So long old friend. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
As a fan sometimes we get attached to our own players. Sometimes we over or undervalue them. Many times we forget it is a business and moves like this one sometimes have to be made. Other times we get caught up with what is wrong with a player rather than what that player brings to the table. Sure Mike Bibby was getting up there in age for an NBA point guard and after 900+ NBA games in a career, his legs simply aren't what they were ten years ago. Perhaps it was time for Atlanta to make this move but lets take just a few moments and appreciate Bibby's time here.
Mike Bibby started 247 of 248 games with the Atlanta Hawks. Back in the 2007-08 season the Hawks point guard position was in much worse shape than it is now. Atlanta was running out the likes of Tyronn Lue and Anthony Johnson at the position. When Atlanta traded Johnson, Lue, Sheldon Williams, and Lorenzen Wright for Bibby it began the upswing of this team that peaked with last season's 53 win team and 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference. Mike played a big part in the team's rise from a lackluster start to this decade. His value wasn't just limited to being on the court.
In a story written by Michael Cunningham, he talks about Bibby being the dominant personality in Atlanta's locker room.
And Mike Bibby, who was traded to Washington on Wednesday, might have been the biggest kid of them all. If there was one dominant personality in Atlanta's locker room it was probably Bibby's goofiness.
He helped keep the team loose and in playoff series like 08 in Boston he took the pressure off of everyone else by calling out the Boston fans. He knew exactly what he was doing and he did it all with a smile on his face. Earlier this season I was in the locker room along with Jason Walker post game. Jason was working the guys hard for sound bytes when Bibby came rushing by quickly trying to hurry out the door. Jason called out to him and asked if he could talk to him for a minute and Bibby replied that he would be right back before disappearing. The other players in the locker room laughed saying that he was gone and wouldn't be back. True to his word Mike eventually came back into that locker room, fired a few shots at the doubters, and sat down and answered every question Jason had. He didn't have to do that, but he did so because he is a pro and because he gets it.
When I remember Mike Bibby's time in Atlanta I won't think about his lack of defense. I will think about how he came to work everyday with a smile on his face and gave it his all every night. When the legs started to go we still had his jump shot. No matter times we tried to move him to the bench he showed us once again that he could be the calming influence on this team offensively. Word comes now that he may seek a buyout from the Wizards which they appear to be reluctant to give him. I can understand Washington's position after all because I think you could a lot worse than having Mike Bibby be the one to help mentor John Wall. However, if Bibby really wants the buyout then I for one hope he gets what he wants and is able to goto the team that he chooses. There is a good possibility that we will see him in some other uniform and every night that he isn't playing against the Hawks, I will be pulling for him.
Players come, players go and some are quickly forgotten. Players like Mike Bibby aren't. Lets appreciate the part he played in bringing this franchise back to being at least a part of the discussion.