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Let's Not Mince Words

This is excerpted from a paper published by the Massachusetts Association of Newspaper Sports Editors on Medication. It deals with problems suffered by sportswriters around the Bay State. The article's working title is “Hey! It’s you.”

Let us turn to the first question posed by a reporter covering the Celtics (bless his heart).

Q: I am on a West Coast trip with the Celtics and …

A: We know that. Get to the point. You’re wasting space.

Q: OK, sorry. Anyway, I’ve been noticing that all these teams have players with funny-sounding foreign names, and that most of these guys are killing the Celtics. Sure, Iverson made his successful Nuggets debut against Boston, but someone named Eduardo Najera had a career game. Denver also got contributions from Linas Kleiza and Yakhouba Diawara. Next stop was Los Angeles for the Clippers, who employ a big guy named Zeljko Rebraca and also have a Russian named Korolev. The Clippers play a big shot-blocking pest named Chris Kaman, who is American but looks like he comes from Transylvania. The other night Boston played Golden State, and Wally got torched by a Frenchman named Mickael Pietrus while Jefferson was getting schooled in the post by Andris Biedrins. The Warriors also have a bench guy named Zarko Cabarkapa. New Year’s Eve the Celts played the Sonics, who have a long-armed center from Senegal, Saer Sene, and another center called Johan Petro. Mickaele Gelable has been giving them good minutes as well. We finish in Portland where the Blazers have a good-looking rookie point from Spain, Sergio Rodriguez, and a walk-on starting on the wing, Ime Udoka. My question is: Are the Celtics ever going to get any players with funny names?

A: Apparently nyet. But perhaps you consider Veal Scalabrine to be humorous.

Q: I want to say something like “neither team showed up tonight.” Is that correct?

A: Neither is used to compare compound subjects that weigh at least 300 pounds, as in: “Neither Tractor Traylor, Danny Fortson or Brian Scalabrine has passed up many Ding-Dongs, if you catch my drift.” It can also be used by a coach at the end of a sentence, as in: “And don’t guard the player making the inbounds pass, neither.”

Q: I was telling a Denver Nuggets sportswriter that Danny Ainge didn’t really want to trade for Iverson. My reasoning was that Iverson is a well-known thug type who doesn’t have the right character for the Celtics. The Nuggets guy insisted that it’s all about the talent, and Iverson is a certified superstar. He said Ainge was crazy not to pull the trigger when he had the chance. It became a real bone of contention between us and has carried over to emails back and forth days later. What do you think?

A: We think Bone of Contention would be a great name for a horror flick. Seriously, the Celtics wound up with the bone while the Nuggets are in contention.

Q: I’ve noticed that ESPN’s Insider and basketball websites such as Hoops Hype publish a lot of trade rumors from informed sources. Who are these sources?

A: We cannot tell you.

Q: Why not?

A: Because newspaper writers should never reveal their sources. Haven’t you ever seen “All The President’s Men?”

Q: Pretty please.

A: Okay, it’s Peter Vescey mostly with Sam Smith filling in about 20 percent of the time.

Q: A guy working as a statistician for the NBA told me he has come up with a new stat, one even better than projected stats over 48 minutes. It has to do with taking a box score and adding points to each team’s total for players they traded or cut loose that were playing on other teams that same night. Then points are subtracted for players each team has on the roster they either traded for or signed as a free agent. Apparently scores for most teams increase in each instance. What’s up with that?

A: I believe it is saying something about the overall acumen of GMs throughout the league.

Q: What is the meaning of the term “in your face?”

A: It refers to where an NBA player should never have a tattoo.

Q: Can you please get somebody else to make up headlines for my stories?

A: You didn’t like “Doc Blames Loss On Full Sick Bay” or “Rondo, the Next Hondo?”

Q: Do you have the memo from Spalding regarding what goes into a composite ball?

A: You don’t want to know.

Q: Doc Rivers handed me two proposals to Danny Ainge for an extension on his contract. Apparently, he is determined not to become the next Mike Fratello. Could you advise me which one might be better received by Ainge so I can let him know?

A: Here’s our opinion: WRONG â€" “I believe it is in the team’s best interest that my contract be extended so I don’t become a lame duck coach next year.” RIGHT â€" “I have photographs of you naked with a squirrel.”


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