|On the Front Ro||The NBA lockout
helps the college game and eliminates sneaker pimps
There will be no NBA season this year. Before you shed tears on your ’95 Robert Horry jersey, allow me to accentuate the positives of the schism between the owners and the players.
Without NBA basketball, the sports world will shift its attention to the college game where there are more good teams, more stars who aren’t playing for contracts and more excitement in the postseason. The Dallas Mavericks will never beat the Chicago Bulls in a best of seven series, but in a single elimination format, David can slay Goliath.
In the first round of the 1995 NCAA tourney, TSU came within one point of beating defending champ Arkansas. In 1990, Princeton fell one point short of beating undefeated Georgetown. Perhaps you’ve heard of Coppin State, Murray State, the College of Charleston or any number of Cinderellas who make March Madness the best time of the sporting year.
Quadruple-headers held over three straight days in March are awesome. The ACC tournament itself is as good as the entire NCAA Tournament.
Do you realize how many college teams suffer each year from early entry into the NBA Draft? Here are some teams that never played, but could have been awesome.
1997-’98 North Carolina, Final Four: missing Rasheed Wallace, Jerry Stackhouse
1997-’98 Kentucky, NCAA Champions: missing Antoine Walker, Ron Mercer, Derek Anderson
1996-’97 California, Sweet Sixteen: missing Shareef Abdur-Rahim
1996-’97 Kentucky, NCAA Finals: missing Antoine Walker
1995-’96 Arkansas, Sweet Sixteen: missing Scottie Thurman, Corey Beck
1995-’96 Michigan, First Round: missing Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose
1984-’85 North Carolina, Sweet Sixteen: missing Michael Jordan
1983-’84 Houston, NCAA Finals: missing Clyde Drexler
The Elimination of the Sneaker Pimp
I hate to see any youngster become the poster child for the pros and cons of college vs. the NBA, but examine if you will, Rashard Lewis. Rashard was one of the top three college prospects in the country last year. He played on several all-star teams, was selected as a McDonald’s and Parade All-American and was the Texas High School Basketball Player of the Year.
Rashard, however, received horrible advice from a person who I like to call a "sneaker pimp."
Sneaker pimps are the alleged coaches of Summer All-Star leagues run throughout the nation. The majority of these camps are sponsored by one of the four major basketball shoe companies: Nike, Reebok, Converse and Adidas.
Coaches are paid fees by the shoe companies to recruit the best players to these teams. Kids are promised free shoes and apparel from the shoe company, which hopes they become NBA stars in the future while wearing their products. The sneaker pimp receives kickbacks if he should find one of these walking advertisements.
Rashard fell victim to one of these pimps, who told him that he was a guaranteed lock to make big bucks in the NBA. He fell all the way to the 32nd pick in the NBA draft which means no guaranteed money, no guaranteed roster spot and no college scholarship.
With no NBA season, I wonder where this sneaker pimp, who happens to be a teacher at Willowridge High School, is advising Rashard to turn now. This same pimp tried to sink his clutches into future UH freshman George Williams and has told a couple of sophomores on his school’s basketball team that they won’t have to worry about college when he’s through dealing with them.
Rashard Lewis is just one of the many reasons that the NCAA, in conjunction
with high schools across America, is going to eliminate the Summer evaluation
period. It’s going to put the pimps out of business.
Matt Jackson can be reached at