Should Olympics athletes be paid? You betcha

Once upon a time, Olympic athletes had to sign pledges affirmed that they were amateurs, because communist athletes were not definable, they weren’t amateurs, yet they weren’t exactly “pros” like Michael Jordan. What the Russians were doing a was labeled as unfair. So in 1986, the IOC (International Olympic Committee) changed the Olympic Charter (most likely to allow “all the world’s great male and female athletes to participate.” America has had a long tradition of patriotism and participating in the Olympics as a badge of honor. Unfortunately, the Olympics hasn’t been about patriotism for a long time. America has a few other long traditions of capitalism and of being self-righteous.

Recently former medalist Dwayne Wade and Ray Allen have suggested that athletes be compensated for Olympic participation.  In 1992 a Michael Jordan led Olympic “Dream Team” nearly boycotted the Olympics due to corporate loyalties. Wade and Allen are not the first to come out in favor of athletes being paid for Olympic participation, but this new controversy against them reeks of racism. You see the help is the one asking to be paid, while the plantations owner is saying you’ve been paid enough, while others are saying you have millions… Perhaps we are not asking the right questions…

Is Jerry Colanagleo running USA Basketball out of the goodness of his heart?

Is Mike Krzyzewski coaching out of sheer patriotism?

Are Nike and Addias donating the uniforms and footwear?

And if they didn’t are they seen as being less patriotic?

Games of the XXX Olympiad, take place in London, England from 27 July to 12 August 2012, will be a multi-billion dollar industry; so much for volunteerism, individual effort, just hurry up raise the national flags and add up those USA totals. This is not a matter of whether or not other countries are paying their players. When black players have a valid opinion on anything that isn’t sports related, it’s always a problem for the masses.  Track and Field athletes get paid to train year around for that one shining moment to represent 300 million plus people, not to mention the gold medal prize money because medalists do receive money.

None of the past US Olympians that have spoken out have asked for million, perhaps they are making a case for future amateur Olympic hopefuls. Because they should be paid, including the bob sledder and figure skaters. 190 plus participant nations support their Olympic athletes 100% financially, the U.S. government gives zero money to its athletes. All the host cities in the world, except those in the USA, have supported their host Winter and Summer Olympics with billions of dollars, the Olympics is run entirely from corporate money, the corporations have control. Hasn’t professional and corporate involvement in the Olympic’s dampened it’s spirit? If these citizens are so patriotic then, aside from asking the right questions, give these Olympians jobs, cars for their service or better still their company allow the use of their symbols and products in return only for favorable publicity and public good will. They should be paid just like the college athlete, whose coaches earn 5 million per year, should be paid.

By using pros isn’t the U.S. admitting that we are on equal footing with the rest of the world. That we can’t have our amateurs compete against the under developed countries of the world and have a change of winning. Sportscasters, bloggers and fans have hit these players on how much money they make, for what they do, “all they do is put a ball in a hole”, “they are crybabies”,”now they want to get paid when they should volunteer” is what is most commonly heard. A Professional Athlete by definition is: a person who is paid to undertake a specialized set of tasks and completes them for a fee.

Perhaps our overriding American bullying nature has caused us to forget the definition of things, but that’s not the truth. The truth is that White Supremacy subconsciously causes the populace to rail against blacks that stand their ground, not wait for whites to lead the way or say ‘I disagree’. Where is the spirit of the games that had America pushing its youth to compete against the youth of other countries? Where is the old adage that anyone could have a chance at glory? Regardless of who’s paying, money has never bought inner drive or passion. Speaking out when our society has lost it’s way, may not seem as patriotic as say urinating on Afghans, or torturing “enemy combatants”, but that is what citizens are supposed to do, that is what makes a good republic. So stop whining about purity and patriotism and use amateur hopefuls or pay the professionals.

by MG Hardie

There have been many discussions about who the top players are and who the best NBA players ever were. There is always the question of how does one compose a list, do you list them by emotion, stats, position, championships, impact or all of the categories. I am going to list my Starting 5. This list  should put the Top All-Time Players in perspective. (In their prime, all things being equal and with a minimum of  10 years in the league)

My Starting Five

Center-

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Wilt Chamberlain  7’1″ 280 lbs

