JamesOn Curry, the former Oklahoma State and Chicago Bulls player who went from World B. Free to I.P. Freely overnight, is back with the Iowa Energy. While it is still too soon to know whether he will make an impact on the court, the fact that Crawford and Co. took this chance could say a lot about both the player and the team.
The last time the D-League had heard from JamesOn Curry, he was being shown the door by the Chicago Bulls after being arrested for urinating on the wall of a Boise hotel following the 2008 Showcase. The incident was shameful for all parties involved. It sent the PR staff of the Chicago Bulls and their D-League affiliate, the Iowa Energy, into serious damage control.
Curry's arrest was especially hurtful to the Energy, a first-year team struggling to build a fanbase in the Hawkeye State. He was one of the first players sent down to Iowa by the Bulls, and many fans in Big 12 Country had followed his career at OK State. This made him one of the faces of the young franchise, which made his fall from grace that much more visible. So when the big club finally showed Curry the door, most fans in Iowa thought that would be the last they'd see of him.
Then came the news Tuesday that the Iowa Energy had signed JamesOn Curry for the rest of the season. At first I was surprised that a first-class team such as the Energy would voluntarily sign a player that had put the team through such public humiliation. But the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. The Energy's principal owner, Jerry Crawford, is a very smart man, and he wouldn't even consider signing a player like Curry if he didn't think he had changed his ways. And Head Coach Nick Nurse knows that a fresh set of legs will be very important for the stretch run.
But I think the smartest part of the signing is the timing of it. Curry joins the Energy just in time for their annual State Tournaments road trip, so they won't even come close to Wells Fargo Arena for 2 weeks. This will allow Curry to work his way back into the system without the attention he would receive if he were joining the team during a homestand. Also, because the local media is talking about either the State Tournaments or the Northern Iowa Panthers, this signing has completely slipped under the radar. By the time he gets back to Des Moines, it'll be Selection Sunday, pushing the Energy to the inner pages again. It could be April before Central Iowa really starts caring about the Energy again, by which time Curry will just be another player helping out down the stretch run.
That is, if he can remember where the bathroom is.