Mark Madsen was often an effective player in college and more or less never an effective player in the pros, but he won some rings with the Lakers and made $15 million dollars during his eight NBA seasons, and that is certainly not nothing and certainly, certainly not something that Madsen's classmates at the Stanford University School of Business could claim.
Many of them could, and maybe would, claim that they could've delivered more value to the '03-04 Minnesota Timberwolves during their run/ride-on-KG's-back to the Western Conference Finals. Some might claim that they'd have at least brought a less Cornholio-on-roller-skates approach to game action than did Madsen. They'd certainly be wrong, though.
They'd be wrong because, while Mark Madsen is one of the more gracelessly hyperactive and dorkily soul-jorts'ed players of his generation, he was also good enough to play in the NBA, whereas most humans are not within light years of this. This doesn't mean Madsen was much fun to watch, but dude led his Stanford team to a Final Four and made Third Team All-American; he played in the NBA for nearly a decade. You don't have to like it. It's reasonable not to like it, if you remember what it was like to watch him play against (or arguably more painfully play for) a team you cared about, or if you are still haunted by images of a jorts-and-tucked-tee Mad Dog, grinning like a Romney while getting buck on the post-championship dancefloor.
But that happened. Mark Madsen happened. And then, blessedly, Mark Madsen stopped happening, and Mark Madsen went to Stanford Business School, of course. On to the next chapter, in which we should all wish Mark Madsen the best. May he someday represent, with no great distinction, a conservative California district in the U.S. House of Representatives for a term or two. Good luck, Mark! Just stop playing in intramural basketball games against graduate students who have in many cases never played basketball before, please.
To be fair to Madsen, he only did that once. But as this Wall Street Journal piece by Stu Woo and Justin Scheck reveals, Madsen did make it count by having his way against a co-ed team of his B-school classmates in a 30-point rout. Madsen claimed he showed restraint—he took, and made, six three-pointers, he says—although restraint is difficult to imagine from him.
Much easier to imagine from Madsen, one of the most persistent irritants of his basketball generation, was his response when the school informed him that, as a 6-9 former professional basketball player, he should not be playing in co-ed intramural basketball games. Madsen took it in stride, by petitioning administrators and standing up for his rights to dunk on future Goldman Sachs quants:
[Mr. Madsen] says he was just trying to make new friends in the intramural league. He says he played against Ms. Huh's team with restraint. "I'm not playing to score 50 points," he says.
The next day, a school administrator told him he couldn't play anymore. Mr. Madsen's NBA career put him afoul of Section I of Stanford's intramural policy, which says "former PROFESSIONAL athletes are not eligible to participate in their associated sport."
The policy's key word is "associated," the 36-year-old Mr. Madsen argued. In an email to administrator Linda Clauss, he said she should let him in the coed league because "I've never played in a coed professional league."
Ms. Clauss rejected that argument and his contention that he wasn't a "former" professional because "I have never filed my retirement papers."
It would've been nice if Woo and Scheck had ended the article there, on that note of menace.