glen rice
One of these things is not like the other things,
one of these things just doesn't belong...

In 2005, Glenn Robinson "won" a championship with the San Antonio Spurs. In 2006, Antoine Walker "earned" a title with the Miami Heat. In 2008, years of barely repressed rage and uncontrolled vomiting related to these traveshamockeries led me to coin the term championship piggybacking.

But it wasn't enough...not nearly enough.

For the last year or so, I've been promising to make a list of the worst (read that: least deserving) NBA champions. That list begins today, and it starts with the 2000s. Which leads us to Mr. Glen Rice.

Rice was a three-time All-Star who made two All-NBA Teams (the Second Team in 1996-97 and the Third Team in 1997-98) and actually finished fifth in MVP voting in 1997 (behind Karl Malone, Michael Jordan, Grant Hill and Tim Hardaway). And the dude could flat out shoot. During his 15-year career, Rice hit 40 percent of his threes (which ranks 27th in league history) and he led the league in three-point percentage in 1996-97 (47 percent).

It's no wonder Jerry West thought Rice was the final piece of the championship puzzle for his Los Angeles Lakers, who already featured the best big man in the game (Shaq) and the best up-and-coming two guard (Kobe Bryant). West figured that Rice's outside shooting would be the perfect compliment to Shaq's inside play and Bryant's cutting/slashing/attack-the-basket game.

That's why The Logo traded away fan favorites Eddie Jones and Elden Campbell to get Rice, who had been languishing away on an incredibly dysfunctional Charlotte Hornets team (players were demanding trades, coach Dave Cowens resigned, his best teammate -- Anthony Mason -- was out for the year, Rice himself was coming back from elbow surgery, and the team owner George Shinn was on trial for sexual abuse).

And yet...Rice didn't really want to play for the Lakers. Seriously.

See, Rice was an All-Star and former (giggle) MVP candidate who was going from being The Man to being The Third Option (Maybe). Was he interested in winning? Yes. Was he interested in giving up shots? Hell no. As Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated put it:

The trade almost fell apart because Rice feared his scoring opportunities would diminish with L.A., reducing his value as a free agent. But the deal was finally consummated, according to Rice's agent, David Falk, when the Lakers agreed to ignore the 1999-2000 option year of the contract Rice had signed with the Hornets.
During his first partial season in L.A. -- the crappy crap lockout year -- Rice got enough shots (14.7 per) to average 17.5 points while knocking down 39 percent of his treys. Unfortunately, the Lakers were swept out of the playoffs by the Spurs. And things went downhill from there.

Falk says Los Angeles owner Jerry Buss informed him an hour before the 1999 draft that the Lakers would pick up Rice's option year, and under the terms of the contract they paid him $7 million last season. "Glen had had an operation [to his right elbow, in January 1999], and we wanted to see him play before we made any commitment," says Buss.
From that point, it became a war of words. Rice and his agent insisted that Buss had lied to him and thereby cost him countless millions, while Buss maintained he had never promised Rice anything. Meanwhile, some rumors had it that the Rice fiasco played a big part in West's decision to retire from the Lakers' organization. (Other rumors had it that Falk started those rumors.)

The whole situation was made worse by the arrival of Phil Jackson, who apparently didn't think much of Rice's game and wanted to bring in a Scottie Pippen-type player (preferably the actual Pippen via trade). Rice claims that Jackson's desire for Pippen led to a power struggle between Phil and Jerry for control of personnel decisions. Further, Rice complained that his minutes and shots were yanked because of Jackson's attempts to prove he was right.

Whatever the reason, Rice's 1999-2000 season was a huge disappointment. He averaged 15.9 PPG but shot 43 percent from the field and only 36 percent from downtown. Rice seemed increasingly reluctant to share the ball and started taking a beating for his inability to a) fit into Jackson's triangle offense and b) stay anywhere close to in front of his man.

