HOUSTON Kevin McHale does not know why he is here. Why today instead of yesterday, or instead of tomorrow? He cant answer that. Maybe he doesnt want to think about it.
"I have no idea," he said. "Are you kidding me? I have no idea."
Almost a month ago, McHale left Houston to be with his daughter, Alexandra, who had become sick. Her family called her Sasha. The Houston Rockets kept playing, of course. Kelvin Sampson stepped in to coach, and everybody seems to agree he did a fine job. They Rockets won seven and lost six. James Harden had big nights and bad ones. One night they beat the Lakers.
But for really the first time in 32 years, the NBA moved on without Kevin McHale.
Sasha died Nov. 24 from complications with Lupus. She was 23. McHale stayed away to grieve, and Sampson kept coaching the Rockets, and the NBA kept moving on. Around the NBA, there were moments of silence before games. Basketball is a small world. McHale is one of its dearest sons, and he was hurting.