Big adult babies whining loudly
July 8, 2004
We are taught as small children that whining and pouting won’t increase our chances of getting what we want. In fact, it usually puts our chances at zero.
It is a reasonable philosophy because it helps children learn the importance of turning uncomfortable situations into learning experiences, or as the old cliche says, “Find the positives.”
So how have some professional athletes (adults) completely reversed this psychology on their employers? The higher the status of a particular athlete, the more the stomp-on-the-floor and whine-until-you-get-what-you-want attitude works.
Right now, when basketball is at its most uninteresting post-draft period, two of these crybabies named Kobe and Shaq are still getting as much media attention as they did during their soap opera 2004 season.
I understand that he may have been four-foot tall by the age of two and more intimidating than most toddlers, but did Shaquille O’Neal’s mom give him a cookie every time he cried his eyes out and screamed in rage for more sweets?
If not, Shaq loves his new push-over parents the Los Angeles Lakers even more. The Lakers are allowing Kobe Bryant to do it also, pushing the purple and gold to trade them out of L.A. Now the Lakers are being forced to shop the two around the league because they didn’t win a championship for the second year in a row, and that’s their complaint. Despite what you’ve heard, it is about not winning.
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They’re saying they can’t get along, but you never heard that when you saw them win three straight championships from 2000-2002. Some of the greatest individuals that have excelled in team sports have never made it to a championship ” nevermind win one. Shaq and Kobe have three rings, and they’re still pouting for a trade.
Worse, the media has fed off the speculation of where they might end up. Instead of hearing the encouraging 2004 NBA story over and over ” that the Detroit Pistons won the NBA championship playing together and playing hard (a fine model of sportsmanship for young athletes by the way) and Larry Brown got his title getting maximum efficiency from his talent pool ” sports fans have to listen to sports analysts talk about what city the bad apples are going to today.
Could Shaq be wearing cowboy boots in Dallas? That’s hilarious. Oh wait, Kobe’s going to Dallas, or was it New York, or the L.A. Clippers? Who cares? It’s not even like the Lakers are adored around the country, maybe not even in their own city after laying down in the Finals. Don’t forget that it was a miracle shot by Kobe in Game 2 that prevented the Lakers from being swept.
And don’t forget that Kobe might be wearing orange next year . . . in a federal prison if he is found guilty on charges of rape in a Colorado courtroom. Unfortunately, that issue is ignored because people assume that a high-priced athlete will be acquitted in an American courtroom. If reporters thought there was a slight chance of Bryant seeing jail time, they wouldn’t be concerned with where he’ll be playing basketball in the fall.
I know, everyone picks on the Lakers these days, but it’s only because they epitomize the modern whine factor in sports. As soon as the Pistons embarrassed the Lakers in five, coach Phil Jackson retreated to his Montana ranch, and Shaq and Kobe said they couldn’t play together anymore. How about, “We’ll be back next year to prove we’re still champions.” Or admitting the obvious, “I guess stacking a team doesn’t work after all. We just had to see for ourselves after the Marlins beat the Yankees last year.”
You can hardly blame Kobe and Shaq for turning a cold shoulder on the organization that brought them their fame and glory. The method works so well these days, and the media eats it up. Proof of that is Marc Stein, an ESPN basketball analyst, who sarcastically said on SportsCenter recently, “What else are we going to talk about in July, baseball?” (Yes, please. The baseball pennant races are shaping up, and the trade deadline is on the horizon).
Media attention on the “what if” speculation of a Shaq or Kobe trade has become so ridiculous that Shaq appeared on the front page of the Sunday, June 27, Sacramento Bee sports section in a feature story on the possibility of Shaq being traded to the Sacramento Kings ” a whole article about something as realistic as Karl Malone winning a championship. I realize the Bee is having fun, but I thought there was an “intense” Lakers/Kings rivalry. Just to show a Kings logo on Shaq’s head (in the article he wears a Kings crown) is an insult to Sacto fans.
The best punishment for Shaq and Kobe’s negative attitudes, assuming Kobe does indeed shoot a basketball next year instead of stare at a cell wall, would be to force them to play together. The Lakers might even end up with their fourth title in six years.
You think Duke’s “Coach K” Mike Krzyzewski wasn’t dissuaded by the thought of the two men-children butting heads ” the same two who had the star power to run arguably the best NBA coach in history right out of the Staples Center. No, I think Krzyzewski wanted to avoid the drama and remain where he rules the roost, where he is bigger than any Duke player. If coaching the Lakers is your fate, good luck Rudy T.
Back to the MLB trade deadline and on a related note, the capper in this crazy modern day sports world could be if Randy Johnson ends up in Yankees pinstripes, which has been rumored. Although very unlikely, it is still a little more likely than seeing Shaq on a Kings throne. If George Steinbrenner swoons Johnson then, like the Vandals threaten on their new album, “I’m building a bomb.”
Matt Brown is sports editor for the Sierra Sun.
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