The saddest bit of news on the sports wire this morning is a report from yesterday that Syracuse basketball coach, Jim Boeheim, hit a pedestrian with his car in the last snow event on the east coast and the pedestrian is dead. According to reports, Boeheim submitted to a blood alcohol test and the results showed 0.00% alcohol; if one is to go looking for a “positive” here, I guess that will have to do.
According to the police, the victim had been involved in an accident on an Interstate near Syracuse; and that for some reason he was out of his car and on the roadway instead of on the road shoulder. Probably, no one will ever know what led up to that situation.
Another recent college basketball happening – – of far lesser import than anything involving a loss of life – – was the injury to Zion Williamson in the Duke/UNC game earlier this week. Let me say from the outset that I have a purely personal, shallow and selfish reaction here:
- I hope Zion Williamson recovers quickly and to 100% capacity because I very much enjoy watching him play basketball. In addition to his competence on a basketball court, he is entertaining to watch.
A large segment of the “Sports Commentariat” is that the NCAA is at fault here for exposing Williamson to this hazard while not allowing him to be paid for his efforts. The refrain is well known:
- The coaches make millions…
- The schools rake in millions …
- The shoe companies pay millions – except none goes to the player…
- All the risk falls on the player; all the dollars fall elsewhere.
The reason that refrain is so well known is that all of it is true. And that has led many sports commentators to use this situation to bash the NCAA which oversees intercollegiate sports at the top level.
Anyone who has read these rants for a while knows that I refuse to take a back seat to anyone when it comes to contempt for the NCAA’s hypocrisy, cluelessness and fecklessness. They are not blameless here; they are the ones who steadfastly defend the position that collegiate sports should adhere to some sort of “amateur model”. Nevertheless, the real villains in this piece are the NBA owners and the NBPA.
- The current CBA between the league and the players was negotiated in 2017 before Zion Williamson was eligible to play college basketball. That CBA codified the eligibility to play in the NBA such that it created the entirety of the “one-and-done” environment.
- Please note that Zion Williamson was also denied any participation in those negotiations that now govern his basketball existence because he did not own an NBA team nor was he an NBA player. No one “in the room at the table” represented the interests of players who would come later such as Zion Williamson.
Few people who pay attention to college basketball would argue that Zion Williamson would be unable to compete in the NBA as of this moment – – but he is not allowed to do so because of the actions of the NBA owners and the NBPA. If you feel compelled to find a villain here to slather in blame, go to the source of the problem.
In a recent interview, someone asked LeBron James about the Lakers’ push to make the playoffs this year. As of this morning, the Lakers have the 10th best record in the Western Conference and only 8 teams make the playoffs; the Lakers have 24 regular season games to play and they are 2.5 games out of 8th place in the standings. LeBron James responded to the questioning with something very predictable and at the same time very revealing. He said:
- He was now fully activated to make sure the team pushed ahead to make the playoffs.
- He said that he preferred to delay that sort of full activation until later in the calendar to have that intensity peak during the playoffs but that he “activated” earlier than usual this year because of the realities of the standings. [That is a paraphrase and not a quotation]
I have said for years that NBA regular season games prior to mid-March are tepid events; anyone who knows anything about basketball can tell the difference between a game in December and a game in the playoffs involving the same two teams. Here, you have the best player in the league telling the world that his focus and his energy in those earlier games was not what it will be going forward from here. There is no conjecture about this anymore; you now have it out there in plain view from an unimpeachable source.
- Fans who went to Lakers’ games this year paid full price to see the team – – and received partial “activation”.
- Advertisers who paid to sponsor Lakers’ telecasts this season paid full price for those time slots – – and the team put forth partial “activation”.
- Thank you; I’ll start to pay “real attention” to the NBA in late March and into the playoffs when everyone is at or near full “activation”.
Here is the lead paragraph from a story in the Washington Post. This is not a source that also reports on alien beings on Saturn that beam thought control waves to the Earth; this is the paper of Woodward and Bernstein:
“Paris 2024: Electric Boogaloo? When the Olympics get underway in the French capital five-plus years from now, break dancing may be part of the program.”
In addition to break dancing, the organizers also propose adding skateboarding, climbing and surfing to the competition. I just know that the organizers of the original Olympic Games in 776 BC would be proud to see these competitions if they could beam into Paris in 2024 from wherever they are in the cosmos. Here is a link to the Post story if you want to take a deep dive into nonsense.
Finally, I guess this is the time to ask what else might be added to the Olympic Games after breakdancing becomes a staple. Here are three possibilities:
- Synchronized crocheting
- Paper clip stringing
- Team farting
“Faster, Higher, Stronger” – – Indeed.
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………