(possibly not on Paul Shirley’s iPod)
Jennine Primm speaks, for instance, on unwanted pregnancy as part of the NBA™s Rookie Transition Program. œSo you and your boys are dressed, you™re going to the club, you look good, you smell good, Jeanine tells players assembled in an auditorium.
In the background, the music to the Isley Brothers™ signature and seductive ballad, œBetween the Sheets, is playing on a CD player. œSo you look around the room and you say to your boy, Jeanine continues, as the CD mix shifts to œBig Poppa, a song that has the same instrumental riff as œBetween the Sheets. The voice of rapper Biggie Smalls booms, œI see some ladies tonight that should be having my. . . .
œBaa-a-bay, baby! the players yell in unison with Smalls.
She™s gotten their attention and established some credibility. Over the course of a single seminar, Jeanine will use snippets of between 10 and 40 songs to introduce topics and underscore points. She also uses the music to reinforce her message over the long term; she hopes that when players hear these songs later, it will trigger memories of what she covered in the seminar.
œI think she does a great job with us in how she presents information, says Purvis Short, director of player services for the NBA Players Association who played professionally for 12 years with the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, and New Jersey Nets. œShe makes it interactive, she accompanies it with music. The response from the players has been positive; they like the different approach.
For the past eight years, she has conducted seminars for the NBA (most recently, through a contract with HDS) on topics such as fathering, domestic violence, healthy relationships, HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted infections. She uses the CD mixes of hip-hop and other popular music to make the seminars more culturally relevant to the players.
œYou want to draw them in with your media, says Jeanine. œWe are talking about edu-tainment. A teaspoon of sugar helps the medicine go down, as Mary Poppins says. The music helps get them in the mood.
Of Isiah Thomas’ recent public freakouts over Bruce Bowen’s patented brand of (undercutting) D, the New York Post’s Marc Berman writes, “When Tim Duncan, whose personality borders on comatose, is disgusted enough to rip you in the media, it probably means you crossed the line.”
Mostly, Thomas exudes class: wearing an Autism Speaks pin on his suit during games, for instance. Thomas’ stance on Stephon Marbury’s discount sneaker movement for low-income families is a beautiful sentiment. Thomas believes Marbury’s endeavor is more important than basketball. Thomas gets it.
That’s why Saturday night in San Antonio is unbecoming of the Knicks coach. He tried to spark his tired team, feeling it was on the verge of packing it in. Thomas also could have sparked his team by lighting himself on fire with a match. That doesn’t make it right.
The Spurs exude class. Greg Popovich is maybe the league’s best coach. Thomas’ profane outburst could have set off an on-court brawl if it had been another arena against another team. Maybe that’s why ex-Spur Malik Rose seemed so miserable in the locker room after the game, saying, “I’m tired of losing the same way.”