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IF YOU haven't heard this already it may come as a shock, so brace yourself: Some NBA players smoke pot.
A few weeks ago Dallas Mavericks forward Josh Howard told a radio show that "smoking weed in the off-season" was his "personal choice." Forget that some players have estimated that 60% of the league goes green on occasion—what rankled NBA pooh-bahs and pundits was that Howard admitted he did. Apparently he missed the memo: A pro athlete is expected to do many things; being candid isn't one of them.
But wouldn't it be great if there was more honesty and transparency in sports? If people said and did what they truly felt? Just once, I want a wide receiver to confess he dropped a pass over the middle because "that linebacker is a frickin' psycho!"
I want Manny Ramirez to tell Boston Red Sox beat writers, "They don't pay me to play defense, so why should I?" I want the NFL's ad campaign to be PRO FOOTBALL: BET ON IT. I want a player to mutter, "It is what it is" and then actually tell us what it is. I want the Los Angeles Clippers to forgo their lottery pick on draft day and explain, "We were just going to screw it up anyway."
I want to hear an All-Star fess up, "Actually, I hate these shoes, but Nike didn't offer me a contract." I want big-market teams to offer ticket packages called the Bleed-You-Dry-Four-Pack and Family Extortion Night. I want nicknames to be accurate rather than self-glorifying—the Big Lackadaisical, Mr. Mediocre, Contract-Year Caulkins. I want the guys from Pardon the Interruption to act on their better impulses and interrupt Around the Horn. Permanently.
I want Manu Gin�bili to get it over with and flop on contact during the San Antonio Spurs' pregame handshakes. I want a team to get blown out and blame it on God. I want George W. Bush to say, "All things being equal, I screwed up the country far worse than I did the Texas Rangers." I want Allen Iverson to demand a no-practice clause in his contract—and I want Phil Jackson to demand a no-Iverson clause in his.
I want a baseball player to say, "Sure, I juiced. And you would have too." I want a congressional inquiry into the ineffectiveness of congressional inquiries. I want an NHL goaltender to guarantee defeat instead of victory: "Write it down: There is no way we're winning tonight!" And I want a hard-partying NFL prospect to get voluntarily fingerprinted upon entering the league "for easy access later on."
I want the BCS to cop to what every college football fan already knows and drop the C from the acronym. I want the Daytona folks to call it the Fossil Fuel 500. I want an owner to come clean and call his team the Luxury Boxes. I want Bill Walton to admit on air, just once, "You know, I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other." And I want Stephen A. Smith to respond, using his best indoor voice, "That's all right, man, we can't all know everything."
I want actual geniuses to be referred to as football coaches and see how that goes over. I want baseball cards to list not only RBIs and HRs but also DUIs and STDs. I want to hear TNT's Craig Sager say, "I wore this electric lime polka-dot suit in hopes of distracting people from the fact that no one ever says anything interesting to a sideline reporter."
I want Charles Barkley to continue doing exactly what he's doing.