Dear Mr. Dumars,
A couple of weeks ago I promised myself that if I were ever to meet you, I would have something written down to say:
1) I'm so sorry to bother you Mr. Dumars.
2) You and Mr. D are my role models. I wish I had had the chance to tell Mr. Davidson that. So I promised myself that if I were ever to meet you, I would have something written down to say.
I couldn’t keep that promise. I would never want to invade your private space. I want you to feel comfortable living a private-public life because you can only do so in a town like Detroit. A place where my mom can bump into Chauncey Billups at Mitchell's, and then call me right after because he wished her a "happy mother's day."
I am writing this because I am retiring my blog. And I made two promises to myself when starting this blog. I would always keep it anonymous. And I would never admit that I was a Pistons fan. Because I was interested in talking about league-wide issues; because I cannot say anything about the Pistons except I love them.
I am writing this because I am a graduate student and this blog helped me get through the first two years of classwork. Those first two years are the hardest in graduate school. They are a reading/writing/thinking/researching bootcamp, that I can only explain by saying it's what I imagine the practice is like in the Palace. But now I am on to my dissertation. And this blog was always meant to be a way to keep my spirits up when I was too tired to read another book, write another essay, or think of something to bullshit about for my next seminar.
I am writing this because when I was young my mom took me to at least two or three Piston games a year. I thought my mom was humoring me. Neither of my parents had ever liked sports, and my mom said that she had learned to love watching the Pistons because of me. I thought she didn’t mean it. I thought she was humoring me and maybe trying to show some interest, spend some quality time, cheer me up. So, she took me to those games, and I was too depressed to enjoy them. I was depressed a lot growing up. But I acted excited because I knew that the tickets were expensive for us, but more because I knew she wanted me to just enjoy the game. So…I didn't. I was depressed. But I have memories now and forever of going to those games with my mom and knowing that I could see you, and that somewhere Mr. D was there too, in the front row, under the basket, just enjoying the game. My mom would get so excited everytime we went, look there’s Davidson! “I know Mom. He’s there in the same place every game.” How mortifying, I thought, only my mom who didn’t know anything about sports would get so excited to see Davidson every time we come. I mean, he’s at every game! He sits in the same place!
I had no idea what you were doing when you traded Jerry Stackhouse and Grant Hill and picked up some guys who were known as underachievers.
But I have the faith. I'm a fan. So I applauded. I applauded and applaud the Darko Milicic draft pick. I applauded and applaud the Chauncey trade, the Lindsay Hunter departure.
I applauded and applaud.
[The best analogy for me to express my views is that I think of it like the Iraq war. I supported and support the Iraq war. I thought W. was an idiot. But I thought the war was the right decision at the time. With the best information at hand, with too little experience for his job, George W. Bush made the best decision he could. And there’s only one president at a time, so there’s only one person who has to make such horrific decisions. And then President Bush learned from that decision. He knew what was going on because only he knew what it was like to be the President of the United States. So I supported the "surge." And it looks like it's working so far. I only hope that it continues.]
At the same time I can understand the vitriol from the fans because my mom has had a hard time dealing with the Billups and Hunter transactions. But that's what I'm there for, to explain why I think it makes perfect sense because I actually do. And then I remind her that she once called me to tell me why she loves you, why you share her values. In some interview, I don't know when, you said that you don't allow players on your teams who are "the jerks and the crazies."
So, I told and tell her this Bynum kid must be damn good if he has earned Joe D.’s faith. I told and tell her that you would only trade Chauncey if he could understand. And I think you did because the right deal came up at the right time, and you must have known that Chauncey would be okay. In fact, he would blossom wherever he went.
So, I trust you. Because you are Joe Fuckin' Dumars! Because when others have doubted you, they have later had to pretend that's what they were trying to say all along. So, I'm Jewish, my doubt is my faith. I only have faith because I challenge myself to think about why this would make sense to you. So, with the Darko trade, I was excited. And still am. Because even if it did not work out for the Pistons, it helped dispel the myth that every European center has the drive to match his ability...and oh, yeah, because you turned that Darko pick into Rodney Stuckey.
So I applauded the Chauncey trade because I always believed that they were the best team in the League every year. And I also knew my Pistons were trying their best and maybe their best wasn’t best to win a championship every year, but, as my mom says “why do these experts keep saying that the season is failure if they don’t win a championship? They did great this year! They do great every year! This is why I can only listen to Blaha and Kelser!”
So when you were ready to trade Chauncey. I was ready. And then the other night I heard that Moe Williams said that he models his career around players like Chauncey. And I thought, wow, Chauncey is an amazing role model. His leaving Detroit finally gave Billups the respect he always deserved by those on the national tv (except C-Webb and sometimes Kenny and Chuck.) Because you said you wouldn't ever trade anyone if it was a bad situation for that player. And I know you meant it.
Because you sent Chauncey back home. And finally the League got the message: CHAUNCEY BILLUPS IS AN MVP-CALIBER PLAYER. THE DETROIT PISTONS WON ALL OF THOSE GAMES ALL OF THOSE YEARS BECAUSE THEY WERE A TEAM OF SUPERSTARS. RASHEED WALLACE HAS FULLFILLED HIS POTENTIAL, SIR CHARLES, BECAUSE UNLIKE MANY SUPERSTARS (NO MATTER HOW WONDERFUL THEY ARE AS HUMAN BEINGS, I LOVE YOU TOO CHUCK) UNLIKE MANY “SUPERSTARS,” SHEED LEARNED TO PLAY ALL-NBA DEFENSE, AND HE WON A SHIP. AND HE IS A ROLE MODEL BECAUSE EVERYONE WHO HAS EVER PLAYED WITH HIM FEELS BLESSED TO HAVE BEEN HIS TEAMMATE.
And maybe only Atlanta Braves fans can truly understand how lucky we are to be Detroit Pistons fans.
So I applaud.
And right on cue, they want to say that the Chauncey trade was obviously a mistake all along. They want to say that Stuckey won’t be that good. And I just shake my head. Because they are going to be hollerin about how they knew how good [insert Rodney Stuckey’s future nickname here] when he was just Rodney Scklucky coming out of Eastern Washington, and they remember that everyone doubted him but Joe D.
They want to bury Allen Iverson. Instead of trying to appreciate how hard it would be for all one’s dreams to come true before the age of 30, how of course he needed a second opinion in DC because that’s where John Thompson is, how Thompson is the man whom Allen trusts, who proved his trust, whom AI should trust. Because John Thompson was there all along, when all of those national television personalities (and it wasn't just the lily white media) were doubting him, calling AI a hood, a bad role model. Well, Mr. Dumars, I think Allen Iverson has been an ideal role model. And my mom has always loved AI, and I only loved him when I heard you made that trade.
And maybe you’re not always right, but you’re more often right then anyone else I can think of in the League.
We have a family story. My mom and dad visited Detroit in the mid-1970s for business and my mom turned to my dad and said, “thank god we never have to live here!”
But a year and some later my parents moved to Detroit, that was the jobs they got. They moved to Detroit and raised us there, and are still Detroiters.
My mom was wrong. I was lucky to grow up in Detroit because of role models like you.
I am writing this before watching the last game of the season. Then I'll turn off my computer, flip on the Lig Pass, and applaud.
Oh yeah, I like that Sharpe kid and am crossing my fingers that you pick up Cheik in the off-season.
Good luck in the playoffs,