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Once and forever, there is no cabal. Give it up. There is, however, a good ole boy network. It's black, it's headed by Willie and it's running Memphis into the ground.
The problems started when John Tigrett wanted to light the bridge. He convinced Hackett but they had to go around counsel approval and all normal channels. When that worked they then teamed up to produce the Pyramid. Remember Tigrett's personal guarantee to back up the Pyramid with his own cash? Remember his outrageous whining when the chit was almost called in? No, you've forgotten and want to blame white E.Memphis business folks.
After all that Hackett went on to add to the football stadium 2 or 3 times "to bring it up to NFL standards." Remember that? None was done thru regular channels. Too limiting.
Who would blame Willie for thinking that Hackett had simply written him a road map to tax fund riches?
Hundreds of millions of dolars later you want to blame a cabal of business men? The cabal is in the government office buildings downtown. If you have a bill to pay for the Pyramid send it to Tigrett's heirs or Hackett ?

Mike Crone
Piperton, Tn(safely outside Shelby)


Hi there,

I have to wonder about Nash single-handedly turning the Suns into contenders. Last year's suns team was not healthy. Amare missed 21 games. Before the season, they were selected to finish 5th in the west by Bill Simmons, and I think if people had known they would be healthy they would have picked them higher

I find it very difficult to believe that a 31 year old point guard with the career numbers of Nick Van Exel single-handedly turned two all-stars and a defensive player of the year candidate, both of them young and having breakout seasons, into a winner.

In fact, it's Nash who's having the career year at age 31, not exactly the right time for a breakout season. And the team he left? They have a better record this year than last year. Maybe that's because Jason Terry has the career numbers of Nash?

I can't help but think that writers are just bored this year, and every year, with the idea of giving Shaquille O'Neal the MVP trophy- after all, couldn't he win every year? If so, then why hasn't he won more than once? Because of crap like this. Every year, there's another "breakout" player more valuable, but for five of the last six years, Shaquille O'neal makes it to the finals and gets turned away for the MVP trophy. Steve Nash will be the first non-hall of fame MVP winner and probably the one winner everyone looks back on and says "Now that's an injustice right there... Shaq was the most valuable all along."

The game turnaround from this season to last season as far as the lakers and heat go is dramatic. Figured in, even Nash's impact doesn't come close to edging O'Neals impact on a team that features the third best player and the backups of the 42-40 team. There's another bogus argument I keep reading. O'Neal inherited a playoff team. No, O'Neal was traded for a playoff team- Kobe Bryant got the best player on that team. You think Kobe has it rough playing with Odom, try being Shaq and playing with the backup of his backup.

I figured my award out this way: Which player really single-handedly turned their team into a winner?

Steve Nash
Udonis Haslem (Undrafted)
Damon Jones (Undrafted)
Eddie Jones
Dwayne Wade (Averaging 16.5 ppg, 4.5 assists when nash arrives)


... This team wouldn't make the playoffs. In fact, Bill Simmons claimed that Shaq couldn't make the playoffs with this team, that it was similar to the team that Kareem Abdul Jabbar couldn't even make the playoffs with.

But just looking at the roster of the suns, no one on earth should pick that team to finish less than 7th. And you put Shaq on that team? It's the first undefeated team in history.
I think everyone is just bored this year and delighted with the fantasy of giving the award to someone they know truly doesn't deserve it, the little guy, the guy no one will be talking about after he goes home in the second round as always... people just love to root for the little guy.
But I hope there are enough mentally stable people in the voting community to keep with the NBA tradition of electing only worthy hall-of-fame calibre players who truly do make a difference MVP. There has never been a steve nash in voting history and it would be bad for the NBA to start, and a travesty for players like John Stockton and Kevin Johnson, who had multiple seasons 100 times this good, to be overlooked for this award while Steve Nash gets it by default. His default? He's not Shaquille O'Neal.


Hi again,

I wanted to also comment on the quote by Jalen Rose, probably the single most moronic quote I've ever heard coming from the mouth of an NBA player, and I've listened to a lot of moronic quotes (A good many of them from Shaq himself).

The idea that Steve Nash is a better player than Shaquille O'Neal, and that there is some idiotic basketball definition that explains the difference between "most dominant" and "best" is just stupid. Just very, very stupid.

Anybody on earth who would compare Shaquille O'Neal and Steve Nash, this year or any other year on earth, and then say that they're going to build their team around Steve Nash because Steve Nash is better, then that person just has brain damage. There's no other way to explain that argument.

Nash- 0 rings
Shaquille O'Neal- 3 rings
Nash- Played in 0 finals different teams (One which hasn't won a playoff series since he left, and one that didn't make the playoffs this year after he left)

Nash- The career numbers of Nick Van Exel
Shaquille O'Neal- The career numbers of Shaquille O'Neal

Argue Nash for MVP all you want, but saying that Steve Nash is better than Shaquille O'Neal is the dumbest statement uttered in the NBA this year. And if you agree with it, remind me not to hire you as a scout for any team I start, cause anyone wanting to build around Nick Van Exel instead of Shaquille O'Neal doesn't deserve a job at all, much less a job in basketball.



