The balance of an NBA locker room is sometimes very fragile, and few franchises have escaped what the American media like to call the « drama » during their existence. But it was a very specific situation that concerned the Bucks, where time-outs had become a real playground…
Today, all is well in Milwaukee. Impelled by the impeccable Giannis Antetokounmpo, respected and listened to by his peers, the Bucks even managed to bring the first ring to Cream City since the 1971 title gleaned by Lew Alcindor (later to become Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, editor’s note) and others. But during these 50 years of scarcity, the fans have not always been at the party…
At the turn of the 2000s, there was not much missing in Milwaukee to make the powder talk. Narrowly beaten 4-3 in the conference final during the 2001 playoffs, George Karl’s men saw themselves climbing the top step in 2002. It was then that the franchise went to find Anthony Mason, adored by Knicks fans in the 1990s, but at the end of his career and whose volatile temperament was well known to all.
The surreal time-outs at the Bucks
Results ? According to Ray Allen, who was then the star of the team, the locker room completely imploded following the arrival of the conflicted winger. Very quickly, Mason found himself in conflict with George Karl, so much so that the time-outs during the games, usually so precious, turned into a circus. Allen recalls:
The worst was the time-outs. George Karl was giving instructions, and Anthony, and I’m not kidding, was turning his chair around and looking at the audience. He wasn’t listening to a single word George was saying. I had never seen that in my life, not even in high school or college.
Should we feel sorry for George Karl? This is not the opinion of Ray Allen, who believes on the contrary that the tactician liked to be in permanent confrontation with some of his players (his passage to the Nuggets goes in this direction):
I think he likes the players with whom you can have confrontations, headaches. Me, I’ve never been like that. I say what I have to say and we move on, no need to always get confused. However, it is very important to make some kind of pacts with the best players, to ensure that they play as hard as possible and that they fit into the team project.
If the last experience of « Mase »‘s career was a huge failure, we must not forget the precious player he was able to be. Died in 2015 of a heart attack at the age of 48, the former darling of Madison Square Garden deserves this short video:
The time-outs now consistent and controlled by the Bucks? A dream vision for Ray Allen, who still hasn’t recovered from Anthony Mason’s behavior nearly two decades later. And we must admit that we understand it!