In the span of two days, two articles from two different news sources report how disgruntled and disillusioned leaders of the Warriors squad found their way back to their team and teammates with the help of their girlfriends. As the typical narrative goes around Golden State, once loved players get fed up by the turmoil, outstay their welcome, and force their way out of the organization. These two stories of Andris Biedrins and Monta Ellis' new found outlook, however, show a different side that shows their personal "maturation", guided by their loving girlfriends (Monta Ellis wed over the summer and Biedrins is engaged). With that said, should players' girlfriends be a larger part of the Warriors organization?
Sam Amick of NBA Fanhouse writes that Biedrins has put last season behind him and is now ready to move on. But one of the final lines that Amick writes is quite specific of the extra-basketball activities that Biedrins is letting go of, in addition to all the drama between him and recently resigned Warriors head coach, Don Nelson:
Biedrins was engaged to be married this summer, too, a step he admits has slowed down his propensity for nightlife and helped him hone in on his game. And now, quite clearly, he's wed to the notion that he's officially back.
Hmmm, so maybe some of this drama within Golden State was self-inflicted by his own temptations of Bay Area nightlife. Is this an unspoken reason why Biedrins was nicknamed "Goose"? And is this new outlook on life, as a possibly married man in the near future, why his teammates are calling him "Dre"? The shift from "Goose" to "Dre" could be huge and I wonder if at all Biedrins, when injured, was hanging with Anthony Randolph, who had been penalized by the organization for hitting up clubs when he should have been sitting courtside supporting his teammates even when he was injured.
Similarly, Monta Ellis' wife, Juanika Ellis, was reason for Monta's changing attitude towards his equally diminutive (size-wise) backcourt partner Stephen Curry. Yesterday, Marcus Thompson reported:
Juanika is a Memphis police officer who is six years older than Ellis, who turns 25 later this month. She didn't go along with whatever Ellis said and had no problem "putting me in my place when I needed to be put into place," he said.
She told Ellis he was wrong for saying he couldn't play with point guard Stephen Curry and advised him to apologize. She implored Ellis to let go of his beef with the organization, that he was only hurting himself by carrying that weight.
"She has been so good for him," assistant coach Stephen Silas said.
Ellis admitted it took a while for him buy in. Eventually, he did.
"It's always good to have that person, that better half, to keep you grounded," Ellis said. "It's great to have that someone you can sit down and have that comfort with. All that partying and stuff, I did that. It wasn't successful for me. I just go home to a peaceful house. It's just lovely right now."
The emphasis is mine on the last few sentences. But Ellis and Biedrins public confessions of putting in the past their "partying and stuff" is so interesting, mostly because you rarely hear professional athletes admit to their own vices as a potential problem in their professional lives.
With that said, we need to get the players' significant others more involved so we can avoid all this inner turmoil, the only reason why the Warriors seem to make headlines nationally. More importantly, it gets the players out of the clubs and focused. Can we expect other teams in the NBA to begin bringing players' girlfriends and wives into the fold?