By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Remembering Your Past Also Means Taking Care Of Those Before You
SAN ANTONIO ï¿½ I have to be brutally honest about a story that is in the works. I have a real soft spot for past professional players who have paved the way for the current superstars we see today. So when it comes to reading about how many of these former great players of days gone by are being treated by todayï¿½s unions, I get upset quite easily.
I get upset because I was never taught to just shun my past. If we really got down to where we all would be today, if it werenï¿½t for somebody paving that yellow brick road for us, we would be nothing.
And so I was quite upset when I was privy to read some correspondence from former AFL/NFL players in regards to their pension fund and I was able to actually start gathering information about what seems to be a hot topic these days.
Now I donï¿½t want to let the cat out of the bag just yet because she is actually probably sitting on top of a powder keg. Hereï¿½s what I can tell you about what will be up on the Blackathlete.net website and other electronic mediums in the coming weeks.
There will be a story told by many of these former great players who graced the football gridiron of the AFL and NFL ï¿½gloryï¿½ days of the 50s, 60s, and 70s. What I am hoping for is to help this group do something that is sorely needed and that is to tell their story to as many people as will read or listen to it. Now is there a set date for this article? No there isnï¿½t.
I am going to take my time and try to be as thorough as possible in gathering information from this group of gridiron warriors and put together a story that will help them in their quest. And just what is their quest by the way? Stay tuned and youï¿½ll find out. I think it is something that will definitely make everyone stop, ponder and wonder about his or her own futures.
IF THIS WERE DIVING, DALLAS WOULD BE GOLD MEDAL WINNERS Some say it is sacrilegious for me to even speak ill of Avery Johnson and the Dallas Mavericks. I have had people actually stop me in the street and say, ï¿½Back off the Little General. Heï¿½s doing well and you canï¿½t take that from him.ï¿½ Okay what am I taking from him I wonder? His dignity? His 1999 NBA championship ring? None of that can be taken away from him but it seems that folks are just up in arms because a few weeks ago I said that the Dallas Mavericks were going to lose their focus.
Well despite what many say as being ï¿½Anti Averyï¿½, the truth is the truth. Once again the Mavericks have gone into their March swan dive and if this were the diving part of the Olympics, this team would be gold medal winners.
Dallas Mavsï¿½ fans you cannot complain and say that sportswriters havenï¿½t given your team any love. After all, in a playoff chase where the Southwest division can literally be a marathon of battles for supremacy, you cannot say that nobody gave your team a chance at being the best in the West. Yet today is April 2 (as of this writing) and what has happened? The Mavs are in a tailspin once again. Nothing new.
Iï¿½ll never forget what Fort Worth Star Telegram NBA writer Dwain Price told me several years ago. ï¿½Greg donï¿½t get too excited about the Mavs. Theyï¿½ll descend from their perch soon enough.ï¿½ Now Price told me that when the Mavericks went on the great run back in 2003 and everyone thought that they were destined to be in the Finals.
Well that didnï¿½t happen and as a matter of fact, Johnsonï¿½ old team, the Spurs, caught the Mavericks, passed them and then disposed of them in the playoffs in dramatic fashion. Talk about a Ms. Cleo moment. Price was correct in his assessment.
So what should a team of Dallasï¿½ caliber do this season to stop the landslide that they are finding themselves in? How about listening to A.J. if you want to know why this team is freefalling, look at the leadership or lack there of. Where is Dirk or Stack right now? Can Jason Terry be the floor general they truly need?
Only time will tell but as for this season, I canï¿½t see how the Mavericks can overcome a three game lead by the Spurs with their series-ending match upcoming on April 7th. Then again, the Mavs could prove me wrong.
HUGGINSï¿½ E-MAILS JUST KEEP ROLLING Itï¿½s utterly amazing to me how people will galvanize around an individual. As many know, I wrote a piece about whether two Cincinnati standouts, O.J. Mayo and Billy Walker and whether these two future NBA stars should be just zeroed in on attending Kansas State.
Well, I should have known that I was going to get a massive response of negative responses because I am not pro-Bob Huggins. Well, Iï¿½m sorry if folks think Iï¿½m the anti-basketball follower of a coach but maybe before someone decides to send me some interesting reading, why not ask me why I feel so biased against Huggins.
Let me put it to the table for folks. Bob Huggins may be a nice guy and has done some really nice things for his players but Iï¿½ve had three encounters with him on a professional basis and I have had a friend of mine have one encounter and Huggins is batting 0-4 when it comes to whether he gets a Christmas card from either of us in the near future.
