Six years after being drafted in the lottery by the Minnesota Timberwolves, and over two years removed from playing his last NBA game, former North Carolina star Rashad McCants is still saying strange, strange things.
Insisting that he was "blackballed" by the NBA after his 249-game stint, McCants painted a pretty picture for the Boston Globe's Gary Washburn (in his typically must-read Sunday column) over the weekend, insisting all at once that he was fine without playing basketball, leading to the most curious quote from possibly the most curious man that could be working quite well as a third guard in this league were it not for his curiousness.
"Basketball was an opportunity, a means to an end after college, and I planned not to solely depend on basketball, so the lockout doesn't affect me - I have been locked out two years,'' said McCants, who said he owns successful businesses. "I have been blackballed for two years, so these guys are making a big thing out of the lockout. They don't know what locked out is.''
McCants said he wants to be considered the "best player in the world not playing basketball'' and is content if he doesn't make an NBA return.
If McCants does indeed own successful businesses, and he doesn't need an NBA paycheck to get along? Then this is fantastic news; especially considering the fact that he only played through his rookie deal and declined a spot on Cleveland's summer league team last year after initially signing up to play.
The cynic (or, "nine out of 10 people reading," whatever) will look at the quote about McCants wanting to be "the best player in the world not playing basketball" as a pathetic justification. And while there was certainly no league-wide edict that told NBA teams not to sign Rashad McCants, the reputation of a shoot-first smallish shooting guard who didn't defend well and wasn't an efficient enough scorer to make up for his other deficiencies was certainly enough. NBA teams didn't want to sign Rashad because they didn't want him on their team, much like the same way that you and I have been "blackballed" from the NBA.
McCants, this time around (he has been interviewed extensively, he has made good D-League waves, he has dipped his toes into the acting realm, and he was strangely invited to this year's ESPYs) is pinning a career gone wrong on having to play for the hapless Timberwolves, and briefly with a terrible Sacramento Kings team. He blames his repeated clashes with management regarding his attitude on his frustration with acting as the "only one mad about losing every game by 30." Life on a loser can't be easy, despite the paycheck and plush accommodations. We're being serious.
(Now, we'll go back to being a smartass.)
McCants, because he is a forgiving sort, will allow the NBA one more chance to hire the "best player in the world not playing basketball." How sweet of the guy:
"The only way I would come back to the league is if I get to play with Kobe Bryant,'' he said. "There's nobody who thinks like me but Kobe Bryant. I just get criticized for what he used to get criticized for because I tried to establish myself the same way he did.
"I was just on a bad team.''
He'll only come back if he gets to play with Kobe, and on the Los Angeles Lakers. That some special brand of hubris you have there, Rashad McCants. Never change.