Jesus Take the Wheel….find me a man!

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Every now and then I’ll be toying around Facebook and I’ll come across the status update of some female ‘friend’ I’ve never met, who I wouldn’t be able to pick out of a lineup if I actually saw in the street. Sometimes they are very whiny, making vague statements about how sad, or frustrating, or boring their life is. And then there are those times when they just come right out and say what I assumed they were speaking ambiguously of in the first place which is that they’re mad because they don’t have a man. Something typical they might express is that they are going to “Let go and Let God” in their manquest.

Now let me first say that I have met some true Christians in my life who believe all their glory lies in their faith. They have lived their lives in accordance to being faithful to the men they had or awaiting the men God wanted for them. And while I don’t agree I commend them for the courage and passion I lack. But clearly some of these women are just looking for an excuse not to take responsibility for their actions. I know this because I do it all the time. I struggle with using God for convenience to bail me out of tough situations too. I don’t waste my wishes on petty things like Love or relationships. I save my prayers for truly important matters like not getting pulled over because there’s a bench warrant for my arrest even though I got the ticket and ignored my court date 8 months ago. But just like every other person in the world my life would be so much easier if I just did what I was supposed to do, like bringing my car in for regular maintenance instead of waiting for starting mechanisms to fail before I address the problem (Speaking of which, has anyone else noticed that once you bring in a car for one thing something else will inevitably go wrong as soon as you get it back?

Part of me believes that all mechanics take a secret oath not to tell us civilians that they are sabotaging our cars to get quicker return trips to the shop.) That being said I’ve been playing around with a theory for the past few weeks. If you don’t have somebody in your life it’s because you don’t really want somebody in your life.

I’m not trying to indoctrinate anyone with my religious beliefs, but I must reiterate I don’t believe God works the way these women think God does. I think it’s a contradiction most folk are comfortable with to believe in both free will and chosen paths. The only convenient way to believe in both of them is Divine intervention, which I also feel is something someone made up when they couldn’t articulate that they wanted to believe something out of convenience. Which is ok by me cause I rather like the idea of divine intervention. But even if you subscribe to ‘DI’ it’s safe to say it’s a little more than intervention when God is arranging your marriages. If you are insisting that the person who is supposed to be in your life isn’t there because God hasn’t yet put them there you could be right… but you could also be making excuses, because when God tried to hook you up with several other people you were busy trying to tell God why you didn’t want to holla.

This theory doesn’t apply to people who have recently broken up with someone or been broken up with. Rather those who have been perpetually single for several years ‘unable’ to find a match. There is this woman I casually dated a while back. We went our separate ways but I became privy to her life once again very recently. Without getting into too many details about this person I’ll just say I saw her through a whole new lens after not thinking of her romantically for so long. Where before I had taken things at face value she had expressed about her previous lover, now I realized she had embellished on her victimization when recounting the past. She flattered herself speaking about how devout she was to the union in spite of his inattentiveness. Now I’m not saying it was all fabrication, however, I am saying had I heard his side of the story I’m sure there would be some truths exposed that would shed a different light on her accusations. But I think the important observation is that I learned the most disingenuous of her statements were those of desire for a significant relationship.

The truth of the matter is that she was in a very meaningful situation with this man, which broke down for whatever reason, and she had the opportunity to work things out but decided against it while simultaneously deciding to continue engaging with him in relationship-like ways, thus not allowing herself to be open to new situations. Meanwhile she went to Church every Sunday, taking notes, and searching for spiritual guidance in the pastor’s sermon to shape her love life. She, like most people in denial, had other opportunities for other meaningful situations while she was still playing house with the previous tenant. The thought of investing emotions towards someone new in that critical of a way did not move her as much as she claimed it did. In her mind and behavior she would do things to make sure that all of her romantic interests, past, present and future, were at an arms length. Who knows the impetus? It could have been a fear of vulnerability. It could have been because she was more attracted to the pursuit than the actual practice of love. But the one thing that rang true for me was that she had gotten exactly what she wanted.

So I took it a step further and started evaluating some other past love interests. And my hypothesis seemed to hold true. Those who ended with me because I was not what they were looking for in a relationship found what they were looking for in someone else. And for those who preferred to blame the demise of the relationship on the other party (me) they were still single and still finding reasons for their failed relationships not to be their fault.

