By updating RealClearSports I read hundreds of articles every week but sometimes there are particular passages that need highlighting. And to make these passages more palatable I'm doing them in award form! The awards are completely random and will change weekly.
Over the past weekend, tennis player David Nalbandian lost his temper and when kicking an advertising sign accidentally kicked line judge Andrew McDougall. It was a stupid act. It was childish. And in a sport like tennis that seems to frown at players with personalities it was a much bigger deal than it would have been in any other sport.
The incident happened during the finals of the Aegon Championships with Nalbandian leading 7-6, 3-4 against Marin Cilic. Not only was Nalbandian disqualified but he also could not collect his prize money of over $50,000 and lost the 150 ranking points he would have received. It's a stiff punishment for a stupid but non-vicious act. I'm sure Nalbandian will never do something like that again...oh, that's not all? He also was fined a maximum $12,500 (approximate translation from pounds) by the ATP for "unsportsmanlike conduct." Wow. Now that seems a little excessive. Losing the prize money and rankings wasn't enough? And, as if this was a Price Is Right showcase showdown or TV info-mercial...But wait, there's more!
The incident is now being investigated by the police after a complaint was filed. The police wouldn't reveal who made the complaint. Was this really necessary? McDougall suffered a cut on his shin. The bleeding made it seem much worse than it was and he didn't have to go to the hospital for treatment. Nalbandian apologized to McDougall and the ATP for his actions. Can't this be laid to rest? Now Nalbandian could be fined even more money, could receive a ban from the ATP and might face criminal charges. This is getting to be just absurd. Don't the police have something better to do? Who made the complaint and can they be charged the amount this fruitless investigation is going to cost taxpayers? Can't some accidents just be accidents and not result in criminal charges and/or lawsuits? On to the awards!
Linda Robertson of the Miami Herald shares the differences between Kevin Durant and LeBron James: Durant is a baby-faced superstar adored by fans. He's just 23 but already the league's three-time scoring leader. He could have moved to a larger market, but chose to sign a long-term contract with the Thunder because he likes the small-town feel and friendliness of Oklahoma City. He's not interested in clubbing or conspicuous consumption. He's a humble homebody who wants to bring a title to the team that was built from the ground up through the draft.
By painting this picture of Durant she is implying the opposite of LeBron. LeBron did leave for a larger market. He does go clubbing and he joined a Heat team that didn't build from the ground up. But Durant also isn't in Cleveland. And that's not even comparing the cities but the organizations. The Thunder have unbelievable talent around him in a way LeBron never did in Cleveland. Would Durant have stayed in OKC if they hadn't landed the likes of Harden and Westbrook in the draft? They both want to win and both have chosen their best opportunity to do so and to paint it any other way is distorting the truth.
Lack of Restraint
Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer didn't want to venture into the world of hyperbole in his column about the NBA Finals: The 2011-12 NBA finals begin Tuesday night in Oklahoma City, and I won't compare Miami star LeBron James and Thunder star Kevin Durant with Magic and Bird.
LeBron and Durant are more athletic and larger. Magic and Bird have larger resumes.
Magic's Lakers won five championships, Bird's Celtics three. LeBron's Miami Heat and Durant's Oklahoma City Thunder have yet to win one.
But there are unmistakable similarities between the great players from the 1980s and the two greatest players in the NBA today. One is that they compel you to watch them.
Does this confuse anyone else? I swear I thought he said he wasn't going to compare them...
LeBron is a more complete player than Kobe ever was. But Kobe once would win close games by himself. LeBron has yet to.
Maybe LeBron hasn't had a game-winning shot in the playoffs but to say he hasn't won close games by himself just isn't right. Look at what he has done in these playoffs. In a critical Game 4 against the Pacers he had 40 points, 18 rebounds and 9 assists in a 101-93 victory. And do huge games in which he's the reason his team blows out others not count for anything? Should we dismiss his 45-point game in a must-win Game 6 against the Celtics just because the final margin of victory was 21 points? LeBron is quickly dispelling the myth that he is not clutch and columnists better begin to recognize that.
Columnist Who Could Be a Lawyer for Sandusky
Jeff Jacobs of the Hartford Courant has an interesting defense for Geno Auriemma who has been accused of basically sexual assault: Isn't women's basketball too small a community and Connecticut too small a state for someone not to have said something in the past 25 years if Auriemma had engaged in such brutish behaviors?
