Posts Tagged ‘Basketball’

What does basketball have to do with second chances?

June 11, 2015
Why people are fascinated by LeBron James. (Photo Credit:  www.flickr.com)

Why people are fascinated by LeBron James. (Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com)

I know it ain’t over until the fat lady sings. She’s probably just warming up, but LeBron James has got to be feeling pretty good right about now. The NBA Finals aren’t over, but the Cleveland Cavaliers are holding it out over the Golden State Warriors, 2-1 in the series. All three games have been won by less than ten points, indicative of the thrilling nail-biting competitions these games have been.

 
Since my all-time favorite player is Magic Johnson and he hasn’t played in a while, it has been a long time since I regularly followed professional basketball. But there’s just something quite compelling about James. Whether foolhardy, cocky or simply drained from playing on a losing team, James left the Cavaliers in 2010. He left blazes behind, but it wasn’t a blaze of glory. People were actually burning photos of him and his jerseys all over town due to the abrupt and seemingly cold-hearted way he left.

 
He surfed on over to Miami amidst dreams of a “super team” comprised of James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. Like many of the best laid plans this mighty threesome didn’t quite live up to all of the hype. Then James came back to Cleveland. Many fans still held a grudge over the fact that he’d left them in the first place. But the majority was just glad to have him back no matter how it happened. And then they started winning, and suddenly they are in the playoffs.

 
If the truth be told, I think the appeal of James’ journey goes far beyond sports. It reminds us all of that secret (or maybe not so secret) stupid decision we once made that we would give half of what we own to be granted a do over for, because we know it would have changed the trajectory of our lives. For many of us it may not seem like it’s possible to take a mulligan. However, when we see James getting his second chance with the Cavaliers, we can’t help but cheer to the top of our lungs because one day it just might be us getting that second chance in life. I thank you.

Basketball Commissioner swings the Pete Rose bat; Sterling banned for life

April 29, 2014
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced at a press conference today that Donald Sterling is banned for life!   (photo credit:  Elsa/Getty Images)

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced at a press conference today that Donald Sterling is banned for life! (photo credit: Elsa/Getty Images)

It’s really too bad Donald Sterling and a Philistine named Samson couldn’t have talked, but they were separated by hundreds of years.  Samson and Delilah could have been the modern day Donald and Vanessa.  How ironic that both of these powerful men were brought crashing down by women who happened to be outside of their own ethnicity.  Today NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced that Sterling is banned from basketball “for life.”

This all stems from a leaked recording, which no one admits to leaking, of an argument between married Sterling, 80, and his lady friend Vanessa Stiviano, 38, on April 7th.  Sterling was disappointed and embarrassed that people had called him regarding a picture Stiviano had posted of herself, basketball legend Magic Johnson, and another woman on Instagram.  The three were fully clothed and innocently smiling at the camera.  But what infuriated Sterling was that Stiviano had posed with a black man.   During the phone conversation, Stiviano calmly led Sterling down a yellow brick road of admitting he sees blacks as the “enemy” and asking Vanessa not to bring them to his games.

Of course the late night talk show hosts were all over it.  Last night Jimmy Fallon said that even Mel Gibson told Sterling, “hey man, that’s just going too far.”  The ban for life means that Sterling can no longer have an active role in the leadership of the Los Angeles Clippers or any NBA team ever again.  In addition to the ban, Silver announced that the commission has fined Sterling $2.5 million.

As of right now, Sterling still retains ownership of the Clippers, but it has been reduced to a mere ceremonial title.  He cannot make any money or brand affecting decisions regarding the team.  But the story doesn’t end there.  It takes a two-thirds majority of all of the NBA team owners to vote out another owner.  Commissioner Silver is in talks with the other owners at this time to see if they want to move in that direction.

Donald Sterling; Magic Johnson, “Take his team”; Donald Trump, “She set him up”

April 28, 2014
Donald Sterling and girlfriend Vanessa Stiviano, on his left.   (photo credit:  Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Donald Sterling and girlfriend Vanessa Stiviano, on his left. (photo credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

This weekend TMZ stunned basketball fans and players alike when they leaked a profanity-laced recording of a phone argument between the legally married Donald Sterling, 80, and his girlfriend Vanessa Stiviano, 38.  On Sunday night Magic Johnson, who was personally named in the phone call, appeared on ESPN stating in no uncertain terms that Sterling should give up ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers.  See the video of Johnson’s response here.

The April 7th argument was sparked when Stiviano posted a picture on Instagram of herself and another woman with basketball legend Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson.  Sterling objected to Stiviano posing with black people whom he called the ‘enemy’.  In a surprising twist that reads like a three-way love triangle, it was revealed that last month Rochelle Sterling, Donald’s estranged wife, filed a lawsuit against the girlfriend claiming that Stiviano preyed upon extremely wealthy older men.

Sterling, as many men with mistresses do, has lavished Stiviano with luxuries.  Among some of the goodies Stiviano has received are a Ferrari, two Bentleys, and a $1.8 million duplex.  Stiviano’s attorney says these trinkets are merely gifts, freely given and gratefully received.  But now there are some wondering whether this whole leaked phone conversation fiasco is a big set up designed to shake down Sterling for even more money.

One looming question is that there were, supposedly, only two people participating in the phone conversation, so how was it ‘leaked’?  Both Sterling and Stiviano have denied publicizing the call.  Was it an anonymous crazed telephone operator randomly intercepting conversations and making them public?

Another curious factor is the stilted, almost scripted pace of Stiviano’s side of the conversation.  Listen to the audio tape here.  Not many people agree with Sterling’s comments, but they do have a ring of authenticity. He is passionate and he is angry.  He means what he is saying and it is obvious that he believes this is a conversation that will remain strictly between the two of them.

In contrast, Listen to the way Stiviano continues to carefully guide the conversation back, time and again, to matters of race.  And then she constantly repeats what he says about black people.  Hardly anyone fights this way unless you’re in a marriage counselor’s office and they are having you mirror what the other person has just said to make sure you heard them properly.  Sterling even asks her at one point “why are you saying this?”

And then of course is the basic question of who records conversations unless you think you might need it for evidence, blackmail, or something in the future?  It will be a long time before this dies down.  Without a doubt Sterling has some antiquated views of race relations.  But wrong though he may be, it may turn out that it was a girlfriend scorned who was responsible for publically clipping his wings.  Real estate mogul Donald Trump has come out in Sterling’s defense calling the girlfriend a terrible human being who was baiting him.