Then I turned the scope on myself and did some evaluation on the differences between how I have been in the past when I felt I wanted a relationship and not. While there were quite a few relationships I’ve been in where I couldn’t have done any more to make it work, I’ve also been in plenty where I couldn’t have done less. But the truth I’ve learned is that as much as I’d have liked to believe it was never me, it can’t always be someone else’s fault. If you actually believe that you have that much bad luck then it must be because God doesn’t love you, in which case I don’t know why you would call on him to save you now.

My assistant coach one time told me something that has stuck with me since. He was talking about our team’s apathetic play of late and he said “Hungry players do hungry things.” Just the same way having a voracious attitude on a court will result in success a drive to sate your hunger will result in being full. God doesn’t put you in the room at the right time. God doesn’t send messages through burning bushes or by way of bumping into Darren Sharper at Republic.

God gives you the power of discernment and common sense. You are ordering your own steps….step your game up.

For Colored Girls

So to appease my friends who say I don’t blog enough now that my personal life is no longer a matter of public record, and to appeal to the Twitter generation I’m going to do real time movie logs (mostly just my inner monologue) while I watch selected movies. Watch along with me for better understanding or if you’ve seen it enough times simply recall your own experiences. Clearly this will involve major spoilers as I will be reacting to scenes throughout so probably best not to read if you haven’t already seen the movie.

I’ll preface this by saying I’m about 13 years removed from “reading” this book in my dad’s Af-Am Lit class so I don’t have as much background going in. I was looking forward to seeing this in theatres and didn’t make it, but I heard relatively good things.

Action!

1:14 I didn’t realize Thandie was in this!

1:25 Anika Noni Rose…? Why is that name familiar? (checks IMDB) Oh yeah. Princess and the Frog girl.

2:55 “Somebody…Anybody…sing a black girls song.” Jamylah and Shaneika make it hard to concentrate while I’m watching this.

3:20 Why does Kimberly Elise always play the victim?

4:33 there goes Tyler Perry again, parading naked men around.

5:39 He wouldn’t really call her a bitch if he had just hit. He’d just be like “Holla”

6:22 I’m not buying Kerry Washington’s acting right now

8:00 I like the idea of starting to water a plant from the time you meet someone. But if a woman came to me and handed me the plant she had been watering so as to break up with me I might be a little offended. What makes you think I want to take over your plant, plant lady?

10:50 I wonder if Michael Ealy gained that weight for this role?

14:48 Look at Marvin from Love Jones getting work “I’m going get some Motherf****** toasted oats…you trippin” That was for Kibwe

17:00 do all women speak so poetically when they talk about letting some dude hit? Hope so.

18:50 Did she just bump into Hill Harper who got into a car with Rosario Dawson? This movie is like Crash for black women plus poetry.

21:00 Yep… Kim Elise just walked into Janet Jackson’s office. It’s Crash. Oh and in case I forget to mention

Bitch….! In Kibwe and Gian voice @Janet Jackson

24:08 ooops.

Hill Harper: Why you mad at me cause you had a STD and didn’t tell me?

25:40 LOL…that boy said he was eating donuts.

Why didn’t they get Mykelti Williamson to play this role? What does he have better to do than be in For Colored Girls?

29:12 I’m convinced Kim Elise should get more work. She’s got to be good at other stuff too. By the way…my bad Kim. Everybody in this movie is the victim.

What kind of proposal is that? Nigga you just bust her good glass.

32:00 Why did Lisa Bonet just call Ceelie momma?

34:00 “Dance is my thank you for music” I like that… but Marvin is probably like why she keep talking bout all these latin people I never heard of?

35:47 ooops. “What kinda woman, picks a man up at a bar and takes him home?” What kinda dude stops a woman from taking his pants off to tell her how much money he has cause he figures he has to pay her? I feel the most sorry for his wife for marrying a man with such low self esteem.

Claire Huxtable keep meddling in everybody business… go to sleep lady.

43: I’m not sure who I’d choose to be if I had to be the dude with the STD who banged the pyramid and then gave the rose one put on my pillow to the other one, or Hill Harper standing there listening to his ol’ lady telling him bout how she used to be some man’s pet and that’s why we can’t have kids. If my future wife is reading this I really don’t need to know how you felt about the dude that gave you the STD. Just disclose the basics to me.

