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C-Mac
07-05-2005, 09:26 AM
What T.O. could learn from Tony G
Jul 05, 2005, 5:51:00 AM by Jonathan Rand


Maybe Terrell Owens ought to discuss his pro basketball future with Tony Gonzalez. You know, as one Pro Bowl receiver with hoops dreams to another.

Owens recently spoke with the NBA’s Sacramento Kings about joining their team in the Las Vegas summer league. Owens apparently doesn’t have much else to do these days. He’s holding out in hopes the Eagles will renegotiate the seven-year, $49 million contract he signed before last season, his first in Philadelphia.

This holdout can’t but help make you think about Gonzalez’ stint in the Southern California Summer Pro League in 2002. The Pro Bowl tight end was negotiating a new, long-term deal with the Chiefs that summer.

There are a couple of notable differences. Gonzalez was up for a new contract while the ink is barely dry on Owens’ contract. And Gonzalez was a better NBA prospect than Owens has ever dreamed about being. And, in truth, Gonzalez wasn’t that hot a prospect. He got exactly no minutes with the Miami Heat summer team once some legitimate prospects joined the roster.

Gonzalez, a 6-5 forward, played 82 basketball games, including 16 starts, at California and started the team’s three NCAA tournament games in 1997. He had to fill in during the tournament for the team’s injured star and scored 23 points against Villanova to help the Golden Bears reach the Sweet 16.

Owens, a 6-3 shooting guard, was a backup for three seasons at Tennessee-Chattanooga and made five starts for the 1995 team that reached the NCAA tournament. He also played five games in 2002 for the Adirondack Wildcats of the United States Basketball League. Two years earlier, he won the celebrity slam dunk contest at the NBA All-Star weekend. He’s got a full-time basketball court at his suburban Atlanta home.

In other words, Owens would make a heck of an impression at your neighborhood pickup game. But he shouldn’t really think about giving up his day job.

The NBA fantasy has a remarkable hold on athletes in other sports and on showbiz types. Though no other professional league can rival the NFL in popularity and profits, no other pro league can rival the NBA for the number of wannabes. Maybe the appeal of the NBA lies partly in the fact that you don’t get knocked down every time you make a play. More likely, the NBA is seen as the ultimate athletic challenge because its players have an uncommon package of size, strength, speed, stamina, agility and leaping ability. They make a strong case for being the world’s best all-around athletes.

Whatever the reason, everybody who’s got game – or thinks he does — wants to be an NBA player. NFL players. Movie stars. Rappers. You may have noticed that rapper Master P will be on the Kings’ summer roster. Master P, once waived by the Toronto Raptors, fancies himself a hoopster. Of course, he also fancied himself as a pro sports agent. He recruited Ricky Williams, who signed the worst deal ever for a top five draft pick.

Master P won’t have Owens for a teammate, though. The Kings said they won’t let Owens play for their summer team unless the Eagles approve. And pigs will fly before that happens. Playing basketball isn’t nearly as dangerous as riding a motorcyle, but the possibility of tearing up a knee or ankle is ever present.

The Chiefs couldn’t stop Gonzalez from playing summer ball. But they wouldn’t sign him to a long-term deal, either. He finally signed a contract on August 30th that year. Despite missing all of training camp and the pre-season, he started all 16 games, made 63 catches and made his fourth straight Pro Bowl.

So exactly what could T.O. learn from Tony G? That playing pro basketball is just a pipedream for him. That missing off-season workouts isn’t a big deal for a Pro Bowler. And that you can still be a charismatic, well-paid star without acting like a prima donna.

StcChief
07-05-2005, 10:13 AM
Rand hit the nail on head here.

Nothing like exposing the NBA for what it is.

Lzen
07-05-2005, 10:42 AM
Wow, Owens was a backup at a powerhouse like Tenn-Chatt. ROFL Does he seriously think he's got any chance at the NBA? These NFL guys just need to stick with what they do best, play football.