Dangerous Measures of Success
Updated: Apr 10, 2021
We put another podcast out there this week and it was just old-fashion hang. Congratulations to Twin on his Beaucoup Boil now operating as a restaurant every Saturday starting April 24th at Sammy’s Avenue Eatery in Northeast Minneapolis, MN. If you want that authentic South Louisiana crawfish boil, Twin will take care of you. We covered sports mostly and here is what we learned:
1. Small markets need to get their money up for these NBA buyouts.
2. Utah Jazz: Nobody likes you, nobody believes in you.
3. Stephen A. Smith’s contradictions on success are so disrespectful.
4. Recovered addicts could’ve done more to help DMX. (it’s not looking good)
5. Deshaun Watson went through too many massage therapists.
Last week, after Russell Westbrook posted the 1st 35-point triple double in NBA history. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith was asked by a member of his audience if he was impressed with the accomplishment. Smith was not impressed at all. He said at this point in his career he should be concern with getting titles more so than getting stats. Westbrook responded with saying how he already considers himself a champion for overcoming his situation in his hometown of LA.
His Wife, Nina, came to his defense and told the story about how she and Westbrook were at a UCLA basketball game and he pointed out the school’s color commentator. Westbrook spoke on how the commentator trashed him the whole of his career at UCLA. He then told Nina, imagine where he would be if he listened to this commentator. She put out the message to young athletes that they need to ignore people who attempt to place a value on your talent.
It took me a long time to come to that mindset myself. For years, I had bosses who were dummies and at some point, you really get tired of listening to them. It’s not their fault, the villain never knows he is the villain, but what is true here is that the dummy that is in leadership believed in themselves more than you believed in yourself.
(In my 30 for 30 voice) What if I told you that the 111th ranked all time NBA scorer was voted into the top 50 Greatest NBA players of All Time over the 16th ranked all time NBA scorer. These 2 players played in the same era and were even in the same draft class. Both of their teams were contenders, but of course, what separates these 2 players is championships. That 111th ranked player is James Worthy, and the 16th ranked player is Dominique Wilkins. Wilkins not being named to the top 50 was so disrespectful.
We are living in an era where sports success equals championships ONLY. Forget about just getting to the professional level of sports, it means nothing. There is a sense that anyone can make it now and the superhuman aspect of professional sports is now a thing of the past. This is a good and a bad thing. The Good of it is that it creates a mindset in athletes that winning is the only thing that matters. Players will follow a winner anywhere. Seriously, Lebron got players to go to Cleveland!
The Bad of is that no matter how good of career you had in this era, a championship is the only thing that validates it. The idea that an athlete’s career is championship or bust is absurd. To make it to the top 1% of any sport is a championship in itself and having this championship viewpoint is a terrible illustration to impress upon black athletes.
75% of NBA and NFL players go broke within 5 years after their career ends. Too many of these players have believed in the value that the media has placed on their talent. While focusing so hard on their talent and the spoils that come with it, these athletes aren’t prepared for when Father Time takes their talent away. In retirement, they’re left with a fraction of what they’ve made and have no idea on how to multiply that into more millions without the talent that got them money in the first place.
The narrative of championships makes a career needs to come to end. I think back to perhaps the most beloved player to ever play in the NBA, Allen Iverson. There isn’t an Iverson story that hasn’t been told, from drunken nights and showing up to practice late only to outwork his teammates as he nurses a hangover, to leaving his expensive designer clothes in his hotel room as a tip for the housekeeping staff. What impressed me the most about him was his relentless effort each game. Russell Westbrook reminds me of him the most.
Iverson was an All Star, all NBA Team selection, and a League MVP, but never won a championship. Yet this generation of NBA players revere him in spite of how the media branded him a thug and an outlaw. Iverson’s closest friend in the media happens to be Stephen A. Smith. In my research for this blogpost, I couldn’t find one time Smith criticized Iverson for not winning a championship. If you can find one instance of this, please send it to me.
Like Iverson, Westbrook never once cheated the game when he was on the court. To say his effort is less than is an atrocity. The hypocrisy of Stephen A. Smith is to be expected, but if we continue to listen to people like him, who have never played at the professional level. We’ll be heading down a dangerous road full of incomplete ideas of success.