Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Why Elton Brand might be my favorite athlete...

I have basically given up on sports, especially professional sports. The reason? Pro athletes. What a bunch of arrogant, ungrateful, criminal whiners. (Especially this guy.) I don't want to support bad behavior by these guys. And I certainly don't want my son to think that it's OK to act like a jerk, as long as you can dunk a basketball or hit a baseball.

But there's one exception. Elton Brand plays basketball for the "other" LA team, the Clippers. He got hurt in the off-season last year, and he hasn't played at all this season. Partially because he's been gone, the Clippers have been bad this year. Really bad.

And now the season is almost over. The Clippers aren't going to the playoffs this year. They are just trying to get through the rest of the year. There's really no reason for Brand to come back until next season.

But he is working hard, with the goal of playing the last 20 games of the year. Why? Because he's a good guy, that's why. And he understands how fortunate he is. Look at his answer when a reporter asked him why he wants to return this season:

I love to play. It's an honor to play in the NBA, and that's my job. If I'm healthy, I'm going to play. Secondly, being a part of it with my teammates. We've got to start getting ready for next year...But mainly for the fans, we need to put the best product we can out there. If I can bring some energy, if I can bring a high-level of basketball out there, to help win some games, they want to see that.
He gets it! It's an honor to play professional sports. He understands that. And he understands that he owes something to the fans who pay his salary. How totally refreshing; an athlete who doesn't believe the universe revolves around them. I can root for someone like that.

Now, if there were only more of them...

h/t: Clips Nation


Cap said...

There are MANY athletes like that. Just people dwell on the one bad egg in a dozen and ignore the 11 good ones.
Look at the Lakers..Derek Fisher is a class act!
I have dealt with a few pro athletes since I got my job and 'most' have been very decent guys. Hockey players, to a large degree, are all good guys.
Craig Conroy, you can't meet a nicer guy than him. His old coach at Clarkson joked if he was outside when the garbage man came and recognized him and asked him to go to dinner, he'd be to nice to say no.
I remember when the Angels came to the Hall of Fame game back in 96, all of them were extremely friendly, especially Tim Salmon and Jim Abbott. Abbott had been rocked the day before by Toronto, gave up about 7 runs in a half inning, yet there he was the next day signing autographs for a good hour (hard to do with one hand - no cheap joke there either).
I just think its sad people dwell too much on a handful of idiots and write off the fact that the majority of professional athletes are decent people who care about the fact that kids look up to them and do a lot to try to be a good role model during games.

Richard J said...

I don't deny that there are a lot of great people who happen to be professional athletes. I guess I have 2 concerns. One, there are quite a few athletes whose behavior on and off the field is not what I want my son to see.

Two, and probably most important to me, is the culture of hero worship that has built up around pro sports. I just can't support it any more. It seems that if you can do something freakish with a basketball or football, you are forgiven for being a jerk, and lauded for your contributions to humanity.

I guess what I'm saying is that I look at pro athletes the way I do circus performers: freaks whom on some level I can appreciate watching, but I'm not ready to parade them around as paragons of humanity...