Noah’s bark


So Chicago Bulls forward Joakim Noah thinks “there’s nothing going on” in Cleveland.

(Except lose basketball games.)

Plenty of people think Joakim Noah is wrong. Ask any of them and you’ll find there’s all kinds of things for athletes to do in Cleveland.

Just ask current third-string and future ex-Browns running back Chris Jennings just found something to do the other night. At The Velvet Dog in the Warehouse District in the early hours of last Saturday morning, he allegedly punched a bouncer in the mouth. Maybe Noah can hook up with Jennings for a night on the town.

And it was just a year ago that Cleveland native and Buffalo Bills safety Donte Whitner had a big night out at Cleveland’s House of Blues, just a short jog from Quicken Loans Arena. At 3 in the morning on a Saturday last October, police used a Taser to subdue Whitner and break up what was termed a “near riot.” Whitner was celebrating his former Glenville High School teammate Ted Ginn Jr.’s birthday that day. Maybe Noah was upset that he was a week late for any Ginn birthday celebration this time around.

Noah might be in luck tonight. TNT is broadcasting Game 2. If the network sends Charles Barkley to town, he’ll certainly be able to show Noah a good time. He found one in 1996 at The Basement nightclub in The Flats when he got into an altercation. Jeb Tyler sued for damages he alleged were suffered during a fight with Barkley. A jury acquitted Barkley of all charges a year later. Noah and Barkley could at least commiserate about what a boring town Cleveland is, since Barkley spent most of last season cracking on the city.

If that doesn’t work Noah could track down former Browns wide receiver Braylon Edwards. The now-New York Jets wide receiver always seemed to find something to do in Cleveland. That included a night out at The View nightclub — even closer to the Q than is the House of Blues. Last October Edwards allegedly assaulted a friend of LeBron’s after a night out. Not long after, Edwards was shipped out of town. But if he’s back in town he can show Noah around.

Who knows, maybe they’ll run into a Playboy Playmate of the Year. Former Browns quarterback Jeff Garcia enjoyed plenty of nights out with Playmate Carmella DeCesare, now his wife in 2004. On one of those nights out (fittingly named?) Tramp nightclub, Garcia and DeCesare ran into one of Garcia’s old girlfriends, Kristin Hine. Oops! A catfight ensued, the results of which were sorted out in court. DeCesare was acquitted of assaulting Hine, but has a fine story to tell. Maybe Noah’s just looking for his own story to tell.

It’s not just athletes that find things to do in Cleveland, either. Sportscaster Gary Miller, then with ESPN and currently an anchor for radio stations in Los Angeles, had a big night out during the World Series in 1997. Visiting the same club as Barkley had a year earlier, The Basement, Miller was arrested for peeing out an upstairs window. He pleaded no contest a couple months later. Noah most likely didn’t encounter any long bathroom lines anywhere he went in Cleveland, making him think there’s nothing going on here.

Then there’s former Cleveland State basketball coach Kevin Mackey, who found something to do in the summer of 1990 even though it wasn’t downtown. That’s when he was filmed leaving a crack house in the company of a prostitute. Certainly Noah isn’t looking for this kind of excitement, but Mackey’s just another example of a sports figure who had no trouble finding something to do in Cleveland.

Noah might not know it, he might think Cleveland sucks, but there’s a long history of athletes finding something to do in Cleveland. He’ll probably fit right in if he ventures out on the town. One thing Noah can be assured of, though, is that after Monday he won’t need to find something to in Cleveland until next season. The Bulls ain’t coming back here ’til then.


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