By: Carlos Edwards (@scashhomey)
Two weeks ago, I was relaxing at home and watching the Mavericks vs Thunder playoff game. I knew what the outcome of the game would be before it even started, but I decided to watch anyway for entertainment purposes. Good thing I did, because while watching that game I saw what turned out to be the inspiration of this column. Dirk Nowitzki hit a big shot, and OKC immediately called a time out. While the Mavericks made their way to the bench, the television camera caught a glimpse of a Maverick benchwarmer jumping up and rushing to the court to give his teammates some “dap”. That uber-excited benchwarmer was none other than BRIAN FREAKIN CARDINAL. Upon seeing him, I uttered five words to myself in disbelief, “He’s still in the league?!”
That’s right, Brian Cardinal has somehow managed to steal money from NBA franchises for 12 SEASONS! I am aware of the fact that BrianCardinal is not a household name, so I will let you know why the fact that he’s still in the NBA has me completely dumbfounded. Over his 12 year career, Brian has averaged a whopping 4.6 points per game. Now I know that scoring is not the only way that a player can help his team win games. For instance, rebounding, assists, steals, and blocked shots also contribute to a team’s success on the basketball court. Along with his 4.6 points, Cardinal has also contributed 2.3 rebounds, 1.0 assist (notice I didn’t even have to make the word “assist” plural), 0.6 steal, and 0.2 blocked shot per game. Basically Brian has been a non-factor his entire career, yet he has still managed to hang around the league for 12 seasons. Oh, and there’s one other thing that I would like to mention about Mr. Cardinal. He has been paid approximately $39 million for his contributions to the NBA. My wife is always talking about how public education needs to be improved in this country. Just think of what a $39 million cash infusion could do for one of the many struggling school districts across the country. Instead it was given to Brian Cardinal.
I’m just getting started, there’s more….
Jerry Stackhouse picked the Miami Heat to win the NBA championship as the playoffs were starting. On the surface, that sounds fairly harmless, right? Well, there was a major problem with that statement. JERRY STACKHOUSE PLAYS FOR THE ATLANTA HAWKS! Don’t get me wrong, I live in Atlanta, and I know that the Hawks had an absolute 0% chance of winning the NBA championship this year. I can say that because I am a full-time engineer and a part-time sportswriter, not a member of the team. A Hawks player is not allowed to pick another team to win the championship while they are still alive in the playoffs. Upon hearing Stackhouse’s comments, most people in Atlanta were wondering why he would dismiss the possibility of his team winning it all. I had a better question, why is he still in the NBA? Jerry Stackhouse hasn’t been a relevant NBA player since 2007, yet he has still managed to hang around and wear an NBA issued warm-up suit to work every day.
Since Stackhouse picked the Heat to win the title, I may as well mention the player on their roster that makes you ask the question, “He’s still in the league?” That player is none other than Juwan Howard. Juwan was a member of the famed Fab 5 at Michigan, which some people reading this may be too young to even remember. Howard then entered the NBA in 1994. Let’s take a look back at the year 1994. Bill Clinton was in his first term in the White House. Three classic rap albums debuted in 1994, they were “Southernplaylisticcadillacmuzik” by Outkast, “Ready to Die” by the Notorious B.I.G, and “Illmatic” by Nas. All three of these albums are in the unofficial hip-hop hall of fame, and all three are definitely considered old school at this point. At this point in his career teams don’t expect much from Howard, but to his credit he is always ready when called up to grab a couple of rebounds and play better defense than Jamal Crawford when he is needed to give a front-court player a quick breather.
Now let’s get to my personal favorite, Brian Scalabrine. Or as I like to call him, “The Human Victory Cigar.” I have bestowed upon him this nickname for the simple fact that he never plays until either his team has put the game out of hand or their opponent has blown them out. Before I go any further, I must first apologize to Brian Cardinal for making him seem like the ultimate scrub earlier in this column. That title rightfully goes to Brian Scalabrine. Unfortunately for Cardinal, I wrote his section first, so he had to catch the brunt of my sarcasm. When compared to Scalabrine, Cardinal looks like an All-NBA performer. Over the course of his career, Scalabrine has averaged 3.1 points, 2.0 rebounds, 0.8 assist, 0.3 steal, and 0.2 block. Althought these numbers are terrible, I can say one thing with certainty about Scalabrine. He is consistent. In his best season ever, he only averaged 6.1 points. Every other year he has stayed between 1 and 4 points per game. Scalabrine must have carried groceries for old ladies and been a crossing-guard for pre-school children in his former life, because he has definitely been smiled upon in this one. For his miniscule contributions to the game, Scalabrine has been paid over $20 million and has lasted 11 NBA seasons. Go figure!
These are not the only players that you will be shocked find out are still in the league. These are only players that have managed to steal money from playoff teams. There is also Tony Battie in Philadelphia, who played the role of designated rebounder for those Celtic teams that featured the two biggest ball hogs in NBA history (Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker). Then there’s Jamaal Tinsley. You may remember him, he was the point guard of the Pacers during the Ron Artest (before the name change) and Jermaine O’neal (before the knee surgeries) era. Tinsley was a good player, who somehow ended up out of the league last season. This season he is back as the backup point guard in Utah. Since Utah doesn’t play many nationally televised games, the casual fan may have been shocked to see him back on the court when the playoffs begun.