Remember Mo Cheeks….Man that Guy Sucked

Today the Philadelphia 76ers made the irrational decision to extend the coaching tenure of Maurice Cheeks. This is a curious decision in light of Cheeks’ lack of success in Philly, but then again Cheeks is a 76ers hero who holds a special place in the heart of sports fans from the City of Brotherly Love.

Inexplicably, many Blazer fans also hold fond memories of Coach Cheeks despite his record, inability to coach and participation in the darkest years of the Blazer franchise. Considering all of Cheeks’ failures, why do many fans and more interestingly, the media, continue to remember Cheeks fondly?

In 301 games as the Blazers’ coach, Cheeks amassed a 162-139 record. During his first two years, the Blazers lost in the first round of the playoffs and the following two years they failed to even make the playoffs, breaking a 21 year old consecutive playoff streak. During this time now remembered as the “Jail Blazer” Era, the Blazers’ roster and front office was much maligned. As is well documented, a once proud Blazer franchise wilted and like a love affair gone wrong; the greatest city in the NBA and its beloved team seemed on the verge of a nasty divorce.

Throughout these turbulent years, the Portland and national media pointed many fingers, blaming everyone from owner Paul Allen to GM Bob Whitsett and players Bonzi Wells and Rasheed Wallace for the down fall. However, mysteriously, Mo Cheeks always seemed to get a pass. Yes, Cheeks had a team of thugs that loved wine, women, and song. Yes, he had a roster full of malcontents, but so do many NBA coaches. Yet through it all, the Portland fans never seemed to come to grips with the fact the Maurice Cheeks is a horrible coach. If Cheeks was a US president he would Herbert Hoover.

On an almost nightly basis, Cheeks would be out coached. His understanding of the X’s and O’s of the game was comical. Like Nero playing his fiddle while Rome burned, Cheeks rarely walked the sideline or called out plays, but chose instead to remain seated on the bench. Oddly, Cheeks’ strongest attribute as a player, his defense, was his biggest liability as a coach. But why to this day does Cheeks still not share a large part of the blame for the Jail Blazer Era?

Was it because he was nice guy, which he undoubtedly was? Was it because the Portland media, especially the Oregonian, liked Cheeks as a person and felt sorry for him? Is it because Cheeks stood up and helped 13 year old Natalie Gilbert sing the national anthem? Is it because Cheeks was surrounded by equally as inept players and front office personnel that he did not seem so bad compared to his co-workers? Or is it because Portland fans by nature are nice folks who were willing to give Cheeks a pass? In reality, it is all of these.

It is only human nature to feel sorry for a nice guy like Coach Cheeks. To see the turmoil surrounding the team one could not help but feel for him. But the guilt of the Jail Blazer era falls just as squarely at Maurice Cheeks’ feet as it does any other Blazer employee. At a minimum Cheeks aided and abetted the Jail Blazer Era, a spineless bystander who went along for the ride never bothering to go public with a demand that the organization clean up its act. Instead, Cheeks collected his check, signed autographs and smiled while the local media blamed the Blazers’ problems on everyone else. At least Rasheed Wallace had the decency to be an All-Star while he proudly lived the “CTC” (Cut the Check) motto.

Portland may never feel the need to blame Mo Cheeks for his role in the darkest days in Blazer history. Maybe it is better that we let bygones be bygones and forget the whole era. Mental health professionals often recommend that for a person to properly address and move past a traumatic experience in one’s life, they must first make an honest assessment of what happened, laying blame where blame belongs, and then moving on to forgiveness. This can take months and many times years. Well Portland, maybe its time to spend a little time on the psychiatry couch, topic of discussion for this week’s session: Coach Cheeks.

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12 Responses to “Remember Mo Cheeks….Man that Guy Sucked”

  1. What I always thought was funny is how Cheeks was a “players coach” yet ALWAYS has problems with players. How could the two go hand in hand? Great post.

  2. Too funny! It’s hard not to like Mo as a person, but as a coach his clubs lead the NBA in the T.O. after T.O stat every year. That’s turn overs after time outs.

  3. hahah…this is good stuff! Funny post! I agree with what you say…just a plain BAD Xs and Os coach. Nice guy who can’t get it right on the court in the locker room.

    Remember how AI wanted out also? He just is not a players coach….he is nice but his players don’t like playing for him!

  4. Mo’ money, Mo Cheeks.

  5. He’s Isiah Thomas, but likeable.

    In all fairness, there have at least been some positive vibes coming from the young philly team of late.

  6. After Philly finishes off AI and the Nuggets, Mo will be .500 with a young team that plays as a team and wins despite a lack of star power. Say what you want about the man but he is a winner. And I bet he proves it with this team. Phil Jackson is not exactly an X and O guy either but he has done okay.

  7. whoaaa…there has definitely been more than just positive vibes coming from that young philly team these days.

  8. Mo Cheecks sucks balls man. Michael I don’t know what you think. If they were in the West they have no chance. Get a life.

  9. You can’t possibly sit there and honestly (maybe you’re being honest) and/or intelligently say that the sixers have not reached a certain level of legitimacy. They’re still young, they make mistakes, and they’re growing, but they have come together and put together a nice little run of late, in which they’ve beaten some quality opponents and given others a good game (they’ve shown their youth many times throughout as well). A big part of their recent success has to do with the job that Cheeks and his coaching staff is doing.

    “I don’t know what you think” either. You could put just about any team besides Detroit and Boston in the West and they’ll be mediocre at best. That doesn’t say much about this Philly team. They’re still coming together. They’ve also beaten Dallas, San Antonio, Denver, and Phoenix. I’m not saying they’re great…but they’re showing that they have something to build and work with in Philly.

    You do seem like you’re a prick and an idiot…but that’s okay, Jim, we need a few idiot-pricks in this world…I think. Maybe not…but yeah.

  10. Michael,

    You lick stick.

  11. […] In the meantime, Mo bashers will enjoy this funny post I found on a Blazers blog about his Portland days.  […]

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