Monday, April 8, 2013

the last book I ever read (David Halberstam's The Breaks of the Game, excerpt six)

from The Breaks of the Game by David Halberstam:

Three days later the commissioner awarded the compensation. Portland received Kermit Washington and Kevin Kunnert, two draft choices and either (it was up to San Diego) guard Randy Smith or cash. In San Diego, Bill Walton, sitting at practice as assistant coach Bob Weiss read off the names of the soon to be departed, felt terrible. It seemed to go on and on. “I couldn’t look at anyone,” he said later. “I wondered if he was ever going to stop reading off names.” He was angry at what O’Brien had done. Because of the ruling, “the Trail Blazers are not the bad guys. They’re the good guys. I’m the bad guy.” He sat and watched a team being torn apart and men who had made their homes in San Diego having to pick up their families and leave. He felt that he could not face some of the men who had just been his teammates.

In Portland the coaching staff was pleased. They had gotten the players they wanted plus the two first-round draft choices, and those choices, considering the damage their loss might do to San Diego, could prove very valuable to Portland. Weinberg officially complained that Portland had not been made whole, that there was in fact no way to compensate for a player of Walton’s rare quality, and the front office suggested again that Portland would be glad to match San Diego’s offer in order to have him back. Inman and Ramsay, however, were quite pleased. “Maybe it’s just as well this way,” Ramsay said.

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