The Sports View
It's that time of year again. The bats are swinging, golf is in the air and hikers are hiking.
It's also time for the annual Larry Miller-Karl Malone name calling match.
Once again Malone is perturbed at Miller for only being honest. Miller, on the other hand, sometimes says stuff in public he should only relate to the Mailman by the postal service, or better yet, in person.
Over the years Jazz fans have gotten used to the off season, playoffs ending before they should have, trash talk.
Each year it seems to start the same as soon as the Jazz players go on vacation and finally the two hug in about late August and all is well for another year.
It kind of reminds me of a pair of lovers who can only communicate through not-very reliable friends, all of whom have other agendas for each of the people and color what is said in their interests favor. The parties in love get more and more false information from what seem reliable sources and believe the other is untrue. Finally they meet face to face again and realize it was all just a bunch of...well you know.
It's a fact that Malone is nearing the end of his career. While Malone was a big contributor to the team last year, it is obvious his influence on games is starting to wane. Every once in awhile he has a break out game and still puts up the numbers he used to, but they are getting farther and farther between.
I have an old Mustang that I usually just drive around on weekends. Sometimes I drive it to work, but generally it sits around most of the week. Despite the fact it has an almost new engine, a good transmission, a strong third member, a new interior, and it looks pretty good, it is still old. It has creaks and groans, but never fails to start. However, there is always something else going wrong with it, so it will probably never see it's prime again. It is only a Sunday ride.
Malone needs to realize that he is much like that old car of mine. Very dependable, and able to put the speed on the meter at times, but not consistently. Right now that car could probably go as fast as it ever did if I pushed it, but I would be afraid of what might happen if I did. Malone is the same way.
Miller has to be looking toward the future. His and Malone's are on a dividing course. Malones future is selling cars and pushing trucks around the country. Millers is to rebuild the Jazz back to a real contender. The transition may not be pretty, in any way shape or form but that's the business of pro sports.
It's fairly easy to understand Malones consternation about being replaced, but someday, even if he remains with the Jazz, he will no longer be the starting power forward. Personally I hate to see that day come; he has been there and so loyal for so long.
I just hope he doesn't follow the path of Patrick Ewing and Akeem Hakeem Olajuwon; greats that were traded or signed as bodies that slipped farther and farther down the bench with each game. Ghosts do not make for great legends. Players that get out when they are on top may not have quite as much money and they also may not catch all the records they want, but they generally leave with greater respect; both for themselves and of their fans.
Karl. don't go somewhere else to finish out your glorious days. Retire here at home, just like my Mustang.