01-30-2006, 10:28 AM
If anyone can post the article of the front page of ESPN NBA please. It's about Chris Anderson.
http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/columns/story?columnist=sheridan_chris&id=2311952&action=login&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fnba %2finsider%2fcolumns%2fstory%3fcolumnist%3dsherida n_chris%26id%3d2311952
01-30-2006, 10:37 AM
'Birdman' has colorful past but poignant present
By Chris Sheridan
By the time Chris Andersen is eligible to return to the NBA, his arms should be as colorful as those alternate road uniforms he used to wear for the Hornets.
There's a fascinating human interest story behind the first player banned from the league for a major drug policy violation since Stanley Roberts in 1999.
Andersen is the son of a second-generation Motor Maid, a woman who grew up on Harley-Davidson motorcycles who probably could tell you where Sturgis is before she could tell you who Stockton was. She brought young Chris along when she went for her first orchid tattoo, later adding hummingbirds and butterflies, and Andersen returned the favor the first time he had ink injected under his skin.
But Andersen spent 3½ of his formative years without his mother. His father, an artist, put him and his sister, Tamie, into a group home when he was 11. It was either that or a military school, because dad was heading off to New York to try to sell his paintings.
Andersen's mother, Linda, regained custody after initially being unable to find them and brought them back to rural east Texas, where she'd pick 14-year-old Chris up from school on her chopper. Andersen's mom took her Harleys seriously, mind you, because it ran in the family. She claims that her mother (Andersen's grandmother) was riding the back of a Harley when pregnant with her.
Andersen eventually became one of 34 members of the Class of '97 at Iola High School, and after a year and a half of community college he ditched his letter of commitment to Clyde Drexler's University of Houston Cougars and decided to go for the money by playing professionally in China, where he faced Yao Ming before hardly anyone in America had heard of him.
Andersen eventually played minor league ball in North Dakota and New Mexico before the Nuggets saw him and liked him in a summer league tryout. Known as "The Birdman," he was a hit with the free-spirited home fans in Denver and later New Orleans and Oklahoma City, and gained some national fame, or shame, by missing his first seven attempts at the dunk contest in Denver last year. (A year earlier, he spiked his hair for the dunk contest in L.A.)
Andersen apparently failed a drug test last week, testing positive for one of the so-called "drugs of abuse" (including heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, LSD and PCP) that bring an automatic two-year banishment.
No one has said exactly which substance Andersen tested positive for, but the players' union has filed a grievance on his behalf. Citing strict confidentiality rules that have cost high-ranking people their jobs when breached in the past, the union has not even disclosed the grounds for Andersen's appeal.
Under league rules, the four-year, $14 million contract Andersen signed over the summer is now null and void. If his dismissal is upheld and he misses two seasons, the Hornets will have first dibs on Andersen should he be reinstated. If they were to want to bring him back, they'd have to tender him a contract at his old salary of $3.5 million.
Not to be trite, but it really is a shame how Andersen just pissed away more than $12 million. He seemed like a good guy every time I spoke to him. We once discussed the specifics of his tattoos, how one arm was tattooed with the Chinese symbols for good, the other with the symbols for bad. He also had the outlines of a few new tattoos on his arms and shoulders, explaining to me how it was an ongoing process to have all the colors filled in. He expected it to take years, but I guess he'll have the extra time for it now.
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