Slash 2 my Lou
Let’s play a game — it’s called “Celebrity Take-the-Hint.” Our contestant today is Houston Rockets point guard Rafer “Skip 2 My Lou” Alston, the first And-1/streetball hero to get a real run in the NBA. Skippy’s got a mad handle, a sick crossover, and two arrests in this past month alone. Let’s see if he can . . . take the hint!
Rafe started 82 games this past year, averaging 13.3 points and 5.4 assists per game for a team that made the playoffs. He played more minutes than anyone else on his squad. He doesn’t totally suck. And yet, when the Rockets’ season ended following yet another early, ignominious playoff exit, one of the team’s first moves was to trade forward Juwan Howard for point guard Mike James. The previous season, Houston had traded James to get Alston. Then, after reacquiring the man Alston originally replaced, the team used its first-round draft pick to take another point guard, Aaron Brooks — like Alston, an undersized offensive specialist with subpar court awareness. But after adding two players at Rafe’s position, the team still wasn’t done. Late in the summer, it signed newly waived ex-Knick Steve Francis, another former Rocket. Now the team had added three point guards.
Now, you or I probably wouldn’t respond to three new threats to our job by running out and spitting on/assaulting the first parking-lot attendant we could find. But that’s exactly what Skippy did. On August 5 in Houston, Alston got into it with a lot manager after his car got towed. He allegedly shook and spit at the man (a nice combination of Tyson-esque lot-attendant abuse and Pacman-esque spitting), and then afterward, when the case became public, insisted that the incident had been blown out of proportion by “individuals who stand to profit.” Charged with misdemeanor assault and public intoxication, Rafe was now free to head north, to New York . . .
. . . where some weeks later, Alston was at it again, this time with 41-year-old Wilbert Ashman, at a trendy club called Stereo. Police say Ashman got into an altercation with Alston and eventually had to call police after driving himself to the hospital with a slash wound in his neck. Alston, however — just as he had with the parking-lot guy — proclaimed his innocence right away. Moreover, a bouncer who worked at Stereo vouched for Alston, saying he’d walked the player out of the building without any knife play.
Still, it doesn’t look good for Alston. Rockets GM Daryl Morey had this to say about the man whose on-court play inspired the addition of three new starting-caliber point guards in the same half-season:
“We became aware of the incident early this morning. Obviously, it is troubling that Rafer was again in a situation involving the police. We take these matters very seriously — the Rockets expect all employees to represent the organization in a first-class manner. Until more facts are gathered from all parties, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further.”
Can Rafe take the hint? Is he aware that this statement actually means As soon as we figure out how, we’re launching this Rocket out of our hair.
Tune in later to see how Houston gets rid of last year’s starter. Funny to think some here in Boston were calling for the Celtics to acquire Alston not long ago. Why not? We haven’t had a stabber in town for a while.
Fifty points for Rafe on the scale, maybe more depending on how this plays out. Two busts in a month, one involving a knife and a neck — if Alston’s guilty. That’s pretty hardcore.
The worst part was the skateboarding
Believers in déjà vu might want to brace themselves — this week we have a rare perfect-repeat situation with an athlete-criminal. These are far from common; only the true sports-crime lifers, guys such as Lawrence Phillips and Cecil “the Diesel” Collins, have the gumption to get arrested once for a thing and then go out and do exactly the same thing in the same place later on. We can now add QB-phenom-turned-complete-bust Todd Marinovich to that list.
The former USC Trojan/Oakland Raider quarterback has been arrested six times since the end of his non-career, usually on drug raps. In August 2004, cops in Orange County, California, busted Marinovich for skateboarding in a prohibited area. After chasing him down, police searched Marinovich and found syringes and a small quantity of meth.
This past week, exactly the same thing. Marinovich was rolling down the Newport Beach boardwalk, where skateboarding is illegal, with syringes and meth on his person. Police caught him, searched him, and popped him. A parole violator two years back (he walked out of a halfway house), Marinovich is probably in for real time now.
Give Todd three little points — zero for the actual crime, three for stupidity. What’s he going to do, skate someone to death? They better find something else to do in the OC.