Chat with Chris Broussard
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN The Magazine's NBA writer Chris Broussard stops by to chat as part of ESPN.com's tribute to Black History Month.
Broussard grew up in the Midwest dreaming of being the next great tailback at USC. Instead, he became the next underachieving point guard ("I should have averaged 20") at Oberlin College.
In 1990, he launched his sportswriting career at the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Four years later, he started covering the NBA for the Akron Beacon Journal. He spent 2 1/2 seasons as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat writer before going to the New York Times to cover the Nets (two years), the Knicks (three) and then the NBA (one). He joined ESPN The Magazine in September 2004.
Send your questions now and join Broussard Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:59 PM)
Chris will be here soon to take your questions on Black History Month, as well as the NBA season!
Chris Broussard (2:01 PM)
I'm excited to be here. Looking forward to chatting with you guys. Happy Black History Month!
Trade deadline is fast approaching. Do you think Amare will actually make the Cavs better?
Chris Broussard (2:04 PM)
I do think it will go through. It's not a definite. Sometime before Thursday, I think they will close the deal. Phoenix is weighing its options and seeing if they want to trade him. It's a high risk, high reward kind of thing. Talent wise, the Cavs would improve. Think of the pick and roll with LeBron and Amare, it would be devastating. Sometimes other teams will lay off the Cavs' power forwards out on the perimeter. Now, you'd have to do that, because Amare can shoot that jumpshot. The biggest upside is that this goes a long way to assuring that you'll have LeBron James over the longhaul and that he'll re-sign over the summer. The risk is sometimes it's harder to work in a star over a role player. Amare is used to getting a certain number of shots up. Cleveland, because they've not had a star power forward, they don't really run plays for them. The playbook would have to change a little bit. Defensively, he's not a great defender. He potentially could be a good defender, because he's athletic and strong, but he's been in a system that hasn't taught or emphasized defense.
Chris Broussard (2:05 PM)
But he could be focused more on it, seeing LeBron on the floor with him. But can he do that in the 25-30 games before the playoffs start? That's the question. Can he and Shaq play on the same floor? They got along great in Phoenix, so there's no issue there.
Chris, what does the month of February and Black History Month mean to you?
Chris Broussard (2:09 PM)
I'm an avid reader of African-American and African history. I'm reading black history books throughout the year. I value Black History Month, because it's a great time to look at the achievements and what the future holds for African-Americans. For us, it should be something that we look at every year. We shouldn't just decide to read those kinds of books in February, we should be reading them throughout the year. African-American history should be incorporated into American mainstream history studies. When we study history in school, the history of African-Americans should be woven into the fabric of what we study. And it should be more than just Martin Luther King and now Barack Obama. And Black History Month isn't just for African-Americans either. I think if other Americans of other races studied black history, and not just of Americans, but of the great African cultures, I think everyone would learn a lot about African-Americans and would have more of an appreciation for African-Americans and the contributions that have been made to society. Even among African-Americans ourselves, we tend to focus on our athletic and entertainment value to society but if we knew more about the historical achievements that have been made to the world, we wouldn't tend to look at ourselves and be looked at just as merely athletes, singers, dancers, entertainers, etc.
Do you believe Hinrich is a Bull after the 18th?
Chris Broussard (2:11 PM)
That's a great question. A lot of people around the league would be shocked if the Bulls don't do something. Hinrich is the guy that has the most trade value among the players they'd be willing to give up. I wouldn't be stunned if he is not, because I understand how difficult it is to make moves in the league. I think he's traded. The Lakers have interest, the Celtics have some. Any team that doesn't have a great PG is looking at him to try and step in.
Shane (Los Angeles, CA)
Black History Month is less about African Americans than folks think; it's a time for all of us to celebrate our unity, not just those accomplishments.
Chris Broussard (2:16 PM)
I think you make a great point. If African and African-American history were incorporated into mainstream history of America, then you wouldn't need Black History Month. We constantly study the history of white Americans. Even if there are some African-Americans that are bitter about what happened in the past, even they appreciate the accomplishments of white Americans, because we're constantly taught that from grade school on. But the study of the history of all Americans, no matter the race, should be incorporated so we can have an appreciation for everyone and their accomplishments. If you go to Washington D.C., a city designed by an African-American, you don't see any statues of blacks, but you see a lot of white Americans. That makes black Americans kind of feel like, what have we done? We're not recognized for what we've done. Right now we are building a national museum of African-American history. That will be great. I do agree that the unity is key. I don't think there's anything wrong with celebrating black history or Asian history. Being "color blind" isn't the ideal. You recognize the different ethnicities and colors and we celebrate the variety and the different achievements we've made to society. But historically, we've looked at the differences to discriminate and hate. I think I should be able to recognize who a person is in their entirety and value them as a human being as equal to myself.
