Thursday, December 13, 2012

Terrell Owens Wanted to be a Clipper, Lost to a Little Person One-on-One

Terrell Owens not being a Clipper. (Sports Mole)
A confident, often cocky NFL wide receiver tore his ACL, had surgery to repair the injury, ran a sub-4.5 second 40-yard dash and spent a brief preseason stint with a (then) lowly regarded team then got cut before playing in any meaningful games. Oh, and he was 38 when all this went down.

That's the recent history of Terrell Owens, for those who don't follow football, and it mentions nothing of the reputation as a detrimental presence in a locker room that he earned earlier in his career. Believe it or not, more embarrassing things have happened to Owens this year.

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin dropped the following tidbit during an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show earlier this week:

"Terrell Owens is always — he was at our practice facility this summer, begging coaches for a 10-day contract."

Being that Griffin actually, you know, plays for Clippers, he may have an inside track on such knowledge. A brief glance at LAC's 2012-13 roster reveals that Owens has not, in fact, been gifted a contract of any length with the franchise. Yet. To be fair, though, he does have some basketball credentials. In college, Owens played for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and was a member of the Mocs' 1995 NCAA tournament team. His two-time letterman status at the university was a precursor for his 2008 NBA All-Star MVP award, earned with an 18-point performance (including a dunk!) that led his team to a one-point victory. Most impressive, however, is that Owens was once invited to play for the Sacramento Kings' summer league team.

Owens' representative has since denied any alleged begging while noting that his client and Griffin are friends. Following the guidelines of T.O. public relations, though, the rep offered that "everyone knows" that Owens "can play a serious game of ball."

Being denied a small contract by the Clippers is not inherently shameful. The franchise is doing well with Griffin and point guard Chris Paul leading the charge while Jamal Crawford anchors the bench. Owens' basketball merits are really pretty impressive considering it is a recreational sport for him, as it is for a majority of the world's population.

No, the embarrassing mark on Owens' hoops resume is that he lost a game of one-on-one to a 4'5" man after being convinced to accept the diminutive fellow's challenge. Posted to YouTube in late October, the video of the former pro athlete's misfortune isn't damning. He swishes the ball plenty, opting to drop long range bombs on a day when he was presumably just working out on before being approached to throw down. He also commits multiple turnovers and fails to chase rebounds.

It's worth noting that Owens' opponent was not just another guy from the gym who happened to recognize a nationally known sports figure. The challenger was Mani Love, whose small stature does not prevent him from excelling in the Venice Beach Basketball League.

Love is a legitimately good player with a reliable shot and quick handles. His 15-14 upset win over a man 22 inches taller than himself could have been lopsided going the other way. Kudos to Love, and kudos to Owens for being a good sport.

Oh, Owens was also wearing a Clippers shirt when he lost to Love. That must be the part that really stings.

(H/t to Trey Kerby of The Basketball Jones)

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