Sacramento Kings head coach and former "Hang Time" "star" Reggie Theus has refuted Woody Paige's claim from yesterday's Denver Post column that he called the Nuggets a "horse(expletive) team."
Having personally met both Woody and Theus in person, I have to side with Woody on this one. I had the opportunity to meet Woody a few years ago in New York (when I was interviewed on ESPN's now defunct "Cold Pizza"), and he was kind enough to hang out with me and my writing partner all day, and have us sit in on an "Around the Horn" taping, as well. He couldn't have been a nicer guy.
I can't say the same for Theus, on the other hand. Over 10 years ago, I interned at Turner Sports in Atlanta, doing PR grunt work (read: copies and fetching coffee) and logging a few games during NBA broadcasts (read: watching games and picking out two or three key highlights for the recap show). I met Theus - who was employed by Turner at the time - in the green room before one of the broadcasts. Theus introduced himself with a charming smile, I stood up to shake his hand and I (stupidly) questioned his height to his face. You see, I was about 6'3" tops at the time (I'm 6'5" and change now) and Theus, who always listed himself as 6'6", and I were were literally seeing eye-to-eye. So I made a foot-in-my-mouth comment like: "You sure you're really 6'6"?" and he replied with absolute certainty: "Absolutely." "That's funny, because I'm only 6'3"" I said. Suddenly, Theus' charming smile disappeared in place of a cold, blank stare. He then nodded uncomfortably at me and walked out of the room in a huff.
I didn't think anything of it until the next day when one of my bosses a Turner called me into his office and said - in a stern tone - "What the hell did you say to Reggie Theus last night?!" Even though I was totally in the wrong to question an NBA player's height to his face, I was surprised that Theus would make such a big deal out of it. Anyway, after Theus squawked to whomever not to allow anyone to poke fun at him about his "height" again, I'm guessing future snot-nosed, 19-year-old interns like me kept their mouths shut. In fairness to Theus, I think he's done a terrific job in Sacramento this year. You have to give a former prima donna like Theus credit for abandoning his Hollywood ambitions to coach an obscure college team like New Mexico State, and then take on the thankless Kings job this season. He's brought discipline and toughness to the Kings, and if I had to guess I'd say they've won 5-8 more games than I thought they would this year.
Maybe the Nuggets' brass should take a closer look at Theus as a possible coach? If so, my only advice to Mark Warkentien, Rex Chapman and Bret Bearup would be to fact-check Theus' resume, as he's known to exaggerate a bit!