2.22.2007

sports quick hits



these actually aren't so quick and i should probably just do a separate post on hardaway and kobe, but whatevs....you should be thankful that i'm even writing anything.

1) women are now going to receive the same prize money as men at wimbledon this year. this is most definitely a sign of progress, as the idea that men's tennis is as popular or entertaining as women's tennis has been obsolete for about ten years now. however, it should be noted that wimbledon is the last major to equalize pay for men and women, and so while we should feel good about this development, we should also say condescendingly to wimbledon officials, "it's about freakin' time".

2) scoop jackson has an in depth interview with tim hardaway concerning him hating gay people. it is interesting and taken at face value, it does seem that timmy is at least a little bit contrite. however, there are several things about this piece that make me skeptical. first, scoop even lays it out himself in the first paragraph
See, Timmy Hardaway and I grew up together, been tight for over 30 years, family linked through blood and love. So when the fallout unfolded after he said on Dan Le Batard's radio show that he hates gay people, I felt the right thing to do would be toss the man a life preserver.
to be fair, the interview is not a puff piece and jackson does well not to lob only softballs at hardaway. however, at the same time, jackson's intent, as stated above, was to give hardaway a chance to redeem himself. which leads us to hardaway's responses in this interview which is best summed up by this quote
Right now, learning. Learning that gay people are really no different than a lot of other people. Learning that they work hard, they do things in the community, they are responsible for building parks, rec centers, providing safe environments for kids, just things I had never associated with them before. [This last week] has opened up my eyes to the gay population and what they do. I'm getting a lot of knowledge about them that I didn't have. Which is going to make me a better person.
call me a cynical bastard, but this is publicist speak. and if you ever say hardaway when he was an analyst on ESPN, you know that the notion that tim came up with this statement himself is far fetched. but even if he did come up with that statement by himself, in the same interview this little exchange occured
But still you have issues with gays?

I still don't accept their lifestyle. No.

And you stand on that?

Yes. You know, we were brought up to not even condone or associate yourself with a gay person. If you knew of a gay person, disassociate yourself with them.

But Tim, you've been in Miami for years now and there is a strong and public gay community there. How have you still held on to that same mentality while living in Miami all of these years?

I just get away from it. I just walk away. I see it, I just go the other way, cross the street.

So at no point did you ever try to understand their lifestyle or way of life?

No. Never did. Never wanted to.

Do you want to now?

No. I don't want to … try to find some type of understanding of why they live the way they live or why they are the way they are. Maybe I could go to therapy, maybe someone can help me out with understanding [them], the sensitivity of the issue. But as a person, my beliefs are my beliefs. I don't have to condone it and I don't have to be around it. But I don't have to hate it either.

yeahhhhhh.....sorry to break the news timmy, but you still hate gay people. i've seen at least two major basketball writers (dammit, i can't find the other one), say that we should back off because he sounds really sorry about the whole flap, but i'm going to be one of those people who call BS on timmy. again, i'll use the black thing, if someone said they hated black people, and then later apologized, but said that they still stand by their assertion that black people suck, it wouldn't stand. the same should apply for the GLBT community.

3) a great essay on kobe, and his somewhat ambivalent place in a hip-hop driven NBA. the comments are even good
It was Iverson. He introduced and authentic and marketable new archetype that made MJ's blueprint of incessant smiles and Republican pandering obsolete. Kobe didnt find that out until it was too late. Great read. Back to the drawing board.
nice stuff...

4) this isn't sports related per se, but interesting nonetheless. a study says that playing video games results in better surgeons. i guess on the surface it makes sense, since playing video games develops hand eye coordination and concentration skills.

5) i don't know why i find this so funny. actually, i do. i'm going straight to hell.


p.s. almost forgot, what what in the butt

4 comments:

Ian said...

Okay, I'm not here to debate religion, because I doubt we're going to settle any centuries-old debates here on the Ragin' Asian.

However, I have to agree with the thrust of what Tim Hardaway said. If you're taught all you life, from a religious standpoint, that a certain behavior is sinful, you'll tend to disassociate yourself from that behavior and those who practice it.

Now, I certainly disagree with Tim's comment that he hates gay people, because we're both operating from the same playbook that says that you're not to hate anyone, just their behaviors.

Now you can call me bigoted, but I'll still stand by the statement that a homosexual lifestyle is fundamentally anti-Christian. If someone claims to be a Christian that believes everything the Bible says, then they have no choice but to acknowledge this one.

Again, I'm not here to debate theology. Rather, I'm here to debate the fact that the dissolution of hatred does not have to be followed by acceptance of a lifestyle seen as oppositional to a belief system.

