The whole NBA free agent thing was a little out of whack wasn’t it? Millions of dollars were spent by the media to cover a story about sport franchises wanting to offer millions of dollars to young men who already had millions of dollars.
Now, I enjoy sports as much as the next person. I’ve played and coached just about every major sport and enjoying rooting for a whole lot of teams. I watched the World Cup final today and saw Lance get knocked out of the Tour de France. So, I’m not anti-sport. Nor am I dull about the huge economic and positive emotional impact sports teams can have on cities both large and small all across the country. But this whole feeding frenzy over LeBron, Dwayne, Chris, et. al. went a tad bit over the line. It was too much emphasis on something that shouldn’t matter all that much.
Maybe it’s a sign of the times that we play up and obsess over who signs what contract where. In some ways, it sure opened doors for discussion around water coolers all across America. Perhaps it helped take our mind off of weightier matters. But when push comes to shove it was pure overkill.
Even fan reaction to who signed who was a little crazy. I’m sorry. When a basketball player switches jerseys it shouldn’t cause pain, blame, tears or over-the-top angry letters. But in the case of LeBron it did just that. And you want to just look at those who are in tears and on the verge of dangerous anger and beg them to get a life.
Listening to sports radio is always hazardous to one’s health. I’ve always thought that some stations hire personalities who are just little hooligans who are as dangerous, in their own way, as the gang bangers who indulge in drive by shootings. The vacuous nature of the sports landscape came to full fruition this week as stations filled valuable minutes with hearsay, rumor and innuendo. Such things, however, seem to fuel the American dream and psyche these days.
I think what finally busted my chops was realizing that gazillions of dollars were being spent on not much really while real needs go unmet in communities all across America. It doesn’t seem right that we can give athletes 80 million dollars and not care about schools that are underfunded. Things really are out of whack.
There’s no real answer to any of this. I’m not advocating a boycott of anything. And if someone has good tickets to the Bulls, Bears, Fire, Sox, or even Cubs …I’ll take them off your hand. I guess this whole week just reminded me of what’s important and what’s really not. Free agency isn’t on the ‘real important’ list. And we somehow made it bigger than it ever deserves to be. Maybe that’s what saddens me. We have this amazing ability to inflate the unimportant and to keep our eyes closed to those things that really matter.
It’s a little wake up call. The only good news is that the Bulls got Carlos Boozer. He’ll help lead the Bulls to the championship next June. That will be worth fixating on …right?