Good Job... good insights THE PFIASCO

I am from "The City of Good Abode" and have just returned from there on yesterday. I cann not tell you how much it pains me to continually hear, read and see my birthplace suffer one besmearch after another. I was hearing and reading where even the new "Fedex Forum" is taking some heat because of what some of the experts consider to be less than professional grade amenities, parking and the like. Surely something imaginative and creative solution can be worked out for the Pyramid. I have never been inside, but it is such an attractive building from the outside that there has to be a way to make it viable. Your writer talks about how well the Tyson fight came off... okay use that angle. Get with Sugar Ray Leonard and Sly Stallone to host part of their tournament in conjuction with their reality series of "The Contender" there. Include a Boxing Hall of Fame inside. Offer a public available work-out gym with a boxing skills work-out as its central theme. Sign on with HBO or Showtime to be included in their regular rotation of hosting big events fights. Something...Anything! I am so tired of always hearing and bearing witness to Memphis being a sleepy little big city of bad taste, bad race relations (still!) bad business, bad schools and just overall bad karma.

I live in Houston and I was here when Memphis was being used by Bud Adams yearly for summer preseason games and psychological leverage with the public here for upgrading the deal for his Oilers franchise. After one of those games a local beat writer for a now-defunct newspaper came back and generally raked the city over the coals as not ready for big-time sports due to a...well, lack of basic sophistocation about such things is what it came down to. Of course, I bristled privately as did Al Dunning of The Commercial Appeal, publicly in a follow-up article. But it becomes less and less defensible, even when taking on a hack like Kenny Hand, when you see the kind of missteps so well chronicled over the years and in Mr. Willmott's article here. So when I was listening to the sports radio program where they went to Ron Tillery of CA and asked him his impression of Houston, and to hear him come back with "not a big fan..." I was thinking, "brutha Please..." It may be eternal summer here with sweltering heat and humidity for nine months out of the year and the traffic is abysmal and crime is a bit off the charts, so the city govermantal system is stupid with its two-year mayoral terms... yeah, there are some big city downfalls here. But you can go out here and get a really good dinner from any one of several different cultures: Soulfood, Chinese, Japanese, Laotion, Thai, French, Italian, Greek, Ghanian, Brazilian, Jamaican, Cuban, Mexican to name a few, and at an affordable price. The Superbowl is coming back here before the decade is out...count on it. The league and the fans, Jackson and Timberlake, all loved it here during the '04 game. Downtown is really a center of business and entertainment here. And oh yeah, they know how to dress up a skyline here... even when a bunch of crooks builds one and loses it to the exposure of their greed and corruption, theres always something else to move in. When the Rockets moved into Toyota Center and out of The Summit where they had been for over 25 years, it was only a short while before a new tenant was ready to take it over..and as soon the expansion is completed... Lakewood CHURCH is moving in! Yeah there is the matter of what to do with or about the Astrodome now that Reliant Stadium has supplanted it, the city and the county and the sports authority are studying just what is the best use of that facility. But even if it has to come down... it is forty years old now... so that wouldn't be such a waste.

I don't know where Ron Tillery is from... I know he's not a Memphis native... but he lives there now, and to talk about not being a "big fan" of Houston while living there is a bit misleading. I can feel the hot air blowing...all the way down here. And whereever it is he's from, he seems to have taken on the curse of his adoptive home... that of bad analysis and poor corrective action.

Ajax in H-Town


Why are Rep. Harold Ford Jr.'s votes surprising to anyone? His only principle is winning.


Mr. Willmott, in your very good piece on the Pyramid, you wrote:

"Call Gary Loveman at Harrah‰Ûªs. Beg him to take it off our hands for free. Let Harrah‰Ûªs do what they do best: make money. This Tomb of Doom would become the Gold Mine that all would have hoped for back in 1990. Take the normal gambling tax cut and kill two birds with one stone. While we‰Ûªre at it, why not make it the biggest and best sports book in the South? Think big for once, Memphis. That is the kind of shooting for the stars that got the Pyramid‰Ûªs finest sporting event‰ÛÓthe Mike Tyson fight."

"Harrah's"?, "sports book"?, "the Mike Tyson fight"?! Tell me you're joking. Though you were harsh and refreshingly truthful about the poor decisions undertaken by leaders that seem to be running Memphis further into the ground, the above comment seems to say you want more of the same sleazy, glitzy b.s. that Memphis stubbornly seem to think will bail it out. The city seems to fit the classic definition of insanity...doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. If the city follows your advice, you're only asking for yet another bad deal that does nothing more than "put a dress on the pig" and financially cripples the city even further.

Memphis city leaders in the public and private sector need to unite to demand emergency improvement in the fundamentals of curbing spending (largely by passing on bad deals), crime control, good public schools, and an openness to business that provides real jobs for more people. Until then, people who can leave will leave.

"Think big for once, Memphis"? I agree.

Craig Willingham


To Whom It May Concern:

Thank you for your letter to your Representative of the 9th District.
While you suggest he change party affiliation to win Bill Frist's Senate Seat in 2006, here's some reasons why he won't:

(1) I think Harold Ford, Sr. would disown him, if Uncle John hasn't already done so;

(2) He won't get Black voters if he runs as a Republican and the Republican Party has their own candidate primed to run against him. He's already pissed off the Democratic Base in Tennessee by his voting patterns and slumming with Bush.

He really is between a rock and a hard place: the Republicans say they want him but they really don't and the Democrats would like to get rid of him but really can't.

He is much better off sticking with his Congressional Seat as long as you will have him. Please sign me, "Sleepless In Oaktown."

Leutisha Stills

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