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Eric Freeman

Washington Generals coach empathizes with the Cavs

Eric Freeman
Ball Don't Lie

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If you've ever seen the Harlem Globetrotters live, you probably spent most of your time oohing-and-ahhing over the dribbling and dunking exploits of the men in red, white and blue. You also probably thought very little about the other team on the floor, the Washington Generals, one of the losingest teams in the history of organized sports.

The Generals have a coach, though, and plays, and they even try to win their games against the Globetrotters. And their team icon, former player, coach and executive Red Klotz, empathizes with one NBA team this season. From Jodie Valade in The Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Klotz has spent a lifetime losing. He's now 90 years old, still playing half-court hoops, and, because he identifies with them, rooting for the Cavaliers.

"It's not easy to replace a big star," Klotz said recently from his New Jersey home. "Right now you're trying to recover from a big loss of a huge star. You need time to recover. You have a fine coach, you have fine players. But the NBA is the toughest league in the world." [...]

But more than anything else, enduring the losing is a matter of believing the future will be better.

"Positive thinking," Klotz said. "When you go out there, you go out there to show them how good you are and how good the team will be. When you walk off that court, you have nothing to be ashamed of."

I'm pretty sure this story is supposed to prove that things can get better for the Cavs, but there's something a little depressing in needing advice from a coach who lost tens of thousands of games in his career. The Generals play solely so the Globetrotters' antics can exist in something resembling a basketball context. Their games can barely even be called "competitions."

Do the Cavs want to identify with perennial losers who get embarrassed on a nightly basis? My guess is they don't, so they shouldn't even mention Klotz's name for fear of being named in the same sentence as the Generals. This is not a comparison you want to invite, even if Klotz is just trying to be friendly to a fanbase in need.

Plus, Klotz's advice is less about winning games -- something he knows little about -- than how to maintain sanity in the midst of so much losing. If that's what the Cavs are looking for, then they should hire Klotz as a full-time consultant. But something tells me the best cure for their troubles will be getting back into the win column on a regular basis.

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