ESPN’s announcement that “Earl Boykins has joined the growing legion of veteran role players unable to resist the lure of European riches” raises a critically important question: how many people does it take to qualify for a “legion”? Depending on how you slice it, Boykins’ legion totals either 9 (anyone who played in the NBA last year who will play in Europe next year) or 3 (previously exclusive NBA players who will play in Europe next year). No wait—that should be eight and two, because one of those legionnaires is Carlos Arroyo, and he’s going to Tel Aviv, which is—technically--not in Europe. I suppose you could also say that Boykins is part of two legions, one more exclusive than the other.
But back to my original question: how many do you need for a legion? According to dictionary.com, you need to have at least 3,000 people to call yourselves a legion. Plus you have to be armed and Roman. Hmm, well Earl is going to play for Italy, but I don’t know what sort of weapons arrangements he’s negotiated into his contract. Never mind.
Oh wait, now I see this is one of those multi-part definitions. Let’s see…well, the other definitions have no specific ethnic or armament requirements, but they do stipulate that you need a “large” or “great” number of people in order to call yourself a legion. And I’m not sure if eight or nine cuts it. Take the “Legion of Super-Heroes,” for instance (that would probably be the best historical example): I seem to remember hundreds of them, to the point that I think the DC comics artists were just making ones up on a bet (The Dog Catcher, Cell Phone Boy, etc.). On the other hand, a legion like WWE’s "Legion of Doom" only consisted of two wrestlers. Even counting their football pads, that was probably a misnomer, though, and they should have just stuck with “Road Warriors.”
Anyway, bye-bye, Earl. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. He didn’t get here until February, and he only averaged just under 16 minutes of playing time. Never a great assister, his 2.34 A/TO ratio would have placed him 41st in the league if he'd played enough minutes to qualify--or the meat in a munchkin sandwich between Allen Iverson and Kyle Lowry. His defensive level was also Arena Football-caliber—he had just 14 total steals for the year.
Part of me feels like Sam Vincent didn’t allow him enough playing time to ever get comfortable, yet he also never really flashed any potential either. Even Adam Morrison contributed several “Wow” moments during his supposedly disastrous rookie season; Earl’s top games were (take your pick): his 14-point, 4-assist masterpiece in a March loss to Utah; or his 6-point, 8-assist, 1-steal tour-de-force in an April win against Toronto. These were mot exactly the types of games we’re going to be talking about 20 years from now, asking each other where we were when Earl dropped 6 on the Raptors. On the other hand, we paid less than a jumbo mortgage for him; at $350 K, he was a penny stock. So good luck in Europe, Earl: fly high, go hard like geese erection…
In other non(sense)-news, we signed free agent SG Shannon Brown for an undisclosed amount in order to…what? I’m not sure. Is it possible to use players as dummy corporations in order to launder money? That's about the only reason I can fathom for picking up yet another shooting guard. You know how in the movies the cops will say that Such-and-Such Restaurant is merely a “front”? Like the Bada-Bing in The Sopranos? I think that’s what we may have here. Shannon Brown is a “front” for Bob Johnson to hide money, or for stashing MJ’s gambling proceeds or something. That would also explain why the amount of the contract is “undisclosed.”