Thursday, February 22, 2007

What the NBA has become

Jason Whitlock's article on AOL Sports gave the perfect reason why the NBA is now officially the worst professional athletic disaster this side of Balco. As a guy that loves basketball, and thinks that basketball in high school can be used to teach young men an enormous amount about life, I'm very disgusted that the professional level of the sport has become nothing but a bad MTV "Thug life" type video. Take the NBA All-Star Game in Las Vegas.

An event planned to showcase what is right about professional basketball
has been turned into a 72-hour display of why commissioner David Stern can't
sleep at night and spends his days thinking of rules to mask what the NBA has
come to represent.

The All-Star Weekend was your basic pimped out gangster party, full of shit-talking prima donnas athletes, stoned crap rappers, and every hoody hanger-on that needs to throw down with anyone who has larger balls. Police were totally overwhelmed, and often times they were challenged by little idiots that happened to have a bigger paycheck.

And these are the morons that kids look up to.

Spike Lee would be pretty pissed right now if he knew that the word "nigger" is right back into the popular vernacular of "street cred" athletics. That's right, all the idiot videos and basketball hoopla has brought back the word that is only used by people too damn stupid to know right from wrong. Yes, that also means blacks calling each other the N-word as well. I've confronted a couple kids about the word and the excuse is always "well blacks call each other 'nigger' all the time". No, idiots call each other 'nigger'. Blacks hate the word as much as you should. However, I heard it more than once on the basketball floor this year, pronounced "nigga", as if the word has a less slanderous meaning. The idea is to develop some sort of idiot "street credibility (street cred)", which is absolutely hilarious when you think about the fact that we are in Ukiah. The concept of being "hard", which is basically meaning that you have to be an urban gangster and speak like an idiot, has always been popular, except that the kids out in the 'Burbs and rural areas don't really have a clue about what life in the city is really like. Or have the understanding that if you called someone "nigga" at my old basketball hangouts (McKinley Park and Roosevelt Park in Sacramento), guys would chase you down and hurt you, bad.

This year I really tried to do more teaching during basketball than coaching, if that makes any sense. I really wanted kids to get out of the idea that basketball players are idiots looking for street cred, and get into the idea that basketball players are classy guys that are having pride in a job well done.

And let's be frank, classy teams are usually the better teams. Those guys that walked into the gym with the sag and drag, and the tilted hats, those were the guys that you knew you had a mental advantage on. Sure, they might have more athleticism and more talent, but the mental edge and discipline were lacking. The teams you had to worry about were the teams that walked in dressed to the nines. They walked with confidence, not a swagger, and looked like they had been there before. Then they stepped out on the court and carved you up like a Thanksgiving turkey. Those were the teams you were concerned about.

Of course, we can't forget that the parents are the ultimate role models here. I truly can't tell a parent what to do with their kids, except to parent them. Hell, my father didn't care that I listened to "Gangster Rap" when I was 14. Nope, he knew I was slamming to NWA and 2 Live Crew in my Walkman while we were taking family trips to the Bay Area. But he also explained to me "right" from "wrong", and was very clear with the idea that I would be held responsible for my own actions. Responsible for your own actions. Might be something the NBA should consider.

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