Eddy (York, England)
Hi Chris, do you have a lock-down trade to expect before the deadline? Thanks
Chris Broussard (2:18 PM)
I do, but not definite. There are executives in the NBA front offices, who will tell you that they never count on a trade until they get the league approval. At the last minute anything can happen. Through Thursday, you will hear things that will change every minute. I don't have a deal that will definitely go down, but I do think that Amare ends up in Cleveland and McGrady ends up in New York. McGrady might not be through a trade. It's hard to give definites.
Why do you think the NBA doesn't have the same problem as the NFL and college football with hiring black coaches?
Chris Broussard (2:20 PM)
That's a really good question. The NBA has been better than any other league in terms of diversity. There's no question about that. You can try to say that the NBA is 80% black and a lot of the future coaches come from the player ranks, but the NFL is about 70% black and the same thing isn't happening. You have to say that the NBA is more open about diversity than any other league. Mainly, I think the real disgrace is not the NFL and the hiring of its black coaches, but NCAA in Division I. That's a travesty. If you look at the contributions that blacks make on the field, to only have, what?, 4 or 5 coaches, that's a shame. There are plenty of good coaches out there. If you look at the success of black coaches in the NFL - Tony Dungy, Jim Caldwell, Mike Tomlin - there's no excuse for NCAA football to not have more black coaches.
Who has the easier path to the finals, West or East?
Chris Broussard (2:22 PM)
Another good question. The thinking going into the season, while the Western Conference was deeper, the East had the better teams at the top. Cleveland, Boston, Orlando were three of the better teams. But now that Boston is ailing and Orlando struggling, those teams aren't as good as people expected. But I still think the path is tougher in the East. Atlanta is a wild card that's a dangerous team. I'll say the East. The first rounds of the East will be pretty easy, but after that, it will be tough. I love the West, because you'll have 8 very good teams, but the top of the East will be better than the West.
Mike (The U)
Chris what are your thoughts on the Bobcats? Will they make a deal? Will Jordan buy the team?
Chris Broussard (2:24 PM)
The Bobcats are looking for a power forward and there are teams looking for a PG. There are deals that could be made, but it's hard to say if it definitely gets done. Chandler has been hurt, so his value isn't what it could have been. I think if they do anything, it will be minor. I don't think they will do any type of move that shifts any type of power balance and lifts them to a higher level.
Chris Broussard (2:25 PM)
As far as Jordan buying the team, I think he's very motivated to do it. And I think David Stern would love to have him as a part of this league. To have him taking a prominent role and more visible role, it would be a great situation for Charlotte.
Chris, love the Chat but heres my question,has your opinion at ESPN changed, it seemed you guys were sure bosh is a goner but now it looks more likely he stays. Whats your opinion on what happens with him and are the Raptors going to make a deadline move?
Chris Broussard (2:29 PM)
I still think he does leave, but I will agree with you, Matt, that Toronto's chances have improved. They're playing a lot better. You'd think that they would have to improve as Hedu continues to improve. Bargnani is going to keep improving. If I'm a Raptors fan, I feel like my Raptors are improving. I think it might depend on how they do in the playoffs. But if they finish in the 5 spot, they get a tough opponent. If they can get to a 7th game or a 6-game series or even win the first round, then their chances improve even more. Bosh would see that a move here or there or maturation, then they can move into the upper echelon. He would have to leave $30 million on the table. That's a lot of money. Even if the owners don't get everything they want, clearly the next CBA is not going to be as good as the one currently in there. Colangelo is not trading Bosh before the deadline. What people are saying is that Colangelo knows that he can re-sign Chris this summer or he can do a sign and trade deal. Even if they can't keep him, they could still get some talent in return.
Camby trade is official. Your thoughts?
Chris Broussard (2:30 PM)
I think it improves the Blazers. Obviously, you need the help upfront. I think they definitely make the playoffs now. They would have anyway, but as the 7-8 seed. Camby is a great shotblocker. They can't win the West, but I think it definitely improves them. Financially, his contract expires at the end of the year. It was definitely a winning situation for Portland. There's more room for Bayless to play. I think he gets more run at the guard spot. It's a very good trade for Portland. With Steve Blake there, you had a logjam in the backcourt. Now you have more clarity with Miller and Bayless gets more playing time.
Chris Broussard (2:31 PM)
I enjoyed the chat. I wish it could be a little longer, but I have to get on this phone about the trade deadline. Hopefully we'll be able to chat again soon.