Wasn't Penn State too tight of a community and Happy Valley to small of an area for Jerry Sandusky to get away with child molestation for so long? The cases are very different and I don't mean to compare the acts nor the people but I just find the argument senseless but perhaps Sandusky's attorneys can attempt to use it to their advantage.
Worst Type of People in the World?
Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel is rooting for Florida State coach Mike Martin to win the College World Series this year: I once wrote that if you're rooting against Martin winning a championship, "You are probably the same person who slams the door in the face of the pig-tailed, freckle-faced kid selling Girl Scout cookies. ... The same person who yells, 'Get a Job!' to the homeless man begging for quarters. ... The same person who flips off the little old lady who is driving her Dodge Dart 20 mph in a 45 mph zone."
Is it wrong that he is describing me? Alright, not on the Girl Scout cookies girl. I wouldn't complain if they knocked on my door weekly. Although, I'd weigh an extra 50 pounds if that were the case. I might not yell at the homeless person but I'm probably thinking it. And as far as the old lady? Driving 20 in a 45 mph zone is EXTREMELY unsafe. I'd argue it's less safe than driving 60 in a 45. Old ladies that drive that slow need to have their licenses revoked. I guess I'm just about the worst person in the world.
Intro to a Column I Never Thought I'd Read
Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times opened his column about the Kings winning the Stanley Cup with a quote: When I was a young boy, my father took me into the city, to see a marching band. He said, "Son, when you grow up, would you be the savior of the broken, the beaten and the damned?"
For those that aren't 16-year-old teenage girls those are lyrics from My Chemical Romance. Yes, that's Bill Plaschke quoting My Chemical Romance and weaving it SEAMLESSLY into his story on the Kings.
Worst Article Criticizing LeBron
Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman thinks LeBron James needs to lighten up: LeBron James says he's having fun. Says he's enjoying himself. Sure doesn't look like it. ... Where's the joy?
Where's the on-court bowling ball fun and the posing for fake pictures and the chalk shower he gave anyone sitting at the scorer's table? Where's the guy with a bounce in his step even when the clock wasn't moving?
Can you imagine if LeBron were doing those things? The media would rip him to shreds. Did Jordan ever do those types of things during his run to the title? Did Kobe? Has anyone? Athletes are supposed to take things like the playoffs seriously and that's what LeBron is doing. Is he having fun? I'm sure he is enjoying winning.
How to Hate the Dream Team
Peter Vecsey of the New York Post doesn't believe the original Dream Team should be glorified: Now that I've read some of what was said by a deputized inmate Michael Jordan and authorities responsible for the selection of USA Basketball's representative, I wish I had smacked around The Farcelona 12 an eternity ago. The hypocrisy of so many people involved in its assembly and, more to the cutthroat point, the ostracizing of Isiah Thomas, is both wretched and retching. This may be the dirtiest a sports figure has ever been treated.
Was leaving Isiah Thomas off the team that big of a snub? Who do you kick off in place of him? Every single NBA player on the team made the Hall of Fame. If anyone of those players were left off they would've been pretty big snubs as well. And I'd say the NBA made the right call having Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen on the team instead of Isiah Thomas. There's so much more wrong with this article but I'm too annoyed to get into it. But if getting riled up is your thing you can read TheBigLead's breakdown of the article.
Worst Idea of the Week
Speaking of the Dream Team - Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press has a completely nonsensical idea to right the wrong of the Isiah snub: The U.S. Olympic Committee, as well as USA Basketball, should arrange that Thomas receive an honorary 1992 gold medal.
If increasing numbers think 20 years later that it was a mistake, then correct the mistake.
Here's the thing about the Olympics - no one gets a gold medal for NOT competing. Giving him an honorary medal would be a smack in the face to the rest of the team. If Isiah had been on the team it would not be the same Dream Team that is so revered today. Who knows how many of those players would've played if Isiah was on it.
Reaching for a Column Idea
Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle is obviously much more in-tune with what fans are saying about the Giants but I have yet to hear this one: Tim Lincecum is struggling, and some fans and armchair drug experts are blaming his slump on marijuana use.
Lincecum was cited for misdemeanor pot possession following the 2009 season. He has long hair. The pot posse believes that where there was smoke, there is smoke.
How many fans are really blaming Lincecum's struggles on the idea that he might be smoking pot? I have to assume it's in like single digits. Star pitchers struggle all the time but people don't automatically assume it's because they are on drugs. There are so many factors and I don't believe anybody that is credible blames Lincecum's struggles on marijuana. Personally, I think it has to do with gay marriage. It just makes more sense.