I know people would like to go with Bill Russell, or Shaq here, but honestly Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain was the original “Freak of Nature”.  Yes he scored 100 points in a game, but Wilt, the player, forced the NBA to change so many rules its absurd and he also caused the NBA to widen the lane. Aside from his numerous records and awards he is the only player in NBA history to average more than 40 and 50 points in a season. In case you didn’t know Wilt Chamberlain played for the Harlem Globetrotters and he was the 1st athlete of note to bring volleyball out of the gymnasiums and onto the sand. He may not get the credit, but it was Wilt who gave birth to beach volleyball, it was he who made it popular. He also led the NBA in rebounds for 11 seasons and average of 23 rebounds per game and had 227 consecutive double-doubles.

Power Forward-

Dennis Rodman 6’7″  230 Lbs

I know, most people would have selected Tim Duncan, or Charles Barkley. Rodman at 6’7″ with a wingspan of 7’7″  led the league in rebounds for 7 straight years, including 19 rebounds per game during the 1991-1992 season. What he may lack in height he more than makes up for in pure tenacity. Rodman was  known as a rebounding machine, but even more so for his defensive toughness. Unpredictable, hardworking and unselfish that is what a great teammates are made of . Rodman’s defensive play was the stuff of legend. He made Scottie Pippen cry during the playoff no less. He took his counterparts completely out of the game, he did the dirty work, something that is beneath a lot of players these days. 1989-90, 1990-91 Defensive Player of the Year awards.

Small Forward-

Elgin Baylor 6’6″  225 Lbs

Most of the time I see Larry Bird in this spot, which is mostly due to the 80’s Celtics/Lakers champions games. Elgin was every bit a pure shooter as Bird was, but the key here is that Baylor could actually defend. You don’t get a career average of 28 points and 14 rebounds for nothing. Baylor a gifted shooter, strong rebounder, known for his acrobatic maneuvers on the court. The No. 1 draft pick in 1958, NBA Rookie of the Year in 1959, and an 11-time NBA All-Star.

Shooting Guard

Michael Jordan 6’6″ 220 Lbs.

Often referred to as the best NBA player that has ever lived, but that distinction goes to Wilt Chamberlain. Also known as MJ, or just Jordan. He has five MVP awards, ten All-NBA First Team selections, nine All-Defensive First Team selections, fourteen NBA All-Star game appearances, three All-Star Game MVP awards, ten scoring titles, three steal titles, six NBA Finals MVP awards, and the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award to top it all off. Jordan holds the NBA records for highest career regular season scoring average (30.12 points per game) and highest career playoff scoring average (33.45 points per game). In 1999, he was named the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century by ESPN. His tenacity on both end of the court was unmatched, his selection is a no brainer.

Point Guard

Magic Johnson 6’9″  250 Lbs

At 6′ 9″ the man redefined the point guard position. Magic earned twelve All-Star appearances, and ten All-NBA First and Second Team nominations. He led the league in regular-season assists four times, and is the NBA’s all-time leader in assists per game, with an average of 11.2. He is a member of the 700 club,  assists, rebounds, and points in the same season. Three NBA, MVP Awards, nine time NBA Finals appearances.  Johnson was a member of the “Dream Ream”, which is a nickname for the U.S. basketball team that won the Olympic gold in 1992.

 

Bench (13 man  playoff roster)

 

Allen Iverson 6′ 0″ 170 Lbs  (Guard)

Kareem Abdul Jabbar 7′ 1″  250 Lbs. (Center)

 

Kobe Bryant 6′ 7″  210 Lbs. (Shooting Guard)

Tim Duncan 6′ 11″ 260 Lbs (Power Forward)

Shaquille O’Neal 7′ 2″ 325 Lbs. (Center)

Ray Allen 6′ 6″  210 Lbs. (Shooting Guard)

Larry Bird 6′ 9″  220 Lbs. (Small Forward)

 

Oscar Robinson 6′ 5″  220 Lbs (Point Guard)

 

Can your Starting 5 take mine?   

