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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Quit. Your. Whining.

Photo courtesy of David_Shankbone

The smile pockets a rattling controversy.

Merry Christmas everyone! Now that my daughter has opened all of her gifts, made a mess, drank some milk, ate and fallen back asleep, I could get some stuff off of my chest.

Yesterday my fiancĂ©’s Jeep died on her while she was driving on the highway. When the tow truck arrived I struck up a general conversation with Jack, the driver. I asked him if he worked all night on Christmas Eve and he looked at me and said “I work all the way thru Sunday, buddy. I can’t afford to take too many days off.” The fact that working on a holiday didn’t seem to bother him made me wonder why it bothers athletes. I think it’s safe to assume that Jack’s passion isn’t towing cars so why is it so hard for an athlete, whose passionate about playing sports, to ‘work’ on holidays?

About a week ago Phil Jackson made it clear that he wasn’t happy about his team playing a game on Christmas Day. Since then a few other people, including Doc Rivers and Lebron James, have echoed Jackson’s sentiments about ‘working’ on that holiday. Are you kidding me?

Along with his circus-like announcement about his signing with the Heat, James got a 5-year $96 million deal. That averages out to a little over $19 million a season and, moreover, a little over $200K PER GAME. Who needs time and a half when you get paid that much for five hours of work? Need I remind you that James only ‘works’ as an NBA player from the end of October until about May…and that’s including any playoffs and/or championships.

Being that the NBA season typically lasts from October to April or May, this gives players and coaches a four month offseason to spend as much time doing whatever it is that makes them happy. I completely understand where these players and coaches are coming from. I mean, no one wants to work on any holiday. Unfortunately there are jobs where no time off can be afforded and being an entertainer is one of those jobs.

At the end of the day, sports players are entertainers and quite frankly, entertainers don’t take days off. Your job is to entertain people. As a result, when the holidays come around and most people are enjoying the day with their families, entertainers have to entertain to earn money.

I really don’t understand what the big deal is. Pay any Joe Schmoe $200K to work on any holiday and I guarantee you that he’ll work a 24-hour shift with a huge smile on his face. In fact, for $200K I bet he’ll work every holiday that year.

What these athletes are failing to remember is that during their offseason, the majority of people in the country are still working and most of the time to the benefit of the athlete. For example, on the 4th of July when Lebron wants to drive around in his fancy cars with his friends and family, those gas stations that he pulls into to fill up his gas tank have people working behind the counter. I bet those people wish they could have an offseason to be with their families and friend.

These coaches and players who have voiced their opinions against playing on Christmas Day have forgotten just how good they have it. When athletes start getting paid by the hour, then I’ll consider their arguments against playing on holidays. Until then, just shut up, shoot the ball and collect your little $200K check.
Photo courtesy of David_Shankbone

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's About Time Brett!

When my third grade science teacher, Mr. Dulude, told me that dinosaurs didn't exist and my grandmother was not living proof that dinosaurs are alive, I wasn't quite convinced. My argument was certainly not baseless. I mean, my grandmother was like a million and three years old at the time. Coincidently, that's pretty close to the age that Brett Favre is today.

I'm more convinced than ever that dinosaurs are indeed still among us. Favre is so old that he still has his wooly mammoth coat that God gave to him on his 131st birthday. Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit.

Favre has been a great player and arguably the best quarterback to ever play the game. Throughout his career he amassed numerous records, including the recently-snapped-297-consecutive-games-played record. After doing some basic arithmetic, I found that 297 games is equivalent to 18.5 NFL seasons with 16 games each season. That's insane and definitely not humanlike. If the average career length for a quarterback in the NFL is four years, then Favre's career has been undeniably freakish and his consecutive games played record is proof of that.

Quite honestly, Favre was too old when the number of consecutive games played was at 197. His career should've ended at 197 not because of injury but because of RETIREMENT! Above it all, however, I'm tired of seeing his face on Sundays.

It's time to step down, Brett, and pass the baton to another quarterback. Hell, even Peyton Manning has to live in the shadows of Brett Favre!

He already announced that he won't be returning for the 2011-2012 season, but should we believe him? After all, it's not something we all haven't heard before from Brett. In my opinion, though, Favre is telling the truth this time around. With the sexual harassment scandals and injuries that he's had to deal with this season, I'm willing to place a wager that he would've retired last season if he had any inclinations that this season would turn out as bad as it did.

Whatever his reasoning, I welcome his retirement with open arms. And since Brett has given three other retirement speeches, I'll even excuse him of a fourth one. I'm tired of hearing his retirement speeches. It's like he has a ton of retirement speeches written down and kept in reserve.

So, Brett, it's been a hell of a ride but it's come to a conclusion...sort of like the dinosaurs on earth. Although I was never a big fan of yours, mainly because you always beat up on my Niners regardless of the jersey you were wearing, you provided many football fans with a lot of memories - some good and some bad. On my list of best quarterbacks ever you are just ahead of Dan Marino (and that's only because you have a ring and he doesn't) and just behind Joe Montana and Steve Young. I look forward to seeing you finally retired.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Why Lebron James’ Comparison to Michael Jordan Holds No Merit

Seven years into his career and already he had many considerable feats under his belt. He owned three MVP titles, two NBA titles, was a two time NBA Finals MVP, an NBA Rookie of the Year Award, and won an NBA Defensive Player of the Year award. Sounds almost unearthly for a basketball player, doesn’t it? Well, this was how Michael Jordan lived out his career for his first seven years – and he achieved all of these triumphs playing on a subpar team which Michael created into a dynasty with his bare hands. Jordan even created a Hall of Fame player out of his teammate Scottie Pippen. By the beginning of the 1993 NBA season, Jordan had already become a legend in the NBA.

Today we have no Michael Jordan but there are many comparisons to ‘His Airness’. One of the more common comparisons to Jordan is Lebron ‘The King’ James – without a doubt one of the most talented players in the NBA today. With that being said, however, all of James’ talents are nowhere near Michael Jordan’s talents. Seven years into his career and James has accrued zero NBA titles, zero NBA Finals MVP’s, zero NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards, a NBA Rookie of the Year award, two MVP awards and James has made zero of his teammates into all-stars, let alone Hall of Famers. Sure, Lebron James’ NBA achievements are more than the average person has done in the NBA, but it becomes unfair to Jordan when they refer to James as ‘the next Michael Jordan’. The comparison would certainly have merit had James achieved at least a quarter of what Michael Jordan achieved in his first seven years as an NBA player.

The 2010 offseason was unquestionably a circus-like event for the NBA. With two of the top three players in the NBA on the free agent market, team owners were jumping through rings of fire and walking on thin rope in an attempt to attract Dwayne Wade or Lebron James to their teams. At the end of the circus-like show, Wade and James both signed to the Miami Heat, along with Chris Bosh…three of the top five players drafted in 2003. James’ move to the Heat with two other superstars further solidifies the fact that he is nowhere near Michael Jordan in comparison. Michael created his own winning team with the players that surrounded him. In contrast, Lebron James has to play alongside two other superstars to even have a chance at an NBA title. In fact, James’ nickname should be switched to ‘The Prince’ seeing as ‘His Airness’, Michael Jordan, already owns the title of King of the NBA. Even if James wins seven straight titles, his comparison to Jordan is still meritless due to the fact that he did not create his own team. Jordan made his teammates into champions whereas James’ teammates are giving him the chance to become a champion…huge difference.