The Antoine Walker Era was one of the most depressing in the history of Boston sports — having to root for that guy was like having to be a groomsman at your sister's jailhouse wedding to a shoplifter with a club foot.
BOUNCE PASS Ball hog Antoine Walker doesn't like to pass — except when it comes to bad checks
Walker was an immensely talented athlete with the basketball brains of a turnip — seeing him forcibly paired up by management with a gifted, dedicated, tough-as-nails star like Paul Pierce was an utter travesty. In important game after important game, Pierce would take the team two steps forward and 'Toine would take it one back, jacking up off-balance 28-footers (Clanggg!) or trying insane 59-foot bounce passes on the break that would end up 10 rows in the stands. Walker would miss four shots in a row down the stretch and then wiggle his ass like he just invented the light bulb after one finally went in — he was an infuriating, frustrating athlete whose two tours with the Green were an extremely uncomfortable experience for fans, at best.
For the last few years, Walker's been riding out his time as a bloated contract whose biggest utility was in helping teams match up trade deals. He fell out of the league last winter and now has progressed to the next stage of his career — that of a former star on a steep downward curve. He got busted for a DUI earlier this year, and is headed for greater ignominy after being hauled out of a casino in handcuffs last week. It seems 'Toine was bouncing checks all around Vegas: he obtained markers by writing 10 checks totaling $1 million to Caesar's Palace, Planet Hollywood, and the Red Rock Resort. Walker apparently paid back a portion of the debt, but now owes the Las Vegas DA's office something like $82,000 in fees for executing his warrant. That takes his total tab to $822,500, good enough for three felony charges and the possibility of some serious time. As bad as he was here, let's hope this gets cleared up. Give him 24 points for this nonviolent but still quite grand-in-scale crime.
So there are some places in America where the B&E is not the best way to make money. Burglary in Winchester, Massachusetts? Go right ahead — the silver's in the top drawer in the kitchen. Boosting TVs from a living room in Chappaqua, New York? You can back your pickup right to the door: no pit bulls here, just a Peekapoo and a couple of parakeets.
But breaking and entering in rural Arkansas is a dangerous business. It might go well, and you just might make it out alive with a case of Bud, a baggie of cloudy meth, 16 single dollar bills, and some copper from the kitchen piggy bank. But the more likely outcome is you make it two steps inside the front door and some ex-Marine lights you up with a .22, launching a piece of your liver clear across the yard onto the next-door neighbor's mailbox.
Arkansas State cornerback Paul Stephens apparently found this out the hard way last week, as he entered a house in Jonesboro in the middle of the night and ended up getting shot in the midsection by an angry resident. When police arrived at the scene, 25-year-old Antonio Williams told them that someone had tried to break into his house, and that he'd shot the would-be intruder. Cops then found out that Stephens, a starting d-back for the ASU Red Wolves, had been treated at a local hospital for a gunshot wound to the midsection. He was promptly arrested and charged.
Stephens was kicked off the team soon thereafter, although coach Steve Roberts did offer him wishes for "good health and a speedy recovery from his injury." Give him our regards as well — plus 38 points on our board.
Matt Taibbi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.