44: Frank doesn’t seem so bad. He seems like he likes Loretta Devine. I’m gonna say it wasn’t his fault.

47:10 oops. That’s why she mad. Her ol’ man like other dudes.

Janet Jackson looks like Dorcas in this scene.

48:09 “He wants to fuck you.” Thank you Captain Obvious.

Why Thandie thought she was paying for a college application at the dance studio? That ain’t college crazy.

50:23 “You don’t have no name girl.” This is my favorite Macy Gray role since Training Day.

55: I’m not condoning rape of course but I was pretty sure Anika was trying to let Marvin stick.

1:01 I changed my mind I like Phylicia Rashad now for telling these kids that story while they daddy beat on they momma.

Never mind…I hate her again. Why she screaming “help her” to everybody else? What you want them to do that you couldn’t?

1:04:37 Lawd is this nigga holding the kids out the window asking if she gonna marry him? This proposal is worse than the last one…

Laaawd this dude dropped both the kids! Didn’t he see The Good Son? You got to make a choice Mike…

1:08: Here I am again suspending disbelief that someone would start reciting poetry in a cathartic moment. I blame Tyler Perry for this one. I know he wanted to be true to the play, but there has got to be a less awkward way to get across the poetry. I think his greatest downfall as a director is that he puts too much responsibility on the actors when quite frequently his writing isn’t strong enough to convey the emotions they’re trying to portray like that movie he did with Lynn Whitfield where her two daughters are fussing at her about being raped. In this case the writing doesn’t suffer, neither the acting. Anika is quite good at making me feel like she just got raped. But if she’s going to be in this lucid state he probably should have taken a page out of another Lynn Whitfield movie, Eve’s Bayou. There was a scene when the aunt was talking about all of her husbands who had died and the men momentarily came back to life. If you want me to suspend disbelief make me think I’m not in a hospital and that I am actually inside of her head. The impact of her talking about being raped by a friend is definitely lost on me because the moment wasn’t captured well.

1:12: hmmm…. Watching this poem I guess it’s not necessary universally. This one goes over well without the montage. Maybe it’s the character.

1:19: that one worked for me… maybe it was the music or juxtaposing Whoopi and Thandie speaking at once.

Thandie is yelling again. I believe her….. “I said open this motherf***** door!”

1:23: I like Claire Huxtable’s poem the best yet. In spite of her self-righteous tone.

1:25: see….I knew Frank wasn’t so bad.

1:25:30 Janet’s house husband was playing “basketball” with the fellas.

I know she’s not feeling sorry for herself about her secretary’s kids dying?

1:28: Nyla: Don’t nobody feel like praying to yo punk ass God, Ceelie.

1:31:15 Kim Elise: Is a dry towel gonna wipe my kids off that sidewalk?
1:32:09 “Can she come join us?” Nice! But why Thandie gotta block…talking ‘bout she 16 knowing her sister is 18 and just graduated from High School?

1:34: Kim Elise: Uhmmm…excuse me…. My children just got dropped out of the window. Do you mind taking your heart to heart across the hall to your own apartment?

1:37 I’ve come full circle… I like the poetry in this movie now. This one with Anika dancing is cool.

But why are they calling her down to identify the body as if she couldn’t just give them a name in the first place? They should have arrested him before he could get stabbed by another rape victim.

1:40 Damn Loretta… Frank played me too.

1:44:40 Don’t do it Loretta! Don’t let him take yo stuff again!

1:47:02 Who does she think she is…just opening up people house like she paying the rent in this sommbitch.

Kim Elise: Ain’t nobody thinking bout no plan

Kim Elise: So you broke into my apartment to tell me I killed my kids? Oh hell no!

1:50:52 oops

1:52:28 lol…. I was just about to type “So you doing the bending?” and Janet said it.

1:56: see…this monologue goes over well because it doesn’t actually sound like a poem. I don’t have a problem with him leaving the camera on Janet in this case because she delivers very well in this scene.

2:00 When did this turn into the Birthday scene in Waiting to Exhale. Speaking of which…how pissed off is Angela Bassett Tyler Perry asked Janet Jackson to play the role of Jo? And WTF is Kerry Washington fussing about. You got you a good man now…get over the college dude already.

