Now that the Leon Smith situation has
had a few days to sort out, Nellie says he made a mistake in drafting the
kid. Landon Cox (is this Sonny Cox?), who coached Smith in high school, says
that "[t]hey treated him like a piece of meat...they ignored him and
refused to treat him like a human being. They never even called me for input or
returned my calls to them...until after this incident."
Ok, one, two, three: DUH! The NBA is all about meat. If you
produce, you stay and make good money. If you don't, you get traded, benched, or
cut. Landon Cox might have also commented on the foolishness of Smith's
decision to turn pro in the first place. There's no question he has some serious
emotional trauma, and obviously having no family to turn to, either for wise
counsel then or emotional support now, makes it harder for him to deal with
things, and anyone would empathize with his difficult life. But with all
due respect to his problems, NBA stands for National Basketball
Association, not National Babysitters Association. If someone's not ready,
or not good enough, they won't stick, and that's just business. No one can feel
good about his sorrows, but he joins a long line of guys who thought they were
ready and clearly weren't - most recently Korleone Young, but you can look back
a bit farther and see Shawn Bradley, Scotty Thurman, and a host of others who
overestimated their talents.
Professional has two meanings; all too often
kids only see the opportunity and not the responsibility.