former Major League pitcher/midday host Mike Bacsik and his authentic baseball perspective. That strong lineup made me wonder whatever happened to … Jesse Holley?

The former reality TV show winner – "4th and Long,'' circa 2009, ring a bell? – had his 15 fifteen minutes of fame with the Cowboys and seemed destined for a career as a strong persona on The Fan. But last season during a station post-game show at AT&T Stadium’s Miller Lite Club, Holley got into an altercation with long-time Cowboys reporter Mickey Spagnola. ... and next thing you know, Holley was no longer employed.

These days Holley’s Twitter profile reads: “Free Agent.” Apparent moral to the story? The listener is left assuming it's "Don’t Mess With Mickey.''

*A failed implosion of a 11-story building on Central Expressway over the weekend left the structure upright, albeit crooked.

Reiterating our absolute ineptitude with creativity, media outlets like CBS 11 dubbed it “The Leaning Tower of Dallas.” How original. Off the top of my head, how about the “Dallas Diagonal”? “Dwindle Dallas”? The “Dallas Dipper”? I guess I should be happy they didn’t go with #ImplosionGate.

*Ran into ol’ friend Brad Sham this week. So what does the iconic voice of the Cowboys do in his offseason? A jazz cruise in the Caribbean. Nice! A trip to Amsterdam, Switzerland and Paris. Nice!! Get inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame on May 30 at AT&T Stadium. Nice!!! Take up the sport of “Pickleball.” Ni … What the what?!

*One guess which DFW community is the first in America to authorize a village of those “tiny homes”? Little Elm. Duh.

*Excuse Drew Pearson for being a tad surly these days. First, the Ring-of-Honor receiver was snubbed by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Again. And last week, his grandson – Frisco Lone Star High School 3-star recruit Toren Pittman – got similar treatment from Colorado-turned-Michigan-State football coach Mel Tucker.

The coach promised all Buffs alumni, players, recruits and families that he was “staying put” in Boulder. Days later, poof. Gone to East Lansing for a 100-percent raise behind a trail of 100-percent lies. Pittman signed with Colorado on National Signing Day, a move his grumpy grandpa now resents. Vehemently.

Wrote the Original 88 on his Twitter: MEL TUCKER IS A CON MAN! He recruited my grandson to go to CU said he wasn’t going anywhere then ups and leaves. Sat there and lied to my face he wasn’t going anywhere!
So I want to beat him up today on social media. What else can I do?

*I desperately wish this wasn’t true but, sales of Corona beer are indeed down because of, yup, the coronavirus. Stock shares of Anheuser-Busch, brewer of Corona, hit a 52-week low this week as ignorant fools equated drinking a beer with contracting a deadly virus.

For what it’s worth, the coronavirus is so named because – viewed under a microscope – it appears to have crown-like spikes. The word “corona” is Latin, for “crown.” Commence deep, defeated sigh …

*I desperately wish this wasn’t true but, Part II: The Learning Channel boasts a lineup of shows that includes Dr. Pimple Popper, 1,000-Pound Sisters and Honey Boo Boo. What exactly are we “learning”? Commence another deep, defeated sigh …

*Wait, why are we waiting until next season to retire Dirk Nowitzki’s No. 41?

*Another sign that it’s just a matter of time before gambling infiltrates the heart of our Bible Belt, Dallas is about to open its first legal poker room. Gambling, including poker, is still technically illegal in Texas. But the Texas Card House – which will open its doors in the Spring across from old Valley View mall – has found a loophole. The card room will operate as a private club where players pay a membership fee and are charged an hourly or daily rate for a seat at the table, instead of the house collecting rake on each pot. Sports betting can’t be far behind.

*NASCAR’s forever problem: I have no idea who won the Daytona 500, but I know for sure that it was Ryan Newman in that horrifyingly spectacular crash near the finish.

*Millennials refusing to fork over $3.99 per month for online sports journalism will be astounded to learn that once upon a time there was a lucrative newspaper war in DFW. The daily fight between the Dallas Times Herald, Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram was so fierce it led to the competitors sweetening the pot for its writers with – wait for it – pensions.

Fast-forward to last week and another dinosaur dying. Newspaper chain McClatchy, owner of the Star-Telegram, Miami Herald and Kansas City Star, filed for bankruptcy. Cited as one of the reasons: The company’s “pension crisis.” In other words, I hope you already cashed out your pension. Because, like newspapers, they might be gone.

*Speaking of print media, Roger Staubach’s daughter, Michelle, told me this week her family re-upped for a year of the Morning News. Digital version. Actual newspapers tossed on their driveway. The works. Kinda warmed my heart.

Remembering when papers were 25 cents daily and $1 on Sundays, I asked the going rate. Would you believe … $798.10! (See item directly above.)

*Weirdest revelation of the week: Luka’s favorite celeb to gawk during All-Star Weekend was … Cardi B.

*Announced last week on social media: Sybil and I … radioed … laughed … loved … married … grew apart … remained friends … divorced amicably … and are now, after 10 years, consciously uncoupling and publicly moving on to our next chapters. In lieu of flowers, we requested beer. And, yes, we broke the news on Valentine’s. Weird, to the very last drop.

*This weekend? Friday let’s visit dear ol’ Dad – at home from the hospital, for the first time since Jan. 3. Saturday it’s back on the tennis court during the day, and then my “little” brother’s 50th birthday at night in Uptown. As always, don’t be a stranger.

Comments (1)

Would love to debate the cheaters bit. We can't expect things to get better if we do not have any type of code. Not getting caught or getting caught and still winning is still cheating. I would have taken their title away and my love of that team goes back to the early 60s Colt 45s.