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Princess James

13 Jul

Lebron James has dominated the sports media world and to a larger extent everyday conversation since July 1st.  We have finally seen a true glimpse into who is as a competitor and a person.  Thursday night he formally announced he was taking his services to South Beach and joining the likes of D-Wade & Chris Bosh.  Since the 27th minute into his hour-long special about his “decision” he has been eviscerated by the likes of fans, sports writers, the media, his former owner, former NBA players, & more harshly the citizens of Ohio.

The first issue I have with the debacle is his sense of greatness. Lebron James has not won anything during his 7 years in the league so where does he get off crowning himself or dubbing himself “King”.  Have we ever seen a man with lesser accomplishments command such a moment?  Keep in mind Steve Nash also won league MVP.  If there ever was a prime example of narcissism at its finest, this hour-long special is exhibit A. Then again we sic. (culturally) cave into this spectacle like a herd of shepherd-less sheep. I think it speaks to larger societal pitfall that has fallen upon our us, we champion talent/hype but not accomplishment.

Secondly what does this say about him as a competitor? Jordan lost the Piston 3x before finally beating them, but he would never have joined them!  The greatest players don’t join up with the perceived best, they seek out to defeat them and assume the mantle as the best.  I fully appreciate him wanting to be a part of something & play with his friends, however athletics are predicated on competition!  2x League MVP’s don’t join all-star teams to go ring hunting! He said and I quote, “I don’t want to have score 30” , “I want to share the stage with other guys”, “I don’t have to be the guy every night”.  These are representative of someone who does not relish the big moments & shrinks when the lights are the brightest. These quotes represent someone who’d rather follow than lead, I simply have never conformed to respecting followers.

It’s clear he chose the easy way and perhaps that’s fitting considering he has never had to practice delayed gratification.  From birth he was genetically gifted and since high school people have bended to his every request.  Nike was courting the kid at 16, he couldn’t even vote yet!  He opted not go to college and get rich right away.  For all of his gifts and talents this time he picked the easy and cozy route, which in effect is a copout.  The road to NBA rings got significantly easier for him, where is the growth in that?

Lastly, I think there is a sense of brevity and arrogance to him that is unbecoming of a sports icon.  Cleveland is his home town team & those 28 minutes he made sure was an agonizing way of putting a dagger into their hearts.  Real men don’t act like that! Real business men handle their affairs with dignity, grace, tact  and without pomp and fanfare.  Mr. James HAD EVERY RIGHT to go where he pleased, it’s just the fashion in which he did it was nefarious at best.  The Boys & Girl charity angle was a charade, if he really wanted to raise money he could have given it away or hosted a focused money drive.  “The Decision” was about Lebron from the moment he and his cronies decided to hold the NBA hostage.  After watching the decision my heart went out to ever young kid in Ohio who loved the Cavaliers, and it made me fall out of love with the “business” of sports for a moment.

I believe that Lebron could have been the best player in the league and he is immensely talented.  I’m sure he is going to win a few titles and have success in his career, BUT it will never be HIS TEAM.  Furthermore, if  they are not repeatedly successful his legacy will be one of failure and cowardice.  He  DECIDED to follow others path to success rather than make his own.  All along the world thought he was the next Superman, when in fact in his own mind he’d rather settle to be Robin.  Maybe before Lebron made his decision he should have read Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken”.

The next time he refers to himself as King James (twitter), he should look in the mirror and ask himself what kingdom does he preside over? Better yet ask yourself; is he the head of the royal court or simply another member of prestiege?  Spare me the coronation & I’ll let the princess enjoy South Beach.

World Cup

6 Jul

The World Cup is underway and the question I keep asking myself is what will it take to have sustained US interest in the sport of soccer.  If we’re going to be honest most of us only watch soccer over a 3 week window every 4 years.  What needs to happen culturally to change this?   In every other sport and game we manage to dominate & perform at the highest level.  However when it comes to soccer we have not reached the point of consistent greatness?

Are we losing interest and potential athletes in soccer to other sports?  Perhaps there should more of an outreach to inner city youth and emphasis at a younger age in schools.  I think part of the issue is that Americans place so much of an emphasis on American Football that soccer has become a fall back sport in the fall.  Also as I speak to many of the youth in my neighborhood in Harlem, many of them seem disinterested.  Is it fair to say the urban youth are just not engaged in the largest athletic event in the world, if this is the case its a big issue and large-scale disconnect.  Does any one have any anwer that may fix this?