2:07….look at that…they made themselves into a little rainbow.

2:08 Never heard this Nina Simone song before…but I like it.

So yeah… I like For Colored Girls. I’m glad they made this movie. I suppose this is Tyler Perry’s best contribution to black people yet. I liked Precious ok but this is a better adaptation overall, even though a few scenes didn’t work for me.

Writing – 8.7 The story was pretty well written to say the play came out in the 70’s. Tyler’s adaptation of it is sufficient.

Acting – 9.6 Especially for an ensemble cast this was very well acted. Everyone seemed to have their place and even though it was probably difficult to carry so much emotion into these roles that probably didn’t really fit with the screen they all did very well. Probably the best thing about this movie.

Directing – 7.5 Again…there are things I would have done differently. This might have been a better project for Tyler to take on in some years when he had a few more tricks up his sleeve behind the camera, but then again it’s not a bad effort.

Cinematography – 5.9 Nothing special here. The only thing to really work with was the colors and although they looked kind of cool I would have liked to have seen them even more pronounced. I mean you’re already going over the top trying to convince me all these women are whispering poems to themselves. Why not indulge? Make Yasmine’s yellow stand out even more.

Miscellaneous – 8.4 It gets most of these points on style just because it’s so much more interesting seeing movies about black people that require me to listen. Music was ok…but didn’t always move me.

Grade- 40.1/50 = B-

I Just Saw a Ghost

Three years ago I dreamed of a Saints-Colts Superbowl.
My two favorite teams over the last decade, my favorite football player ever, seeing an end to the Patriots Dynasty, and seeing an end to a losing dynasty. Not all of these wishful thoughts came to fruition. But I was still left with hope and optimism that the day wasn’t too far away. And although the years in between hacen’t exactly been easy, in retrospect it wasn’t that far away because just three short years later I am here on the cusp of the afore mentioned dream Superbowl. And it is almost everything I hoped it would be. I’ve read every article, watched every video clip, every NFL live “Cold Hard Fact Countdown.” The only thing that’s not absolutely magnificent about all of this is all the assholes constantly talking about the Vikings were the better team that day in combination with saying the turnovers, while opportunistic by the Saints Defense, were more Vikings mistakes than our good play. Of course I have a problem with both of those statements but I take solace in the hypocrisy and irrationality of it. You either were forced to give the ball away or you gave it away because you’re a pussy with a strong handshake and weak hands when being hit by Roman Harper. But if either of those is true you most certainly were not the better team that day. The Saints receivers had the decency to bobble the ball while trying to catch it instead of on the run afterwards. At any rate, I’m not getting my blood pressure all high talking about that because we’re in the game and they aren’t. I’ll let Shaneika handle my light work. But something occurred to me while replaying all of Sunday’s events in combination with hearing argument after argument why the Vikings should be representing the NFC. So the first thing I remembered was one of the commentators, in pre-game, saying if this game were played anywhere else he’d pick the Vikings. Maybe I have a chip on my shoulder (not maybe) but that kind of belittles the Saints. The Saints didn’t get Domefield throughout by not going out and meeting every challenge. They hyped up the Bills as a test, then the Eagles, then the Jets, then the Giants, then the Dolphins, then the Pats. Some even tried to throw the Falcons in there the first go round because they’re a divisional opponent. But we bust their ass too. But the clincher for us to get Domefield came because The Vikings couldn’t handle their own business and almost cost themselves the second seed when Jay Cutler and the Bears put on an aerial show on Monday Night Football. So in my mind I’m shouting back at the commentator “Nobody gives a shit where else the game COULD be played. That’s some woulda coulda bullshit that has no place in the Superdome.” So then when I calmed down from my imaginary tirade. I imagined if the game had been played in Minnesota. I rationalized to myself how and why the Saints would have won anyway. I imagined Hartley making that 40 yard kick in the Metrodome and instead of everyone rising to their feet, a deafening wave falling over the crowd. I was content with this image and that it would have been true as well had that been the case, and that revalidated the Saints being in the Superbowl for me again.
Now here’s the image that haunted me.
So I imagined after the game they would bring out all the stages and hoopla and interview the winners and such and I imagined them interviewing the Saints on going to the Superbowl and so forth and how that would have pissed off everyone in Minnesota. That led me to this. I was so optimistic about the Saints I did not for one second give a thought to the possibility of a Vikings vs _______ Superbowl. Not once was I in doubt that the Saints were the better team and would win that game. But then reflecting on how close the game was and how the Vikings were one big run (as opposed to an interception) from being in decent field goal range with little time left on the clock. That imagery in combination with the thoughts of us celebrating in the Metrodome brought me a vision of the Vikings celebrating their NFC championship on our field.
Now, because I had rationalized to myself at the beginning of this season that we were the best team and had a legitimate chance of going to the Superbowl, anything less would have been a disappointment. I would have surely been sluggish and unproductive if the Saints lost on Sunday (not that I’m not that anyway.) But I wasn’t at all prepared for what flashed in my mind. I’m usually pretty good with foresight and not getting the rug pulled from under me. I do a pretty good job of anticipating the worst case scenario. But I scared myself thinking about this after the fact because I realized I had not thought about it beforehand and how devastating it would have been to see it for the first time in real life with no mental preparation. I imagined a smiling half-shaved Favre holding up the trophy just like Drew Brees for all the Vikings fans at home. I imagined Zigy Wilf coming out of that box and giving a thumbs up to Prince. I imagined them interviewing anyone with pads and a purple jersey and me having to listen to a perspective on winning from Chester Taylor. And I imagined all those old feelings that weighed me down in the early Nineties when Montana used to bust our ass and then a decade later when Kurt Warner was doing it. All of those feelings of maybe we’re just not good enough, and never will be coming back after I thought I had purged them. Sitting watching Sidney Rice, a man for whom I have no affection, beaming in his proudest moment, while I am here at the furthest point from even an opportunity at optimism about my team. It was like having a flashback of a dead relative. Now don’t get me wrong, I want us to win the Superbowl, I’m not just happy to be here. But when I think about Vikings-Colts and 2 weeks of hype machine about Adrian Peterson and his feel good story, Goddamn am I just happy to be here.

