Look closely, NBA in fine form, better than perceived, says Daly


Enough of this gloom and doom talk about the NBA, says Chuck Daly.

Though some observers think the NBA has become too bloated and perhaps too successful for its own good, the longtime coach-turned-Turner analyst says the league is in much better shape domestically and abroad than its critics believe.

For instance, Daly, who was in the area last week for the Washington Bullets-Golden State Warriors matchup, said he recently took a trip to Australia and met with NBA officials, who told him that the league made $100 million on products sold in the Australia-Hong Kong-Singapore zone last year, hardly the sign of a league in trouble.

"When you go around the world and see the success of the NBA, I don't necessarily see that kind of trouble," said Daly. "I think any business is on the edge of trouble at some point. I don't think we're there. If we're careful, we can avoid it."

Likewise, Daly, who, in a remarkably successful coaching career that included two NBA titles in Detroit and a gold medal in 1992 with the first Dream Team, says the perception of NBA players as spoiled and selfish is overblown.

"We've always had that problem. When you have 27 and now 29 teams, you're going to have some people that are not the kind of citizens necessarily you would like in certain positions, but you have that in every sport. You're always going to have some problem areas, but, for the most part, we have people who want to do the right thing," said Daly.

That's a noteworthy sentiment from a man who, in his past two coaching stints, had to cope with first Dennis Rodman in his Pistons days, and then with Derrick Coleman, Sports Illustrated's cover boy for the league's malcontents and miscreants.

Not surprisingly, Daly, in his second season with Turner, doesn't have great pangs to return to the sidelines, despite some overtures, most recently from the New York Knicks.

"When you've done something for 39 years, it's a way of life and you're a lifer, so to speak. It's not something you just get over," said Daly. "You see situations and you know you could still coach the game, but, in my own case, it was the right thing to do at the right time. I'll always miss it, because it was the love of my life."

Impertinent questions

With the new year, we introduce a new monthly feature, in which we ask those things that make you go, "Hmmm."

* If CBS gets a 20 rating or better for tonight's national championship Fiesta Bowl game between Nebraska and Florida (8:30, chs. 13, 9), might that speed the process for a playoff system, because networks will be reluctant to lay out big cash for bowl games unless they're incorporated in a title-game format?

* With the glut of abysmal football analysts (try Jerry Glanville, Beasley Reece and Bob Golic for starters) out there, how is that two talented pros such as Todd Christensen and Dan Fouts are not working regularly?

* Isn't ESPN's Ron Franklin getting close to matching ABC's Keith Jackson as the best play-by-play man in college football?

* Are you still waiting for the Baltimore Bengals or Buccaneers or any of the other offshoots of the Browns' move that were tossed out by Channel 11 reporters?

* If WWLG (1360 AM) is serious about upgrading its sports operation -- and one can only assume it is by its acquisition of play-by-play properties and first Stan "The Fan" Charles and now Phil Wood as talk hosts -- how can it continue to run Nestor Aparicio's toxic brew of half-truths, character assassinations and bad taste each night?

If Aparicio's attacks on any number of Baltimore media personalities from this newspaper to other radio stations weren't so vicious, bordering on legally actionable, they'd be downright laughable. It is long past the time that someone in station management should have reined in the braying Aparicio, because his minuscule ratings indicate that hardly anyone is listening outside perhaps his family and the 10 or so regular callers he gets. The next best gift WWLG can give its listeners is to give "Nasty Nestor" his walking papers.

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