They say that any publicity is good publicity as long as they spell your name right. “They” obviously have never seen themselves on SportsCenter on a Friday morning with circus music playing underneath. P.J. Tucker has. As a matter of fact, he now has a pretty unspectacular three-peat (Please don’t charge us for the use of the term alright Pat Riley. Remember you used to play here.)
Tucker is no stranger to getting dirty. He does everything for the team, even prompting certain people, — OK, just me — to refer to him as the Garbage Man. That doesn’t mean he likes to be told he “stinks” though. Despite that knowledge, ESPN, for the third time in six weeks of the NBA season, has included him in their Friday “Not Top 10” list.
It’s not a fact that is lost on head coach Alvin Gentry.
“He’s the only guy we’ve got who’s made the ‘worst of the worst’ three times.”
One inclusion was warranted as Tucker lost the ball as he went up for an uncontested dunk. In his defense though, his defense helped lead to the open look. Another was more humorous than bad as the Gorilla jumped out of a garbage can (how appropriate) and scared the Suns’ big man more than the thought of making a movie without violence scares Quentin Tarantino.
Today’s appearance is suspect at best as the forward ran to the sidelines to try and save a ball and in the process ran into coach Alvin Gentry. Regardless of what the ESPN editors thought, Tucker thinks the play was just his calling card, good old hustling.
“Everybody is on me,” he said with a smile. “I can’t get a break. These guys are on me every day. Something new. I saw the free ball and I went for it. There’s nothing else to be said about it.”
Tucker may not have anything else to say about it, but Gentry sure does. He says Tucker has to pay for the damage done by the incident that landed him on the list.
“He’s going to replace two buttons on my suit,” the coach said with a chuckle. “It’s not a cheap suit because it comes from the Clotherie.”
No word on whether the pitchman will really make his player pay up via his per diem but we’re going to guessing it won’t happen any time soon.
Just because Tucker doesn’t feel his recent play deserved to be included doesn’t mean he isn’t embarrassed by his other appearances.
“The dunk for sure,” he said when asked what moment was most unsettling to see make the list. ”That was the worst thing I’ve ever done in my career.”
That is until he was reminded about the incident with the team mascot.
“Oh, I forgot about that one,” he said uncomfortably. “That was the worst because they really got me. That was so real. That was truest in all forms. I was really scared for a second.”
ESPN doesn’t keep official stats, but P.J. Tucker is inching closer to the all-time record for “Not Top 10” appearances (or at least that’s the assumption being made for the purposes of this blog). It’s the kind of dubious honor he isn’t excited about.
“This is bad,” he said. “This is not good then man.”
Will ESPN hear Tucker’s appeal and overturn this week’s “Not Top 10?” Will they help make sure he won’t become the all-time leader? If not, the Suns forward will be a prime example of how even if they spell your name right, some publicity can truly be embarrassing.