The Giving Z

February 17th, 2010 by John Krolik

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For analysis of the Jamison trade, scroll down or click here.

Once there was a Z….

And he was drafted by a crappy team.

And every day the team would come

and he would score them baskets in the post

and find his teammates with sharp passes

and they would run the offense through him

and ask him to win games

and even after his feet were hurt

he came back

and he made the All-Star game.

And the team loved the Z

very much.

And the Z was happy.

But time went by.

And the team grew stronger.

And the Z was often not featured in its offensive game-plan.

Then one day the team came to the Z

and the Z said, “Come, team, feed me in the post and let me drain turnarounds and hook shots and benefit from my passing and rebounding and be happy.”

“We are too good to feed you in the post” said the team.

“We have a new player.

We need you to run the pick-and-roll and the fast-break and hit threes.

We want to build our offense around him and win games.”

“I’m sorry,” said the Z, “but I cannot explode to the basket or hit threes.

Take my 18-foot jumper, my passing out of the high post, and my rebounding.

Use me to defend the rim.

Then you will have a good team and be happy.”

And so the team put Z off the ball

and became an Eastern Conference contender

and won 66 games

and even went to the Finals once.

And the Z was happy.

Big Z hug

But time went by.

And the team grew stronger.

And the Z was often outmatched when trying to defend Dwight Howard.

Then one day the team came to the Z

and the Z shook with joy

and he said, “Come, team, feed me in the post and set me up with mid-range jumpers and be happy.”

“We are too talented to feed you in the post and set you up with mid-range jumpers,” said the team.

“We have a new center,” they said.

“He is one of the best of all time,

and so we need a backup center.

Can you be a backup center?”

“I am not a backup center,” said the Z.

“I have started my whole career,

but you can take my minutes

and use my shooting next to Anderson Varejao

to create an effective forward tandem off the bench

and use my size against the Lakers and then you will be happy.”

And so the team used the Z off the bench

and saw his field goal percentage fall

but have the league’s best record at the All-Star break.

And the Z was happy.

But the team did not need him for a long time

and when they came back

the Z was so happy he could hardly speak.

“Come, team,” he whispered,

“use me to space the floor offensively.”

“We are too talented and deep to use you to space the floor,” said the team.

“We want a stretch four that could give our team its first championship. Can you be that stretch four?”

“Use my large expiring contract and trade for Antawn Jamison,” said the Z.

“Then you can have an effective frontcourt partner for Shaq…and be happy.”

Jamison

And so the team used the Z’s expiring contract as a trade chip and added Antawn Jamison and made a run at the NBA Championship.

And the Z was happy…

But not really.

And after a league-mandated 30-day waiting period,

the team came back again.

“I am sorry, team,”

said the Z, “but I have little left to give you.”

“I have little lateral movement left, and have had trouble finding the net on my jump shots.”

“I wish that I could give you something…

but I have little left.

I am just an old 7-3 center capable of drawing opposing bigs outside the paint.

I am sorry…”

“We don’t need very much now,” said the team.

“Just a veteran to help team chemistry, help match up against bigger teams, and stretch the floor when Varejao or Jamison plays.

We are very talented.”

“Well,” said the Z, straightening himself up as much as he could, “an old center who is universally beloved is good for keeping the team happy and helping them match up against some tough playoff teams.

Come, team, sign me and sit me down on the bench and use me when you need me.”

And the team did.

And the Z was happy.

P.S. #1: Some basketball analysis has been tweaked to fit the poem.

P.S. #2: I really hope that last part comes true. In the grand scheme of things, I realize there are people more deserving of sympathy than a professional athlete making millions of dollars and possibly about to be bought out and receive another contract.

But Big Z’s devotion to this franchise and all he’s done for the team is one of the reasons we watch sports. In the silly world of sports that we spend so much of our time worrying about, Big Z not returning to the team he’s done so much for as they try to win their first championship would be a true tragedy. I know basketball’s a business, but that first banner wouldn’t feel quite right without Z. I’m not usually one for sentiment, but I’ll miss big Z, even if it’s just for 30 days.

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