The NBA has seen some incredible stories unfold year after year. From players that went undrafted becoming stars to buzzer-beating game-winners, to off-the-court controversies. It seems like the league never sleeps and it’s even hard to catch up with all the things that happen.
One of the most surprising stories we’ve ever heard was about Latrell Sprewell, who was an All-Star and one of the best scorers in the league at some point but made perhaps the worst work-related decision in the history of professional sports.
Sprewell had a controversial incident with his then-coach PJ Carlesimo, who he threatened to kill and choked. Then again, he had another shot in the league with the New York Knicks, later being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Sprewell joined Kevin Garnett and Sam Cassell and the Timberwolves instantly became Championship contenders. Their Big 3 was unstoppable in the offensive end and it looked like they were ready to finally take a step forward and make the NBA Finals.
Fast-forward to 2004 when Sprewell hit free agency. The Timberwolves offered him a $14.6 million extension that could’ve made him amass from $27 to 30 million over the next couple of years but he felt lowballed and decided to respectfully decline their offer:
“Why would I want to help them win a title? They’re not doing anything for me. I’m at risk. I have a lot of risk here. I got my family to feed,” Sprewell said back in the day.
He bet on himself and ran out his contract but underperformed all year long. It’s obvious that Sprewell was expecting the Timberwolves to take their offer up a notch or draw interest from another team in the league, and given his character issues and his age, that just didn’t happen and Latrell Sprewell never played a minute of NBA basketball again.
Then in 2007, he left his wife, and that family he had to feed sued him for $200 million. He lost his yacht, defaulted his $1.5 million mortgage, had to pay over $3 million in taxes, and later lost his other house. We’re talking about a guy who made $97,060,000 over his career and now has a net worth of $50,000. That’s just incredible.
If what Kavanaugh had to say sealed his confirmation (and I think it did), and if Kavanaugh serves as a resolute constitutionalist on the Supreme Court (and I think he will), his speech did what so many political speeches try to do but don’t come close to accomplishing: It changed the course of American history. By 3:20 it was apparent that he was on his way to pulling off the political equivalent of what the New England Patriots did to the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI.
.. Kavanaugh pounded the Senate process: “You have replaced ‘advice and consent’ with ‘search and destroy.’” He called out the gratuitousness of Democratic rhetoric: “A Democratic senator on this committee publicly referred to me as evil. Another Democratic senator on this committee said, ‘Judge Kavanaugh is your worst nightmare.’”
.. He lambasted the “calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump
.. revenge on behalf of the Clintons and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.” When he presented his defiance it sounded like Margaret Thatcher telling us “the lady’s not for turning”:
I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process. You have tried hard. You’ve given it your all. No one can question your efforts. Your coordinated and well-funded efforts to destroy my good name and destroy my family will not drag me out. The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out. You may defeat me in the final vote, but you’ll never get me to quit. Never.
Never mind Thatcher, this was Churchillian stuff. And there were even more affecting moments to come: a moving description of how Kavanaugh’s ten-year-old daughter suggested to her sister that both should pray for their father’s accuser, how he bonded with his father by adopting the old man’s habit of keeping detailed calendar-diaries and retaining them forever: “Christmastime, we sat around and he would tell old stories. Old milestones, old weddings, old events from his calendars.”
.. he tapped into the anger that was simmering just beneath the surface among tens of millions of American men and women. He channeled both the widespread fear that the Me Too movement was becoming so careless that it could take down innocent men and the well-justified loathing of the shameless collusion in the elected Democrat-activist-media triangle.
.. even the legendarily fastidious New Yorker — had abandoned all normal journalistic practice to run highly suspect stories
.. Patently scurrilous accusations were diluting the power of Christine Blasey Ford’s story. To the average American, it might well have started to seem that every accusation against Kavanaugh was being dredged up from the same big pot of bogus stew.
.. Ford’s story was more credible than the Deborah Ramirez New Yorker story, and Ramirez’s story was more credible than the Michael Avenatti–promoted Julie Swetnick gang-rape story, and even Swetnick’s bizarre and completely unsubstantiated claim was more credible than the anonymous accusation sent to Gardner and the already-recanted story about the yacht.
.. But it turned out that two sides could play the guilt-by-association game. If Kavanaugh was to be considered under a cloud of suspicion for being part of the fratty, preppy culture of privileged party boys who make dumb jokes in yearbooks, then Ford could equally be tarnished by association with left-wing activist lawyers, their eager and hysteria-promoting allies in the media
.. With her girlish voice and her slightly unkempt hair, she seemed like the opposite of a hardened, professional political operative or even a dour, pedantic academic.
.. And of course all four people she had placed at the party, including a lifelong friend of hers, said they didn’t remember it. The friend said she had never been present at any party with Kavanaugh.
.. With an account that, however gripping, was nevertheless completely uncorroborated, indeed denied by all known witnesses. That, Kavanaugh made ringingly clear in his opening statement, would not be enough to achieve the goal of annihilating him. That speech was momentous. It was magnificent.