Sad to say, but in today's world things that are supposed to change over a period of time always seem to stay the same.

Here are the Portland Trail Blazers with their early-season promotional campaign which, according to their advertising department, is designed to fill the seats in the Rose Garden "One Fan at a Time" and renew the flagging interest in the team, and what happens?

According to police reports two of their starting players; well, one a starter and the another a "whiner" because he isn't starting anymore, get busted for marijuana possession while being driven back to Portland after winning a game in Seattle.

Don't ask me what happened to taking the team-flight or riding home on the bus with the rest of the players.

Instead the "Dynamic Duo," Damon Stoudamire and Rasheed Wallace, opted to be chauffeured back to the Rose City in Stoudamire's Hummer by one of their "BoyZ 'N The Hood" buddies, while kicking back in the rig toking up a little "Maui Wowie" and congratulating one another on yet another hard-fought Blazer victory.

Unfortunately for them, they managed to get pulled over by the Washington State Patrol, probably as a result of the WSP's own campaign, "Drive Hammered, Get Nailed," and the rest, as they say, is history.

Unfortunate as well for the majority of the other players in the NBA who do care about the game that incidents like this seem to be occurring with increasing frequency these days, which ends up giving the entire league a bad image.

Does this sound to anyone like an instant replay from how things used to be in the old days of the Blazers?

Way to go guys, you sure have piqued the fans' interests now!

Fans and fellow teammates are always trying to hang nicknames on players, so try this one on for size.

How about "Cheech" Stoudamire and Rasheed "Chong"? Think the names will stick?

It's a long way from "Magic" and "Doctor J." but hey, times change.

Then we were treated to Bob "We Are Family" Whitsitt with his "well, it was an unfortunate incident and we will see how things play out and deal with it from there."

Deal?! Did someone mention a deal? What kind of deal? Dope dealers make "Deals," general managers Trade.

I thought some of the fans' comments on the local news broadcasts after the incident was reported were interesting.

One of them said she couldn't understand their behavior and commented that they were supposed to be professional athletes and this wasn't very professional behavior.

Another added that he couldn't figure out why they would pull a stunt like this seeing all the money they are making, and this was sort of like throwing away a very good-paying job.

Image and money, two facets of professional athletics that some players have a hard time dealing with.

As far as I'm concerned a lot of behavioral problems the NBA, and for that matter professional sports as a whole, is experiencing these days comes right down to a bunch of guys who are making the big bucks and all of a sudden they think of themselves as being bigger than the game itself.

It's become sort of a personal thing with them. To heck with the team, to heck with professional image, to heck with everything. It's a Me, Me, Me thing and I'm making the money, so what!

Maybe I'm wrong, but I was of the understanding that professional athletics, just like college and high school athletics, were team efforts.

At least they're supposed to be, particularly if you want to be a winner.

If you're not going to be a member of a team and direct all your efforts toward the overall good of the group, then maybe it's time for you to look for another line of work.

The "I'm Sorry" news conferences featuring supposedly humble players who show up to face the media wearing designer sweats and Navy "Watch Caps" ah la the Crenshaw Mafia to apologize for their mistakes, are getting old and the feigned sincerity just doesn't cut it anymore.

I don't have enough space in this column to address how some of the younger kids view professional athletes and what effect some of the things they see the "Pros" do has on them.

I think everything began circling the drain about the time Charles Barkley made the statement that he wasn't "a role model" for kids that Sports Illustrated and the television networks jumped all over, and things have been gathering momentum as they rolled downhill from there.

There was a youngster, about eight or nine years old, who was interviewed on television regarding the Stoudamire/Wallace incident who I thought summed it up best. The young lad said that Rasheed Wallace had been his role model but because of what had happened, he still respected him as a player but he was no longer a role model for him.

That's sad, and it should be a wake-up call for some of you outlaws that the fans have got you guys figured out.

Then, less than a week later, Ruben Patterson gets arrested on a felony domestic assault charge for allegedly beating on his wife in front of their two children.

When will it ever end?

It's about to the point to where the Blazers don't need a head coach anymore, they need a parole officer.

Here's something Whitsitt might consider for team "improvement."

Not too long ago, there was a buzz in the media as to whether Allen Iverson should be traded.

Of course, swap him to Portland.

He'd fit right in with the other criminals, drug dealers and sex offenders the Trail Blazers already have on their roster!

Anyone with comments about "On My Side of the Plate" can contact Tim Adams by calling 575-0710 or by e-mail at tim@bluemountaineagle.com.

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