BRIEF SPORTS INTERLUDE AGAIN
The "If it were the other type of Hummer, imagine the outcry" edition
Yes, it's true that the line between collegiate and professional sports (particularly in basketball and football) has become significantly blurred in recent years. So many stories about NCAA athletes (or their relatives) receiving "gifts" from mysterious sources these days. At the end of the current NBA season, Sacramento Kings' near-superstar Chris Webber will be testifying in court in a trial about more "gifts" given to Webber and his fellow classmates at Michigan. No word as to whether Tyra Banks will be counted as one of those "gifts". (By the way, I am a devoted Kings fan these days, hehe, and would be sad to see the sometimes-fragile Webber be distracted by his impending testimony. But I digress. On to my point...)
...Which brings me to my point. According to ESPN, LeBron James, the high school senior, hyped like no amateur athlete before him, perhaps including Tiger, has been spotted driving around in a brand new Hummer
Before I say anything else, may I say to LeBron: Shame on you!
What does that thing get, like half a mile per gallon?
Innocenzi said he has not seen James' SUV, and he would not comment on whether he was concerned that James had jeopardized his amateur status.
"Has not seen?" How the hell does one miss a Hummer
??? You can see those things from like three counties over! Right now, from my Santa Barbara apartment, I'm watching an H2 cruise north through the San Joaquin Valley on I-5. Seriously.
James claims the Panzer he's driving around in -- equipped with a couple TV's and video games -- was a gift from his mother, who took out a large loan to purchase that behemoth. To me, that seems believable. She's seen all the hype about her son, and knows he's going to be the overall #1 draft pick this summer, and they'll have millions of dollars to fuck around with as they please. That being said, any lending agency or bank on earth would be happy to give that woman a $50,000 loan right now.
No mysterious entities in the NBA are going to give the kid a car. You know what the process is that will determine what team James ends up on? A bunch of numbered balls bouncing around in a chamber. Just like a state lottery. You can't exchange winks and nudges with a chamber of balls.
Perhaps there is a university behind this, a theory slightly more plausible than with professionals. The guy isn't even thinking about college, so perhaps the only way to coax him back to that is to lure him with Hummers. Ok that sounds awful. Of course, such ideas are highly unethical and would lead to NCAA sanctions, but some star-crossed athletic director somewhere could be crazy enough to go through with it.
In the end, I shall issue a (likely unheeded) challenge to LeBron James: With high draft picks come high responsibility. You're gonna have more money than Jehovah soon. You had better help people. I don't want to see any Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan-style apathetic nihilism from you. Especially when Nike comes calling.
Basically, I can count the total population of truly socially-concious and worldly basketball players on one hand. Ervin "Magic" Johnson (who, ironically, may have hurt aids activism in some ways more than he has helped it, that's a discussion for another day), and Manute Bol.
Certainly, other sports aren't much better. Maybe baseball a little (Sammy Sosa's efforts in the Dominican Republic come to mind), and perhaps Tennis (Arthur Ashe). Worldliness in hockey, though, amounts to standing in line to date Anna Kournikova.