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Old 07-20-2010, 06:06 PM   #2
04mzwach
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Default Re: Rashad McCants Article

cont.
Quote:
McCants, meanwhile, wonders how a player can "get $25 million for being just a shooter," or why guys with criminal records -- McCants has never been arrested or suspended -- somehow get more consideration than he does. "I'm out of the league because of facial expressions?" he asks. "Players get arrested or demand trades, and I'm the one they call difficult?"
It's not easy being the guy who frowned himself out of the NBA.
"They say I don't smile," McCants says. "Does that make me a bad person?" In his eyes he's done everything asked of a good teammate. He sees none of the accountability issues everyone else can't stop talking about. What coaches label as sulking McCants says is just being quiet. "Management doesn't see how well I get along with my teammates when we're hanging out together," he says. "They're not interested in that."
So for now he remains in an unusual and scary place: outside looking in. He's 25, jobless and lugging around a toxic rep in the midst of an unforgiving economy. "He has to grow out of his old mentality," says McHale. "If he doesn't, he won't play in this league again."
McCants lives quietly by himself in a two-bedroom apartment in an upscale complex in LA. An Xbox 360 is connected to a 42-inch, swivel-mounted plasma. On a coffee table in front of a gray velour couch, next to a folded half-eaten bag of cool ranch Doritos, lies a threadbare copy of the Nov. 22, 2004, issue of Sports Illustrated. The cover line reads, "Mystery Man." McCants, in his UNC uni, is the subject.
The flesh-and-blood McCants wears basketball shorts and a white tank top. He adjusts his Yankees cap (one of six he owns) and plops down into a chair that matches the couch. It's six weeks into the 2009-10 NBA season and the muted plasma is tuned to SportsCenter. Subs he once shared minutes with now provide the nightly highlights. Any bravado from his playing days is long gone. "I don't watch the NBA," he says in a voice soft and direct. "I haven't reached the point where I can do that."
He hits rewind on a couple of recent humbling experiences. It's the summer of '09 and McCants is growing anxious over a lack of offers, so he undertakes a quest for answers. "I've heard nothing but bad things about you," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra tells him in the midst of an informal run in Miami. At the Vegas Summer League, Mike D'Antoni says he can't give McCants a shot for fear he'd poison the Knicks' locker room. Tar Heel blood brothers Larry Brown and George Karl barely give him the time of day. Some GMs won't even get on a conference call with him. "Everybody said I wasn't a good fit," he says with genuine sadness. "It felt like I had nowhere to turn. It felt like I died."


One final ray of hope quickly vanished. McCants worked out for the Mavericks, and afterward coach Rick Carlisle asked him to see a psychiatrist. "To find out what was wrong with me," McCants says sarcastically. It was the third time a coach had made such a request. During his freshman year at UNC, coach Matt Doherty sent him to see a "friend" who happened to be a shrink. McCants says 10 minutes into the first visit he was told, "There's absolutely nothing wrong with you." Yet, the next season, new Tar Heels coach Roy Williams asked McCants again to make an appointment.
Sye Williams/ESPN The Magazine"Just because I'm not chipper," McCants says, "like I just drank a pot of coffee, doesn't mean I'm a bad guy."

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