So a few years ago I got an e-mail from my man Scoop Jackson, yea that Scoop from SLAM before ESPN. He had passed my name and talent as a young sports writer to a third party of his…aka my man Michael Tillery. Mike is a Philly dude who brings different to sports writing. Straight raw difference. And he created this ill sports outlet The Starting Five…so I get a call from this stranger dude and he asks me to write 400 words on what I think of sports right now. I hadnt reread the piece since I sent it to him and every word I wrote I still feel is true about sports today. Wow. Thus, here it is…..
To drop 400 words on what I think of the world of sports is like only having 30 seconds to explain why BIG was one of the best in the rap game. I got 361 left, so let’s go.
The sports game today is like it was before Hank Aaron, Title IX, Brown vs Board of Education and before John Amechi. It’s sexist, it’s racist, it’s homophobic, it’s everything we Americans claim not to be post 9-11.
The game is no longer about education when you have freshman dominating the NBA Draft two years straight. Ask yourself, what are these kids really balancing on their scales, college credits or dead presidents?
When you have professional wrestlers killing themselves, their wife and kid, you have to ask yourself, when did entertainment turn deadly? Because that’s what wrestling is, right?
When did your favorite football player become another statistic who suffers from depression?
When you have the only female basketball player to respectfully grace the cover of SLAM magazine, not because babygirl had back, but because the woman had game, and a hell of a lot of it, retiring at 29, you’re not wondering where she’ll rank in the history books, you’re wondering what’s really good?
The sports world has no longer become a realm of entertainment, a world of passion, a field of play and proof, that you got what it takes to be better than the Toms, Dicks, Harrys that came before you.
It has turned into a media frenzied soap-opera, filled with action, drama, sex, lies, videotapes and everything in between.
Before Jacob the Jeweler, Roger Goodell, the Stern-bots dress-code, ESPN’s Monday Night Football takeover, before politics became the face of sports, it was what it was. Sports at its finest.
Hate it or love it, the Williams sisters were every black person’s hero. The reason black people will still root for Barry Bonds (even if it is in the privacy of their own basement), is the same reason we want to vote Barack; because he’s one black man closer to history, closer to opening the door, one black man closer to hushing the critics.
The respect for the game has gotten lost somewhere between Sportscenter and Ipods, between Don Imus and Condeleeza Rice, somewhere between Dr. J and Dr. Buss. The game is still here, but who all’s playing? And who all’s still watching? Invest wisely, because it’s all a business.