All I want to say is that, they don’t really care about Mike

It’s July 7, 2009 today and Michael Jackson has been memorialized.

And I’m sad.

I’m not sad because of the passing of a legend, or more accurately the transcending of an Angel. I say Angel in the sense that his presence from birth to death was more than mortal for everyone who was blessed to see him perform. Not sad from grief either. In fact it oddly took me a few days and several music tributes for me to remember that in 1985 I cried after spending all night in front of the tv and he did not receive a single grammy. My mom explained to me later that he didn’t release any new music so there was nothing to win for. Of course I knew nothing of this because Michael’s music was always new and refreshing to me. But it wasn’t until that ephemeral, epiphany that I was able to feel anything more than disbelief.

Today I am sad for an altogether different reason. I watched something more than a man, who caused the simultaneous eruption of tears around the world that would make even Yoda pass out from that kind of disturbance in the force, serviced and remembered by the people who knew him LEAST…his friends and family. They followed one another trying to upstage the person before them like it was an audition. Granted I missed the early parts of the show so I didn’t see Stevie or Lionel Ritchie, but only Smokey Robinson, and maybe the King family, among them didn’t seem disingenuous, and that was cause Smokey spent half the eulogy talking about the song he had written and how amazed he was that a ten year old boy could perform it better than he could. Brooke Shields “choked back the tears” her whole time on stage while delivering her boring, and uninsightful epithets about her friendship with Mike. Jermaine tried to sneak in a fake gasp at the end of “Smile.” Usher fumbled his way through an unpopular Mike song that invoked emotion in neither the sung for nor the singer himself. And the very worst part of all came when they all huddled around the microphone like attention starved Jackals at the end of the show just so that Marlon could run overtime and leave everyone in limbo except for Michael’s little bratty daughter, who before her wonderfully touching moment where she exploded into a dry, sour, face that wouldn’t fool a single mom in America, who 2 minutes before her powerful words had to be corrected by aunt Janet to stop smacking on the gum, put down her purse and act like she was sad cause the whole world was watching. Then in the middle of her tantrum all 23 of the loving siblings grasped the mic to help the poor grief-stricken child. Or possibly to speak up on the child’s behalf if she was too moved to go on, and someone just had to relieve the precious little surrogate.

