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A Spark

I'm not going to wring my hands about Musselman's DUI too much more - everyone makes mistakes, thank God this one didn't end with vehicular manslaughter, let's hope to Hell it doesn't ever happen again.

And though the circumstances are nauseating,1 wasn't seeing the players standing with Muss in his time of dire need somewhat inspiring? It's sometimes forgotten how much Muss is more of a peer to these guys than an overlord. I mean, we hear the stories about dinners and poolside chats and pick-up football games between his kids and Mike Bibby's kids. It makes tangible sense that he's only 10 years older than many of the players, and he definitely more adept with current NBA culture than Rick Adelman and Pete Carril were.

But it takes a new sort of urgency, this unfamiliar relationship Musselman and the players have, when it's made so vivid by events like Sunday's. Not just the press conference - which reportedly wasn't staged in the way we'd imagine. But the performance in the game. The crispness, the execution, the energy level, the two awestriking dunks.2 It's still preseason, and it was against what is at this point not a very good team.3

But it was a spark during an otherwise bleak weekend. I'm not going to quote any "turning a tragic moment into a magic moment" crap on of my most despised ex-bosses spewed when a little girl tripped and busted her lip in our fine establishment back at my post-high school first job. But you know what I'm saying.

1 Kings fans have survived stints with Jason Williams, Keon Clark, Mike Bibby, Bonzi Wells, and Ron Artest. And the straightest-and-narrowest coach you could find f*cks up like this after one game in ARCO. The only real nationally-embarassing incident of the past three years was Chris Webber's bribery scandal. And all that happened long before he was a King, and was cleaned up with the age-old "dead booster resolution." (The whole Webber saga is grossly underrated as an incredibly strange and fascinating NBA storyline. If dude was a Knick when it happened...)

2 Ronnie Price, third quarter, and Quincy Douby, fourth quarter. God bless Sam Amick for pointing them out. That's when you know you have a great beat writer - when he takes an exhibition game recap, and mentions the two plays you should definitely make sure you see before you delete the game on your TiVo. Again, God bless Sam Amick.

3 Chris Paul on his Hornets: "We look like the Bad News Bears. Every team has an identity. Right now we don't have one." Thanks for bringing that up just before I predict your team is going to make the playoffs. Good looking out.