It’s Monday: Kobe Bryant

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Good Morning Toughtalkerz…The 2012 NBA All Star game was held over the weekend with the game taking on it’s usual form…a bunch of dunks and no-look passes in the first 3 quarters.  Then in the 4th quarter the game always becomes more competitive with teams from the East and West trying to gain a victory over the other.  But a milestone was reached during the game, Kobe Bean Bryant, the polarizing Guard of the Los Angeles Lakers became the All-Time leading scorer (271 career points) in NBA All-Star game history surpassing Michael Jordan (262 career points).  I started to wonder out loud…is Kobe Bryant really appreciated for his accomplishments? Or have his off the floor mishaps and his career starting when it did put a damper on his achievements?  If you would go strictly by his numbers, Mr. Bryant should be considered one of the Greatest Basketball Players that has ever lived.  He is a 14-time NBA All -Star, with 4 All-Star Most Valuable Player Trophies (tied with Bob Pettit for the most in History),  a 13-time All NBA team member, and an 11-time All Defensive team member.  Mr. Bryant is also currently 5th on the all-time scoring list behind Kareem Abdul- Jabbar (38,387 points), Karl Malone (36,928 points), Michael Jordan (32,292 points), and Wilt Chamberlain (31,419 points).  This is truly some rarefied company to be in!  But yet there always seems to be a question about Mr. Bryant’s abilities.  In the beginning the discussion was always…he couldn’t win a title without former Lakers teammate Shaquille O’Neal (the two won 3 NBA Championships together 1999-2002), but he has won 2 NBA championships since Mr. O’Neal was traded.  Then it became, he is trying to be like Michael Jordan.  But I ask the question…what NBA player past or present, didn’t/doesn’t pattern their game after the greats that preceded them?  Michael had Dr. J, Magic had Oscar Robertson…they all have someone.  But with Kobe it always seems to be something else attached to it.  I believe Mr. Bryant’s career started too soon…meaning…if their was a lapse in time between his and Mr. Jordan’s career, I think most fans could appreciate him more, rather than always comparing him to Jordan.  Mr. Bryant is an excellent basketball player…and if your dislike comes from what I’ve mentioned or some other basketball rumor, or his personality, or his sexual assault case on a hotel worker in 2003 in Eagle, Colorado (the charges were dropped when the accuser refused to testify), or whatever it may be…you’re witnessing something that doesn’t come along that often.  A man that is aliening his name to some of the greatest records ever by an NBA player.  And if you like or don’t like him…you need to respect what he is doing…because greatness doesn’t come along too often folks!  And even though we have been lucky to see it twice in the last 2 decades (Jordan, Bryant), doesn’t mean that it still isn’t great!!

Thoughts On Thursdays: Forfeiting the Game

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Good Morning Toughtalkerz…a Superintendent in Warren County Georgia has made a decision to force a school in her district (Warren County High) to forfeit a regional tournament basketball game bringing an end to their season.  Superintendent Carole Jean Carey arrived at this decision because of a incident that occurred during football season.  Warren County and rival school Hancock Central High faced each other and after the game was over, a huge brawl broke out between the two.  This melee gained national media attention (seen here) and was covered by nightly news broadcasts as well as sports talk shows.  The fight left the schools and their districts with shame and ridicule.  But my question to the school, the district and you Superintendent Carey is WHAT ABOUT THE BOYS?  The young men who had absolutely nothing to do with the altercation that occurred (in a entirely different sport by the way).  These young men who worked hard and sacrificed themselves…gave a 100% effort on and off the court…maintained a grade point average to play extra-curricular activities…and were good enough to reach the playoffs…what about them??  The Warren County Boys basketball team assembled outside their school the other day with arms locked in a show of solidarity in protest of the decision that was made.  These boys were just asking someone to give them a voice…to hear their side…well young men I have heard you!!  The decision that was made on your season ending was wrong!!  Their could have and should have been other alternatives to ensure safety…not just forfeiting the game.  If you’re unsure about the crowd that might attend…close the game to the public.  If you don’t want to do that then appeal to the local police station for police officers to provide security… or ask off duty police and fire fighters to volunteer their time to aid with crowd control.  Something could have been done!!  What are we teaching these young men?  Are we showing them that the only solution to an issue is just not deal with it??  We always teach kids that with hard work anything is possible in America…and the only way to win is to participate…and that is true…anywhere else except for Warren County Georgia!!  JUST MY THOUGHTS PEOPLE!!

Tuesday’s Topic: NBA Lockout

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So the National Basketball Association’s owners have decided to cancel the first 2 weeks of the 2011-2012 NBA regular season and for most of you this decision went by without a second thought.  By now most of you are so wrapped up in your NFL Season with your Fantasy football leagues, Major League Baseball in their Post season, and the start of the NHL, most fans haven’t even given the NBA Lockout any thought whatsoever.  But this may be a bigger deal than most of you think.  The NBA (its owners and players) had a similar dispute back in 1998 which led to cancelling a substantial portion of the season.  Even though the two parties eventually agreed to terms on a Collective Bargaining Agreement, the damage that the Lockout had on the sport is still felt to this day.  In their negotiations with the players, I believe the owners made a huge mistake in posturing for public support.  Trying to gain sentiment for their cause, the salary structure and financial information was put on display for public consumption and with the vehicle of the Internet and booming of Sports Talk Radio, the average fan got a behind the curtain view of what most NBA players earned in salary.  And with those revelations, a resentment was born that still exists to this day (more in this sport than any other).  In the NBA, the majority of the players who earn these salaries are African Americans.  In this country, the average fan of the league works 40 hours a week (if they’re lucky) and makes a “honest” wage for that work.  Of a more important note, the majority of these workers are Caucasian males and they have grown to really resent the players.  You hear it all the time: “they make too much money!”.  But when is the last time you heard this about MLB or the NFL?? – where the “ELITE” players/quarterback’s (the majority of whom are White) contracts and earnings never get scrutinized.  By using this negotiating tool, the NBA owners may have done irrefutable damage to their league and may have never realized exactly what it was doing.  And with the current economy, the last thing your league needs is more resentment towards it.  The league has finally started to recover from the ’98 Lockout and with the interest in the NBA starting an upward swing in viewers and attention by the average sports fan, the last thing it needs now is to make the same mistake that was made 13 years earlier.  So be careful this time will you?  You can win the battle, but lose the war!!