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Credit NBA mothers with plenty of assists


Today is Mother's Day, and Toronto Raptors scoring star Vince Carter is sure to be sending flowers and a card to his mom, Michelle.

Remember when teammate Charles Oakley criticized him for not taking on more scoring responsibility during the first three games of the team's NBA first-round playoff series with the New York Knicks?

After Oakley complained that Vince should "be a man," Michelle responded with a sharp dig at Oakley. "Those who did the talking weren't doing too much on the court," she said.

Thanks, Mom.

This isn't the first time Carter has been a subject of discussion among NBA mothers.

Just last year, Melanise Williford, the mother of the Orlando Magic's Tracy McGrady, said her son was better off getting out of Carter's shadow in Toronto.

"In Toronto," Williford said, "it was Vince this, Vince that. I got sick of it."

Los Angeles Clippers rookie Darius Miles probably wouldn't have been happy in Toronto, either. When Chicago Bulls general manager Jerry Krause told his mom, Ethel, during a pre-draft interview that rookies in the NBA traditionally carry travel bags for the veterans, she responded curtly:

"My son doesn't carry bags for anyone but himself."

The way NBA moms are sticking up for their sons, it was nice last week to see several players showing their gratitude.

For instance, Dallas Mavericks players Dirk Nowitzki of Germany, Steve Nash of Canada, Eduardo Najera of Mexico, Obinna Ekezie of Nigeria and Wang Zhizhi of China were part of a Mother's Day photo shoot for ESPN the Magazine.

In the photo, which appears in the magazine's current issue, each player holds up a placard with "Hi Mom" written in his native language. On Nash's sign, "Mom" is spelled "Mum."

And today on the Food Network's "NBA Cafe," the Magic's Grant Hill helps prepare his mother's Famous Gumbo.

On the same show, the Utah Jazz's Karl Malone tries to make sure his kids - Kadee, Kylee, Karlee and Karl Jr. - appreciate his wife, Kay, with the same affection that most NBA players reserve for their moms.

Malone, with kids in tow, pays tribute to his wife, whom he introduces as "MVM - Most Valuable Mom" - by cooking her collard greens, deep-fried pork chops and corn bread.

Former NBA player Rick Mahorn apparently votes his mom, not his wife, MVM. Mahorn has a "Mother" tattoo and his children's names tattooed on his biceps, but nowhere is his wife's name.

Mahorn's logic: "You may get remarried, but you always have your mother and children."

Mother knows best

Joe Posnanski of the Kansas City Star recalls that when he wrote his first baseball story for a newspaper many years ago, his mother told him:

"I liked your story, but you know that part where you talked about a team having an unearned run?"


"Well, who are you to say they didn't earn that run? What makes you such a big shot?"

Can't those boys make up?

Bill Scheft of ESPN the Magazine, commenting on the wild throw last year by New York Yankees second baseman Chuck Knoblauch that sailed into the seats behind the first base dugout and struck former ESPN sportscaster Keith Olbermann's mother in the face:

"I think I speak for the whole ESPN family and sports fans everywhere when I say, Wrong Olbermann.' "

He can't kick about it

The Denver Broncos' Joe Nedney made all four of his field-goal tries in a game last season against the Oakland Raiders, who had cut him in the preseason.

Nedney said he got the reception he expected from Oakland fans.

"I will say that I did not know so many people here knew that much about my family," he said. "Especially my mother."

Matchmaker, matchmaker

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Shawn Green is proud of his Jewish heritage, as he has made clear in personal appearances in the Los Angeles area.

Rabbi Marvin Hier said before last season:

"If he can survive all these Jewish mothers and grandmothers giving him a telephone number, he'll do just fine."

Thanks, Mom

Bud Geracie of the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News made this trenchant observation during the 2000 Olympics:

"Marion Jones spoke for all of us, I believe, when she said, 'I wouldn't be here if it weren't for my mom.' "

Compiled from wire reports and Web sites.

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