Despite all that, the Lakers won 67 games and won the NBA title in six games over the Indiana Pacers. But Rice had an bad series. He was okay in Games 2 (21 points, 7-for-15 from the field, 5-for-6 on threes) and 6 (16 points on 5-for-7 shooting), but his shooting was turrible in the other four: 1-for-8 in Game 1, 3-for-9 in Game 3, 3-for-8 in Game 4, and 3-for-8 in Game 5. Rice wasn't contributing much else either. He had two one-rebound games and one game with zero rebounds. He also barely finished the Finals with more assists (10) than turnovers (9).

Rice's feud with Jackson actually came to a head after Game 3 of the Finals:

Rice had ended his interview session with these words: "If people don't think I can be out there doing things to get this team a win, then ... I shouldn't be here."

An NBA public relations official quickly ended the interview, hustling Rice away after he had spent the better part of 15 minutes explaining his frustration with being benched and offering insight into his less-than-rosy relationship with Jackson.

Meanwhile, beneath the stands at Conseco Fieldhouse, Jackson was sounding like another coach from down the road in Bloomington as he explained why he and Rice were supposedly on the same page.

"I play whom I want to play when I want to play them, and how they play and what I think is best for the team. That's it," Jackson said.

...

The Rice controversy is "not a distraction to us," Jackson said. "That's nothing to us."

Rice didn't agree, admitting "it plays with your head a little bit."

He was asked: Had he talked to Jackson about it?

"No, I have not."

Did he plan to talk to Jackson about it?

"No, I do not."

What harm would it do to simply discuss it with the coach?

"I've been down that road before. The best way is to go out there and let my actions speak for themselves."
But it didn't end there. Oh no. After that, Rice's wife got involved.

In an article published Tuesday in the Los Angeles Times, she claimed Rice was being used as a pawn by Jackson in his dealings with Lakers owner Jerry Buss and team president Jerry West.

"Jackson has never wanted Glen, he's always wanted somebody like Scottie Pippen, and this is his way of getting back at management for not letting him make a trade," she said. "This is Jackson's way of showing the people on top of him who is in control. It's crazy.

"It's all a mind game. It's all about control. Jackson did not get his way with the general manager or the owner about trading Glen, so who pays for it? Glen does."

Rice's wife, Christina Fernandez Rice, said she has counseled her husband to keep quiet about the situation until she thought it was hurting the team.

"How many players would have stayed as quiet for as long as Glen has? But finally, when the team is affected, you have to say something," she said. "Now if it was me, I would have already been Latrell Sprewell II."
That's right. Mrs. Rice inferred she would have choked Jackson down had she been her husband. And...Mr. Rice backed his wife.

Asked about his wife's comments, Rice said he agreed with them.

"Definitely. Why not?" he said.
Holy fuck. But wait, there's more.

Rice admitted he would not be 100 percent focused in Game 4 but said he would dedicate himself to addressing the deficiency in his game that Jackson said was the reason he removed Rice in favor of Fox in Game 3.

"I'm going to come out and be very aggressive on the defensive end," Rice said. "If I get beat, I never claimed I was the best defensive player on this team individually. Jalen's a great player, and when I get beat I expect the help to be there."

That's right, Rice said "when" he gets beat.
Oy.

Despite Rice's best efforts to destroy L.A.'s chances in the Finals, the Lakers won the championship anyway. And Rice got his ring. But by the time the ring was delivered, he was playing for the Knicks. This is what Rice had to say immediately after his ring arrived in the New York locker room:

"I was unhappy with the Lakers and things were so bent out of shape," Rice said. "When I was first traded to L.A. from Charlotte two years ago, I knew right away the big thing was they had Shaq and Kobe. I was coming off the best three years of my career, so I was not trying to slow down. I knew I had to sacrifice but I didn't know I had to sacrifice so much and sometimes be the only one sacrificing."

Rice said Lakers Coach Phil Jackson listened to him but would not talk to him. He said the Lakers' owner, Jerry Buss, lied to him about his contractual situation. Rice was used sparingly as the Lakers rolled last season.

The ring, indeed, is his, but somehow its circle is not complete.

