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November 11, 2003
Latrell Sprewell: Old-School?

You have to love the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. This is the headline on a story about multi-millionaire basketball player Latrell Sprewell playing through an Achille's heel injury:

Timberwolves: Old-school Sprewell plays with pain

Old school?

It turns out Sprewell also is a distinguished professor from the Old School. He plays in pain, as was evident in Saturday's 88-79 victory over the Heat, when the Wolves played the second of back-to-back games. Sprewell was having a hard time moving, but he wouldn't budge from the lineup. Every time he limped upcourt, dragging that left foot, he was making a statement.

Okay. Let's cast our minds back to 1997, when Sprewell played for the Golden State Warriors and P.J. Carlesimo was the coach. The Constitutional Rights Foundation describes the "old-school" outlook of Latrell Sprewell in this Spring 1998 issue of Sports & The Law:

Early in the season, the Warriors were losing a game by 30 points. Carlesimo expressed disapproval at Sprewell when he saw the player sitting on the bench, laughing and joking with other players during the embarrassing loss. Soon after, Carlesimo threw Sprewell out of a team practice. The following night Carlesimo replaced Sprewell in the Warriors' starting lineup. Two weeks later, Sprewell missed the team's flight and was late for an out-of-town game. He was fined by the team.

The conflict between the Sprewell and his coach exploded on December 1. During practice that day, Sprewell and Carlesimo engaged in a heated argument. According to several players, Carlesimo charged the length of the court to confront Sprewell about his attitude in a practice drill. When Carlesimo ordered Sprewell off the court, the player grabbed the coach and began to strangle him. The two were separated and Sprewell finally left the practice. Fifteen minutes later Sprewell returned to the court and charged toward Carlesimo a second time. The player also shouted death threats at the coach. Warrior players once again separated the coach and his star.

I firmly believe that people can change and improve themselves, and Sprewell has mostly conducted himself well since this incident (which happened less than six years ago, BTW). I think it's good that he's made himself successful, and I hope he takes the T-wolves to their first championship. But a guy who tries to strangle his coach for benching him because he was dogging it is clearly not "old-school", and the Strib's headline just points out how laughably parochial the newspaper is.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 11, 2003 8:59 PM

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