Tuesday, 5 May 2009

State of...Surprise

Isn’t it great when we have our irrational beliefs and opinions confirmed?! We feel both vindicated and wise (aka “we just KNEW it had to be true”). But what happens when the opposite happens, when our irrational feelings towards someone or something are shown to be inaccurate or just plan wrong. This happened to me twice in the span of 3 hours. So I’m left to ponder who I could have been so wrong all this time. Let me explain both scenarios…

LeBron James. I’ve disliked him since I saw him wearing the #23. That number belongs to His Airness and it always will. Here’s this little cocky kid that thinks he’s the next Jordan. I felt that he was disrespecting Jordan and the game by taking a historic number rather than trying to make a name (number) for himself. I like to think that I would have felt the same if Sidney Crosby had taken the number 99. From that point on I only saw the bad in James. I saw him posing for “pictures” before the game, I saw him showboating with his teammates before tipoff, I saw him try to force “all eyes on me” during his chalk-clap explosion before the game. All these things confirmed what I “knew” to be true. He was a punk that had a Me-First attitude. He would rather be the NBA MVP on a losing team than a leader on an NBA Championship winning team – basically he was the T.O. of the NBA. BUT...in fairness - kudos to Bev and Bitch for sticking by him and preaching to me that he was a great team player. I didn't believe you...till now.

Then this morning I saw an interview that made me reconsider my misguided preconceived beliefs. Airing on ESPN LeBron was asked about winning the league MVP and being “the face of the NBA” and what means to him. Here was a perfect opportunity for him to promote himself…but he didn’t. He spoke humbly about trying to just be the MVP of his team on a nightly basis. He said that being the face of the league wasn’t something for him to say. He just wants to go out and play the game to the best of his ability.

The second question, and the one that really shocked me, was asked if he were a GM who would he pick: LeBron or MJ. Again, a perfect opportunity to promote himself and say that he is better than MJ…but LeBron scoffed at the notion and said that he would take MJ no questions asked. You can see the full interview here, but suffice to say I was left with no other choice but say that I may have been a bit quick to judgment.While he’s not my favourite player just yet…I have taken him off my Hate List. And who knows, maybe after a Championship and a few more interviews he might get bumped up another few notches. Next...

Sidney Crosby. Similar situation to Lebron: talented kid, lots of hype, chosen as the league’s darling child…and for the most part he’s lived up to the hype. Granted he may not even be the best player on his own team, he hasn’t disappointed when it came to performance. He comes from small town, Canada and plays a sport that I love. It was natural for me to like Sid right away. He plays with a bit of an edge and has yet to complain (about his lack of wing-mates) – two things that I certainly admire in a player. Because I liked him right away all his actions moving forward were seen through rose coloured glasses – he could do no wrong. That is, until yesterday.

In this article Sidney shows me some troubling glimpses at his personality. I’ve heard all the rumours about him crying to the refs for this lack of call or that bad call. I’ve dismissed this for the most part. But what I saw yesterday about him asking the refs to make an announcement to fans to stop throwing hats on the ice after Ovechkin scored a hat trick was ridiculous. I’m annoyed on so many levels.

Firstly, if the game were in Pittsburgh and he scored the hat trick you can bet that he wouldn’t have minded on iota. Secondly, this is part of the game. Hats are always thrown on the ice after a hat trick. Who is he to change this tradition? Thirdly, these fans paid good money to come and have a good time. The game is in dire need of passionate fans and nothing says passion like the willingness to throw away a $25 hat to show your support. The alternative would be to have fans sit on their hands all game and turn the game I love into a lifeless tennis match. And lastly, when asked about what he was saying to the refs, why didn’t he just shut his mouth? You know that people say you whine too much. Why give them the added ammunition? The whole thing showed me a lack of class and just plain stupidity. Think before you speak Kid. He’s young, he’ll learn….but maybe not before he alienates even more fans.

Yes, it was an interesting morning alright. While I’m not ready to throw in the towel all my crazy thoughts this certainly made me think a bit about how I get there. And who knows…maybe I will even cheer for the Cavs. Stranger things have happened!!!


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