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27.5.18 0713
The W - Basketball - Remember "Eddie"?
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Lap cheong

Since: 2.1.02
From: Worcester MA

Since last post: 50 days
Last activity: 4 days
#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.04
I dunno, I just found this little personal anecdote quite funny :

I've got a handful of projects, and I need to make a score. Nigel calls -- he's coordinating a Playstation commercial with Gary Payton and Ray Allen, and he wants me to stop by. I pick up the 110 South off the Hollywood Freeway and grind past the towers of downtown L.A. Off at 9th, west on Olympic and I see the trucks.

I park my car, grab my bag and walk along the chain-link fence, surveying the scene. It's low-key, a smattering of crew members, ad agency reps -- cameras, cables, video monitors under the hot hazy sun. Gary Payton is alone on the sloping asphalt court, shooting little jumpers, bang bang bang -- ball through chain. He's in a rhythm and he doesn't miss. He's got that aura -- a pro's pro.

I spot Nigel. I wait until the A.D. yells, "Cut!" and I step through the gate and head right past Payton. I met Gary years ago, on that turkey called "Eddie." You know, the one where Whoopi coaches the Knicks. It was supposed to be a comedy, but you wouldn't know it by the too-many-screenwriters script; plus, someone forgot to tell the director.

Anyway, we were in Charlotte, North Carolina, pulling together this imaginary Knicks team. It was the NBA summer lockout (1998), and Kurt Rambis and I were handling the hoops. NBA management made it clear to Disney and the producers: While the lockout is on, it's either us or the players. Somehow, a movie where Whoopi Goldberg bursts into the locker room and shouts out, "How's it hanging?!" and you cut to a naked David Stern instead of John Salley wasn't exactly what anybody had in mind, so Disney went with the players (although Walt would've rolled in his grave either way).

In retrospect, it's too bad the NBA didn't shut us down entirely and save the movie-going public from one more half-baked sports comedy. And if you think I've just got a personal ax to grind, here's what Mr. Cranky (the internet critic) had to say: " 'Eddie' is a good example of the utter bankruptcy of creativity and originality that is Hollywood. This film has all the energy of a rotting corpse." See, I'm not alone.

Rambis was done as a player but not yet hired as a coach, so he was free to work on the movie. Years later, down in Dallas with the Mavericks, Del Harris said to me, "You know, I was supposed to do that movie; but because of the lockout, Rambis replaced me. Then he did it again for real (as Lakers head coach) the very next year."

Del seemed pissed about it. But the truth is, neither of those guys could run the psych game with Shaquille O'Neal.

Kurt had a helluva rolodex though, and this imaginary Knicks team was coming together -- John Salley, Rick Fox, Malik Sealy (R.I.P.), Dwayne Schintzius (remember him?) and Greg Ostertag. But we still needed a point guard. The producer, Mark Burg (who Ron Shelton once slammed up against a wall during the shooting of "Bull Durham"), wanted Gary Payton in the worst way. I had my doubts. Movie shoots are long and tedious, and Payton didn't suffer fools gladly (which would've made this movie particularly tough on him).

We were working out in a practice gym -- Salley, Fox, Ostertag, Sealy, Schintzius. And I was thinking, Spike Lee is gonna bug when he sees these guys portraying his beloved Knicks. But given who the Knicks have been putting on the floor lately, our guys just might've eaten their lunch. Anyway, Rambis and I were choreographing some plays. It was all loosey-goosey, lots of laughter, when suddenly the double doors swung open. It was Gary Payton; and that fast, the vibe changed.

Payton's a thoroughbred -- high-strung, tightly wound, quick to bristle. He walked in, said a few quiet hellos, went into a brief conference with the producers, took one more look at the players on the floor and walked out the door. Good decision. That afternoon, Kurt called Mark Jackson and we had ourselves a point guard.

Alessandro "Hercules" Boondy

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Big Brother

Since: 9.12.01
From: ミネアポリス

Since last post: 10 days
Last activity: 20 hours
#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.65
You know, Eddie wasn't THAT bad. It had Dennis Farina AND Marv Albert! Plus that great Coolio song in the soundtrack


{EDIT: Who is Dennis Furina?}

(edited by CRZ on 2.12.03 1328)

Big Bad

Since: 4.1.02
From: Dorchester, Ontario

Since last post: 10 days
Last activity: 3 days
#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.54
I think Whoopi as an NBA coach is still more plausible than Isiah Thomas.

Let's put this in the plainest terms possible: Darryl Strawberry has no business instructing anybody about anything. He has never done a thing in his life to warrant a position of guidance. Not on the field. Not off the field.-- David Vescey,


Since: 17.3.02
From: New Jerusalem

Since last post: 263 days
Last activity: 13 days
#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.00
Maybe so, but Isiah is prettier.

Speaking of pretty, I had forgotten that Pretty Ricky Fox was in that film. I don't see how Payton could have worked in that role. He would have been by far the most talented player on that "team". I'm sure he could have carried the "Knicks" to the playoffs on his back when he was in his prime. Jackson just makes more sense.

"What you don't understand, you can make mean anything."
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