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Time To Get Tito's Take

Yo, Tito. Tito-Michael

By now, you should be offended. And if you're out there, my man, hit me up. I know that reality TV show you and your brothers tried to get going after Mike's untimely death has sputtered recently.

But Tito, I've got some real life drama for you here in Miami.

First, let's make one thing clear. You're innocent in all of this. All you did was find yourself related to one of the most popular entertainers in the history of musical entertainment.

Your only crime against society was simply being one of Michael Jackson's older brothers.

And now, you're caught up in this mess between the Miami Heat and TNT analyst/former NBA great Charles Barkley. Michael Beasley just won't let it go. He's a young player looking for something to motivate him to play at his best each night to prove to the league he's going to be a legit star.

No problem there.

But something Barkley said months ago, when he referred to Dwyane Wade as Michael Jackson and Wade's supporting cast as a "bunch of Tito Jacksons" still stings several Heat players, including Beasley.

Barkley Mainly Beasley, actually.

And now that Wade is out with an injury and the Heat has played well the past three games without him, the Tito talk is now the talk of the town again. At least at AmericanAirlines Arena. At least on Monday.

Full disclosure here. The Heat is actually split on whether to be offended by Barkley laying your name on them in vain. Or, rather shame.

And Wade is essentially the Mason-Dixon line on this one. At age 28, Wade is actually just old enough - and I mean barely - to possibly remember exactly who you are and what you meant to the Jacksons. That you were the brother who always wore the thickest 'fro and the coolest hats. That you played the guitar and still had the skills to hit every one of those dance steps.

In other words, that you were seriously talented. And also that there's really no shame in your game. Or name, for that matter. But then there are the younger cats on the team. Dudes who couldn't name three Jacksons if you spotted them Michael and Jermaine, and told them they could include the sisters.Tito

So here we are. Back at Barkley's words. Back at Beasley and the young cats taking offense.

"It bothers them," Wade said Monday of his younger teammates. "I don't see why. Tito and the Jacksons made a lot of money. If I'm them, I have fun with it. You don't want a comment like that to make everybody try to be Michael Jackson. You can't have a team full of Michael Jacksons anyway. No one wants that."

Unless, of course, you're Pat Riley and have a bunch of salary-cap space and LeBron-Bosh dreams. But that's three Michaels. So now, we're talking the O'Jays or something. Anyway.

Maybe this would have all been squashed and less offensive had Barkley called the Heat's supporting cast "a bunch of Jermaines."

After all, there's already a Jermaine on the team. And Jermaine O'Neal has been balling lately. And on top of that, as Rafer "Skip" Alston offered Monday, Jermaine Jackson was actually a solo star for a minute.

"He had it rolling," Alston said of Jermaine Jackson. "Y'all remember 'Don't Take It Personal?' "

At age 33, Skip is old enough to remember the year 1989, when that song was a hit on Jermaine's solo album that debuted at No. 1 on the charts. But what in the heck was Skip doing listening to Jermaine Jackson in 1989 at age 13, when everybody else was jamming to Kid-N-Play, P.E. or Run DMC? I'll investigate next blog.

But back to you, Tito. Beasley, who has averaged 21.6 points and 7.3 boards since Wade went down, just wants you to understand his frustration with being typecast.

"It's just disrespect," Beasley said. "Not disrespect to Tito Jackson. But the way Charles used it, it makes us feel disrespected, a little underrated."

Don't get upset, Tito. Beasley's a good kid, an awesome young talent. He even sported a fro you'd be proud of earlier this season. He didn't mean any harm. Although Barkley did - playfully - when he launched that water balloon of a comment at the team. Truth is, both Beasley and Barkley are a bit brainBobcats Heat Beasfro-locked on this one.

At the time, I laughed at Barkley's comment, because I thought it was hilarious. On the other hand, I'm also willing to score one for Beasley, because at least he's looking for positive motivation. Some people need to feel offended and "hated on" to rise to their best. Inspiration and motivation are good things.

But, Tito, You didn't do anything to deserve to be caught in the middle of this.

So on behalf of Beasley and Barkley, I'm ending this beef now. We don't want this to escalate into Tupac-Biggie feud here. Or even L.L. v Kool Moe D.

I know what you're thinking, Tito. That next time Barkley wants to offend someone and distinguish between a family star and a related-yet-extremely-less-popular sibling, there's a more accurate crew to pick on.

Just call them a bunch of James DeBarges.

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/wallacesports. To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)


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