Etan Thomas on the Wiz, B. Haywood on Etan
No more Etan-vs.Brendan. The series ends at three. But they had dueling local media experiences over the past 24 hours, and one of them landed a few final shots, just for nostalgia purposes. That would be Haywood, talking to Comcast SportsyNet's Chris Miller, via Truth About It:
I'm definitely sad to see Darius Songaila go, because he did a lot for our team. He played out of position all year long, never complained...was a true warrior. So I think a lot of guys will be sad to see him go. But besides that, I think it's great for our team."
Jab. Haywood said the deal "pushes us over the top," and that the Wiz can now compete in the East, and that "I'm about to go in the gym and just shoot by myself, I'm so hyped about this trade," and that "this is a move, if you're a Wizards fan, you have to love." So he liked it. And then he blogged his guts out at Yardbarker, writing that "On a sad note, we're sad to see Darius Songaila leave our team." Uppercut. Also, jeez, what did Pech ever do to you?
Meantime, Etan Thomas dropped in on ESPN 980's John Thompson Show this afternoon, and he was everything that you'd expect: reflective, appreciative, guarded, and pretty earnest about the whole leaving D.C. thing. He described his trade to Minnesota as "a win-win for both teams," said his health is fine, said he told Ernie Grunfeld he understood why moves needed to be made and that he had no hard feelings, and he praised the heck out of this city.
"It was a blessing" to play for the Wiz, he said. "Like I said, both of my kids were born here. I've been here for a while. I've seen when MJ was here. I've gone through a whole process. I've seen the team change and form and grow with different guys, I've seen guys come and leave. It's been a great process. I really like this city, and I'm not just saying that. I'm still deeply connected here, and I'm still gonna be doing a lot of the work that I've been doing here. None of that's gonna change. I'll just be playing for a different team."
When asked what he'd miss most about the Wiz locker room, Thomas said something about how many funny characters the team has, which is true, but not necessarily a ringing endorsement. (And Thomas, obviously, never figured much into the tomfoolery.) When asked if Gilbert's a leader, Thomas said he "tries to lead by example as far as his work ethic," and then stopped talking. But he did have two interesting answers to questions about Gil. First, concerning his health:
"He's working hard," Thomas said. "Every time you see him in the gym, he brags about how much weight he's lost and the workout he's doing, and he wants to put up his shirt and say, 'Look, my stomach's starting to look like yours.' I'm like, 'All right Gilbert, that's good.' He's excited. He can't wait. He has that itch, and I think he's gonna do fine. He's really pushing himself, and now he's pushing himself and he's healthy, he's not pushing himself and he's not healthy. He's past the rehab part, and he's pushing himself getting him back in playing form."
And even better, here's what he said when asked about playing with Gilbert.
"Oh, he was a good teammate," Thomas said. "He's interesting because he's also somebody that kind of changes with the people he's dealing with. You know, I'm sure he doesn't have the same approach to me that he has to some of the other guys, so I see him in different ways. He knows that I'm not so much as interested in certain things [videogamespracticaljokesblingphenomenalswagand14yearoldwhiteboys], so he'll have different types of conversations with me. You know, like during the election, he'd talk to me about the elections a lot. I mean, he doesn't' talk to the other guys too much about that. So it just kind of changes.
"But he's a guy that wants to be liked. That's one of the things that I've seen from him, he wants to be liked, and he wants everybody to work as hard as he works. That's pretty much the main things that I've seen from him. All the other stuff, that's just Gilbert being Gilbert."
And since this might be the final post of my career that involves Etan Thomas and Brendan Haywood, let's dip into the archives for one more quote, just for a little more pleasant nostalgia.
"Three fights, man, that's a lot for two guys huh?" Haywood said at the team's 2007 media day. "Ali and Frazier only fought three times, that's got to be the end for me and Etan. I think at the end of the day we both have mutual respect...and I think we realize at the end of the day we're embarrassing ourselves, our team and our family every time we go out there and act silly. You can always talk something out before you fight, you can't just get mad and try to fight somebody. He's a peace activist, he can't do that anyway."
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