But her lack of attachment to her father neither surprises me nor serves to be illogical. Almost immediately after the brothers carried the body away ABC started promoting for their up-coming segment “Secrets of Michael Jackson” yet another attempt to exploit his personal life even in death. The true tragedy of his death is not that he died so young. The true tragedy is not that we have one less angel, because perhaps we don’t deserve that. The true tragedy is that everyone whoever came close to Mike knew he was an Angel from God but could see him as no more than a golden calf for their perverse greed. I have nothing but sympathy for Katherine Jackson, but the rest of them should all be waking in their sleep, as I write this, with a cold shiver of shame running down their backs. Maybe it’s not the Jackson’s faults as much as it is Joe. All of them probably perceived themselves as cash cows to him and each other since their birth and Joe’s vicarious dreams. And Mike, who had to martyr himself, first for his family, then the world, might not have been any different from Marlon if all the burden of being an Angel hadn’t been thrust on his capable, magnificent shoulders.

So, of course Joe Jackson is the worst of them all. The day following his son’s death he’s throwing winks and points at reporters. hand in hand with Al Sharpton (if I ever become famous and die tragically can the readers please impart to my parents I DO NOT want Al Sharpton to give a statement of any kind) making mention of his new record label, and telling people he couldn’t be better. I know we all grieve in different ways. But if you spend your entire life as a slave driver then you choose to grieve that way, you’re most likely just scum.

And then of course there’s me. The me who watched Moonwalker dozens of dozens of times. The me who loved Michael Jackson ballads only as much as I loved Michael’s pop songs. The me who would not trade my happiness from his music for the happiness Michael could have felt if he could have had a “regular” life and not been forced to be perfect every time he was in front of a camera since age five. Perfection drove him to insecurities leading to plastic surgery, and perfection that probably drove him to anxieties and insomnia over his return to stage and leading to his heart attack and untimely death. No I would not give back those years of my life and my own selfish happiness so that a little boy from Gary, Indiana could raise a family on a postman’s salary. I would not give back the romance of “Liberian Girl” The grooving fun of “Off the Wall” or the electric shockwave of the beat opening “Billie Jean” so that Mike could live in anonymity with dark skin, a big nose, and people that loved him for who he was and not for what he could do for them. And the Angel I like to believe Michael is probably wouldn’t trade it either, even if he didn’t have the opportunity to know how fulfilling being a regular person can be. Michael was a martyr but he was not Jesus, he was a performance prodigy, then genius, but he was not the God, Muse. Michael was an Angel on earth, but not Azazel. Michael was Midas. The people he loved, loved to bring him things and watch him do his magic. And when they weren’t being conniving with his gift they were being jealous of it. Everything he touched turned to gold and he couldn’t have lived a lonelier life because of it. But I wouldn’t trade one second of his lonely ass life for one minute of my very happy one.

I salute you Michael Jackson. You made, literally, billions of people’s lives better and all it cost was your own. And even though you could moonwalk and I can’t, the true testament to why you are a better man than me is because I would never have that courage. Someday I’ll be eulogized by people who loved me even though I wasn’t shit. And they’re going to talk about how great my life was because I was always happy. And even then in my grave I’ll still feel like “better me than you, Mike.” And you’ll probably be fine with that and not have hard feelings for me because you’re the world’s angel and you know it’s just human nature.

Kobe or Lebron…Not Kobe or Jordan

So my friend Dario, who forever puts himself at the forefront of controversy when it comes to basketball just to annoy me I have no doubt, got me riled up again. He decided to create an argument for Kobe being better than Jordan even though he doesn’t believe it himself. His argument in a nutshell was that; the game has changed; players as well as the rules, Jordan’s competition wasn’t up to par with the new generation of player and Jordan had more help with Scottie (I assume he’s only referring to the current championship run, cause not many will argue Scottie being better than Shaq.) I posted a comment at his invitation that turned into a blog. So now I get to share it with the world so people can stop this inane argument for once and for all.

Now while it’s true I’m not a fan of Kobe’s and I have always been very critical of him, I am an objective person when it comes to things I think about more than a fleeting whimsical thought. I cheered for Kobe this year and I’m definitely starting to like him more now than before. But I will say with my whole heart and soul he is not better than Jordan.