"Being traded here gave me a chance to show some new things and play in a place I've always loved," Rice said. "I've had great games in the Garden before and I love the rims here. Some people here have told me now I get the chance to light it up for the home team instead of against them."
Rice "lit it up" in New York for exactly one season, averaging 12 points as (once again) the third option behind Sprewell and Allan Houston. After that, he was traded to the Rockets for one last shot at being a first option. Unfortunately, plantar fasciitis and a partially torn tendon in his knee ruined his two seasons in Houston. During the 2003-04 season, Rice finished his career by playing 18 games as...a Los Angeles Clipper. His final game was a seven-minute, zero-point "effort" in a one-point loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

But he has a ring.

Labels:

37 Comments:
Blogger Will said...
Jerry Buss does look like Snidely Whiplash, so Glen Rice shouldn't have been surprised by any alleged dirty tricks.

Anonymous Geert said...
So how close to getting Scottie Pippen have the Lakers really been? I'm just thinking out loud but if that would have happened, he would have been one of the best people to talk about the MJ-Kobe comparison. Also, imagine him playing a few years longer and still being with the Lakers when Malone and Payton joined them. Devean George would not have been the awkward fifth wheel in a star studded HOF-lineup.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
So basically, what you're saying is that you believe Jerry Buss and Phil Jackson's side of the story and not Glen Rice's.

I can't imagine why.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Glen rice still is one of my favourite players of all time. OF ALL TIME !! He had serious game. Too bad things turned out the way they did.
I see how acting like that can make one look like quite the douche, but many of us would resort to dickery if we saw our market-value plunge like that...

Blogger 49er16 said...
Adam Morrison laughs at this post.

Blogger Michael Hsu said...
Glen Rice had a chance at a ring. He's an idiot. He's so stupid because look at all the NBA teams and you will no that 90% of the players will not even sniff the NBA finals. He thinks money is everything and it's not.

Just ask Barkeley, Malone, Payton, Miller, Stockton, Ewing, Dirk, Kidd, and the list goes on and on and on and on. Better yet ALL those players are better than Rice. He should be grateful that he was carried to the finals and even more that he won.

Blogger chris said...
So basically, what you're saying is that you believe Jerry Buss and Phil Jackson's side of the story and not Glen Rice's.


Considering how much of a C's partisan that Mr. Bird Shorts here is, it's very telling that his position has come with very little hesitation!!!!

I guess this situation is rather reminiscent of AI years later not wanting to be on a good team since he'd lose minutes.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Glen Rice appeared recently in the Philippines, and was embarrassed by Allan Caidic.

http://philippinebasketballteam.com/2010/08/30/pba/caidic-turns-back-time-awes-nba-legends-d-leaguers/

Anonymous JJ said...
I remember Glen Rice could shoot! It always puzzles me why certain players decline so rapidly and forgettably. Sure, off-court dramas are distractions, and having your minutes cut is discouraging. But, is it that really that bad when you're getting paid millions? It must be true that most star athletes have fragile egos.

Anonymous Barry said...
Brian Scalabrine has to be another installment in this series!

Blogger BadDave said...
Who's that hiding behind Rick Fox's mustache?

Anonymous Heretic said...
Is it me or does Kobe Bryant look like he should be playing the part of an evil duke in a renaissance festival?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Jerry Buss does look like Snidely Whiplash, so Glen Rice shouldn't have been surprised by any alleged dirty tricks.

When you go to bed with the Devil, expect some hellish STDs...

So how close to getting Scottie Pippen have the Lakers really been?

I'd have to research this to be absolutely sure, but if I remember correctly the Lakers were very, very serious about trading for Scottie (and, presumably, Rice would be the primary trade chip), but the Rockets were like, "Fuck NO we aren't giving the Lakers any more weapons." So instead they sent Pip to the Blazers for Stacey Augmon, Kelvin Cato, Ed Gray, Carlos Rogers, Brian Shaw and Walt Williams.

So basically, what you're saying is that you believe Jerry Buss and Phil Jackson's side of the story and not Glen Rice's.

