Whining, Crying Is Doing Pistons In

By Gregory Moore
Updated: June 13, 2005

Barry Bonds

Ben Wallace and his Detroit teammates love parading around in their ‘title’ belts but maybe what they need to do is stop focusing on their past and worry about how their present state of playing like second class basketball players may affect their future.

SAN ANTONIO – I was walking around in H.E.B.’s Central Market the other day and I came across a peculiar aisle because even for a grocery store this diverse, I was a little taken aback when I saw the various accoutrements for the teams that the Spurs had faced during their current playoff run. Whoopee cushions, baby bottles even an assorted gift basket of some Hill Country wine (a Pinot Grigio, I think) and various cheeses were in the aisle. But here’s the irony of the whole situation, I saw Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace and the rest of the current Detroit Pistons’ team filling up their baskets on the stuff.

Now maybe my exaggerated attempt at levity is a bit much but you cannot deny the fact that the Detroit Pistons have to be some of the biggest whiners on this side of the Mississippi River. Even Seattle’s Ray Allen could ask these players to shut up and get tough. It’s no wonder that while reading various columns, I come up with a sense that the reason why the Pistons are making excuses is because they have been exposed big time during this series. Along the same time of the San Antonio Spurs just dismantling this team physically, Detroit has helped the cause because they are complaining to the referees way too much and they are sabotaging their own cause.

In my dozen years or so of covering the Spurs and other teams, this is a first in which I am reading stories from the other media members who are covering a playoff series and they are at a loss for why their team continuously makes excuses for their bad play. I am befuddled (much like the Detroit defense from the past two games) as to how a team with so much talent can have professional writers scratch their heads. Then it dawns on me and the realization is quite frightening; this is not the same team that won the 2004 title. They are whining and crying about trivial issues that really are not the true culprit and they are disrespecting their opponents’ ability.

An old veteran coach told me a long time ago that if players want to be successful in defeating their opponents under adverse circumstances, they would have to learn to accept responsibility for their shortcomings and mistakes. They need to realize that even when things are at their ‘worst’ in a game, a true championship caliber squad can take the adversities of such wrong calls, mistakes and frustration, weather them during the game, and then turn them into ‘lemonade’ by winning the game. The Pistons may want to see why the Spurs are whooping their behinds by looking at that team’s previous two series. Through adversity, mistakes and frustration, the Spurs have positioned themselves for the Finals. Ironically they are also poised right now to handle whatever the Pistons throw at them this week. They are ready because this team doesn’t whine and cry about such trivial issues like fouls. For the Pistons, this lesson may come a little too late.

No Need To Kick A Man When He’s Down I haven’t been a Mike Tyson fan in a long while (since the Peter McNeely fight) and I know that Iron Mike has run into some serious financial troubles. Even with all of the foolishness that he has done over his life of being in the public eye, I cannot see how any human being can just wallow with glee in this man’s fall from grace.

This past weekend there have been several national sports talk show hosts who have been joyfully celebrating Tyson’s fall in last Saturday’s fight. Tyson didn’t answer the bell for the seventh round and his opponent won the fight via a TKO. For the opponent it was a victory yet for Tyson it became the reality that he is not the ferocious boxer he once was. His actions after the fight are suggesting that life has beaten him and he’s tired. Yet we have grown men who do little more than talk into a microphone just gleefully boast how great it is for him to lose. It’s utterly sickening from a professional standpoint if you are a cadre member of the sports talk show profession to listen to a colleague take pride in seeing a man fall from grace.

In the moments when I’ve been privileged to be the ‘driver’, ‘co-drive’ and ‘show contributor’ for sports talk shows, I’ve always tried to adhere to the philosophy of simply stating the facts that my opinion supplements and never do I try to belittle someone who is facing ‘extinction’ from our society as we know it. No matter how successful any of us may think we are, we are sometimes just moments away from being financially poor. Our economy is not like it used to and no industry, not even the wonderful world of sports, can sustain high economic levels. Any one of us could be in Mike’s shoes.

While Tyson may be going through some rough times in his life, what right does the media have to capitalize on his struggles? If we, as sports columnists, writers and show hosts, were true to our craft such practices would not exist.