Earl Boykins with Gheorghe Muresan
When the Wizards walked to the locker room at halftime aginst the Pistons, I suddenly thought I was going to get a chance to snap an iconic television photography image of Earl Boykins with Gheorghe Muresan. As you well know, there's already an iconic image of previous short-and-tall Bullets teammates Muggsy Bogues and Manute Bol, and now Boykins was walking right past Big Gheorghe.
But alas. Caron Butler was too dang tall, and he blocked any possible view of Boykins. I promise you that he's in this image, right where that arrow points.
So instead, some quotes from Wiz teammates about Boykins, via Comcast SportsNet.
"He's a pleasure to have out there," Caron Butler said.
"Earl Boykins is amazing," Brendan Haywood said. "Five-three or whatever he is, what he's able to do out there on the court is amazing to me."
"Me and Earl played together our second year [in Golden State]," Gilbert Arenas said. "We went from 19 wins to 40 wins and the only addition was me and him, so we play well together. I think he's gonna help us this season." (I believe it was 21 wins to 38 wins, but close enough.)
Anyhow, I went back and read clips from when the Warriors signed Boykins in November of 2002 and suddenly everyone loved him. Two of the primary lovers were teammates Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison.
Dec. 1: "Earl's the difference right now," Arenas said. "We've had more energy than in the past, and Earl brings great performances out of everybody."
Dec. 2: "He's like the Energizer bunny," Jamison said.
Dec. 2: ""He's brought life to this team," Arenas said.
Dec. 19: "He's been a sparkplug since Day One," Jamison said. "He probably has the biggest heart in the league."
Jan. 3: "He just stepped up and let us have it," Arenas said, describing how Boykins chewed the team out during practice. "You respect it when a guy like that says something, even though he hasn't been with the team for very long. You just look at him, and you know he knows a lot about toughness. Now, it's like that on the court, too. Whenever he comes out, everybody looks to him and says, 'Oh, it's Earl! Let's see what he can do!' "
Jan 22: We're both doing a great job, no matter what position you put us in," Arenas said. "It's a great opportunity for someone like him to back me up, because we're both point guards, and we both can score if you need that. We both do the same job and you can run the same plays for either one of us."
April 17: "At the beginning of the season we lost eight straight and were one-and-something," Arenas said. "Then Earl came and gave us that extra spark for the season. You could see it in the first game against San Antonio. We were hanging in against good teams. Then you see Earl and you pick up on what he does."
Then there are the short stories. I'll take two from that season; the first appearing in the Oakland Tribune:
When Boykins was 3 years old, his dad and friends were in the recreation center parking lot talking trash when [his dad] put Boykins in a gym bag to keep him warm. He also once stashed Boykins in the bag to save on the kids' entrance fee to the center.
And then there was this, from Phil Taylor in Sports Illustrated.
Boykins is usually willing to smile, along with everyone else, about his size. In Cleveland he gave his approval to a promotion in which everyone his height or shorter was admitted to the game for $5-50. But there is a limit to his good humor. After the Warriors' public address system began playing It's a Small World when he was at the foul line, he put his size-9 foot down. "It's just about respect," Boykins says.
After that season, Boykins signed with Denver and Arenas landed in Washington. We'll see if he starts yelling at the Wizards and inspiring Arenas and Jamison again.
(Bonus image: Andray Blatche enjoying the Terps' home opener on Friday night. What is it with these Wizards and the Pirates?)
Posted by: GC4Life | November 16, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.