And this may not strike you as much of a difference, but blackness cannot be quantified by behavior (and if you subscribe to that notion than we've opened up an entirely separate can of worms). If someone said "I hate all black people," they couldn't then follow that by saying, "I don't hate black people, I just disagree with the fact that they're black." However, it is more reasoned for someone who has said "I hate gay people" to retract that statement and say that they disagree with homosexual behaviors. There's a difference between labeling a condition and a behavior as immoral. Just because someone has a condition that makes them predisposed to killing doesn't mean that everyone has to celebrate the murders they commit.

Ian said...

It's totally off topic, but I though you should see this:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/si_blogs/nba/2007/02/nbas-bad-rap.html

It's a pretty good article suggesting that the bad rap that the NBA gets in comparison to the NFL and other leagues has more to do with a corporate dynamic than a racial/ethnic dynamic. Just thought you'd want to read it.

Bob said...

hi ian,

as always, nice to see you weigh in.

on the first comment, i think we're going to have to just agree to disagree. homosexuality may be an inherently anti-christian lifestyle, but that doesn't make it ok for people, christians and non-christians to discriminate. and for me, to disapprove of a lifestyle for no other reason than "the bible says so" is dumb. there are plenty of things in the bible that most christian denominations decide to ignore or just chalk op to the differences in culture and values between today and hundreds of years BC. the murder analogy is no good, since murder actually does cause harm to the the greater good (in most cases). however, the idea that homosexuality causes harm to the greater good is socially constructed. but like you said, we can't debate theology since that's going to get us nowhere.

on the second comment, the person has an interesting point, that the NBA as a corporation has a bad branding strategy, but i would say that the branding strategy of both the NFL and the NBA has explicit uses of race. the NBA, struggles with selling an authentic renegade black athlete, ala iverson, but without the more seedy elements that remind us that these archetypes are grounded in years of systematic discrimination. the nfl on the other hand, promotes the, for lack of better term, the wasp. god fearing, america loving, manly men. so while the corporate dynamic helps to exacerbate or mitigate the public perception of the respective leagues, it does not mean that the racial dynamic is not a part of the bigger picture. i'm guessing where you and i probably disagree on this point is that you might think that the incorporation of race is more of a subconscious thing (i don't mean to put words in your mouth, i'm just trying to resent the opposite argument of mine), whereas i think that the NBA marketing people actually say stuff like, "we want to market the game as starring these exotic black males that play into our stereotypes about black people, but without the baggage that they might carry because of white racism."

don't get me wrong, with the jordan era, they promoted a "colorblind" aesthetic to the NBA with people without personalities, i.e. jordan, and that in my opinion is not better.

Ian said...

I've never really noticed the NBA racializing its marketing, but I also try to pay as little attention to the NBA as possible before the playoffs.

I do find it interesting, though, that in the Erving/Bird/Magic/Isiah/Jordan era, there was little to no attention paid to the type of music the players were listening to. Isiah seems to have been retroactively labeled the street thug archetype of the NBA. His struggles growing up in southside Chicago are well documented, and his style of ballhandling definitely had its origin in the streets, but you could safely reference these facts because he was perceived as a well-spoken media darling during the first half of his NBA career.

I (as you might expect) preferred the league during the "colorblind" era because there was more focus placed on the skill of the players and the attributes that made them winners. In fact, Isiah broke the colorblind rule when he responded to Dennis Rodman's comment about Larry Bird in 1987. I invite you to check up on it. Rodman said that Bird won MVP awards because he was the best white player in the league at the time, and Isiah backed up his teammate by saying that bird was a "very very good player" but "if he was black, he'd be just another good guy." That was the moment that the league's love affair with Isiah Thomas ended.

FYI - I place Bird as the #2 player ever behind Julius Erving, but ahead of Jordan and Magic. Magic dominated the point because he was 6'9" in the era of 6'3" point guards, but Bird dominated without exploiting size mismatches. I'll concede right off the bat that an argument can be made that none of the players I've mentioned are the greatest of all time. Anyhow, I digress...

I agree with the poster at the other board that Iverson made it safe(r) for players to demonstrate "ethnic" traits in the league, but you need to be careful what you label as ethnic. To say that braids, tattoos and cornrows are ethnic traits is to court controversy.

Before I forget, Jordan did make a street contribution to the NBA. Jordan is generally considered to be the first player to popularize baggy shorts in the NBA. It wasn't until the Fab Five brought baggy shorts to the college game that people really began to recognize their urban descent.