CHICAGO - At 17 years and 244 days old, Andrew Bynum was the youngest ever to be selected in the history of the NBA Rookie Draft when the Los Angeles Lakers picked him 10th overall in 2005.
A few months later in November of that year, Bynum also became the youngest player to appear in an NBA game, suiting up against Denver just six days after turning 18.
Bynum, a high school standout from New Jersey, was an incredible asset at seven feet and 280 pounds.He retired at the end of the 2013-14 season, ending a nine-year career that saw him win back-to-back titles with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010, and turn into an All-Star in 2012. He also pocketed $72.8 million in NBA salaries.
Now 30, with four years of rust calcifying in his bones and joints, Bynum recently announced his desire to mount an NBA comeback. Through a released video, he provided visual evidence that he is in good shape and can still move reasonably well.
With training camp looming, teams might give Bynum a curious look, perhaps even an official workout invite. But hell will freeze over before he is actually signed to a roster spot.
It would be a stretch to call Bynum a diva during his playing days but he wasn't a choir boy, either.
In Game Four of the Lakers-Mavericks series in the 2011 Western Conference semifinals, his team trailing by 30 in the fourth quarter, Bynum violently prison fouled a helpless and airborne 5-foot-9 J.J. Barea. Bynum was fined $25,000 and suspended without pay for five games, costing him $700,000 in game checks.
When Bynum was suspended indefinitely by the Cavaliers last December 29, 2013, Mary Schmidt-Beyer of The Cleveland Plain Dealer noted that a "disruptive pattern of behavior was developing, culminating with an obviously disinterested Bynum jacking up wild shots at practice."
When the Indiana Pacers announced in March 2014 that Bynum "would no longer be involved in team activities," Rob Mahoney of Sports Illustrated described the center's presence as "intolerable."
No matter how much time had passed and how severe some memories have faded, those demons will catch up with Bynum.
But in the end, this is the reason why Bynum will never make it back to the NBA - B.K.
It's not bad karma. It's not over-indulgence of Burger King, either.
It's bad knees.
Since 2008, when he dislocated his left knee cap, poor Andrew had endured several arthroscopic surgeries, an Orthokine treatment in Germany, cartilage damage, bone bruises on both knees, and several other hurts that make orthopedic surgeons smile on the way to the bank.
Largely because of bad knees, Bynum missed 304 regular season games during his nine-year run.
It would have helped his cause if he can make a three, But he couldn't.
Bynum sank only 1-of-9 treys in 418 games, a terrible 11.1 percent clip. Heck, he can't even make a free throw, just 987 out of 1,431 tries, a tepid 68 percent.
So tell me, what team in today's modern NBA would take a chance on a 30-year old big with questionable tires, a non-existent outside jumper, plus a less than angelic attitude?
A TROJAN HORSE? After a legal threat that was heard 'round the world, things now appear to be rosy again between Top Rank and senator Manny Pacquiao, who issued an Instagram statement that called the aborted lawsuit as a simple case of "miscommunication."
I don't know about you but from where I sit, "miscommunication" is a result of "inadequate or unclear communication." And based on prior reports, Pacquiao's camp accused that Top Rank simply ignored their letters demanding payment of their share of streaming revenues from the Pacquiao-Matthysse fight.
There was, allegedly, non-communication. Not "miscommunication." And there's a world of difference.
Semantics aside, it makes me wonder why did Top Rank "suddenly opened the lines?"
The money involved is $1.7 million, small change for Bob Arum, not to mention the fact that the Harvard-educated lawyer has a powerhouse legal team on speed dial. He could have chosen to drag this out in civil court and make Pacquiao bleed with legal fees to force a settlement.
But why the peace pipe instead?
Well, I don't doubt the goodness of Bob Arum's heart, or the rigtheousness in which he champions for justice and fairness. But I think he is putting this fire out quickly to salvage whatever is left with his fractured relations with Manny.
Remember, Pacquiao insists on three more fights before finally retiring for good.
And what does that mean if Arum is still in the picture? Million to be made.
Things are not always what they seem.