- The Washington Times - Friday, July 18, 2003

Chris Webber has matured into a convicted liar, as opposed to a serial fibber, following a memory lapse before a grand jury in 2000.

His plea agreement with federal prosecutors in Detroit this week is expected to hurt the championship hopes of the prison basketball team.

Not that Webber has a history of leading his teams to championships.

Webber’s freedom-fighting maneuver is merely one of the items on David Stern’s ever-expanding docket.

The NBA season can’t start soon enough for those with an abundance of money and free time.

Kobe Bryant is awaiting the word of authorities in Colorado after the sexual-assault accusation of a 19-year-old woman. Bryant professes to be innocent, while friends of the woman profess support of her character.

The truth, even if it is sought, is not likely to emerge.

One of the benefits of having a pile of cash is a stay-out-of-the-slammer card.

Jerry Stackhouse is looking to buy himself out of a jam in Atlantic Beach, N.C., where he made contact with a woman who held a real-estate lease in her hand.

The misunderstanding involved a departure date: Stackhouse’s Monday vs. the lease’s Sunday.

The average Joe just might have muttered a few words under his breath and ordered his family members to pack up their belongings.

But Stackhouse, as an NBA player, is no average Joe. In his interpersonal dealings with those outside the game, he is conditioned to believe in the magical power of an autograph.

The woman holding the lease, alas, believed in the fine print on the lease and wound up taking what could be characterized as a charge from Stackhouse.

Stackhouse is now hoping a healthy donation can ease the woman’s emotional distress, if not end the legal drama.

Stackhouse had a clean record until he came across the woman with the lease, which is more than you can say for Damon Stoudamire, who lives under two clouds: a cloud of suspicion and a cloud of marijuana smoke.

What possibly could he have been thinking, if anything, when he showed up to an airport terminal with a stash of marijuana in his possession?

He might as well have been wearing a flashing sign that read: “I have a marijuana stash and you don’t.”

Stoudamire apparently has not heard that airport security is especially tight in the post-September11 climate.

Even blue-haired grandmothers carrying hairpins are considered armed and dangerous in this environment. So Stoudamire now has a third marijuana bust to beat.

NBA players seem to have two dominant legal issues in their off-court lives: a preoccupation with the cannabis plant and a devotion to weapons.

This is a good time to welcome Gilbert Arenas to the charms of Fun Street, where carrying a concealed weapon and driving without a license is liable to be as legally troublesome for him as it is on the West Coast.

This probably is not the best time for the Wizards to be considering the citizenship of Arenas, termed a “free spirit” in the dispatch from San Francisco.

See how it works if you can hit the 3-pointer and you are carrying a concealed weapon and driving without a license. You are a “free spirit.” Otherwise, if you cannot hit the 3-pointer and you are carrying a concealed weapon and driving without a license, you are a moron who is in big trouble with the law.

Incidentally, how does an NBA player neglect to have a driver’s license?

If anyone has the time to stand in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles, it is an NBA player. His average work schedule during the season comes out to about two and a half hours a day, which is the average length of a game or practice. That leaves an NBA player the other 21 hours in a day to stand in line at the DMV.

Go figure with NBA players.

Take Rule No.1 when dealing with a police officer, which states: Never assault the police officer. Common sense, right?

Yet Darrell Armstrong somehow overlooked this rule with a female police officer, and now, of course, he needs legal counsel, and whatever it was that started the initial fuss is trivial compared to the matter of assaulting a police officer.

Drum roll, please. The following would be a fairly competitive prison team: Stoudamire at point guard, Stackhouse and Bryant on the wings, Webber at power forward, and Arenas and Armstrong as bench support.

Olden Polynice could be dragged out of retirement to play center.

As far as anyone knows, Polynice still remains the tallest impersonator of a police officer ever.

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