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Tuesday, March 4, 2003
20 signs your NBA team is tankin'

Page 2 staff

Maybe Bimbo Coles is just a little bitter. Or maybe NBA teams really do want LeBron James badly enough to deliberately lose games.

Bimbo Coles
Bimbo Coles says the Cavs were giving closer to 100 percent than the required 110.
When he was released by Cleveland last week, Coles said that the 11-48 Cavaliers are dumping games to increase their odds of landing the top pick in the 2003 NBA draft ... and the franchise savior in King James that comes with it.

"As much as they say they're not trying to lose games to be in the LeBron James race, it's obvious they're trying to lose games," said Coles, who implied it's all part of management's master plan. "And that shows they're not very loyal to the players, especially to the veterans that deserved better. If this was the direction they were going in from the beginning of the season, they should've made that clear to the veteran guys so we could've moved on. It was so unprofessional."

So, should we trust a man named Bimbo? Are the Cavs just awful ... or are they working hard to "earn" the league's best record?

As a service to fans of the NBA's downtrodden, Page 2 offers its list of 20 signs that your team might be tanking games ... and we'll let you make the final call:

1. Franchise player holds press conference and asks, "What are we talking about? Games? We're talking about games, man? (laughter)"

2. Front office signs Isaiah Rider to a 10-day contract; discusses bringing in Manute Bol "to counter Yao Ming."

LeBron James
If your team already has a parking spot reserved for LeBron, it ain't a good sign.
3. In postgame interviews, players speak of giving "100 percent" effort. Please -- everyone knows that "110 percent" is the accepted minimum.

4. After losses, players give mad props to their "Chief Evil Spirit" and "Dark Lord, Beelzebub."

5. Starting five demands press refer to them as "little people," not midgets.

6. Coach implements sophisticated "Parallelogram Passing" offense.

7. First 10 turnovers choreographed by Debbie Allen.

8. Players appear in PETA's "I'd Rather Lose To The Lowly Nuggets Than Wear Fur" campaign.

9. Coach's pregame talk consists mostly of railing on about what a bastard "the Gipper" was.

10. Team's leading rebounder is dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers for an autographed, poster-sized photo of Jeanie Buss, holding a pair of basketballs in a strategic location.

11. Their favorite play is the pick and rollover.

12. Coach sends out star player to stand in the lane for the mascot's trampoline-dunk act.

13. Throwback Night features the home team wearing Washington Generals uniforms.

14. Hummer-sized parking space appears outside player's entrance.

15. Mysterious four-point line appears on opponents' end of court.

16. Ignore Shaq, instead employing the curious Hack-a-Horry philosophy.

17. They trade for Vin Baker.

18. Billy Joel asked to sing the national anthem ... and drive the team bus.

19. Star center visits the Gold Club while in Atlanta and suffers a "groin injury" that sidelines him for two weeks.

20. Your point guard is named "Bimbo" and even he can see through your plan.