1. Think about this honestly because a lot of people who want to make a case for Kobe are only doing it because of his similarity to Jordan. But in all honesty, how many people think Kobe is better than Magic Johnson… or even Akeem Olajuwan? If there had never been a Jordan I think there would be an argument about who the best player ever is. Some people would still say Magic, some would say Bird, some would even say Kareem, some would say Kobe and everyone would have a reasonable argument. If you care to remember before Jordan started winning championships people would make arguments for a lot of players as best ever. And then what happened? Jordan shut all that dumb shit down. He decided he wasn’t going to lose anymore (Winning 6 Finals MVP’s which may not ever be matched by anyone, regardless of how many rings Kobe ends up with) and negated all reasonable arguments against him as the best player ever. Even people who don’t like Jordan have to admit he’s the best ever. People who don’t like Kobe will never have to do such a thing. A) because he has not made that same mark that Jordan did, B) because he’s actually just not as good. So reason number one why Kobe is not better than Jordan. You can’t say Kobe is the best ever when there’s room for a reasonable argument that he’s not even the best in his own current era, much less of all time. Where as Jordan is at the top of everyone’s list on a matter as subjective as this.

2. What is not taken into effect in considering the era of competition is what makes Jordan so very indomitable.
Will Power.
Now you can say whatever you want to about the skill level of athletes today as opposed to yeasteryear. But obviously people will be more skilled as the generations pass. Back in the day if you were a big man it was mandatory to have a back to the basket game. Now big men have to be able to make an 18 foot jumpshot to get the other big men away from the goal. Zydrunas Illgauskas has a better skill set than Patrick Ewing as far as his basketball I.Q. and what his rating would be on NBA Live in all the categories. But I don’t think a single person in the world believes for a second he’s a better player.

Because skills don’t translate into wins….Will power and determination do.