Actually, I think both sides were probably full of shit. I think all Rice cared about was maximizing his payday, and Buss was motivated by what was best for his team (i.e., his business and the money he stood to make) rather than his players.

Glen rice still is one of my favourite players of all time. OF ALL TIME !! He had serious game. Too bad things turned out the way they did.
I see how acting like that can make one look like quite the douche, but many of us would resort to dickery if we saw our market-value plunge like that...


I don't deny it.

Adam Morrison laughs at this post.

Adam will get his day, don't worry.

Glen Rice had a chance at a ring. He's an idiot.

Pretty much. If he would have just submitted himself to the Triangle, he could have extended his career and changed the perspective on his place in NBA history. Hell, he could have been a three-time champ and been considered (popularly) one of the deadliest shooters ever. Instead...well...yeah.


I guess this situation is rather reminiscent of AI years later not wanting to be on a good team since he'd lose minutes.

It's certainly another reminder that players regularly put just about everythng ahead of winning, despite their protests to the contrary.

Glen Rice appeared recently in the Philippines, and was embarrassed by Allan Caidic.

More shown up by than embarrassed by, since Caidic was on his team. How 'but Rice dropping 19 on Chris Webber? The lack of defense in that game must have given Don Nelson night sweats.

I remember Glen Rice could shoot! It always puzzles me why certain players decline so rapidly and forgettably. Sure, off-court dramas are distractions, and having your minutes cut is discouraging. But, is it that really that bad when you're getting paid millions? It must be true that most star athletes have fragile egos.

Yes.

Brian Scalabrine has to be another installment in this series!

SPOILER ALERT!! Yes.

Who's that hiding behind Rick Fox's mustache?

Duncan Macleod of Clan Macleod.

Blogger The Weekly Gazelle said...
"One of these things is not like the other things,
one of these things just doesn't belong..."

I thought you were going to make a joke about Travis Knight there... Holy crap. Rocking the reverse token like other NBA champions Mad Dog Madsen, Luke Walton, and Scalabrine. This is the main reason I don't see the heat winning it all.

I used to love Rice too. It is a hame his biggest accomplishment is being the MVP... of the All Star Game.

Anonymous Heretic said...
Some of you of course remember this incident:

"Glen Rice, a former three-time NBA All-Star and member of the 1999-2000 champion Los Angeles Lakers, was arrested on Friday and charged with felony battery after he beat a man who was hiding in his estranged wife’s closet.

Rice had apparently gone to the home of Christina Rice and found Alberto Perez hiding in a closet. The 6-foot-8 Rice then punched Perez several times before the he could flee. Perez then notified Miami police.

The former first-rounder surrendered to police and was released after posting $5,000 bond.

Rice finished his 15-year career as the NBA’s fourth all-time leader in three pointers made with 1,559"

Apparently the ring they sent Rice was cursed. Things just kept getting worse for ol Glen.

Blogger Sorbo said...
Glen Rice was Ray Allen minus any defensive instincts. Unforunately, like Bawful wrote, Glen basically didn't care about defense. Fox was a drop-off in terms of three-point shooting, but was a far better defensive player (a homeless man's Pippen, in my opinion). I think it's telling that Phil was willing to trade for a guy (Pippen) who hated him (and still does today) for benching him in a pivotal playoff moment rather than keep a 40% three-point shooter.

Jackson's always been harder on guys who are defensive liabilities (see: Radmonovich, 2008 Gasol, George, the 2005 Lakers team). It's why Ron-Ron isn't benched even when he shoots dumb shoots. It's easier to suppress a player's offense than to make him play good defense.

Anonymous rhymenoceros said...
Gods, how I do miss Travis Knight.

Blogger chris said...
Is Scot Pollard gonna be showing up here!?

Blogger Michael Hsu said...
Madsen deserved his ring. Don't dis on Mad Dog Madsen!

Blogger Sorbo said...
Bawful, so many possibilities with this type of feature. Are you doing one a day for every champion since 2000? For 2001, Madsen is the easy choice, but might I suggest Slava Medvedenko. Someone, please find Stephen A Smith saying "Sla Va Med Ve DINK O!"

