NBA drops the ball

Posted: March 19, 2007

MOVE OVER NCAA, the NBA is now

enforcing ridiculous rules, too. And they both involve University of Texas freshman forward Kevin Durant.

The NBA fined the Boston Celtics $30,000 because general manager Danny Ainge sat next to Durant's mother during the Big 12 Tournament. And, it fined the Charlotte

Bobcats $15,000 because

part-owner Michael Jordan said Durant was a versatile player. Actually Jordan didn't even mention Durant by name, but more on that later.

The league said Ainge

violated rules that state

contact between team executives and potential draft picks be kept to a minimum until college players declare for the draft.

As for the Bobcats, Jordan was responding to a general question about player versatility, when he told the Charlotte Observer: "the kid who may present that is the kid in Texas . . . "

Jordan apparently violated a rule that forbids league officials from discussing college

underclassmen because it might somehow

influence their decision to turn pro early.

Please.

That might be true for most athletes, but

Durant is a bona fide star. He hasn't decided to enter the draft yet, but he surely doesn't need Jordan to tell him he's one of the nation's most versatile players. And, he already knows the Celtics - and every other NBA team - would like to have him (no matter who sits next to his mom).

The NBA does a lot of things right. But in these instances, it embarrassed itself big-time.

Happy birthday, Whitey

Former Phillies outfielder/announcer Richie Ashburn would have turned 80 today.

Former Phillies outfielder/announcer Richie Ashburn would have turned 80 today.

We still think of Ashburn, who died Sept. 9, 1997, whenever we see a fidgety player take a big lead on first. Whitey's quirky three-word description for such a scenario was priceless.

"He looks runnerish," Ashburn would say.

Rest in peace, Richie. We miss ya. *

- Tom Mahon

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