Monday, November 30, 2009
I'm sure that you took a double-take when you read that blurb. Marion Jones, released from federal prison after perjuring herself in the BALCO steriods investigation, wants to play in the WNBA.
What qualifications does she have? The last time Jones played basketball was in 1997. She was the freshman point guard on North Carolina's NCAA Champion women's team in 1994.
Unfortunately, Jones hasn't played much basketball since 1997. Currently, she's working out with an assistant coach and a trainer from the San Antonio Silver Stars (*) Supposedly, in May she got a call from someone in the NBA asking if Jones would be interested in playing the WNBA. However, Jones was eight months pregnant and Jones wasn't coming off an MVP season like Candace Parker - Parker returned to the court in 2009 soon after the delivery of her child.
My question is: what the hell is the NBA thinking? Is this what it's come to? Stunt casting? Hey, if you want a female who is athletic and famous, get Eliza Dushku or Lucy Liu or Geena Davis - but I suspect those women are busy. Maybe you could call Lori Petty and see what she's doing.
This story reminds me an awful lot of Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Ex-track star. A steroid connection, although nothing more than guilt-by-association. Played basketball in college, away from the game from several years. Both would be the same age coming back, age 34.
I'm sure that Marion Jones's story will end the same way if she comes back. Joyner-Kersee scored 16 points in 17 games with the Richmond Rage. I don't expect Jones to make an impact - frankly, I don't even expect her to make a roster unless the NBA puts pressure on some WNBA team to sign her.
The steroid angle is interesting - could steroids help someone play basketball better? I doubt it. Steroids seem to have the greatest impact in one-dimensional sports: weightlifting, cycling, swinging a bat. Basketball requires multiple facets of athleticism. Even if Barry Bonds were to put Jones on his personal training regimen, I suspect that Jones won't be playing in the W any time soon - but if the WNBA goes for cheap publicity, I won't be surprised.
(*) The New York Times had the name of the San Antonio team as the "Silver Streak". Thank God the Gray Lady is not run by inaccurate bloggers.