Okay. Gimme a second to pick myself up off the floor and remember how words work. Here’s a transcription of the notable section:
“And here it is, where we bring into an equation where I have to make people uncomfortable. And that is this: As a black man, think about Joe Dumars. Taking the Pistons to six consecutive Eastern Conference Finals appearances. Two consecutive NBA Finals. Won an NBA Championship. Lost in game 7 the second go round. This dude falls off the wagon a bit in terms of their struggling seasons thereafter.
Not only does he lose the job in Detroit but everybody act like he never did a great job prior to that and they hold Darko Milicic against him…
My point to you is this: The process matters because everybody doesn’t get to be a part of the process. I have no problem with what Sam Hinkie did, if you show me a black man that could get away with that.”
Let’s ignore the race aspect for one second: Joe Dumars is a terrible example. Dumars is underappreciated, yes, but he was an executive with the Pistons for 14 years, the last five of which the team averaged 28 wins per season. In the last third of his tenure, the Pistons never tallied more than 30 wins. He had an amazing run, but he also had a terribly bad one over the last few years.
It’s also a little hard to argue that Sam Hinkie “got away with it.” He did what he did with ownership’s blessing, until he didn’t, and then the NBA had him removed. That’s not an exaggeration, and it’s exactly how Stephen A. would have handled it were he the commissioner.
Plus, this is what Magic Johnson is doing right now. While Magic is new and the Lakers can do what they want when they want with no fear of repercussions, it’s still what’s happening. We’ll see how long Magic can “get away with it.” In the ellipsis above, Smith used Dumars and Billy King as examples of guys who would not have gotten away with it. Dumars we dealt with, but here’s the deal with King: 1. He’s very bad at his job. 2. Tanking WOULD HAVE BEEN GREAT for the Nets, but their owner wanted to win so badly he never would’ve allowed it. King was tasked with making the happen. He buried them.
Even if you argue that letting Hinkie tank for two years before putting the gears in motion to get him out of there is “letting him get away with it,” no one even did that. Ownership let it happen, sure, along with a segment of the fan base. Everyone else – the local and national media, other GMs, the NBA itself, everyone’s dad, literally Stephen A. Smith – did everything they could to stop it from happening.
And finally, let’s talk about the first part of that sentence: “I have no problem with what Sam Hinkie did.” That’s a blatant lie. He claimed Sam Hinkie was “ruining lives.” He ranted and raved every single chance he got in an actual, concerted effort to get Sam Hinkie fired. He claims that it was this very ranting that caused the NBA to step in. The idea that the guy who claims to have gotten Hinkie fired had no problem with it in principle is laughable.