Thursday, July 22, 2010

No Winners, Just Whiners

Chris Paul seems to have added himself to the list of NBA divas who are demanding to play with another superstar in order to contend for a title. ESPN and Yahoo are reporting he is demanding a trade to the Knicks, Magic, or Lakers. Chris Paul still has two years left on his current contract.

This new “Super Team” era in the NBA is bad for the league. The more super teams the NBA has the worse the competition is going to be. No one wants to watch a game, in person or on TV, that they know is going to be a blowout. I’m not going to watch a Lakers vs. Grizzlies game – we all know how that game is going to turn out. The lack of competition will lead to the loss of revenue for the teams and for the league.

Recently Hall of Famers Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson have publicly stated that they would not have pulled a LeBron and called up all the other superstars during their era to play on the same team to compete for a championship. That’s just now how the NBA used to work. It was about the competition and the challenge of beating your rivals, not teaming up with them.

What happened to getting up early, eating your Wheaties, and working harder than the other guy to win a title? It sounds like working hard turned into clubbing till 4am, sipping a drink on the beach, and let the other guy win you a ring.

In order to be the man, you have to beat the man - not join his team.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Horrendus Horn of Africa

This year’s World Cup brought us many things - the U.S. won their group, historic powerhouses went home early and gave rise to a new champion, and that damn vuvuzela.

At first, I was on board with the ‘zela. It was different and since it is rooted in African tradition I thought it added a little uniqueness to the Cup in South Africa. I could usually tune out the drone of the horns when I watched a match and it really wasn’t that big of a deal. Hell, I even downloaded the free Vuvuzela app for my iPhone. I didn’t really get what all the fuss was about.

I went to a MLS game a week or so ago and on the way in joked that I was going to find a vuvuzela and buy one to “support my team” at the game. I was a little disappointed when I found out they didn’t sell them at the stadium. I quickly found out why.

Some old guy directly behind me – decked out like he came straight from the World Cup, wig and all – had a vuvuzela (and a few too many dollar beers) and was on the horn for a good portion of the game. They are loud. Crazy loud. Periodic shouts of “Vuvuzelas Forever!” and other random, pointless statements along with the loud, obnoxious blowing of that damn plastic horn had me wanting to shove his vuvuzela somewhere that may have made for a very uncomfortable ride home.

I made it through the 90 minute match without assaulting anyone, but I was pretty irritated.

That being said, I applaud the English Premier League clubs that are taking the steps to keep the vuvuzela out of their stadiums this year. Tottenham led the charge against the ban and were quickly followed by Arsenal, West Ham, Liverpool, Everton, and Fulham to name a few. Considering the tradition most football clubs enjoy with their team cheers and songs the vuvuzela only works to undermine the fan experience.

I hope the MLS as a league or individual MLS clubs follow the Premiership clubs that have banned the vuvuzela. Since MLS is looking to draw in the casual soccer fan and grow the sport in America, the vuvuzela will do nothing except turn fans away and soccer will be nothing more than a game their kid plays on the weekend.

No T.O. Show - Yet

Well, at least Terrell Owens’ agent Drew Rosenhaus is confident his client will get a job soon.

Today’s news from the Seattle Seahawks adds another team to the list of NFL teams saying no thank you to Mr. Owens and his on the field talent and his off the field antics. Other teams in need of a wide receiver who have passed on T.O. include the Washington Redskins and San Diego Chargers who will be without their star wide out Vincent Jackson for three games.

T.O is getting old – 36 – but is still capable of helping out a team in need of a number two/three guy. I know his stats from last year were terrible, but so were the QBs that were passing him the ball – well, throwing in his direction when they weren’t lying on their back.

I think the tough part for T.O. is realizing he isn’t the number one receiver he used to be and being humble enough to accept a smaller role and paycheck. I’m sure this is difficult for a number of superstars that are headed in to their “senior” years in the NFL. That’s just the reality of the sport – teams get younger every year and eventually the light fades on the veterans and shines on the up and coming players.

That being said, let’s not be na├»ve and think that T.O.’s lack of employment (in the NFL at least) is solely because of his age. He is responsible for a large portion of the lack of interest he has been shown publicly because of his attitude and tendency to rip apart a locker room. He is a polarizing player – you either love him or hate him – and teams don’t want that kind of division in the huddle. If he had trouble with one team, moved on, and became a model player on another then this would not be an issue. But to consistently show a pattern of disrespect and behavior detrimental to a team gives general managers and coaches a lot to think about before they sit down with Mr. Rosenhaus to bring you on board.

You can get your popcorn ready, but it’s going to get cold before you see T.O. score a team, let alone a touchdown.