“Rock the boat, don’t rock the boat, baby. Rock the boat, don’t tip the boat over…”
Pat Burke is member in good standing of the The Chemistry Club.
(Barry Gossage/NBAE Photos)
Name that band! Okay, it’s The Hues Corporation with a classic from the ’70′s. But apparently some of our fine friends around the league never heard these lyrics or just don’t buy into that theme. Check out this list of disgruntled players who have – at one point during this past – have rocked the boat and gone public with complaints about playing time or clashed with their coach: Andrei Kirilenko, Earl Watson, Damien Wilkins, P.J. Brown (one of the classier guys in the league!), Robert Horry, Corey Maggette, Ben Wallace, Smush Parker, Linton Johnson, and Marko Jaric just to name a few.
Some of these players have paid a price for their venting. Johnson is deep in Byron Scott’s doghouse with the Hornets, a team that desperately needed healthy bodies down the stretch. Horry reportedly ticked off Gregg Popovich to the point that the next game the coach ordered Horry to be listed “DNP-Old Age” for his insubordination!
Of course, there are many examples of players who bite their tongues, bide their time, and are rewarded for their classy patience. Look at Eddie Jones. One of the great locker room guys in the NBA, he was wilting away on the MEMPHIS bench – where even the ushers at Fed Ex Forum could crack the line-up! But Eddie remained a positive presence and was respectfully relocated to Miami and is now logging meaningful minutes for the playoff-bound Heat.
Now, enter the Phoenix Suns and their “Pine-Time Players.” Pat Burke, Eric Piatkowski, Jumaine Jones, Marcus Banks, Sean Marks and Jalen Rose have declared themselves members of the Fitness Club. But I submit they are better served by the moniker “Chemistry Club” for helping to keep the chemistry strong all season long while – as true competitors – certainly steaming deep inside, aching for a chance to showcase their skills.
Yet, when was the last time you heard Pike say: “I’m getting hosed here.” Or Jumaine Jones saying, “I am being disrespected.” How about Marcus Banks, who was trumpeted as the point guard who would finally give Nash a rest and also inject the Suns with some much-needed defensive intensity. He has every reason to provide the Arizona Republic with juicy, inflammatory comments.
Jalen Rose falls into the same category. He could be logging meaningful minutes in Miami, but he has been a true pro while idling on the bench. Pat Burke refuses to air his frustrations, instead obliges every time the team asks him to star in a comical spoof about all his “free time.” You could even throw Kurt Thomas into the mix. His minutes come and go but his professional demeanor never wavers.
In fact, last night after a rousing slaughter of the Jazz in Utah, many of these “Chemistry Club” members led a spirited and comical exchange on the plane and bus ride to the team hotel in Houston. Believe me, after reports of internal strife over the past couple of weeks, the chemistry has never been better.
And these Pine Time Players are a major reason why we are witnessing the third 60-win season in franchise history. All 3 of these teams had great character guys (and guys who are truly “characters). So move over Paul Shirley and Bo Outlaw (class of ’04-’05). Step aside, Tim Kempton and Frank Johnson (class of ’92-’93). Make room for these new members of the all-time Chemistry Club. The guys who opt not to rock the boat and just enjoy sailing toward a possible championship.