Kenny Anderson enjoyed a solid fourteen-year NBA career but he never reached the heights that were predicted for him when he was labeled a basketball prodigy at Archbishop Molly High School in the late 1980s.
He easily could have become one of the many pro athletes who have tragic endings because of the number of poor decisions he made but thankfully that did not happen.
Kenny is now telling his life story in a new documentary that opens next Wednesday at Manhattan’s IFC Center titled “Mr. Chibbs.” The movie’s motto is “Basketball is easy but life is hard” and in his case it’s the absolute truth.
From the film’s opening scene in which he candidly discusses being fired from a coaching position from a South Florida Jewish day school as the result of a DUI conviction It then segues into a discussion of his finances in which he admits that he lost millions of dollars of his earnings through no one’s fault but his own and he makes it clear that he doesn’t blame his financial advisers as many athletes do. He even admits that when he landed his second NBA contract, which was very lucrative, it diminished his work ethic. Few athletes ever fess up to that.
The most memorable scene of the film to me was when he was discussing sex with one of his sons and demands that he always wear a condom wen being intimate with a girl. “Don’t worry, dad. I am not going to have eight kids like you did,” his son replied. Child support has taken an economic toll on Anderson.
It’s clear that the hardest moments for Kenny in the film are not the mistakes he committed but rather discussing his late mother, Joan. He clearly loved his mom but he admits that she was an addict, promiscuous, and used him as a virtual ATM during his NBA career.
It was his mom who gave him the made-up nickname Mr. Chibbs. Kenny told me in a phone interview last Friday that the name had nothing to do with either a play on the name of Sidney Poitier’s Mr. Tibbs film character or the old Mr. Chips brand of cookies. He told me that he wouldn’t have agreed to this film if she were still alive.
Queens is an important character in this film. Director Jill Campbell wisely shied away from showing old NBA footage of his career and opted instead to shoot Kenny revisiting Lefrak City and reuniting with childhood friends; talking to basketball players on the current Archbishop Molloy team while sharing his memories of his coach and mentor, the late Jack Curran; and poignantly waiting for a train at the Woodhaven Blvd. station.
“Mr. Chibbs” is a solid film that has you rooting for the likable Anderson in his quest to become a better person.
The Tribeca Film Festival finishes up this weekend and Saturday is when the bulk of their sports films will be shown to the public. Kenny Anderson told me that he wanted “Mr. Chibbs” to be part of Tribeca but he and his director, Jill Campbell, couldn’t guarantee that the documentary would be finished in time for the festival submission deadline.
Last Tuesday was the 2017 tax filing deadline for those not seeking extensions and Mets general manager Sandy Alderson made a quip to the media in the Mets dugout about taxes. I asked him if a free agent player’s negotiator had ever demanded more money for playing in New York because of both the New York State and New York City taxation of individual incomes whereas states as Texas and Florida don’t impose income taxes on its residents. “Surprisingly that has not been an issue for me. Of course the teams that play in those states (Marlins, Rays, Astros, and Rangers) are not known for going after high-ticket free agents.” Alderson replied.
Of course things could change if Las Vegas ever gets a Major League Baseball franchise and has a wealthy owner such as Sheldon Adelson. Nevada is another state without an income tax.
Since we were discussing the financial aspects of player compensation, I asked Sandy if players were aware of the concept of present value with respect to multi-year contracts. “Bobby Bonilla sure does!” he said with a smile. At the start of the millennium the Mets gave Bonilla a choice of accepting a lump sum or opting for an annuity that would pay him $1,000,000 per year through 2027. Bonilla wisely selected the deferred compensation option. This could be the worst mistake with respect to player contracts in history from the perspective of Mets management.
Alderson did point out that when he was the general manager of the Oakland Athletics 20 years ago an agent for one of his star players surprisingly agreed to a deferred annuity that factored in absolutely no interest for the player who was willing to wait for his money. Sandy told me that he was surprised but he surmises that the agent was getting a percentage of the overall gross future value of the contract immediately. This unscrupulous agent figured that the player would not be able to understand that he was being cheated and had no qualms about violating his fiduciary duty to his client.
The Washington Nationals’ three-game sweep of the Mets at Citi Field this past weekend was kind of expected given how injuries have decimated the Mets’ lineup. Granted, it’s still only April but there is something distressing about the Mets falling below the .500 mark. Our Flushing heroes had better find a way to stop the bleeding soon.
It is nice to see that Queens is becoming a tourist destination in its own right. Queens Economic Development Corporation executive Rob Mackay was a speaker at last week’s NY Travel Festival and extolled the growth of hotels in our borough aside from those located near our two airports.
Queens has also become a destination for foodies. A number of our borough’s terrific restaurants will be offering samples of their wares at Queens Taste 2017 that will take place this Tuesday (May 2) from 6-9 PM at the Hall of Science in Flushing Meadow Park.
Anyone who has ever had a sore throat knows that honey helps sooth and the type of honey that is creating the most buzz (sorry I couldn’t help using that pun) for those who follow health food trends is that coming from the manuka flower in New Zealand. Wedderspoon’s Premium Raw Manuka Honey purports to help improve digestion and immunity although it should be noted that the Food & Drug Administration has neither verified nor denied these claims.
In the worst case scenario, it is a tasty sweetener to put in tea. Speaking of tea, Tetley, which has always run a distant second to Lipton in the United States, is hopping on the health craze with its line of six “Super Teas” which are infused with vitamins C, B6 and B7.
Spring is a time for home improvements and renovations. Sketching out a straight line between two points on a wall to either hang a picture or inserting a cabinet or shelf sounds a lot easier than it really is. Hang-O-Matic (hangomatic.com) is a sturdy tape measure with tabs that help ensure that nothing you install is askew.