Todd Hartley: Can you handle The Question?
August 2, 2002
He tells us, and one of his multifarious tattoos reaffirms the fact, that he is The Answer. And lately that moniker has been right on target, so to speak.
Who led the NBA in scoring? Allen Iverson. Who allegedly threw his naked wife out onto the lawn? Allen Iverson. Who allegedly threatened to shoot a man in a West Philadelphia apartment while looking for his wife? Allen Iverson. Who was acquitted of all but a misdemeanor or two in court recently? Allen Iverson.
You get the idea.
But just as there is a Christ for every Antichrist who walks through the door and an Emilio Estevez for every Charlie Sheen, there must therefore be The Question out there somewhere providing yin to counter Iverson’s yang and restore order to the basketball universe.
But the question is, who is The Question?
Well, my friends, in the interest of science, your faithful columnist has undertaken a rigorous study to ascertain the answer, and I will, in time, reveal The Question’s identity. But be forewarned, those of you seeking some wonderful Anti-Iverson to glom onto: The answer, or rather The Question, ain’t a pretty thing, and I can promise you, you hate him more than The Answer. Even worse, your parents would consider him an excellent role model.
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Like any dedicated student, I will of course show my work.
The Question, I reasoned, should be everything The Answer isn’t, and a number of words immediately came to mind: slow, white, unathletic and lacking a police record. Also, as Iverson is an NBA star, his opposite number could be anyone who played so much as college ball, which unfortunately lets a slew of geeky Midwestern kids back into the suspect pool.
I eliminated from that list kids who had some talent – the Rex Chapmans and Steve Kerrs of the world – because Iverson himself is so blessed with natural hoops ability. The Question would surely be someone who got by on hustle alone – a scrappy, in-your-face coach’s son with a bad haircut and floor burns from diving after loose balls.
Keeping in mind the fact that The Answer recorded but never released a hip-hop album, I decided not to consider any kid who had about him any hip-hop attitude, à la Jason Williams. And had I some way of knowing each one’s musical tastes I would have even gone so far as to find a country music fan, but I didn’t, so I didn’t. Sorry.
To further cull the herd of heirs to The Question’s throne, I took into account the fact that The Answer has butted heads quite often with 76ers coach Larry Brown. This, to me, would indicate that our culprit was the kind of kid who hung on every word his coach uttered.
Indeed, since he lacked the skills to hack it in the NBA, he is likely to have gone on to become a coach himself. And naturally, The Question, lovable little scamp that he is, is likely to be the kind of Rudy-esque clown who bleeds his college colors. So it is a good bet that our friend coaches at his alma mater, leaving all the Billy Donovans and Steve Alfords off the final list.
And since Iverson went to Georgetown, the school that brought you Dikembe Mutumbo, Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje, Ya Ya Dia, Patrick Ewing and the great Michael Graham, The Question’s alma mater has to be the least African college on the planet. And that can only mean one thing: Duke.
Finally, since The Answer rolls off the tongue so easily when questions of malfeasance, bad rap albums and basketball feats arise, it stands to reason that The Question would be just about the last name anyone would expect to hear.
Well, I weighed all these factors, and in light of the evidence I had I arrived at my inevitable conclusion. And now I will share that verdict with you.
So without further ado I give you The Question:
(Columnist’s note: Kansas fans crying foul because they think that their school has a better claim to the title of least African college should know that the Jayhawks were eliminated for having produced Paul Pierce and Danny Manning.)
[Todd Hartley, a likely suspect until it was pointed out that he played basketball at no level, writes this column each Friday in The Aspen Times. E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org]
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