White Slugs, Road Landmarks, Morons

Steve Murray
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Wednesday - July 06, 2005
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More random thoughts from a random mind.

So what does 10 years in the NBA and three rings get you nowadays? Well, if you happen to share the birthplace with the latest No. 1 pick in the draft, it means being thrown under the proverbial wallabee.

Since Andrew Bogat’s name started circulating as the most likely choice of the Milwaukee Bucks, everyone’s been rushing to show this guy is a huge improvement from all-time, too slow, white slug Luc Longley.

During his prime with the Bulls from ’94 through ’98, Longley averaged 9 points and 5.2 rebounds while being a three-year starter and a major bench contributor for two other seasons. The numbers are nearly identical to the guy he replaced, Bill Cartwright, who hit for 9.1 and 5.4 during his tenure. Though Longley’s stats dipped to 7.2 and 4.9 for the stay of his NBA career, he should not be considered a complete waste of hardwood — especially when you compare him to others at his position that were taken, much like Bogat, at the top of the list.

Remember LaRue Martin? The top pick in 1972 lasted four years, while contributing 5.3 points and 4.6 rebounds a game. Longley may have been on par with 1977’s Kent Bensen and 1989’s Pervis Ellison, who went for 9.1 and 5.7, and 9.5 and 6.7 respectively. He has to rank higher than Michael Olowokandi, the 1998 pick who just this past season torched the league for 5.9 and 5.2. He may even turn out to be better than 2001’s first choice, Kwame Brown, who was last seen basically getting fired by the Wizards.

The purpose here is not for anyone to look at the numbers and say “Wow, Luc does belong in the Hall,” but to say the man deserves a bit more than getting smacked in the dial — what the Aussies call the face. Crazy blokes!

Motoring on

Some months back MidWeek publisher Ron Nagasawa relayed his male-tale about the big day when he and son celebrated the turning of the trusty Dodge’s odometer. Al Bundy would have been proud. On Sunday, June 26, a great moment in automotive history was again celebrated. This time on a smaller, yet still impressive, scale. After leaving Kaena Point the odometer on the Marauder read 9994.6. As I said — a more minor moment. As the miles clicked off along Farrington Highway, the hope was some landmark would appear to mark the event. Turned out it was not meant to be. The fate of men and miles are not things to be controlled, but to be appreciated for their unpredictability.

So then it happened. Next to a Do Not Pass sign the 10,000 mile barrier was broken. A definite moment of pride while acknowledging 100,000 miles will never be hit. The need for less dog and more bite means an upgrade long before that happens. But it was special. Not since a ’72 Chevy hit the 100 century mark at the corner of Euclid and Garfield those many years ago in that wayward Michigan town has one been so privileged to be a part of something so special.

I know this isn’t sports, but …

The Discovery Channel’s list is in. According to viewers, talking was found more memorable than action as “The Great Communicator” Ronald Reagan slid past “The Great Emancipator” Abraham Lincoln to become history’s greatest American. King, Washington and Franklin brought up the rear in the top five.

Reagan’s victory was a bit of a surprise, but far less than the names that did and did not make the original 100. In was Dr. Phil. Out was Thurgood Marshall. In were Michael Jackson and Madonna. Out are Charlie Parker, Muddy Waters and Irving Berlin. Oprah slides in at No. 9, but Hemmingway, Steinbeck, Faulkner and all other writers were shut out. Artists seemingly didn’t need to apply. What this tells us is that we, or at least those who voted, are celebrity-obsessed morons with no sense of our own history or culture. That our appreciation of the past goes back only as far as TV Land will take us.

With any luck this pathetic showing will move at least a few parents to pry the ever-constant Gameboy from their children’s calloused fingers and encourage them to discover more than cheat codes for Halo 2. Unless we want Zippy the Chimp to make the next list.

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