We lost one of the great entertainers of all time yesterday in Michael Jackson. At 33, I don’t remember The Jackson Five or even their re-invention as The Jacksons. For me, there had always been Michael. You can probably imagine what the mood was around my house. Ms. Alexander and I doing intermittent moping and singing while my six year-old daughter was completely oblivious to everything. Every other channel was showing concert footage, videos, or past interviews. I left the house to pick up my dry cleaning and there were people in the store crying uncontrollably.
I needed a way out of this pool of sorrow. Sports have always provided an escape from reality and last night was no different. The NBA Draft was on. Whew! T.G.F.S.! Blake Griffin, the all-world forward from Oklahoma went first to the L.A. Clippers as expected. Hasheem Thabeet (UConn) was second followed by James Harden (Arizona State), Tyreke Evans (Memphis), and Ricky Rubio (Spain). There was something disturbing about this year’s draft though. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first. This draft somehow lacked excitement.
The answer hit me right around the time the Indiana Pacers picked Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina). People were booing the kids! It was horrible. Player after player, regardless of where he went to school or what team picked him was welcomed to the NBA by a chorus of boo birds. These young men are as young as 19 and no older than 24. They have worked for years to reach the stage at Madison Square Garden and shake NBA Commissioner David Stern’s hand. It’s like being booed at your wedding or graduation.
To add further insult, the analysts’ commentary was being fed into the theater. The players, their families, and the fans heard all of it. “I don’t know why the (NBA team) made this pick when (Player) was available.” Imagine hearing that at your wedding. “I don’t know why she picked Solomon when a richer, better-looking guy was available.” It would’ve been better to send the players an acceptance letter like the one they got for college than subject them to last night’s debacle.
Most of our kids will never be drafted, but they will have moments in their life where we should be proud. Most will have weddings, graduations, and awards ceremonies. At those events, let’s cheer for our kids and other kids. Hey, let’s just cheer because something good happened for somebody else. Until next time…
Be a Good Sport!