The NBA is, much like baseball, charming for its oddities and eccentrics (think Manute Bol, Muggsy Bogues, Doug Moe, and so on), but lately the league has been on a weirdly self-destructive path. Three examples:
- Bonzi Wells
- Kwame Brown
- Jeff Van Gundy
Bonzi Wells annoyed Mike Fratello so much that the Grizzlies coach banned him from the arena - during the playoffs. Consider him fired - and his career in some trouble, since he had a falling-out with Mo Cheeks in Portland which led to his being traded to Memphis.
Kwame Brown has been suspended for the playoffs by coach Eddie Jordan, after he skipped practice with what he said was a stomach virus. Michael Wilbon has some harsh comments
And Comissioner David Stern went ballistic on Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy, after Van Gundy said he had been told by an official that the league was targeting Yao Ming because Mark Cuban had complained, fining the leghugger $100,00 and leaving open the possibility of a life-time ban.
Van Gundy is obviously frustrated, but beyond that, think about it for a minute. Is the NBA going to give their most cantankerous owner this kind of a bone for complaining? And beyond that, they are using Yao to deepen their market penetration in China, which is the world's greatest market. Think they're going to take a chance on alienating him now?
Van Gundy is either going to have to give up the official who he says clued him in on all this, or his lifetime ban may become a reality.
All in all, not a good stretch for the league.