Lebron James, Face of the NBA


Photo Credit: GQ.com

It’s levels to becoming the face of any team, company or organization. In Lebron James’ case, he’s not only the face of the Cleveland Cavaliers, but he’s also the face of the National Basketball Association. Rapper Jay-Z says it best, “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.” James is every bit of this quote, because he is a talented athlete who has leveraged himself into a profitable business. What does this have to do with him being the face of the NBA? Some qualifications of having this honor consist of superb talent, good character, clean image and strong fan support. The fact that James meets all of these qualifications – and has since he stepped foot into the NBA – has led to a brand that is normal of a white, male athlete and multiple endorsements (Mocarski & Billings, 2014). James, similar to Michael Jordan, is the opposite of the negative stigma of African American, male athletes. It starts with character. Since entering the league as an 18 year old in 2003, James hasn’t had any run-ins with law enforcement, such as being cited for a DUI, possession of marijuana, domestic violence or sexual assault. Not saying that every male of color has issues with the law, but this phenomenon is problematic among males of color and has been quite for some time. It’s even becoming more prevalent among African American college athletes. There are also other talented males of color who have good images, but none of them have been able to garner the respect that James has. Now, I do not agree with James overruling his head coach in public – that’s cancerous to any team – or holding out to resign his contract with the Cavs. If you’re the franchise player, you should be confident enough to know that your franchise will put the right players around you in order to win. In this instance, James is abusing his power and he needs to humble himself.

On the other hand, I do agree with the way James has put himself in position to be able to put those around him in a better position. The 2012 ESPN 30 for 30 film “Broke” documents former NBA, NFL and MLB players giving testimonies of how they went bankrupt shortly after retirement. According to Sports Illustrated, sixty-percent of NBA players are broke within five years of retirement and 78 percent of former NFL players have gone bankrupt within three. However, James has ensured this will not be the case for him by figuring out how to maximize his gift of basketball and creating generational wealth for his family. Continue reading “Lebron James, Face of the NBA”

Who’s the Real G.O.A.T? Part II

My previous post discussed the greatest women’s basketball player of all time (G.O.A.T.), Cheryl Miller. Now, I want to offer some perspective about the greatest men’s basketball player of all time, since it’s a little more difficult to decipher. Whenever the best men’s basketball players are discussed, the most talked about names are Walt Frazier, Julius Irving, Oscar Robertson, George Gervin, Magic Johnson, Clyde Drexler, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and even Lebron James. Of course, the most favored of all these players is Jordan. When I think of the GOAT, I think of a player who makes his or her teammates better, impacts the game on offense and defense, must be the best player for his or her franchise and has to have championships under his or her belt.

Without a doubt, Jordan falls into all of these categories, but why is it that we only associate guards with the GOAT? Continue reading “Who’s the Real G.O.A.T? Part II”

The Intertextuality of Hip Hop and Sport

   It seems that every athlete wants to be a rapper and ever rapper wants to be an athlete, at least this is the case for African American males. Athletes such as Ron Artest, Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant and others have tried to rap, and many rappers have played sports and decided it wasn’t for them (Shaq was actually a decent rapper). On the other hand, rappers such as 2-Chains, Roscoe Dash and others have had a short stint on the hardwood. I always wondered why this is the case? Maybe the rappers were undersized – most rappers are short – and maybe athletes’ word plays weren’t strong enough. One thing that’s for sure is that you can always catch rappers at sporting events and athletes at a hip-hop concert. Even in the film “Brown Sugar,” Boris Kodjoe’s character is an NBA player who is an aspiring rapper. In his song “January 28th,” J. Cole says  “I turn the TV on, not one hero in sight, unless he dribble or he fiddle with mics.” I think the commonality between the African American males that rap and play basketball, or even football, is their economic statuses. Continue reading “The Intertextuality of Hip Hop and Sport”

Roy Tarpley, drug-plagued former Dallas Mavericks center, dead at 50


Photo Credit: Star-Telegram.com

This headline is the same headline the New York Daily News used when this story first broke on January 10, 2015. Can anyone guess what’s wrong with it? The headline conveys the cause of Tarpley’s death was due to drugs, but the cause of death was kidney failure. Although he was removed from the league because of his drug abuse, I’m sure he and his family didn’t want him to be remembered as a drug addict, especially if he was clean prior to his death. If I was the sports editor, the headline would’ve read “Roy Tarpley, former Dallas Mavericks center, dies at 50.” Some other good examples are “Former Mavericks big man Roy Tarpley dies at 50” by espn.go.com or “Former Michigan great Roy Tarpley dies at 50” by mlive.com.

Mentioning in the article his NBA career was cut short due to drugs would’ve been fine – following with the positive things he did for his community – but including ‘drug-plagued’ in the headline wasn’t necessary. Journalists have to make ethical decisions and in my opinion, this decision was unethical when it comes to his family and his legacy. Even national and prestigious media outlets make questionable decisions, so it’s important to decipher good journalism from bad journalism. To all my aspiring and current journalists, make sure you know the difference.