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May 2013 Archive


Sorry Everyone, I Don’t Give A Damn If Lebron James Flops

I care more about Lebron James’ scarves than I do about whether he flops or not.

Today the NBA fined Lebron James, Lance Stephenson and David West $5000 each for flopping. My first thought was to say that that’s not enough money to discourage anyone. But before I could tweet it I realized something important…I don’t give a shit!

I honestly don’t understand how the NBA’s anti-flopping crowd (AFC) got so powerful. They’re like the tea party of sports fans and writers. After grumbling quietly for a few years they organized themselves and got the ear of the powers that be. Now suddenly, none of us are supposed to get government services or enjoy the talent of an NBA player who likes to add a little drama to his game.

Yes, I grew up watching 90s basketball. Yes, I realize that guys were allowed to play tougher back then. And maybe to AFCers flopping today serves as another reminder that NBA players have gotten softer. I just happen to not agree. Especially during a playoffs where I’ve seen players throw enough bows to impress Ludacris and deliberately go at guys’ crotches a la Dennis Rodman and that poor sideline photographer he castrated back in the 90s.

Flopping is just ONE kind of acting and great players have always auditioned for the Oscar. So have respectable role players. When I was a kid I used to roll my eyes at the way Vlade Divac would writhe on the floor and flop like a fish out of water. Karl Malone was also a flopper and flailer. Michael Jordan (the love of my basketball life!) loved to bend over with his hands on his knees and wince in pain like his life was over after a mild touch from an opposing guard all the while looking at the ref out of the corner of his eye to see if he was buying it. Of course, that was when he wasn’t outright complaining and staring at the ref with his hands on his hips feigning utter disbelief.

Last night, I finally watched the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary about Reggie Miller and the Knicks during the 90s. Miller admitted that he always had a flair for the dramatic. It reminded me that in addition to crazy shots he could make the debate about should he or shouldn’t he have gotten that call always added another layer of controversy to his contests. Some of those arguments still rage on.

Plus what job is there where people don’t occasionally (or frequently) try to pull one over on the bosses? Granted, when basketball players flop they are essentially shuffling papers trying to looking busy in front of millions rather than one supervisor … but the underlying concept is the same – try to find every advantage to gain favor.

But AFCers really believe that flopping is ruining the integrity of the game. A game where refs were caught fixing games. A sport where there’s some weird thing called a draft lottery and an outgoing commissioner who can stop a trade for “basketball reasons.” A game that was so embarrassed by its black players that it implemented a dress code. 

A sport where a bunch of dudes with over-active pituitary glands try to get a ball in a fringed hoop. If basketball were never invented, Lebron James would be entertaining kids at the circus with his amazing ability to do unbelievable things with nothing but a round ball and a basket…that’s how silly basketball is at its core. I don’t know why people want me to take everything so seriously. I thought we were having fun here.


Kevin Durant and Redefining The Word “Nice”

I think this is my favorite side of KD. OH WELL! (photo from Kevin Durant’s instagram @SniperJones35)

Prayers and well-wishes to everyone affected by the tornadoes in Oklahoma. According to news sources, this is one of the worst tornado occurrences in history. Thankfully, the death toll is less than many other storms past … but any loss of life (including that of animals) is such a tragic thing. 

Oklahoma Thunder star Kevin Durant (my fav player behind the illustrious Christopher Wesson Bosh) has agreed to donate 1 million dollars to relief efforts. That is awesome and I’m so happy he’s doing  that — I’m also not surprised.

When I saw Durant’s announcement it got me thinking about his image and the whole concept of the “nice guy.”  What does that mean? How fully can we understand an athlete who is burdened with that tag in part because of his own statements?

In a nutshell, I think of folks who are described as nice as being boring and having nothing else to offer up for a narrative. No intellectual curiosity of note, no tales of wild unruly nights to share, no particular physical gifts or markings, no sense of humor to speak of etc etc. In the dating world, when a guy is described as nice he might as well be a serial killer because I’ve no interest in someone unworthy of better description. 

Kevin Durant and his mother and grandmother. (photo from Kevin Durant’s instagram @sniperjones35)

But KD doesn’t really fit that mold. I think at first he provided a nice contrast to those extremely weird and very likely pathologically disturbed people who hated Lebron James. And in this “everyone-must-have-a-brand” economy we live in the media married him to this narrative. I think on some level Durant understands that in this media environment you’re either the good guy or the bad guy and he chose to help  pigeon hole himself as a dutifully humble big kid lest he become the giant selfish monster those crazies I described earlier pegged Lebron James as. Durant’s humble act is as much a product of being raised right as it is a necessity in avoiding the contrived wild-eyed ire of the Skip Baylesses of the world. 

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The NFL Has a New Site and Guess Who’s A Contributor? Me!

I took a break from blogging and I must say it was glorious - thanks for wondering. More on why I took a break later. The point is I’m back and I have great news. 

The NFL has created a new site called the Women’s Resource Initiative to reach out to the women that affect athletes’ lives - whether it’s moms and wives/girlfriends or bloggers and female fans. The site is a spin-off from the Player Engagement site which helps connect NFL players with the many resources that the NFL makes available to them. The site for women was designed to get women to take a more active role in players’ lives and also to connect with one another. 

I think the site is a great idea and I was excited when I was asked to contribute to it. I’ll be blogging about safety rules and initiatives the NFL implements as well as interviewing former and current players about ventures off the field. I’ll go into more details about this when we’ve ironed everything out and my first post is up. But as you know, player safety and advancement are two issues that are VERY important to me and I’m happy to expand my role in the discussion around those issues. 

I know you’re probably wondering if I’ll continue to be the largely disagreeable goodwitch I’ve been for the past 2 years and a few months that this blog has been in existence. Well, the answer is HELL YES. I haven’t changed and the NFL hasn’t asked me to. If you keep up with the way that the NFL conducts business you know they’re not afraid of edge…I think the NFL actually does a better job covering itself than any other network or outlet in many cases. If I felt my ability to give my opinion freely and with my normal vigor would be compromised here or on the NFL’s official site I definitely wouldn’t have agreed to contribute to the site in any way, shape or form. 

As I said, my first contribution to the site isn’t up yet, but still please make sure you pop over and peruse the site and spread the link around. I never thought I’d see my name right beside Donovan McNabb’s mom’s, isn’t that so cool? I KNOW RIGHT! Here’s the Washington Post’s write up on the site which features a great interview with New England Patriots Vince Wilfork’s wife Bianca. 

 [LINK: NFL Player Engagement Womens Resource Initiative]




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