Friday, May 13, 2011

Insert Glove in Mouth

Oh, Bernard Hopkins. Maybe you should give up boxing, or at least take a break, to recover from the over-active jaw-running syndrome you displayed this week. Hopkins, one of the greatest middleweight champions ever to grace the ring, might have just executed his public image, and the pubic image of his race for years to come.

This is the problem with society today. Black Americans think that white Americans are still overwhelmingly racist; they just show it differently now than they did 50 years ago. And often times, black Americans respond to this by being “hard.” But did Hopkins ever stop and think that, perhaps the reason that rich white Americans take issue with black Americans still is because of the image they put forth?

Confused? Don’t be. Hopkins just proved my point when he called-out Washington Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb for not being “black enough.” Really? How is that not racist? Hopkins wants McNabb to act tougher, and holds his upbringing against him, saying McNabb didn’t speak the language, whatever that means. If by not speaking the language, Hopkins means McNabb doesn’t go around tossing out racial slurs at his friends like its somehow socially acceptable for the people who the slur is targeted at to use it as if it’s a positive, than Hopkins in right, McNabb doesn’t speak the language.

McNabb did have a better upbringing than most black NFL players. He also attended a top-flight university at Syracuse. But I don’t think that makes McNabb “suntanned” as Hopkins put it. If anything, Hopkins should be proud that McNabb has managed to avoid the stereotypes that often turn out to be true of black NFL stars.

Hopkins other shot was at the Philadelphia Eagles organization, saying they miss-led McNabb by making him feel like he was one of “theirs”, but in the end just dumped him. Hopkins said McNabb “thought he was one of them.”

But its time for Bernard Hopkins to realize something. First, the Eagles dumped McNabb for a quarterback (Michael Vick) who A.) is black, and B.) fits every stereotype ever put forth on a black athlete. He went to jail, is a convicted felon, has acted like a thug on the football field, is from a poor neighborhood and upbringing, etc…

Clearly the Eagles hadn’t dumped McNabb for the honky-tonk white boy (Kevin Kolb) who is now being shopped as trade bait. So why then is Hopkins siding with guys like Terrell Owens over McNabb?

It’s the one thing I’ve never understood about Eagles fans. No matter what he did, Donovan McNabb was never going to be good enough. He carried a broken team to a Super Bowl, yet Owens got all of the recognition because he came back from a horrific leg injury to play. McNabb took his team to the playoffs year after year, and won games in the playoffs. Yet McNabb is considered an underachiever and Eagles fans were thrilled when he was traded.

But Vick really didn’t do much more than McNabb. In fact, Vick couldn’t even win a home game in the Wild Card round last season. And I don’t care that the Packers went on to win the Super Bowl, the fact remains that the Eagles were he run away favorites to win that game, and Vick blew it.

It’s sad, really. Donovan McNabb never got enough credit in Philadelphia. He got traded to a horrendous team, and was blamed for everything even though he had nothing to work with. (Because, last time I checked, the quarterback also blocks, catches passes, runs the ball, and plays defense, all things the Redskins failed to do last year. Plus, McNabb clearly gave ridiculous contracts out left and right to anyone who would sign them, right?)

So take notice, Bernard Hopkins. The person you want Donovan McNabb to be is the same person that got players like Sean Taylor, Chris Henry, Adam “Pac-Man” Jones, and Plaxico Burress in trouble time after time. Maybe, just maybe, you should take a few tips from McNabb, and go about your business like a professional human.

And then again, maybe you shouldn’t, look where it got McNabb.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Seeing Stars in Dallas

If I ever ran into Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle at dinner, I’d ask him if he had any left. And if you’re wondering what I’m talking about, it’s the magic powder he put in his Gatorade before telling ESPN that Dirk Nowitzki is one of the 10 best players in NBA history.

No, seriously, he said that. Pick yourself up from the floor now, clean up the coffee, and hit play on the TiVo. Carlisle, the same coach who just led his team to a shocking, yet brilliant dismantling of the two-time defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers, and the same coach who played with the likes of Larry Bird and Patrick Ewing in his younger years, should probably be checked for PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, because clearly, defeating Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant took its toll.

Before we even go into my list of the 10 greatest players in NBA history, we should investigate whether or not Nowitzki, a 10-time All-Star and the 2007 league MVP, is even in the top 10 today. Granted, he is now 32, but he looked great last week against L.A. So, here is my list, in order, of the 10 best players currently suiting up in the NBA:

Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Nowitzki, Steve Nash, and Paul Pierce.

Everyone should agree that the first eight players are in the top 10, regardless of order, but then it gets debatable, and I’m not here to debate that. But the fact is, the 7-foot, 3-point shooting German big is not better than those first seven guys. So, what in the world makes Carlisle think Dirk is a top 10 player ever?

He isn’t in the top 20 in career points, points-per-game, rebounds, or shooting percentage. He is 13th in free throw percentage in his career. I’m sorry, but no Rick, he isn’t that good. I certainly believe Dirk is a very good player, who might be considered great if he had some jewelry to show off, but I can probably name 20 guys, without thinking about the order, who are better all-time. In fact, lets try that. Here we go (remember, no particular order here):

Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Moses Malone, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Bill Russell, John Havlicek, Tim Duncan, Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Julius Erving.

Again, that’s just 20 that came to mind. I can keep going, but what’s the point? Well, there is a point, and that point is Carlisle should be focused less on NBA history, and more on scouting Oklahoma City and Memphis, because both teams are plenty capable of knocking out the Mavericks.