Sportsman's Daily

 

NBA Players Exhale as Trading Deadline Passes UIneventfully

Players totally freaked as NBA trading approached. “I lost twelve pounds in the last week alone ” said an unnamed NBA player who figured prominently in recent trade talks.

Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd strains to demonstrate cool professionalism despite the anxiety and stress that are eating away at his ability to conduct conversations, let alone bring the ball upcourt, without making involuntary funny faces.

NEW YORK, NY (The Sportsman's Daily Wire Service) — Contrary to what you’ve been lead to believe, most professional athletes dread the very prospect of being traded. There are notable exceptions – your team sucks, your coach is a dick, you’re in the midst of an ugly public divorce and could use a change of scenery to change the subject, or you’re young, single and rich and it just means making the adjustment from east coast to west coast pussy. In such cases a trade is just the ticket. But for every casual “it’s just a business” there are tens of “shit, why me?” -- only you seldom hear the latter when a player’s just been uprooted and dispatched to another city.

Walk into any locker room as the trading deadline looms and the rank smell that assaults one’s senses is not the fault of an indifferent equipment manager – it is the smell of raw animal fear.

Player agent David Falk acknowledges what most NBA players don't as an unwritten rule address. “Are there guys who badger me every other day to get them sent to another city come hell or high water? Of course, professional athletes are, on balance, spoiled malcontents. But the number who want out pales to the number who freak at the thought of being separated from their 15,000 foot home, 50 seat home theater and fully equipped gym, game room and indoor sauna...not to mention everything else, from having to find a new dry cleaner to a new connection for your designer pharmaceuticals. Pro athletes are just like anyone else – they don’t like change.”

Even established, marquee players sweat it out as the trading deadline looms.

“I’m just an employee,” said Jason Kidd when asked to share his thoughts about a rumored trade to the Lakers. But beneath Kidd’s seemingly cool professionalism lurks the anxiety that all players feel when facing a possible change of address.

“Jason is a proven liar and serial wife beater,” said his estranged wife, Joumana Kidd, who knows him best. “He may sound cool and collected and as much as he wants to put 3,000 miles between his face and the heel of my Prada boot, the last thing he wants is to do is fight a custody battle when he’s living in another state.” (Fabled attorney Raoul Felder, who is representing Joumana in her divorce proceedings, did not return our calls.)

According to Cornel West, Professor of Religion and African-American studies at Princeton, “The concept of being traded is particularly vexing to the African American athlete. It strikes at an almost primordial existential anxiety, harkening to the trading block where our ancestors where paraded, poked and prodded. But if there’s one thing my people know it’s how to triumph over adversity. When one finds oneself in a new city with a new team, it is imperative that one learn to embrace change…treat yourself to a new Benz, put a new rock around your neck, start a new stash of fresh ass. There are no easy answers, but every city -- even New Jersey -- is loaded with easy women.”

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban takes a progressive approach. “If it were possible for me to be traded to the Kings for the two Maloof brothers and an expiring contract, I’d be a nervous wreck, so I understand the anxiety. I can’t help trade rumors from starting and I can deny rumors till I’m blue in the face, but what I can do is help make the stress in the locker room manageable, particularly around the time of the trading deadline. We pipe in ambient music – waterfalls, sparrows in flight – dispense crystals and encourage the coaching staff to hug and share. But once it’s official and a player has been traded, it’s mandatory that all ties are cut immediately and the player is barred from the locker room – it’s better to make a clean break asap and minimize property loss in the event the player would have preferred to stay.”

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CHARLES EPSTEIN

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