Anonymous #11 in the second row said...
Who am I again? It's totally slipping my mind. Although I have the best seat in the house, right behind Travis Knight, John Salley and what appears to be AC Green's wax statue.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Who am I again? It's totally slipping my mind. Although I have the best seat in the house, right behind Travis Knight, John Salley and what appears to be AC Green's wax statue.

You are John Celestand. Even though you only played for the Lakers (and in the NBA) for a single season, you won a championship ring and went on to have a decent career in Europe.

Currently, you work as an announcer for ESPN Plus and ESPNU covering college basketball games. You're also an analyst on 76ers Post Game Live for Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia and the color analyst for ISP Sports Radio covering the National Big East Game of the Week and MSG Varsity covering high school basketball in the New Jersey/New York City area.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
IMO Glen Rice was never the same shooter after that elbow surgery he had just prior to joining the Lakers.

LA traded Eddie Jones and Elden Campbell away for Rice because Eddie Jones was a year away from finishing up his rookie contract and was in line for a huge payday (what turned out to be a 7 year $85 million contract), and seeing as how he played the same position as Kobe Bryant, LA knew they had to move him.

Meanwhile, LA had also signed Elden Campbell to a big contract, expecting him to be able to play as well alongside Shaq at center as he had alongside Vlade Divac, but that never materialized. So Elden's albatross contract was often discussed as the price to pay for any team wanting to acquire Eddie Jones on the cheap, and Charlotte was the team who decided to bite.

But LA traded for Rice without ever seeing how the elbow surgery to his shooting arm effected his shot, and as you can tell if you look at his numbers before and after, it effected it a great deal. Still, as a Laker fan, Glen Rice gets a bit of a pass from me because of the stellar performance he had in Game 4 of the 2000 WCF against Portland, when his third quarter barrage pretty much sealed the game for LA up at the Rose Garden. Doing that in a Game 4 on the road to go up three games to one against what was really the Lakers' toughest opponent that year (no offense to the Indiana Pacers, who were really a glorified victory lap IMO), was pretty huge and really helped LA hang on to win the title.

Anonymous #11 in the second row said...
John Celestand! Of course! Thanks for the refresher Basketbawful.

Blogger chris said...
You are John Celestand. Even though you only played for the Lakers (and in the NBA) for a single season, you won a championship ring and went on to have a decent career in Europe.


And if certain things in your high school days had materialized differently, Bawful, the sentence would have been as follows:

"You are Matt McHale. Even though you were only in the Association for one season, you won a ring behind your stellar 1.2 PPG, before becoming the king of pickup ball in the Midwest for time thereafter, when not busy at his day job of technical writing."

Blogger Cortez said...
"Glen Rice was Ray Allen minus any defensive instincts"

Furthermore, Ray Allen is Ray Allen minus any defensive instincts.

Thank Zeus (T. Thibodeau) for a grand defensive scheme to hide your obvious flaws!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I'm suprised you failed to mention those horrible "Nautica Sport Tech" sneakers he wore during that championship campaign or his shoe deal with the WB before that. My dad wouldn't mow the lawn in those fucking cookbooks.

Anonymous Ak dave said...
I'm always amazed at the way certain star athletes are unable to make the switch to "super-sub" or "super-role-player".

At the end of the day, super-subs and super-role-players are just as well remembered as many superstars. For example:

John Paxon (you know why)
Steve Kerr (many clutch shots, including a performance for the Spurs in the 2003 playoffs that Jason Lezak would be proud of)
Sean Elliott (1999 playoffs where he pwned Rice)
Robert Horry (ugh. the list is long and distinguished {cue slider's line})

The point is that Rice had a chance to shut his hole and know his role and really be known as a winner and maybe (?) a HOF'er, instead he weeny-whined and gets a post on Basketbawful.

Nice.

Oh, oh, oh. And DOUBLE fail points for having memorable quotes made by YOUR FREAKING WIFE! That gets the Doug Christie stamp of fail.

