Gerald Henderson the Elder

Gerald Henderson a native of Richmond Virginia played for Virginia Commonweath University.  I watched him play for VCU, and even worked out at the same gym.  (back then it was a Nautillus Club and there were only a couple in the Richmond area so lots of people were members.)  We were all excited when he was drafted in 1978 and in my family at least, we were most excited when he started playing for the Boston Celtics.

Today, his son, Gerald, plays for Duke as a key player in their NCAA tournament run.  This weekend the Hendersons return to Boston: Gerald the Elder to revisit the town where he made his most famous play and Gerald the Younger to try to lead Duke into the Round of eight – and maybe the final four.  All this will take place in the building that is often referred to as the New Garden, the real Boston Garden long torn down to make way for an area that has changed names multiple times.  The New York Times has an interesting article about father and son.

Twenty-five years after Gerald Henderson stole the ball, his son of the same name is going to Boston, scene of the crime.

What was that crime?

Go back to May 31, 1984, Game 2 of the N.B.A. finals, the Celtics facing the unthinkable prospect of losing the first two games at home to Magic Johnson and the Lakers. With 18 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Lakers had a 2-point lead and the ball in the backcourt.

Henderson is a little fuzzy on whom he was supposed to guard, on what exactly came next, but he will never forget James Worthy, after taking a pass from Magic, floating one to the right side, toward Byron Scott.

For years, Scott would rue his rookie mistake of not moving to the ball, of letting it come to him. Henderson seized his parquet moment, angling in for the interception, deflecting the ball with his left hand, soaring to the basket to lay it in.

Resuscitated, the Celtics won in overtime, 124-121. The series would end with Magic overdribbling the Lakers into a Game 7 defeat in Boston, where Bird’s triumph over Johnson was illuminated like a darkened Garden full of victory cigars.

The son, who bears a striking facial resemblance to his father, goes to Boston in the 25th anniversary year. Maybe he celebrates by stealing the show.

Of course, I didn’t pick Duke to get to the final four, but they are an ACC team and even if they mess up my bracket I won’t be too unhappy is Gerald the Younger leads them to an upset of Pittsburg.

Paul Krugman v. Tim Geithner

It is no secret that I’m not an economist.  I have long depended on Paul Krugman to help me understand what was going on.  And given the current state of the world, I seem to be blogging about economics a lot.

So is the Tim Geithner toxic assets plan viable or not?    Larry Summers (against whom I have a grudge because of what he did to Cornel West while president of Harvard) took at slap at Paul Krugman’s op-ed piece saying “I wish he waited for the plan to be announced before he wrote his column.” 

What exactly did Paul write?

And now Mr. Obama has apparently settled on a financial plan that, in essence, assumes that banks are fundamentally sound and that bankers know what they’re doing.

It’s as if the president were determined to confirm the growing perception that he and his economic team are out of touch, that their economic vision is clouded by excessively close ties to Wall Street. And by the time Mr. Obama realizes that he needs to change course, his political capital may be gone.

Let’s talk for a moment about the economics of the situation.

Right now, our economy is being dragged down by our dysfunctional financial system, which has been crippled by huge losses on mortgage-backed securities and other assets.

As economic historians can tell you, this is an old story, not that different from dozens of similar crises over the centuries. And there’s a time-honored procedure for dealing with the aftermath of widespread financial failure. It goes like this: the government secures confidence in the system by guaranteeing many (though not necessarily all) bank debts. At the same time, it takes temporary control of truly insolvent banks, in order to clean up their books.

If I understand him correctly, what Krugman is worried about is 1) should we have just gone ahead and nationalized the banks temporarily and gotten it over with and 2) if the plan doesn’t work does it will Congress vote more money to nationalize.

I think Krugman is a great economist, but he maybe underestimating the larger political situation.  I think President Obama believes that health care reform and, to a less extent, eduational reform are additional keys to turning the economy around.  Obama is already hearing the footsteps of those in Congress who are looking at the deficit and wanting to put the breaks on.  Obama wants to pass his budget. Therefore he didn’t want to pick my option 1 and nationalize the banks.  If the plan doesn’t work, option 2 is an unknown.

One thing I do know is that while the market did go up today and that Tim Geithner did do marginally better that his first disasterous press conference, I love Jonathan Mann of Rock Bottom Cookie’s new song, “Hey Paul Krugman”.  Mann extoles Krugman while putting Geithner down.  Great catchy song.  Listen to the song and sing along with the refrain.” When I listen to you it seems to make sense, when I listen to him [Geithner] all I hear is blah, blah, blah.”

At this point all we can do is hope that the Geithner gamble works out.  I’m sure that Paul Krugman will be the first to be happy if it does.