Monday, January 10, 2005

Not his Forte

Does anyone remember Joseph Forte, the former Tar Heel who some called the greatest freshman to play at UNC since Michael Jordan? He left his sophomore year and became a first-round draft pick by the Celtics. So where is he now? Playing for the Asheville Altitude in the National Basketball Developmental League. In yet another cautionary tale for NBA aspirants, the Washington Post's Eli Saslow follows the former DeMatha/McDonald's All-American from his rise under coach Bill Guthridge to his downward spiral at Boston and Seattle, picking up an arrest record along the way--all because he "just couldn't handle it."

In truth, the drugs and weapons possession charges are incidental to the story. What made Forte a liability was a rotten attitude. How rotten? This anecdote by Saslow should suffice:

Before a game against the Michael Jordan-led Washington Wizards on March 26, 2003, Forte walked into Seattle's locker room wearing a Jordan jersey. When a teammate asked him why he was wearing an opponent's jersey, Forte responded, "Man, I love the Wizards."

An entire locker room glared.

Forte did not play and the Sonics lost the game, 80-74. Afterward, in a shower filled with downtrodden teammates, Forte sang gleefully until 7-foot-1 center Jerome James attacked him.

Maybe it's just me, but getting attacked by a 7-foot-1 center in a shower would make me stop singing pretty quickly.

1 comment:

andya said...

I remember Forte when he got that tag. Watching him play, I saw a super-smooth shot and great range but a noticeable lack of athleticism. I wondered at the time how people couldn't see that he was a beat too slow for the NBA, and didn't have the ball handling skills or quick feet on defense. (I was rooting for him, though. I had that kind of jump shot, but not the athletic ability needed to move up the levels...) This gets hidden in college where shooters can pick spots in zones...maybe his bad attitude was there from the start. It could also be the frustration of not having that necessary ingredient to use his great shooting skills...