Things have not been going very well for Kevin Porter.
The former Washington Bullet guard was sometimes known here as the Little Drum Major because of his flashy style and the way he got the Bullets to dance to his music. Then, two seasons ago, he was traded to the Detroit Pistons.
With him went much of the Bullets' pizzaz.
Porter will return to Capital Centre for the first time as a non-Bullet tonight when he leads the Pistons against his former teammates in a 7:30 game.
Porter has not found happiness in Detroit. He and his coach are spatting.
Almost from the moment he was shipped off to the Pistons for Dave Bing, Porter had problems.
Through the first 19 games with Detroit last year, Porter was leading the National Basketball Association in assists and the Pistons were the highest scoring team in the league.
As the Pistons' media guide says, "Porter instantly captured the fancy of the fans with his strut and pell mell, razmataz style of play. If a man breaks to the basket and is free, the ball marvelously arrives where it is supposed to after a series of Porter spins, moves, gyrations and fakes."
That is Kevin Porter.
Then in a game in Oakland, Dec. 9, 1975. Porter jumped to catch a pass for a layup. His momentum carried him into the basket support and his right leg became tangled in the matting. His season ended right then. He had to have surgery to repair a fractured femur and rehabilitation of the leg and knee was a long and painful one.
Porter says he is fine now - physically.
He came back this season playing behind Eric Money, who had stepped into his place after the injury.
The Pistons started out 2-6 this year and then Money hurt his back. That opened the door for Porter.
He became a starter again and the Pistons promptly won eight straight. They have been on and off ever since while coach Herb Brown and Porter have been at odds virtually the entire season.
Brown finally benched Porter the day after Christmas, but Porter was back to the lineup three days later when the Pistons started stumbling.
"There is a communication problem between me and Herb." Porter said. "I was even fined one game because I wouldn't sit next to him on the bench after he'd taken me out of a game."
Porter got alone fine with former coach Ray Scott, but the Pistons took a nose dive after Porter got hurt last season and Scott was eventually fired. Brown and Scott's replacement.
Porter said, "It's to the point now that I'm definitely going to try to get out of here next year. I don't want to hold anything against Herb, but I'm not really happy here.
"I guess I'm kind of in-between. The guys here have a lot of talent and makes me not want to leave, but I still don't like the situation I'm in."
The Pistons, indeed, have a lot of talent in Bob Lanier, Howard Porter, Chris Ford, M. L. Carr, Marvin Barnes, Leon Douglas and Ralph Simpson and Kevin Porter in his element when he is in control out on the floor with them.
"We have a lot of guys to go to here," said Porter, who is thrid in the NBA in assists, averaging 7.9 a game. "But when things really get tough, we can always go into Bob (Lanier). There's no doubt that he's the best big side and can go outside and shoot the jumper, too."
Lanier is fourth in the league in scoring with a 25.5 average and is seventh in field goal percentage and eighth in rebounding.
Tonight is a special occasion for Porter.
"I've been looking forward to it for two years," he said. "Getting a victory at Capital Center will be a highlight of my career. The people there were good to me. I love that place."
Ironically, Porter's return will come the night Tom Henderson makes his home-court debut as a Bullet.
When it became obvious to the Bullets that Bing wasn't the answer to their problems, they tried to obtain another Kevin Porter-type player. Henderson, acquired from the Atlanta Hawks Thursday for Leonard Robinson, is the man they got.
Porter isn't the same player who led the Bullets to 60 regular-season victories and to the NBA final in 1975.
"I'm doing a few more things, like looking to the basket more." Porter said, "I was leading the league in field goal percentage before I was benched. I knew what I had to score to be more effective. Teams were just playing me for the pass because they thought I wouldn't shoot."
The Pistons are one of the NBA's better teams, despite some of their alleged internal problems. Porter isn't the only Piston player who is not ecstatic about Brown.
The Pistons are 25-18 and second to Denver in the Midwest Division.
The Bullets are one of the hottest NBA teams, having won four in a row and 10 of their last 12.