Thrilla in Vanilla Is a Killa
Seems that Sacramento Kings point guard Jason Williams, a/k/a White Chocolate, or the “white kid with the hip-hop game,” as Sports Illustrated put it in a rookie-year rave, has some . . . racial issues. Last week the league fined Williams $15,000 for what it blandly described as “profanity directed at fans” at a Kings-Warriors game in Oakland. But on Wednesday, longtime Golden State season ticket holder Michael Ching revealed that the actual exchange—which began with some low-level trash talk (Ching told Williams to “get used to sitting on the bench”)—culminated in Williams calling him a “slant-eyed motherfucker,” and telling Ching and those sitting near him (another Asian American guy and a Vietnamese American woman), “I will shoot all you Asian motherfuckers. Do you remember the Vietnam War? I’ll kill y’all just like that.” According to the Sacramento Bee, J-Will made like he had a machine gun and “emitted a rat-a-tat-tat sound,” adding, for good measure, “Just like Pearl Harbor.”
After being fined, Williams said, “People say all types of things to me, curse words, talk about weed, everything. They can get personal with me, but I can’t get personal with them, I guess. Hopefully, I’ll learn my lesson one of these times.” And teammate Jabari Smith later said, “I didn’t hear J-Will say anything racist to these guys.” Still, other fans sitting near Ching confirmed his account to the Oakland Tribune, and Kings suits are reportedly steamed. A couple seasons after SI compared Williams to Elvis, last week’s diatribe casts some more doubt on White Chocolate’s once touted role as the crossover kid—the one who would unite New Jack and Chuck Taylor basketball fans in what seems to many an increasingly racially tense sport. Unless, of course, J-Will’s crossover model is actually Eminem: The Kings star also reportedly asked Ching, “Are you gay?” and “Are you a fag?”
Though his Pride were sent packing by UCLA last week, Hofstra headman Jay Wright is still alive in CollegeInsider.com’s “2001: A Fashion Odyssey,” the NCAA tournament of coach’s attire. Wright is a top seed on this “Runway to the Fashionable Four,” where he is the two-time defending champion.
In the Fashion Field of 65, competitors are pared down—from the full bracket to the “Sexy Sixteen,” the “Elegant Eight,” and, eventually, the “Terrific Two”—in one-on-one competitions, which are decided by CollegeInsider’s fashion maven Angela Lento. On April 1, “America’s Best Dressed Coach” will be announced. And while local colleges haven’t fared so well in the Big Dance, NY coaches are looking strong in this “Catwalk Contest.”
Jeff Ruland of Iona, for instance, fell to Mississippi in the first round last week—and he might not seem like Mr. GQ—but according to Lento, “his suits are all tailor made. He says he has better fabric than the other coaches.” Ruland, who admits that his wife coordinates his outfits, is the No. 3 seed in the West bracket and has already eliminated Valpo’s Homer Drew. Next up: his former boss, Tim Welsh of Providence.
The “Soprano-esque” Wright, meanwhile, with the West’s No. 2 seed, took out his mentor, Cleveland State’s Rollie Massimino, the Imelda Marcos of college hoops. “He has more shoes than God,” quips Lento. Wright’s next foe is No. 10 seed Bobby Jones of St. Francis-PA.
While many in the Fashion Odyssey are shining their shoes at home, several classy coaches find themselves still alive in both competitions—Cincy’s Bob Huggins, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, ‘Zona’s Lute Olson, Maryland’s Gary Williams, and Kentucky’s Tubby Smith are all still working their sartorial splendor on the actual sidelines. The tempestuous Huggins (No. 4, Midwest) caught Lento’s eye when he eschewed the mock-turtleneck look for a dapper three-piece getup. Coach K (No. 8, East) wins points for his always-pressed conservative dark suits. Olson (No. 4, West), who Lento compares to Paul Newman, wins points for his signature double-breasted blue sport coat. Meanwhile, Williams (No. 11, East) looks downright presidential in his dark suits. And with his selection of 25 to 30 suits, Smith (No. 4, South) looks good, too, despite the fact that he removes his jacket too early during games—a clear fashion foul according to Lento.
She notes that the sometimes unruly Ruland wins points for keeping his jacket on.
Silent Hoosier bus
Lotus leaves stuck to windshield
Bobby Knight’s white smile
Fog on Chapel Hill
Tar Heel tears on bamboo mat
Empty sake cup
Contributors: Andrew Hsiao, Jon Hart, Brian Parks
Sports Editor: Miles D. Seligman