On December 2, 2010 Lebron James, now a member of the Miami Heat, returned to the Cleveland Cavilers and swiftly dropped 38 points on them. After the games Lebron James was asked for the 30,172 time if he wanted to apologize to the Cleveland Caviler fans by a Mustard Wine Jacket clad Craig Segar, a side line commentator for TNT. James quickly responded “I don’t want to apologize.”

Upon hearing these comments the sporting news world, including TNT’ commentator and NBA great Reggie Miller, quickly surmised that Lebron was only stroking the fire, but he wasn’t because he was right. Before the season began, a Free-Agent, Lebron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers, took less money and joined the Miami Heat, in a move that the entire sporting world has widely condemned. Apparently the fans and commentators are unaware that the NBA needs villians. The NBA needed a Bad Boy team. The NBA makes rules and penalties as if they don’t but they want controversy. All you have to do is look at the games and how they are promoted and the ratings that follow.  Post “The Decision” the game ratings and game intensity are way up. So it’s not personal, it’s business, for this and many other reasons fans owe Lebron an apology.

Multiple sporting venues from ESPN to the Sporting News to Yahoo Sports have written many articles on why Lebron’s move to Miami was a bad move for Lebron. The fans were livid, and called Lebron’s choice arrogant and these sport information entities echoed the same popular opinion. Now I will echo the Truth, regardless of whether or not Lebron and the Miami Heat win a title they all owe Lebron James an apology. Recently Baseball number 1 pitcher, Cliff Lee chose the chance to win and less money to join the Philadelphia Phillies and was celebrated, but Lebron is being vilified. Lebron James suggested that much of the venom towards him has a racial component to it, yet his feelings were quickly dismissed, look at the Cliff Lee situation and we’ll wait on the apology for that.

  • The Cleveland Cavalier fans owe Lebron an apology.
  • Charles Barkley owes Lebron James an apology. Charles has always had a big mouth, but calling the Miami Heat Big 3 “punks” is classless.

  • The fans who spent their hard earned money to buy Lebron James jerseys only to burn them in effigy owe all of us an apology, after all it is a recession.
  •  Radio station 100.7 WMMS, which brought in a witch doctor to cast an “injury” spell owe James an apology.

  • Dan Gilbert, the Cavs owner, owes the Cavalier fans an apology for his online rant and continuing to complain, even though he actually traded Lebron James to the Heat.
  • Dan Gilbert owes James another apology for trying to pressure the NBA to look into whether or not Miami tampered with James before “The Decision”.
  • Dan Gilbert owes the Cleveland Calvalier fans a very big apology, for not ever surrounding Lebron James with enough talent to win a title. Before Mr. James made “The Decision” what big free agent moves had Gilbert made to enhance the roster had Lebron stayed? Who did he sign to enticed Lebron to stay? What was his backup plan? If you look at the current Cavs roster, you will see that his back-up plan was the same as it was in previous years- “Ride Lebron until you can’t ride him anymore”. Dan Gilbert and the Cavalier fans should thank Lebron for his years of dragging their sorry teams through the playoffs.

  • The fans who printed up shirts calling him “Queen”and “Quitness”, the vendors selling them and the people who wear them owe James an apology.
  • The people who make videos that call James a quitter owe him an apology.
  • Countless radio station hosts, newspapers, magazine writers and bloggers all owe Lebron James an apology.

It was offensive after the second time Lebron James was asked to, or if he wanted to apologize for 7 years, 5 playoff appearances, 28 ppg, 17,000 points and 2 MVP awards.

If Dan Gibert had announced that he was trading Lebron James, would people be this upset? Nope. Think about that.

I know much of this ‘what he should have done’ commentary will die down as the wins mount, but will the apologies? This is not the first time these sports entities have got it wrong, remember Lebron’s 1st MVP award an award that should have went to Dwayne Wade, but sports writers didn’t have the guts to give it to Wade. Lebron James knew where that award belonged. Wade is Lebron’s MVP and that’s what really matters. I am sure that had plenty to do with “His Decision”. Lebron James knows to apologize when someone he cares about is slighted, he also knows that those who owe him an apology don’t care about him and probably never did. Now while you are thinking these things over, apologize to Chris Bosh also.

“It’s not Lebron’s team, It’s not Dwayne’s team. The Miami Heat is their team.”- MG