Now maybe that biasness plays heavy into my pieces about him but the other thing is that Iï¿½m not sold on any coach doing some spectacular job at helping kids who are attending JuCo or come from ï¿½impoverishedï¿½ backgrounds. Just because you give a kid a chance at playing basketball doesnï¿½t give you sainthood. Iï¿½ve said this before, Huggins hasnï¿½t done anything different than any other coach.
John Thompson recruited what could be considered less than desirable kids for Georgetown and we all know the track record that John Chaney has when he was at Temple. But hereï¿½s the difference, when it came to talking about potential college kids who may need an education more than others, I simply stated that Huggins isnï¿½t my first choice. I also stated that if it came to putting a kid into the NBA, again, heï¿½s not my first choice of a coach.
Letï¿½s put the niceness aside. No matter how much e-mail I get from folks saying that I have no idea what Iï¿½m talking about, itï¿½s not going to change my position on the matter. I have seen way too many kids who think they were NBA material fall flat on their ass. I have heard far too many coaches who think they have an inside track as to what draft pick a kid may be and they have ruined that kidï¿½s chances at a future.
And above everything else, a supporter of any coach cannot persuade me to think of that coach differently without asking me why I feel so strongly against said person.
Do I have ill feelings against Coach Huggins? Of course not. To me heï¿½s just another basketball coach out there doing his job. Am I glad he got the position at K-State? Sure I am. Everyone needs a second chance and hopefully he will be a Wildcat for the next twenty some odd years.
But will it break my heart if something goes wrong and things donï¿½t work out? Nope and Iï¿½m not wishing any ill will towards him, the school or their fans.
The reality of the situation is that if fans are going to get so upset over what a writer writes these days, then maybe they are taking things just a little too seriously sports wise. Every sports writer can be wrong on any given day. Iï¿½ve been wrong numerous times.
But to be venomous towards a scribe is something that shows exactly why many writers donï¿½t return e-mails. Of the few that I have communicated with, it was because they respect my opinion and I respected theirs. The others got tossed out with the dietary supplements for some person named Megan Goshaw.
Iï¿½m old and set in my ways folks. When it comes to some topics, I simply canï¿½t be budged. Not even by a series of ï¿½nastyï¿½ e-mails.
NFL MAKING A HUGE MISTAKE Speaking of fans, did you know that soon your local television sports coverage might not be able to have ï¿½b-rollï¿½ of your favorite NFL team? This is not joke. It seems that the NFL wants to ban cameramen from the sidelines for the sake of ï¿½safetyï¿½.
Yeah, right. How about the fact that NFL is trying to keep the fledging NFL Network afloat and if the league controls footage, they have exclusivity to that footage. Talk about slapping fans in the face.
If the NFL bans your local sports camera crew of your local news, then you might as well forget about any highlights whatsoever. With these leagues trying to invade traditional television properties, donï¿½t be surprised if the NBA and MLB try to follow suit. It could happen and with the right teams making all the money, they could very well go to such a format.
If you are still wondering what this all means, donï¿½t feel bad. Heck I just heard about it myself and even I am dumbfounded as to why the NFL would want to squeeze out the camera guys on the sidelines. But hereï¿½s what could possibly be a solution to the problem; a fan write in.
Go to NFL.com and send the league an e-mail telling them that you, as a football fan, do not appreciate having your local news cast be shortened because the league wants to try and protect itï¿½s marketability. Maybe if the fans write in to the league and tell them to stop the foolishness, maybe the powers that be will consider the alternatives. Besides isnï¿½t it ultimately the fans that run these leagues anyway?
MOVE OVER TIGER, ANDIA COULD BE THE TIGRESS OF GOLF Lastly I have to admit that there has been some oversight by me on reporting up and coming talents. On the 22nd of March, I received an e-mail touting that a Ms. Andia Winslow was making her amateur debut at an LPGA tournament.
The niece of Pro Football Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow, Ms. Winslowï¿½s achievements include her being the first African American to compete for Yale and in the Ivy League in golf and that she was the first African American in five years to actually compete in an LPGA event.
Now we, meaning the media, have made a big deal about Michelle Wieï¿½s efforts and what Tiger Woods was doing while at Stanford. There are others out there who need to be raised up as well. Ms. Winslowï¿½s exploits were such cause for rising up and I missed the opportunity. Well luckily for the us there is the Internet and you can track things that normally would not have been available.
So keep her in mind the next time you are looking up golf stats. She could be the one that saves the LPGA from utter oblivion.