Strange Things Happening…

I went to Space.com this morning just to check; we are not close to a full moon; the last one was on July 5th and the next one is on August 3rd.  But there are strange doings out there this morning and I thought there might be some sort of lunar influence going on.  It seems to be just garden-variety bizarreness.

It seems that Mike Tyson is serious about returning to the boxing ring and it is not for a 3-round celebrity boxing match to raise money for some worthy cause.  The reports say that it will be an 8-round fight and the opponent will be Roy Jones, Jr.  Mike Tyson is 54 years old; Roy Jones, Jr. is 51 years old.  The fight is scheduled for September 12th in a venue ironically named Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, CA.  The only minor concession to age for the fight is that both men will wear larger gloves than standard boxing gloves.

The California sports body that oversees boxing has been assured by both fighters that they are not going into the fight with the intention to knock out or hurt the opponent.  Somehow, that makes the overseers prone to giving sanction to this exhibition.  For a normal fight, if the two combatants made the same sort of declaration, it might be considered disqualifying.  The only contingency standing in the way for Tyson and Jones is a physical exam for both men that still needs to happen.

Lots of folks associate George Foreman’s name with boxing at an advanced age.  Indeed, Foreman retired permanently from boxing at the age of 46.  Both Tyson and Jones are significantly older than that.  It is difficult to know what to expect for this fight.  The only thing that comes to mind as an analogy is a baseball “old-timers’ game”.  If you have ever seen one, you know that they are fun to watch – – once a year.  So, I have to hope that this fight is not a harbinger of a new concept for boxing…

Another strange event happened late last week when someone asked LaVar Ball a question – or maybe he just threw out a comment because he thought someone had a question in mind for him.  Let us all agree that La Var Ball is no stranger to oddball comments.  Here is the latest of his mental constructs:

  • IF the Golden State Warriors were to draft his youngest son, LaMelo Ball in this year’s NBA Draft, LaVar things that LaMelo should start even though the Warriors backcourt is populated with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.
  • When “confronted” with that roster reality, LaVar doubled down on his assertion saying that while it is true that players like Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo came off the bench as rookies, “OK, Michael Jordan didn’t come off the bench.”

Where to start to deal with that analogy?  The best place is to acknowledge that LaVar is factually correct; Michael Jordan did not come off the bench as a rookie in the NBA.  What Michael Jordan brought with him to the NBA, however, was a bit different from the experiences that LaMelo Ball will bring to the NBA.

  • Michael Jordan played 3 years at UNC – winning a national championship there.  He played for a great coach and played against lots of future NBA players.
  • LaMelo Ball has played a bit in a Lithuanian basketball league and for part of a season in an Australian pro league.  I will not pretend to know anything about his time in either league because I acknowledge that I did not see him perform there.  I know nothing about Lithuanian pro basketball; I do recall watching a couple of Australian games back when Andrew Bogut was coming out of that league and became a “draft sensation”.  I remember that I liked Bogut as a player, but I did not see any other players there who looked like NBA prospects.

I do not intend to denigrate LaMelo Ball as a basketball player; he will deservedly be a high draft pick in this year’s NBA Draft to be held in mid-October in this year of strange schedules.  Nonetheless, I think it is way beyond over-the-top to compare him in any way to Michael Jordan at this point in his career.  In fact, the player with whom I would compare him right now is his brother Lonzo Ball.  It appears to me that LaMelo should be a better scorer than Lonzo but that Lonzo is the better distributor/point guard.  That might be a discussion based in reality; comparing LaMelo Ball to Michael Jordan in 2020 is like comparing Pee Wee Herman to Lionel Barrymore.

The other oddball event that relates to the sports world is the reported start of an investigation by the US State Department Inspector General into allegations that the US Ambassador to the UK, Woody Johnson, made racist and sexist remarks in the course of his duties as Ambassador.  The reason this has anything to do with sports is that Woody Johnson is the majority owner of the NY Jets.  This report from CNN.com will fill you in on the background to this story if you are interested.

I can picture the scene in Roger Goodell’s office when a staff member gives him the “breaking news” on this story.  In my imagination, Goodell reaches into his desk and takes out a ball peen hammer and begins to pound it into his forehead.  After doing that a few times the staffer asks The Commish why he is doing that to which Roger Goodell replies:

“Because it feels good when I stop.”

The NFL does not need another allegation of sexism involving one of its owners any more than a drowning man needs a cinder block.  The league had to rid itself of Jerry Richardson over similar issues about 2 years ago; in the last two weeks, the Washington WTFs were the focus of stories pertaining to sexual harassment and a toxic work culture for women in its front office.  Now this…

Obviously, I have no way to predict the outcome(s) of the State Department Inspector General’s investigation.  From reading several reports of the ambassador’s behavior and remarks, they are “off-center” at the very least and – as one person supposedly characterized his remarks about women in the embassy – close to “cringeworthy”.

Then again, learning about sexist remarks from a person named Woody Johnson ought not to be that shocking…

Finally, since I mentioned the maelstrom that is the front office of the Washington WTFs, let me close today with this observation by Bob Molinaro in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:

Just asking: Why was it treated as sorta big news that Ron Rivera said he has ‘no regrets’ about taking the Washington job? What did we expect him to say? Snyder’s money still spends.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

 

 

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