As Matt previously mentioned, I'm currently living in Washington, DC.
So it was that on the drive home tonight I was listening to the Wizards post-game show after their home game against the Hawks on Sportstalk 980 (DC's equivalent of WDFN, for those in/around Detroit). The Wizards, now five games under .500, have struggled all season to follow-up the breakthrough success achieved last season, and before this win, things were getting ugly. The 'Zards, as they are referred to here, had lost 5 of 6. Hoping to breathe some life into his mediocre team, coach Eddie Jordan made some changes to his starting lineup tonight, benching two Tar Heels--Antawn Jamison and Brendan Haywood--in favor of Michael Ruffin and Calvin Booth. The result? A blowout 103-72 W.
During a commercial break, the host of the post-game show spoke with his lockerroom correspondant and got the scoop on the player reactions to the new lineup and the victory. You might think--as I did--that the win would trump the egos, that players would set aside their hurt feelings and enjoy a rare win. You'd be wrong.
Jamison was quoted as stating "I didn't come here to win sixth man of the year again." (Somewhat contrary to the positive vibe he gave Eddie Jordan.) Now Antawn Jamison has earned a bit of leeway during his stay in Washington after making his first All-Star team as a member of last year's Wizards playoff team. And playing sixth man for an offensively stacked Dallas squad is a bit easier to explain to the kids than playing sixth man behind Calvin Booth, so maybe his frustrations would be excusable here.
But Brendan Haywood? Are you kidding me? After hearing that Jamison had received a call regarding the lineup change (and that Eddie Jordan had discussed the change with Antawn ahead of time), he responded by whining something to the effect of "I guess I wasn't important enough for that call." After which the radio host comically mused, "Don't you have to be good to be a primadonna?"
Look, there is a point to my telling this somewhat long-winded, very non-Pistons story. It is to highlight how fortunate we are to be fans of the hardest-working team with the best record in the Association. While we're debating whether our fourth big man is getting enough minutes or whether Tay Tay is going to have enough wind at the end of the season to withstand long minutes in another finals series against the Spurs, there are fans of teams like Washington...and Chicago...and Portland...and Houston; fans who are struggling against apathy. At least fans of Toronto and Atlanta have high lottery picks to look forward to. These other teams are battling for pick 13--not sexy.
So, the moral of the story, be thankful for the boys in Blue. And if you happen to see a guy in a Celtics jersey wandering around aimlessly, shoot him a head nod to show him you understand. That was us not too long ago.
Wizards pound Hawks on boards, get win [ESPN.com]