“The way I look at it is if that’s the case (people are mocking me), then—and no disrespect—you’d have to be an idiot. That I won some contest to be in the NBA? Or that I don’t have to fight every day? That I’m not the first guy on the floor and the first in the weight room and the last to leave? That I haven’t been waking up 5:30 my whole life to train? I’d have to think you’d are an idiot to think I’m a joke. They might, which would be disappointing. Maybe it is that. But I know why I’m here.”
—Brian Scalabrine, from Sam Smith’s must-read profile of him on Bulls.com.
You may have seen Scalabrine as the human victory cigar at the end of the bench, the guy just lucky to be there. But it wasn’t luck. There was a reason that Tom Thibodeau wanted the Bulls to go get him when he went to Chicago from Boston. There was a reason Kevin Garnett loved him as a teammate, and Jason Kidd the same things back when the Nets reached the finals. He worked hard and was a great teammate. He didn’t get there just because he won the genetic lottery, he got there with effort.
Right now it may be the end, Sacabrine wants to be picked up for another season but is not finding offers. He does have offers to do television, but he wants to stay in the game.
If this is it, he has had a 10-year NBA career and made $20 million in salary. But sure, he’s the joke.