I was hoping to talk to Awvee Storey last night for any number of reasons. To begin with, there was his jersey, which mistakenly read "Story" on the back. My old "Matt's News" softball jersey read "Steinburg" on the back, but I figured the NBA employed better proofreaders than a slow-pitch softball league.
I also wanted to get Awvee's feelings about his old wrestling-mate Gilbert Arenas's "Takeover" season, and about his own career progress, after his D-League incident and all. He was certainly noticeable in yesterday's win over the Sonics, going for 13 points, 6 rebounds and 9 fouls.
But I never got to talk with Awvee, due to multiple arena exits and the extreme rudeness of a Thomas & Mack Center employee who insisted that I could not possibly stand within 75 feet of a Summer League locker room. And so instead, I wandered back into the gym, where the shot-clock didn't work and the PA announcer had to count down the seconds left to shoot the ball, where the Lakers were playing the Greg Oden-less Blazers, and I was left to do a story about the guy in the suit and shaved head carrying the sign pictured here.
He was holding it over his head and yelling in the general direction of either current GM Mitch Kupchak or the Lakers bench, depending on his mood. His friends were extremely happy about all this. Eventually, the game ops people showed Andy on the video board, and everyone in the arena cheered.
At this point, even the people on the Lakers bench couldn't help but notice. "Hey Tex, Tex!" the guy with the sign yelled toward Tex Winter. "I love you Tex. I'm telling you, baby!"
Tex turned and smiled and gave us a wave. I asked the guy, whose name was Andy Martinez, for an explanation, but he was too fired up to speak, and so his friends filled in for him.
"Somebody needs to replace Mitch Kupchak," Elliott Robertson started.
"I'll take a high school drop-out over Mitch Kupchak," B.J. Boyce continued. "I'll take a guy who plays EA Sports all day over Mitch Kupchak. I play NBA Live; does that make me a GM?"
Finally Andy chimed in.
"I'm a playground legend, brother, you better know," he said, by way of introduction. I asked whether he could really do a better job as an NBA GM than Kupchak.
"I can do no worse, put it like that," he said. "The dude is an absolute fraud, write that down. A fraud and an embarrassment." Then he started yelling again: "Hey Mitch, make it happen! McHale's over there, McHale's in the building. Make it happen."
"It," of course, being a trade for K.G., which famously launched the GetGarnett blog, of which Andy and his friends are fans. They then went through their litany of Kupchak complaints: failing to land Jason Kidd, failing to get proper return for Shaq, failing to land Carlos Boozer, failing to land Ron Artest, failing to land Baron Davis, giving too much to Luke Walton and Vlad Radmanovic, and getting swindled in the Caron-Kwame deal, which Andy described in very descriptive terms not fit for a family blog.
"I come here as a supporter of the Los Angeles Lakers--not a fan, a supporter--to let Mitch Kupchak once again know that if he's incompetent and can't get the job done, he needs to step down and let someone else get the job done," Andy said. "Something needs to be done. [Fans] understand that Mitch Kupchak has been an embarrassment and a disgrace to the organization. If he can't step up and get something done, he needs to resign."
In between all this, of course, Andy continued to heckle Kupchak, who was sitting maybe 30 rows back of us and paid us no mind, although he could not have missed Andy and his get-up. Anyhow, I asked Andy's friends whether they'd really be happy if there buddy became the team's GM.
"I'd be happy with Mickey Mouse as GM right now," Boyce said. "I really would. I'm not just saying that because of L.A. and Disneyland; I'd be happier with an animated character running the Lakers than Mitch Kupchak. I'd be happier with George Bush than Mitch Kupchak--there's your Washington connection. I'd have more faith in this girl walking right here running the Lakers than Mitch Kupchak, and I don't even know her name."
The girl, though, was walking fairly fast, and so I never got to ask her what she'd do if she replaced Mitch Kupchak.