Wednesday, June 3, 2009

It's a Whole New Ball Game




The essential Ivory.

I'm still in shock over the waiver of Ivory Latta, so I had to write about it more. I can't say that I'm completely surprised by it, but it's just a fact of sports life. Heraclitus said that "You cannot step twice into the same stream." Nothing stays the same in sports. Nothing.

Last year, no matter what the outcome - whether it was one of the four wins or thirty losses - all eyes turned to two people - Betty Lennox and Ivory Latta.

For Betty, this was her fifth team. She had had some high points in her career - a Rookie of the Year award in 2000, a Finals MVP award in 2004 - but a lot of her career was characterized by spent promise and unhappiness. One explanation from Betty supporters is that Betty was a happy person when away from basketball, but put her in an arena and she put on a different personality. She was 100 percent business and to Betty, every team failure was a personal failure. And when the Dream lost those first seventeen games, the bad side of Betty could come out in the locker room.

Surly. Not wanting to talk to the media, and definitely not after some of those losses. The clashes with coach Meadors didn't help Betty's mood, either.

For Ivory, this was a new beginning. She was virtually lost on the Detroit Shock and there was no way that a rookie was going to work her way to a starting spot on Bill Laimbeer's club. Ivory ended up in Atlanta, where she started 31 of 34 games.

It wasn't the easiest task - it was a virtual trial-by-fire and a lesser person might have just crawled into a corner and quietly sobbed given Atlanta's horrible 2008 start. Ivory, however, somehow - through sheer willpower, I suspect - managed to keep a smile on her face. Even when asked the most pointed questions, Ivory's natural personality came through.

Lost today. But I won't let this get me down. And I don't plan on losing tomorrow.

If you ever spoke with Ivory, she was just an amazing, ebullient person. Joyously unrestrained. Bill Laimbeer might have used the word "caffeinated". Maybe Ivory lived on her own planet. Maybe the Atlanta Dream didn't need happy players in 2008, maybe the players needed attitudes more like Betty and less like Ivory. But Ivory was a pleasure to know and to meet.

I hate to speak about Ivory like you'd speak about a relative passing away. Frankly, I'm still in shock. Who is going to be the charming player for the public? Who is going to be the one with a quick quip that gets everyone laughing? The Dream might be able to replace Ivory's points...but they'll never be able to replace the living sparkplug that is Ivory Latta.

I suspect Ivory will land on her feet. I hope she does. Chantelle Anderson can tell you this is a cruel business. One day they say you're the greatest, the next day they tell you that they don't want you anymore. For fans, it's very hard, too. We feel like we've lost a family member.

So we put the reins between our teeth and press on. Ivory, all the best to you wherever you end up. "One Team, One Dream".

10 comments:

Scarab said...

Very well said Pet! Her personality will definitely be missed. I hope another team picks her up.

Anonymous said...

Well said Ivory is the absolute best...her impact around town will definitely be missed and then maybe the organization will understand just how valuable she is!!!!

Anonymous said...

Ever seen a grown man cry? well here it goes waaaaaaa waaaaaaaa!!!!! off with meadors head

Anonymous said...

....Ivory will land on her feet..but will the dream land a sellout crowd??? NOPE!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I second that nope!!!!!

anonymous1 said...

Latta got her spot taken by a rookie. I can't say I'm surprised. The 11 spot roster is shaking things up this season. And if Shalee's performance during the preseason game and practice was the norm behind closed doors then we all should have known somethin big had to happen to keep her. I have to say I've never been impressed with Latta's game, it was ok but nothing to write home about... her personality is what makes you like her. When it all comes down to it I think Ross can see the potential in Shalee.

Of course trades could still happen so nothing is set in stone. Home opener will be exciting.

Anonymous said...

The Home opener will be wack Holdsclaw might not even play because of her knee!!!

Anonymous said...

THE WHOLE D*MN SEASON GON BE GAY WATCH....STUPID LIL (LETS GO DREAM CHANT) MORE LIKE LETS GO TO SLEEP...

Anonymous said...

Holdsclaw is playing...what a silly rumor.

Anonymous said...

Don't get me wrong, Ivory is a great BB player but I guess alot of you must not know Ivory, and the attitude she has. With what I've heard she is a head case. Have you guys ever seen how she treats her teammates on the court. I think this was the best move they could of made, she was like cancer to her teammates. Great Job MM