One thing I’m going to miss this St. Patrick’s Day is staying up all night by force, not by choice. Last March 17, we were living literally right next door to an Irish pub; since then we’ve moved to a condo across the street and just out of earshot of the tragic karaoke renditions of “Sweet Caroline.”
For that, I’d say I’m lucky. But my kind of lucky isn’t close to NBA-player lucky; there are no eight-figure contracts involved when regular people get lucky. So on this St. Patrick’s Day, we have the 10 luckiest players in the NBA…
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JORDAN FARMAR — A career backup who, because he was lucky enough to get drafted by the Lakers, has a guest-starring role on the CBS cop drama “NUMB3RS.” If Farmar played for the Wolves or the Pacers, even if he was a starter, he wouldn’t be getting anywhere near a major-network TV show. Especially with those ears.
RICK FOX — See above. Plus he somehow roped Vanessa Williams into marrying and procreating with him.
DANIEL GIBSON — Just because I hate him for landing Keyshia Cole and knocking her up. Not that I was available at the time, but still … Gibson also has a pretty sweet deal on the court. All he has to do is knock down jump shots and be funny in the locker room, and he’ll end up winning a championship playing next to LeBron.
SHAWN MARION — I hate it when people say Steve Nash “made” Marion into an All-Star, as if Nash grabbed those 10-11 rebounds and guarded the best scorers in the League every night. But I can’t even deny that Marion has been extremely fortunate to have played the majority of his career with All-Star caliber point guards in Stephon Marbury, Nash and Jason Kidd. I wouldn’t go as far as saying Matrix owes large chunks of his salary to those guys, but he should at least buy them a drink on occasion.
SHAUN LIVINGSTON — How can somebody with Livingston’s history of injuries be considered lucky? Because at least he was born in the right era. Guys who came up before this age of medical science and procedures would’ve had their careers ended by the things that have happened to Livingston; that catastrophic knee injury in ’07 probably would have gotten your leg amputated not too long ago. On top of that, had Livingston come out of high school a couple years after he did, he would’ve had to go to college and may have gotten hurt before he had a chance to make Lottery-pick money.
TYLER HANSBROUGH — It appears he managed to squeeze everything he could out of his body and his ability just long enough to earn sainthood in Chapel Hill, N.C., and get a first-round guaranteed NBA contract … and then he fell apart. If Psycho T’s senior year at UNC had played out like his rookie year in Indiana, he probably wouldn’t have been drafted.
RANDOLPH MORRIS — From what I can tell, Morris basically has a job because he’s homeboys with Josh Smith. And getting to play/live in his native Atlanta, Morris doesn’t even have that far to travel if he gets waived.
JEROME JAMES — A handful of good playoff games plus money burning a hole in Isiah Thomas’ pocket equaled perhaps the worst NBA contract ever. Over these last three years of his five-year, $30 million deal, James has spent less time on NBA courts than the guy Jermaine O’Neal knocked out at The Palace. Not to mention James stumbled into this gig in the first place. As the story goes, he was a 7-foot non-basketball-playing teenager working at a grocery store when a college coach discovered him and convinced him to take up the game.
LEBRON JAMES & DWIGHT HOWARD (tie) — Powerball winners of the genetic lottery.
NATE ROBINSON — As my editor Pat Cassidy put it: “What other profession can you work in where you can act like a 6-year-old every day, never do anything your boss (coach) asks you to do, and not only do you get to keep your job, but you get rewarded by being sent to a much better company (Celtics)?” Nate’s my guy, but I don’t even have a comeback for that one.