Searching For A Center!
By: Emilio Escobar



Long ago there was a time when real men played basketball; a time when men had real nicknames, such as “Diesel", "The Admiral", "The Dream", "Zo" and "The Dutch boy in the Paint.” A time when men guarded the rim with ferocity and finger wagging. A time when, if your team needed a score, they gave it to the big guy and let him do his dirty work. Be it with quickness or brute force, the center always got the job done.

Today, I’ve noticed a lack of real talent in the center position. The man holding the torch, Shaquille O’Neal, is, by far, the most dominant in the position while drawing comparisons to Wilt Chamberlain. His closest competition is third year pro Yao Ming, who has a hard time hearing and can’t seem to play for more than twenty minutes a game, along with an Alonzo Mourning who, for the past three years, has averaged 12.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg and .666 kpy (that last stat is Kidneys Per Year.) Yup, it’s gotten pretty bad.

So where do the NBA scouts and general managers start to look? Europe? Europe gave us some damn fine centers in Vlade Divac and Rik Smits. Unfortunately, since then we have been getting too many 7’0 white men that can’t defend, shoot way too many threes and their only low post move is to fall down. College? No one goes to college anymore.

"Take it to the hole, Rik! Oh, your foot hurts?"

Maybe the search for a center needs to take place in the past. No, I’m not saying bring back Hakeem, Ewing or Robinson. No, their careers are done and I’m pretty sure the people in the front row would not like gasping for air as those fossils hobble up and down the court.

What the NBA needs an enforcer back in the paint. Wait, not an enforcer. A Sheriff.

The NBA needs Olden Polynice.

Last seen with the Clippers during the 03-04 season, Olden Polynice is enjoying free agency and keeps in shape on the court by practicing his legendary low post footwork with other NBA pros and, off the court, by chasing down traffic law violators as a public service to his hometown.

“Olden is a proven center in a league where there aren't many proven centers. He started 162 games the last four years. What more is he supposed to do? ” said Olden’s agent Dwight Manley. “He is a character guy and will bring a team 8 points and 6 rebounds a night, instantly turning any team into a viable playoff threat.”

The question remains: At 40 years old, can Olden Polynice rise to the occasion and be the dominant big man his team needs? Does he still have it in him?

“Sure! Olden is out there doing the same things that NBA players half his age are doing. Beating his girlfriend, beating up golfers, making obscene gestures and threatening Sacramento Kings fans. And let’s be honest, how many times did you want to belt one of those obnoxious cow farmers?”

"Looks like poor Scottie has some unpaid parking tickets!"

Hard to argue with that.

Mr. Manley’s cell phone rings and he hurries toward the the door. Before leaving, he apologizes for the abrupt exit but that was Olden on the phone. Apparently there is a 505 down the road and Olden needs backup.

So if you’re one of those teams that need a defensive presence near the basket or just looking for the right character guy to get your team over the hump, don’t forget about Olden Polynice: Enforcer At Large.