- The Washington Times - Friday, September 10, 2004

Chamique Holdsclaw possibly has succumbed to an acute case of Michael Adams Stinks syndrome.

This would explain why her “minor medical problem” is neither “life threatening” nor “career threatening.” This also would explain why she is not “comfortable” with coming clean on her eternal absence.

Holdsclaw’s inability to be comfortable is contagious.

No one with the Mystics is comfortable right now, starting with Adams, the first-year coach whose job security is in doubt.

There is so much discomfort going around on Fun Street that the team’s supporters are being urged to attend the games with an ample supply of duct tape and plastic sheeting.

The Mystics have been sentenced to play the rest of the season under Code Red, which means they are in the fetal position in basketball-speak.

Mourners can send references of competent psychotherapists to the team in lieu of flowers.

Holdsclaw remains in the city’s thoughts and one-liners, if only because hers is the urban legend that keeps going through permeations.

She is one of the great mysteries of our time, disappearing right before eyes. She descended into our air space by way of Knoxville, Tenn., and now she is listed among the missing. She was last seen in our Bermuda Triangle, the uniquely Washington place that reduces the previously gifted to ordinariness.

If Holdsclaw once aspired to be Cool Hand Chamique, we have no choice but to be the Captain.

What we have here is a failure to communicate.

She is left to beg for Washington’s understanding.

Then she must grant us our confusion.

Her “minor medical problem” is serious enough to preclude her return this season. Yet she was able to participate in practice last week, which prompted Adams to spew superlatives in her honor.

“You realize how much of a talent she is,” Adams said.

If his was a thinly veiled plea to end the impasse, it fell on uncompromising ears.

Holdsclaw has a responsibility to the Mystics and a heavily subsidized league to reveal her “minor medical problem.”

It can’t be that bad. Trust us.

We have seen it all in Tony Cheng’s neighborhood, going back to Rod Strickland putting his shorts on backward.

If Holdsclaw is merely another head case destined to be a Washington footnote, she should be informed the membership list is lengthy.

We already endured a similar meltdown with Jerry Stackhouse last season. He battled an extremely rare condition known as Shutting It Down disorder, which led to Ernie Grunfeld’s Ship Him Out prescription.

Of course, Holdsclaw may not be a petulant mess. She could be the Mother Teresa of Washington who spends her spare time in soup kitchens and donates all her basketball shoes to those in need.

Whatever the problem is, she has invited the speculation.

It is hard to get behind a “minor medical problem” that results in a lost season.

She loses everyone with the word “minor,” mostly because a “minor medical problem” rarely sidelines an athlete forever. It is as if she is the victim of a hangnail that just cannot be repaired.

If Holdsclaw lives in fear of the fallout, she should know that Washington is a fairly forgiving city.

We will grant our three electoral college votes to the funeral director who claims to be a war criminal in a “fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan.” We will do this with a sense of joy.

In that context, getting a WNBA coach fired — if that is the objective — is a one-day news item that would barely penetrate the marketplace.

A few words in defense of Adams: Anyone who could spend 11 seasons in the NBA with the ugliest 3-point shot in the history of the sport has a few secrets to impart to players. His shooting form was not merely flawed, it was frightening, especially to children. But give Adams this: It was a highly effective weapon.

Alas, it always is something with Washington’s athletes.

This is undoubtedly the most serious “minor medical problem” ever.

Holdsclaw deserves a special page in the Mayo Clinic Family Health Book.


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