Strausburg Monument

13 Jun

This week we witnessed a remakerable feat! Stephen Strausburg the Nationals #1 draft pick made his MLB debut against the Pirates and struck out 14 batters.  This has never happened in MLB history and was a big deal! There has been much fanfare and hype and he lived up to the billing!  Washington is a buzz with their newest star that is not a politician and perhaps they will erect a monument in his name.  Given the DMV is my home, I’m excited to see the metro DC area support the Nationals.

Black Mamba in All White

7 May

Kobe’s forray into the modeling/fashion world has set the twitterverse & blogosphere on fire. Naturally from the uber alpha male and homphobic crowd, I’ve heard and read the labels placed on the photos. I must admit the photos do make him seem “suspect” and are perhaps femine. I think that people are missing the bigger point, the guy is tough on the eyes.

However in 2010 why are people so hyper sensitive to idea of a man bring portrayed in this way? Perhaps it’s a reflection of critics own insecurities & inability to be vulnerable. Maybe just maybe Kobe is very comfortable in his own character that he does need it to be affirmed by lesser persons. However at the end of the day he is still ugly… I’m just saying.

Kobe & Ben

14 Apr

Now that the DA in Georgia has decided against prosecuting Ben Roethlisberger with criminal sexual assault charges, Kobe Bryant’s case has been in mind all the while. Back in 2003 when Kobe was accused of sexual assault he was immediately presumed guilty in the court of public opinion & arrested by the police.  Now in comparison to Bryant, the Roethlisberger allegations were coddled by the media and the level of outrage was mild at best . What’s most disturbing is that this 2nd time Ben was accused of abusive sexual behavior.

Law enforcement also treated these two athletes differently: Case and point, once the allegations were levied against Bryant he was arrested with in 24 hours (see his mug shot below), DA pressed charges, and he had to go on trail.

Once the police were notified about sexual misconduct against Ben, before writing the report the officer took pictures & received an autograph. Furthermore, he was merely interviewed by the police and never formally arrested.  The DA using better judgement decided against taking this case to trail.

It’s obvious and apparent that both of the situations were handled differently. Why did the media treat Kobe & Ben differently?  Why was the public so quick to condemn Bryant but hesitant with Roethlisberger?  I have my natural assumptions but I’m going to spare you & challenge you to give me a reasonable explanation.  I’m not condoning either one of their actions, but I am calling out the self-righteous hyprocisy and selective moral stances of many people who judge. I will say, it’s 2010 and we still can’t get equal treatment from law enforcement, and the media clearly saves vitriol for certain persons of interest. Will this ever change, Lord knows?

Izzo

5 Apr

In a day when college basketball programs are constantly looking for Top 100 recruits & McDonald’s All American’s, Tom Izzo has done remarkable feats while at Mich St.. Year in and year out he finds a way to lead his teams deep into the tournament. Over the past decade, I think the Mich. St. Spartans have produced the best program.

One NCAA Division 1 Championship: (2000)
Six Regional Championships (Final Four’s): (1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2010)

I know other programs have yielded more NBA talent & have won one more championship but this program has been the most consistent regardless of talent level, which is a testament to the coach.  He is running the best program in America! UNC, Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, UConn, and UCLA can not match this kind of consistency!  One could argue Tom Izzo is the best coach in the NCAA basketball today.

March Madness

26 Mar

March Madness has begun and consumed most of the US population. There is certainly a madness to people filling out brackets across the country & wasting millions pieces of paper predicting results that will certainly be incorrect.   We are in the 2nd weekend and I have seen my alma mater fall to a “mid-major” & there has plenty of upsets across the board. Perhaps the only way to characterize the “upsets”,  the enthusiasm, the lack of productivity of work, and throwing away of discretionary income is madness.  Considering that the best team or most talented one doesn’t always win is sheer madness.  However, this madness is what makes this tournament so special:  The buzzer beaters, the David vs. Goliath battles, conference vs. conference match ups, stars that fall & the new stars that are born… all of which augment the 3 weeks of college basketball where student athletes have their chance at “One Shining Moment”.  At this point my bracket is shot, yet I still watch.  I continue to watch because the games only get more entertaining as we go. I watch because I love college basketball and organized athletic madness is entertaining.

Let me lament for a moment, college basketball is certainly down this year and none of the teams are great. This point has been proved when most of the top seeds fell to mid-major lower seeds; in some instances fluke games.  I am not impressed with any of the remaining teams, but I tip my hat because they have successfully employed tournament strategy: Survive & Advance.