/facepalm

Blogger Sorbo said...
Furthermore, Ray Allen is Ray Allen minus any defensive instincts.

C'mon, Ray has one defensive instinct: standing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_M7pnEJgK6M

Anonymous hansel said...
In reference to yesterdays post, i thought this deserved a mention

http://img835.imageshack.us/img835/1525/adsai.jpg

Anonymous Stylez G.Write said...
I'm waiting for the Mike Penberthy article...

Blogger lordhenry said...
Well, IDK if this is a good idea, but let's try it....

Deep in the bowels of the ocean, off the coast of South Beach, in an underwater fortress guarded by sharks with laser-beams attached to their heads, is the Lethrone room. On an obscene golden throne polished to a brightness that is painful to behold sits The King of The Nazgul, a shade of a man(with shades on his face) resplendent in tattoos and with a robe of red velvet, with a "King James" Bible on the table by his side.

Fallen Jedi Knight Dwayne Wade walks in, squints at the throne, and speaks:
"Hey Lebron, I'm about to do a shoot-around, want to come with and work on some things?"

"The Lebron sees no need to practice at this time."

"Um, ok, cool, what about you, Bosh?"

This to a man who would be a giant, but is instead languishing with the lions at the foot of the Lethrone.

"Uh, I got a pretty good workout after the club last night, I'm beat."

Dwayne Wade glares at the other two Nazgul, and is about to retort when--

"Dwayne" It is Pat Riley, appearing out of nowhere as he usually does.

"Hey Riles, I was just about to-"
Riley interjects,
"Dwayne, can't you see we have all been under a lot of stress this summer, and that we are all dealing with it in our own way."

"But I just thought-"
"But it isn't just about you now, is it? We have the others to think about now too."

"But shouldn't we-"
"Eric is the coach, when he feels it is time to practice, believe me they will, for now, why don't you go get a nice workout in, and come back after?"

Dumbstruck, Dwayne Wade stalks out of the Lethrone Room to his shootaround.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Stylez G.Write, don't be hating on MP3 :)

AK Dave - Nice Top Gun reference there.

It should probably be noted that when Glen Rice was traded to the Lakers, he was probably under the impression that he'd be the second banana next to Shaq. At that point Kobe had only just recently begun starting for the Lakers, and that was mainly because Rick Fox was injured to begin the season. Kobe started the year with a string of double-doubles at SF though, and this kinda moved up the "this guy is too good to be coming off the bench" talk, and that helped lead to Eddie Jones' departure.

Nevertheless, when Rice arrived, he probably thought he was gonna be asked to do more than a 20 year old who'd spent 95% of his career coming off the bench. But as we all know, Kobe got better in a hurry and that's not how things turned out.

Anonymous PHXBasketball said...
Stacey King should get a mention. He has 3 rings right?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Would you like T-Mac more if he ring chased?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
If Rice thought he'd be the #2 guy in 99, he must have been mistaken. Even though Kobe didn't start in 97-98, he still made the all-star team and had streaks of extreme brilliance. I don't doubt that he might have harbored illusions of being #2, but Kobe had already announced his presence making that a pretty deluded thought.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
My childhood memory of him is that he was great in 1997. I only got to see him during TNT broadcasts and NBC triple headers but he always seemed to make big shots and score 40 points or whatnot. My NBA knowledge was fairly limited and casual but I thought he was definitely a superstar. He even won the all-star MVP! But now that I've checked out his stats, I feel stupid. He was really good in 1997 but 26.8 points per game isn't THAT wonderful. I thought he was near 30. Coupled with his meager assist average of 2, he wasn't a great offensive force.

Two things about his 1997 season:

1) He won the all-star MVP through volume shooting. 24 shots and 10 makes to get 26 points. Another one of my faulty recollections.

2) His outstanding 3-point percentage of 47 came during the shortened three point line. I thought he was such a marksman from deep, one of the best pure shooters in NBA history but besides the three years the line was shortened, he only shot above 40 from three just once. He was a very good shooter but he wasn't an all-time great.

The current player he reminds me of most is Danny Granger with worse defense.

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