ESPN’s Jason King has an article titled The Gospel of John Calipari where he describes the coaches marketing technique and success of Coach Cal. Although I am a Louisville fan, Cal is doing something special and he has a way of getting young talent and making them play as a team.
It also shows that universities rather than being educational facilities, are centered around sports, because that is where the money is.
It is all about the money, a critique that every school could hear.
Skip Bayless has an article on Tim Tebow chronicling how he was won over to become a huge Tebow fan. Bayless says:
So how did I suddenly go from rolling my eyes at Tebow to defending him?
Through his first three seasons at Florida, I was skeptical of the winning-for-God-and-Gators hype generated by the collegiate myth-making machine. Then on Monday night, Jan. 8, 2009, it happened: I got Tebowed.
My life changed.
That night I experienced what I eventually would call “a competitive force of nature.” It was 7-7 at halftime when (I later discovered via YouTube) Tebow gave his team a speech that was scary great: A shy-smiling boy next door suddenly transformed into the Hulk. A psycho-eyed Tebow screamed at his teammates that they WERE GOING TO GO BACK OUT THERE AND DO THIS AND DO THAT. And that’s exactly what they did. I sat numbly watching Tim Tebow take over the fourth quarter — take over the game, the crowd, the very psyches of my Sooners. Florida 24, me 14. Tebow: 231 yards passing, 109 rushing, 12-of-17 on third downs.
That night I said to myself I would never again bet against this guy.
The articles on LeBron James must be approaching the heavens by now. I will go ahead and state the obvious for those of you who don’t read articles on EPSN every day.
LeBron pinned the target to his own back.
I was talking to a friend in the weight room the other day and we were discussing how LeBron is actually not that bad of a dude. As Rick Reilly astutely observed:
Has he refused to speak to reporters after a single game this season? Has he called out his teammates for their poor play, as Kobe Bryant did twice this postseason? Has he gotten his coach fired? Been fined for criticizing refs? Asked to be traded, released or named general manager?
Has he punched anybody? Choked anybody? Screamed at any parking valets? (Mom doesn’t count.)
Smashed a chair? Drop-kicked any equipment? Tiger Woods does that on the front nine.
He also is a phenomenal basketball player. Every game he brings it, and usually dominates. He can play any position and succeed at it. In some ways he is absolutely unstoppable and as others have noted, instead of just cheering against him we need to enjoy his domination while it lasts because he will only get older and slower. As Joe Pos says:
It’s too easy for people like me to forget just how amazing LeBron was when he lugged a bagful of Larry Hughes, Eric Snow and Donyell Marshall to the NBA Finals by averaging 25 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and nearly two steals along the way. It’s too easy for people like me to forget that in the Cavaliers’ heart-wrenching seven-game loss to Orlando in the 2009 conference finals, LeBron scored 49, then 35, then 41, then 44, then 37 (that was his crazy 37-point, 14-rebound, 12-assist game) before struggling for a mere 25 in the final loss. The guy does extraordinary things, and he does them with regularity.
In fact at times I feel bad for him, wishing that he would have success. But I keep going back to this statement he made. A statement that never should have been made. A statement that (along with “The Decision”) made it okay to cheer against him.
Not 1 [championship], “Not 2. Not 3. Not 4. Not 5. Not 6. Not 7. And when I say that I really believe it. … The way we’re going to challenge each other in practice, once the game starts it’s going to be easy. I mean with me and D-Wade running the wing, I mean Pat [Riley] could come back and play like he was in his Kentucky days. Just throw it up there and we’re gonna get it.
Saying something like this would be like going into a new job and saying, “Because I am here, you will make not 1 million dollars, not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7. The sky is the limit. It is going to be easy.”
Some might be inspired, or already annoyed by a statement like this. But after a couple of years go by and the newest brand of “Heat Ovens” are only making $500K, there would start to be some giggles when he walks into the lunch room. And these would turn to outright hilarity if the entrance into the company included smoke and screams. See below.
So hate him, or love him, he has a target on his back, and don’t forget, he put himself in this position.
I don’t know if I have a rational for this, I simply have never liked them.
Part of the reason must be because I think Duncan is highly skilled, and highly spiritless.
I am hoping it will be OKC vs. the Celtics, but it seems that I am cursed in my sports leanings. After all, I am a Minnesota fan. Their history is a sad story (with a few highlights from the Twins).
Well over at SlateMatthew Yglesias explains why people don’t like the Spurs. I am not sure this my reason, but he says some interesting and perceptive things.
America—at least in its own imagination—stands for certain things. For the idea that hard work and sound judgment bring success, and that success deserves celebration. That winners should be celebrated as long as they play by the rules. That teamwork, leadership, loyalty, and excellence all count for something. And that’s why the San Antonio Spurs, currently riding a stupendous run of 19 straight victories, are America’s favorite professional basketball team.
Except, of course, they aren’t.
That’s because we are, ultimately, a nation of hypocrites that prefers drama queens, bad boys, and flukes to simple competence and success.
This year’s Spurs team somehow managed to earn less recognition than its predecessors even as it has finally demolished the longstanding excuses for America’s refusal to embrace our most successful sports franchise.
There’s a reason that Bridezillas is a show and there’s nothing called Reasonably Well-Planned Wedding Enjoyed by All. Americans don’t want excellence, and we certainly don’t want long-term sustained excellence. We want our dynasties to come with a side order of drama, controversy, and bad behavior. We want anti-heroes and the occasional impulsive retirement to pursue a baseball career. We want to watch a train wreck and then tut-tut in a smug self-satisfied way about the irresponsibility of the people who caused it. We want to maintain our high ideals, without needing to walk the walk. Nobody can hate the Spurs, so nobody wants to love them. It’s more comfortable for everyone if we can just pretend they don’t exist.