Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Don't Be Outraged - We Deserve Ron Artest

Matt Towery has some interesting thoughts on the NBA, Ron Artest and the decline in fan support. Among some of his observation is one I had not thought of:

And there is another secret part of the NBA's demise among those who follow sports in America. The decision to allow players to enter the professional ranks straight out of high school has signaled to the nation that the league places little value in education. Is it any wonder the hapless Artest had nary a prayer of keeping up with the likes of Lauer? Perhaps the very concept that a highly paid professional would feel free to run into the stands to chase down some moron who threw a cup of beer at him is proof positive that many of today's players lack the training and maturity necessary to match their high salaries and star status.

This is a fairly good point. While I had not initially interpreted allowing high school kids to enter the NBA as not supporting education - it was clear all along that an educated athlete was the last thing on the NBAs mind. The hyper-tattooed, barely English speaking NBA star has become the rule rather than the exception. Intelligent athletes who understand the subtleties of the sport are no longer needed when slam dunks, showboating and two-man offenses are so common.

But we have to step back once more and get the big picture. How could this embarrassing event have happened. I believe it stems from our own obsession and worship of the stars and celebrities. This is not the fault of the athlete - these guys are just reacting to their pampered, celebrated existence. This is not the fault of the owners who pay seemingly outrageous salaries to these guys because a salary is not outrageous if what you pay out brings in ten fold more. And how does it bring in ten fold more? Because we are the biggest suckers in the world. We hand out tax breaks to build stadiums when our schools can't buy new books. We watch every single episode of Entertainment Tonight, Inside NBA, Celebrity Justice and so many other star worshiping shows that it is sickening. We pay $50 a ticket and buy $8 hot dogs and $12 bottles of beer all to watch millionaires play child's games. And we fall for advertising that tells us that we should "be like Mike." Be like Mike? Hell, we want to BE MIke. So as long as we continue to pray at the alter of pop icons we will continue to reap what we sew. Oh, and how bad has Ron Artest been affected by the suspension - his rap album sales have gone through the roof. The fools will never learn...

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