Readers: 10 excuses for bad NBA play
The cynic says that despite the months of complaining by NBA fans about its prolonged lockout, almost all will come stampeding back once the season begins.
The cynic will be right.
After all, we heard the same complaining about the NFL's internal battle only to see it launch its most popular season. Besides, many of the seemingly irritated NBA fans may be secretly pleased about a 66-game season instead of the usual never-ending 82-game variety. So chances are it will be business pretty much as usual.
However, before we all grab our ThunderStix and begin to cheer, this list is one last shout of defiance and anger. And there remains the distinct possibility that the opening weeks of the abbreviated season should be sponsored by the Hoover vacuum cleaner company. After all, who knows how much these players practiced on their own during the 139-day lockout?
That means a lot of players better be prepared for some tough questions if they stink up the court. And you provided some answers for them in this week's reader-generated list. To wit:
Top 10 Excuses for Bad NBA Play
10. "Hey, even Michael Jordan only scored 19 points when he came back in '95!" suggested Omar J. of Mexico City.
9. "Vin Baker was my trainer," suggested Keith H. of Seattle. (For those who have forgotten, after the 1998-99 lockout, Baker's weight rose to more than 300 pounds and his game fell apart.)
8. Minnesota Timberwolves: "We guarantee we won't lose 70 games!" suggested Alice A. of St. Paul.
7. "My game is off 'cause all those empty seats affected my depth perception, so it's your fault!" suggested Tom H. of Belmont, Mass.
6. Jimmer Fredette: "Sorry but I pulled a hammy while Tebowing," suggested Lisa H. of Hamilton, Wis.
5. "I wanted to practice, really, but it would have taken too much time away from being with Urban Meyer's family," suggested Doug E. of Altamonte Springs, Fla.
4. Indiana Pacers: "We'll win more games than the Colts!" suggested Scott P. of Brookings, S.D.
3. Allen Iverson: "Beer -- Get your cold beer!" suggested Francis G. of Philadelphia.
2. "Rick Perry was going to give me three tips for becoming an All-Star," suggested Janice H. of Palo Alto, Calif.
1. Kris Humphries: "Give me a break, man, I was kinda busy," suggested Marc K. of Los Angeles.
Finally, this was not an excuse but more of an observation from Chris S. of Schenectady, N.Y.: "They already just throw the ball to the 'Superstar,' wait for him to get fouled and do nothing for 47 minutes, then foul each other nonstop for the final minute. Can the play actually get any worse than that?"
A fair question. Now where did I put my ThunderStix?
Jerry Greene is a regular contributor to ESPN.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org