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New Year’s Notebook: And You Thought the C’s Were Messed Up Right Now

* Let’s start with the story that is going to be the biggest story in the NBA for the next couple of weeks (if it’s accurate): The New York Post is reporting today that Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton drew guns on each other in the locker room after an argument on Christmas Eve.

Even worse from the NBA’s perspective: The argument started (according to the New York Post, which, keep in mind, once inaccurately reported that Bernard Madoff was dying of cancer in prison) when Crittenton called out Arenas for failing to live up to a gambling debt.

If this is true, expect the usual cycle of stories about athletes and guns, the NBA and “urban” culture (with “urban” a euphemism for “black”) and whether that culture alienates white fans. If you want some background on athletes and guns, revisit this Globe series from late 2006 in which some anonymous sources estimated that more than half of NBA and NFL players carry guns. (The series even included a pictorial chart of players who own registered guns).

In any case, the Arenas-Crittenton situation came to light after the NBA began looking into reports that Arenas was storing unloaded weapons in his locker—a violation of NBA rules.

Billy Hunter, head of the player’s union, has this to say (via ESPN.com):

“This is unprecedented in the history of sports,” Billy Hunter, executive director of the NBA players’ association, told the Post. “I’ve never heard of players pulling guns on each other in a locker room.”

If you believe the crazier stories about the American Basketball Association, this sort of thing happened once or twice (or many more times) in that league, particularly (if I’m remembering correctly) with the St. Louis Spirits.

Unprecedented or not, this is obviously the last thing David Stern wants, and, frankly, it’s the last thing NBA fans should want, simply because it will result in columnists who never watch games parachuting in and writing the obligatory “race, guns and the NBA” tripe we see every couple of years.

Oh, you wanted Celtics news? Ok.

 

* There’s not much of it today, other than that the C’s rotation is decimated right now. In the Herald, Steve Bulpett speculates that if current projections hold up, the C’s will have their full rotation back sometime right after the All-Star break, when Marquis Daniels is ready to return from thumb surgery:

If they are intact then, it would give them nearly two full months to get things in order and figure how best to employ a bench that is more than useful. It would give them time to get past the nasty habit of ditching the game plan when things get a little tough – especially against the lesser lights of the league.

Rivers said his team is not flipping an on-off switch, saying, “We play hard. We just don’t always play smart.”

“Look, we’ve got to get to the All-Star break and win as many games before then as we can,” Rivers said. “It’d be great to have everyone back for that trip west, but you can’t count on that. You can’t count on health, and I never do. I never take health for granted.”
And:
 
 
Doc clearly wants to win every game. And that’s the right attitude. Just watch the minutes, please.
* Let’s get to some decade/year retrospectives:
-Jeff Clark has a typically thoughtful decade-in-review piece at CelticsBlog.
-Mark Murphy of the Herald makes three predictions for the C’s in 2010.
-Murphy also lists what he considers nine key C’s moments from 2009.
-Red’s Army chimes in with a neat list of the 10 best C’s moments of the decade, complete with smiling photo of Rick Pitino.
That’s it for this late (and abbreviated) notebook. (Last night was New Year’s Eve, you know).
The Celtics host the Raptors tomorrow. We’ll be all over that, and we’ll have some more decade retrospective stuff.
Happy 2010, everyone.
  • Jeff Lyons

    I’m in the middle of “Loose Balls,” Terry Pluto’s oral history of the ABA. Some of the Indiana Pacers got into a whole cowboy thing for a while, and eventually the team had them check their handguns before they went into the locker room. That was guys who liked each other clowning around.
    There’s also a story about a guy named John Brisker who was mean, and Pittsburgh brought a football player into training camp to flatten him. The two of them ended up running in different directions to get their guns, and the coaches called off practice.

  • @Jeff: These are the stories I was thinking of from Pluto’s book. (I’m away and so don’t have access to it). The Brisker stories are incredible.