Warriors guard Monta Ellis once again was given a public platform to discuss last summer's accident that injured his left ankle, and like he did Friday night with my requests, he turned down an opportunity Monday night to come clean on KNBR 680-AM.
"It's just an incident that happened," Ellis told drive-time hosts Ralph Barbieri and Tom Tolbert. "... I'll leave everything in the past."
When Tolbert asked Monta if he wishes he at first told Warriors officials he got hurt on a moped rather than falsely claiming it was a training mishap, Ellis replied: "I wanted to do that." Tolbert asked if Ellis got bad advice from his agent or friends. Ellis shrugged that off and said: "It was a panic moment."
Kudos to Ralph and Tom for trying, and even bringing up former Giant Jeff Kent's "truck-washing" accident.
So why is this so relevant nine months later? Because Ellis doesn't seem to be acknowledging the impact his injury had on the team or on the public's trust in him. He missed the first half of the season before returning Friday night with a 20-point effort against the Lakers. Before that game, I asked him if he'd ever reveal more about his accident, he said no and didn't even remember what happened. That spurred my Saturday column condemning his lack of accountability, so I won't rehash my take again (link: www.contracostatimes.com/caminman/ci_11543015).
As happy as he is that "I made it through" the rehabilitation process, it's not just about him. His team certainly didn't make it through the season's first half with ease. Asked on KNBR if he harbored any resentment toward the Warriors' front office (which suspended him 30 games and threatened to void his $66 million contract), he unconvinsingly said, "We're cool. ... Life's too short to hold grudges."
Warriors fans agree. Ellis described his welcome-back ovation Friday night as "great." He said hearing his name in the pre-game introductions made him feel "reborn."
It's just another example of how Bay Area fans will embrace wayward athletes (see: Ellis, Barry Bonds, countless Raiders) if they perform well for the home team.
Look for Cam Inman's Web-only "Candid Cam" takes whenever there's a breaking sports story, or whenever Cam's got something to say _ in short, just about every day. You can reach Cam at email@example.com.