Astute observers long ago gave up hope that former-Sonic Vladimir Radmanovic would make something of his considerable basketball talent. But Vladi has been a consistent source of on- and off-court entertainment, driving coaches crazy with snowboarding injuries and ill-timed snacks.
Last May, I wrote that Vladi had found a "worthy foil" in the Lakers' Phil Jackson, who is "as hopelessly adolescent as Vladi." But Phil was just a warm-up for Vladi's main event. In his trade to the Charlotte Bobcats (for former Gonzaga star Adam Morrison), the perennial coach-tormentor has just found the perfect foil.Charlotte coach Larry Brown is one of the great grumpy old men in sports history. His laser fixation on "right way" basketball--slow-it-down, feed-the-post style--has earned him the ire of players as varied as Allen Iverson and Lebron James. He's done his best to break the spirits of rookies, from Jalen Rose to Darko Milicic to Channing Frye. And he is the only coach in recent memory--and perhaps ever--to have openly sabotaged a season, as he did with the 05-06 Knicks.
Vladi is everything Larry Brown hates in a player--he's lazy, plays smaller than he is, shoots long, ill-advised jumpers, and avoids defense and rebounding. Conversely, Brown is everything Vladi hates in a coach--a nagging, uptight, dispute-driven asshole.
It's a shame they couldn't have met earlier, when Brown had more fire in his belly and people still thought Vladi might become a star. But even now, in the sunset of their powers, theirs should be a battle for the ages.
Gentlemen, start your egos. You deserve each other, and we deserve the show.