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9:04AM

SF Examiner: New year doesn't bring much hope for Bay Area sports

By Art Spander
Special to The Examiner


SAN FRANCISCO — This is a happy new year? The 49ers reveling because they didn’t lose more games than they won. The Raiders groping because they did lose more games than they won. The Warriors making us wish it were baseball season. The Giants and A’s making us wonder why we should wish it were baseball season.

Read the full story here.

Copyright 2010 SF Newspaper Company
8:06AM

RealClearSports: A Different Christmas for Stephen Curry

By Art Spander
For RealClearSports.com


OAKLAND -- This is a different Christmas for Stephen Curry. His first as a pro. His first away from home. His first playing basketball for a losing team.

Life is a learning process. Curry was ahead of the curve. His father, Dell, played in the NBA. Stephen knew more than others. But there was much he didn't know.

Read the full story here.

© RealClearSports 2009
8:41AM

SF Examiner: After 50 years in basketball, Attles remains a true Warrior

By Art Spander
Special to The Examiner


OAKLAND — He didn’t think his pro basketball career would last a day. It’s lasted 50 years. With one team, the Warriors.

There’s a song in “Follies,” the Sondheim musical of aging chorus girls recalling the 1920s and 1930s, titled “I’m Still Here.” Good times and bum times, the lady has been through them all. So, in his own way, has Al Attles. And always with the Warriors, whether Philadelphia, where he and they started, San Francisco or Oakland.

Read the full story here.

Copyright 2009 SF Newspaper Company
9:53AM

SF Examiner: Another Oakland athlete turns sour

By Art Spander
Special to The Examiner


OAKLAND — “Hello, vultures.” It was Stephen Jackson, the “get-me-out-of-here” guy getting in here with a welcome to the fifth estate, which is not to be confused with the four corners.

A few weeks back, Jackson said he wanted the Warriors to trade him and, subsequently, was fined $25,000 by the league for “statements detrimental to the NBA.”

But here it was media day — pro basketball is back — and here was Jackson, drawing a crowd seemingly larger than the one Sunday at the Coliseum for the Raiders.

Richard Seymour of the Raiders draws a personal foul for tugging at an opponent’s braids, and when asked about the incident by a columnist, grows belligerent. Seymour pulled a player’s hair, but didn’t like it when someone else pulled his own chain.

Then a day later, Jackson walks into the party, to borrow a line from Carly Simon, like he was walking onto a yacht, smug, smiling and when persuaded, truthful.

He knew full well he was the Warriors’ story and after some feigned indifference — “I already answered, so don’t ask me” — spent a good half hour telling the story, long enough to break your heart or your bankbook.

What happens to these athletes in Oakland? Are they stricken with Transpontine Madness? Is it being based adjacent to Berkeley?

Is it the new parking rates, a ripoff as big as Jackson’s fine?

Why did Matt Holliday bat zilch when he was with the A’s and turn into another Stan Musial with the St. Louis Cardinals? How come Seymour gets into a Raiders uniform and then gets into an argument? And why did Jackson receive a little $27 million bump in his salary and then attempt to flee?

Jackson’s explanation is that outside of him, the Warriors aren’t very good, but he said it in more gentle prose.

“We’re not getting any better,” was his analysis, followed immediately by, “No disrespect to all the guys on the team, and I’m not saying the job couldn’t get done with them.”

Thanks, Stephen. Such reassurance. No wonder you were chosen captain.

Jackson thought he could get it done with Baron Davis, pal Al Harrington and Jason Richardson, each of whom has been traded in the Warriors’ never-ending quest for instability.

They all were on the team when the Warriors in 2006-07 made the playoffs for the first time in 13 years and the only time in 15 years. Now it’s Jackson his own self, and uncomfortably at that.

“I know I had a big part in getting this organization back to the winning attitude, if not the biggest part, and every year I lost somebody that I felt helped me with that,” Jackson said.

Jackson said he stands by his attempt to get out of town.

“Even though I made the statements I made,” he advised, “I’m going to come here and play like I didn’t make them. I’m not going to lie down for nobody, even though we’ve been taking steps backward every year.”

Almost makes you want to tear your hair out. Oh, sorry, Mr. Seymour.

Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on www.artspander.com and www.realclearsports.com. E-mail him at typoes@aol.com.

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http://www.sfexaminer.com/sports/Spander-Another-Oakland-athlete-turns-sour-62797762.html
Copyright 2009 SF Newspaper Company 
9:29AM

SF Examiner: Let the Warriors' puppet show begin

By Art Spander
Special to The Examiner

OAKLAND — It was pretty much what you expected, this snatching of the keys from the man who no longer mattered and handing them to the guy who already had been opening the locks and obviously the eyes of the team president.

The Warriors on Tuesday, as promised (or should it be, as threatened?) officially installed Larry Riley as general manager in place of the obviously quite replaceable if still much admired Chris Mullin.

There were a few promises, a lot of words and a bit of skepticism, from the people with notepads and microphones, not from the two primary subjects, Robert Rowell, the Warriors prez who made the decision to dispose of Mullin and bring in Riley, or Riley, who talked as tough as he thought was required.

The three people who would have made the session considerably more entertaining — if not necessarily more enlightening — owner Chris Cohan, head coach Don Nelson and the deposed Mullin were not in attendance.

But you can’t have everything.

Of all the Bay Area pro sports franchises, a group that aside from the Sharks has been appallingly ineffective, the Warriors always have been the lovable losers. That’s meant figuratively, because for two seasons out of the last 15 they actually had winning records.

Only once in those 15, however, did they make the playoffs, and yet, a public that would boo the bejabbers out of the 49ers or Raiders — and has done so — meekly accepts the Warriors. So, went the thinking, why would management worry about improvement?

Because, insisted Rowell in the media session at Oracle Arena, losing is “unacceptable.”

Well, isn’t that a shocker?

Whether Riley can make a difference is the question, because his immediate predecessors, Mullin and Garry St. Jean, could not.

Right off, Rowell addressed the oft-whispered belief that Riley is Nelson’s “puppet,” because he has known and worked with Nellie through the years and once took a Texas-to-California journey in Nellie’s truck while he and Don “smoked cigars, chewed tobacco and listened to George Jones.”

“I don’t buy it,” Rowell said of the marionette suggestion. “You got to understand, I got a coach who will be 69 on Friday. ... He’s going to be the winningest coach in NBA history with just 24 wins next season. He’s quirky, unconventional, stubborn and hates to lose. I need someone in a position to lead this organization who understands our head coach.”

Truth be told, it doesn’t matter if Nelson pulls the strings, as long as the strings end up attached to some playing talent.

“He knows what he’s doing,” the 64-year-old Riley said of Nelson. “I’ll make decisions. I don’t have any problem doing that.”

Riley was seemingly already making decisions, an eminence grise behind the scenes, while Mullin was slipping off the GM chair.

Mully still is employed by the Warriors until June 30 when his contract expires, and “has responsibilities,” according to Rowell — whatever that means.

A wonderful player, a good guy and a so-so GM, Mully lost out in a power struggle in which he had all the struggle and none of the power. Anyone ready for the puppet show?

Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on www.artspander.com and www.realclearsports.com. E-mail him at typoes@aol.com.

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http://www.sfexaminer.com/sports/Spander-Let-the-Warriors-puppet-show-begin-44854642.html
Copyright 2009 SF Newspaper Company