Rony Seikaly plays basketball for the right reasons, or that's what he likes to say.
He doesn't need the money. His father is a multimillionaire shipping magnate from Lebanon. Rony could play for free. He was a millionaire before he joined the NBA."What I tell people is I play the game for the right reasons," Seikaly told a reporter last year," - for competitiveness, the camaraderie, the playing and competing. That's why I said last year was not fun for me and I didn't need to play, I could just leave. People think because I can leave the game anytime, because I don't need the money, I won't be motivated. But I thrive on the competitiveness and beating the odds."
It's nice to know that Seikaly plays for the right reasons. All you have to do is decide what the right reasons are.
Seikaly killed the dream trade Wednesday that would have sent him from the Magic to the Jazz. In other words, he chose to remain with a losing team rather than play side by side with two Hall of Famers on a team that made it to the NBA Finals last year.
When Seikaly tells people he plays the game for the right reasons, apparently he does not mean winning.
Nor does he mean championships.
By killing the trade, Seikaly refused to live up to the deal he had signed with the Magic, which held the right to do with him as they pleased while paying him a boatload (so to speak) of money.
When Seikaly tells people he plays the game for the right reasons, he does not mean playing to honor a contract, even one that pays $4 million a year.
When Seikaly tells people he plays the game for the right reasons, he also does not really mean competitiveness, camaraderie and - what was it he said? - beating the odds. When things got tough with Golden State and Miami, he got going. He demanded to be traded. When the Jazz offered him a chance to be competitive, he balked.
When Seikaly tells people he plays the game for the right reasons, he means he plays when it's convenient and he's in the right mood. He means he plays when everything is going his way - smooth sailing, a shipping magnate would say. When the Warriors were struggling, he demanded to be traded again and made life miserable for everybody until he got his way. He finally refused to report to the team and was suspended. In both Miami and Golden State, teammates and fans criticized him for his lackadaisical play.
When Seikaly tells people he plays the game for the right reasons, he means playing when the opponent is soft or when the game isn't on the line. Teammates in Miami reportedly used to wager on what injury Seikaly would come up with to get out of having to face Shaquille O'Neal.
When Seikaly tells people he plays the game for the right reasons, he means playing for a coach that suits him. When Seikaly didn't want to play for coach Kevin Loughery and the Heat anymore, he demanded to be traded.
When Seikaly tells people he plays the game for the right reasons, he means money, even though he might say otherwise. There is some indication that he wants more moola from the Jazz, pardon the inconvenience of a contract and so on. Maybe he needs a new boat.
When Seikaly tells people he plays the game for the right reasons, he means he will demand to be traded when his team doesn't want to trade him and kill a trade when his team wants to trade him.
In short, Seikaly (and at this point we might as well try to find every reason to be happy he's NOT coming to Utah - since he's not) is a rat. When the ship was going down at Golden State and Miami, he scampered over the side to get out. He pouted like a schoolgirl when he was angry. He loafed on the court.
He played like a spoiled millionaire brat - or the son of a rich shipping magnate. When things don't go his way, he'll take his ball and go home. Remember what he said? That's why I said last year was not fun for me and I didn't need to play, I could just leave.
Now the word is he's threatening to go to Greece for a couple of years if the Jazz don't back off the trade.
Is this a guy the Jazz really want? Is this a guy who could play alongside Karl Malone and John Stockton? Give us Chris Morris back. All is forgiven.
Everyone hailed the Seikaly trade as the deal that would make the Jazz great. Bah. That's what they said when he went to the Warriors. At the time, George Karl, the Sonics coach, noted that it would make the Warriors "legit. This changes everything." It didn't. Is it a coincidence that every team Seikaly has played for has been a loser? When Seikaly tells people he plays the game for the right reasons, he means he plays for a team in Florida, preferably close to a major theme park. Cold weather is not an option.
When Seikaly tells people he plays the game for the right reasons, he means doing what he wants, when he wants, how he wants. It means he'll kill a trade even after telling Karl Malone and John Stockton he can't wait to play with them and after saying all the right things for 24 hours and letting an entire city celebrate his coming. It means he'll allow two longtime members of the Jazz family to be traded for him, only to leave them stuck in an Orlando hotel room Wednesday night calling their old Jazz bosses to ask what's going on, only to face the embarrassment of returning to the team that rejected them.
It means all that because, as you can see, Rony Seikaly plays the game for the right reasons.