- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 21, 2003

The Wizards are having a fairly interesting summer after another 37-45 season and the implosion of the Michael Jordan era.

Kwame Brown has become the third member of the team to need legal counsel after being charged with driving under the influence in Georgia last weekend.

The abundance of legal activity is one of those unfathomable aspects of life in the NBA.

All types of ordinary Washingtonians go through the summer months without being arrested.

They meet the arduous challenge of June, July and August and then exchange chest bumps with their peers in celebration.

Even career criminals go through extended periods of relative bliss before their wrongdoing lands them in a courtroom in front of a judge.

With the Wizards, however, the charges are starting to accumulate, starting with the Jordan-levied charge that they are pansies in short pants.

You would like to think his charge would consume their summer interests.

Instead, if you are keeping score at home, one-fourth of the team’s active roster next winter has been required to run the pick-and-roll play with lawyers this summer. That statistic is subject to change, depending on the team’s outside pursuits in the weeks before training camp.

To put up numbers like that, you almost have to work at it if you are an NBA player.

Anyone can stick up a convenience store, which is an unnecessary undertaking for NBA players. They already have plenty of money. They are not going to carjack anyone either. They have plenty of vehicles as well.

Alas, their precious ability to create is not limited to the workplace.

Let’s go to the beach with Jerry Stackhouse and don’t forget to pack a neck brace.

You’re thinking: What possibly can go wrong at the beach, besides coming up against a shark or rip tide?

Right. People go to the beach all the time. They rent out a house or stay in a hotel. They hand over a credit card and receive a place to sleep and a checkout time.

This exchange is routine, completed all the time without incident.

But not with Stackhouse.

With Stackhouse, there is confusion over the departure date. There is acrimony.

Now there is a real estate woman who is thrusting her throat into his hands.

Or did she try to draw a charge from Stackhouse? It is hard to keep the details straight. This we know: There was “contact.”

It is true that you sometimes run across a person you would like to grab around the throat.

But you do not resort to this form of communication, because it is bound to become complicated after the point is made. The person is certain to have windpipe issues, mental trauma and severe neck realignment problems.

Here’s another thing: Of all the throat-grabbing candidates you have encountered over the years, not one ever facilitated the process by placing his or her throat into your hands.

Stuff like that just never happens with ordinary citizens, only with NBA players.

Only an NBA player could find the one person in America who says, “Either you and your party vacate the premises or you can grab me by the throat. Here is my throat. It is your call.”

If it is not a trip to the beach that results in an ordeal, it is a trip home.

Brown returns home to Brunswick each summer. There is nothing wrong with that. This, too, is supposed to be relaxing. He has family there. Brunswick is probably a nice place.

But Brunswick is starting to be part of the problem with Brown.

There is Brunswick, a vehicle and an open highway.

The combination has proved daunting for Brown the last two summers.

Last summer Brown tried to break the radar gun, hitting 120 mph.

Last weekend he tried to break the Breathalyzer, hitting 0.150 percent on the blood alcohol scale.

At least Brown did not have a handgun in his vehicle or someone’s throat stuck to his hands.

Gilbert Arenas, a newcomer to the team and a supporter of the Second Amendment, was charged with possessing a concealed weapon and driving without a license following a routine traffic stop in San Francisco in June.

You know the drill. A police officer asks to see your driver’s license, registration slip and concealed weapon.

What can you do?

Life is filled with wrong turns.

What did three of the Wizards do on their summer vacations?

That probably is the wrong query to pose at training camp.



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