Free agent Brian Scalabrine is hustling for a (playing) gig this autumn, a circumstance that has’s Sam Smith getting a bit reflective. “The White Mamba of the Bulls, Veal Scalabrine with the New Jersey Nets in two NBA Finals, the fan favorite of the Boston Celtics’ 2008 championship team—contemplates one of the most remarkable runs in pro sports history, 11 years in the NBA despite every guy in the park thinking they could take him.” Alas, it’s that lucky-to-be-in-the-league, damned-with-faint-praise reputation that Scalabrine bristles at, telling Smith, “The things I do are a gift, too. I have an unbelievable motor.” (link swiped from Eric Freeman and Ball Don’t Lie)

“I don’t get discouraged,” Scalabrine was saying when I asked him about those fans chanting his name despite such a limited contribution. “I’ve heard ‘I’m not good enough’ plenty of times. I really don’t care what people say. I don’t care if people think I’m not good. It doesn’t bother me. Because I think I am a good player. I know the game. And even now if someone says I suck as a broadcaster, I’m not going to be offended.

“The way I look at it is if that’s the case (people are mocking me), then—and no disrespect—you’d have to be an idiot,” he says, getting just a tiny bit red other than in his hair. “That I won some contest to be in the NBA? Or that I don’t have to fight every day? That I’m not the first guy on the floor and the first in the weight room and the last to leave? That I haven’t been waking up 5:30 my whole life to train? I’d have to think you’d are an idiot to think I’m a joke. They might, which would be disappointing. Maybe it is that. But I know why I’m here.”