Back when Jordan was playing, the determining factor for being an elite player was wanting to win. Jordan was up against it all the time with players, who he kept down, who wanted really badly to win. Before that he was being kept down by the Pistons and the Celtics, two teams with fierce leaders who wanted nothing more than to win every game of basketball they played, and made their team mates share that sentiment or find a spot on another roster. If Isaiah Thomas didn’t like his team what do you think is more likely, he would demand a trade, or he would demand the front office to get better players? Or Bird, or Magic, Or Ewing, or Olajuwan, or any of these players who spent the majority of their career with one team? But nowadays everybody who feels like they can’t win where they’re playing is looking to jump ship and get to a “contender.” They want the quick fix. Find me a team that’s ready to win now and I’ll go contribute to that, as opposed to put a team around me and I will make them a champ. Kobe being the worst of all of them because he demanded that a championship team be broken up only to become unsatisfied with it and demand that another be structured in its place or be traded. But the point is these NBA players may have more skills they can go to individually but few have a burning will to win as the players in Jordan’s era. Reggie Miller was the most clutch shooter ever. And the only year he ever got a sniff of a ring was when Jordan was long gone. Patrick Ewing made it to two NBA finals in spite of the Knicks being one of the best teams in the Eastern conference year in and year out for over a decade. Both of these were in non-Jordan years. The Pacers that took two games from the Lakers (Kobe & Shaq and much better role players) in the finals would have beaten this Lakers team 4 games to 1. This is what Jordan was up against just to get to the Finals. Then when he got there he had to deal with players like the afore mentioned Karl Malone who would, as Moses said, crack a mother******* skull for coming in the lane stupid, cause he wanted to win so bad. Who did Kobe have to go through? Deron Williams (formidable, but not in anyone’s conversation as being a great winner since the Jazz are always a 7th seed first round exit) Louis Scola and Shane Battier, and then Carmello (Bernard King comparison from earlier) and Chauncey who is a legitimate winner. Only to get to the Finals and face…..Hedo Turkoglu. LOL!!! C’mon bruh…Hedo. This is the insurmountable gauntlet to championship glory? You gotta be kidding. Jordan was playing teams in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs that could beat the Magic. The only reason they made it to the Finals was because KG was hurt and Lebron’s team stepped their games down for the first time all year (probably a coaching flaw, or maybe a lack of toughness from Lebron to his teammates who wanted to win for him, but weren’t scared of his wrath if they lost.) Kobe is only one of three or four superstar players in the NBA right now with any legitimate will to win. Manu and Duncan are old and decaying, KG was hurt, Lebron took the high road and was a nice guy to his teammates instead of the asshole that Kobe and Jordan are. And then what else? A case can be made for Chauncey, D. Wade. That’s about it. Kobe had to deal with only one of those factors this year. I’m getting a little long winded on this point. But I will digress now with this, Skill sets don’t mean shit if losing doesn’t hurt.
3. And this is probably my most definitive argument for this; the only reason that Kobe can exist is BECAUSE of Jordan. Kobe got a head start on basketball because he got to absorb all of Jordan’s knowledge. Kobe is definitely a basketball prodigy. He has an understanding and feel for the game that is like Mozart on the piano. He was able to study Jordan and the game around Jordan and internalize that so well he was almost able to pick up where Jordan left off. That is admirable and almost miraculous. BUT, while exceptional it isn’t transcending. The mark of a great player is that he has to raise the bar. Bill Russel did it. Wilt did it. In the 70’s basketball was divided and no one was really doing it. Jerry West and Kareem were good, but they weren’t doing anything Havilchek and Wilt didn’t do before them. Oscar Robertson did it statistically, but I can’t say how much impact it had because it didn’t translate to too much winning. Then after the 70’s Magic and Bird did it together. They revived the NBA. That’s how you raise the bar. So with the NBA revived how can you possibly raise that bar?
Jordan did.
He raised the bar so high he made himself unequivocally the best ever. He changed the game and brought about the likes of a Kobe. His game was so good that even having watched an entire Vince Carter career, which was probably more fantastic than Dr J, We have to think of him as an underachiever because he’s always gonna be stuck being compared to Jordan. Think about that for a second… how many people have come into the league and failed at basketball simply because they couldn’t measure up to a Kobe comparison? But there are no Kobe comparisons. Is it because Kobe’s too good and no one compares? No. It’s because Kobe is still trying to live up to the Jordan comparison. He can’t raise the bar past where Jordan got it even though he picked it up where Jordan left it. Kobe has not changed the game, and he probably wont. And while I do feel like he is better than Lebron right now. I also feel like Lebron has the ability to be better than Jordan because he can change the game of basketball as we know it. I mean a 6’8 270 lb truck playing the wing has already changed it somewhat. For an example let’s take it out of basketball context. I earlier compared Kobe’s basketball intuition to Mozart. This, while an accurate comparison in terms of capabilities, is inaccurate in terms of application. Mozart could interpret music and did something with it no one ever did before. Shakespeare did things with writing no one ever did before. These are game changers. Jordan is a game changer. Magic and Bird are game changers. Bill Russel? Game changer. Kobe simply listened to all the music Jordan composed and recycled it. No interesting spin on it, no re-interpretation. No unique vision. Just the same old tune spun back out. I’m not saying that it wouldn’t have been cool to just have another Martin Luther King. That would be great. But you know what’s even better…? Having a Barack Obama who takes the mantle left by MLK and RAISES THE BAR. That’s a game changer.

Kobe is not Miles Davis, he’s not Stanley Kubrik and he for damn sure ain’t Michael Jordan.

Pass It On…..

Been kinda busy. I got a couple of gigs now. I’m writing a newsletter for a group of friends I’m working with. And I’m writing for this other nationally distributed magazine based out of Atlanta. I been meaning to post some of those things on here but none of the writing has gone into publication yet so I been a little bare on the home front. In the meantime there’s this….

By the way…. If you’re in the New Orleans area looking for a good time on Saturday night….

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OBAMA

5:00
I’ve just coached the final playoff game for the best class of athletes we’ve had come into Lusher in about 4 years. We lost 6-0 in double overtime on a length of the field interception return for a touchdown. The defense, which I coach, has only allowed 13 points in the last 4 games and 2 overtimes; that’s a little over 3 points a game. But I’ve got my head banging against a steering wheel because I was the one who suggested to our offensive coach that their defense might not be suspecting a pass since we’ve run it down their throat all day. I didn’t think he would pass since we worked our way down to the one, but the resulting interception and touchdown leave me stinging because I know these guys had a legitimate chance of winning the championship in the next game. The entirety of the game I forget everything I’ve been agonizing over for the last ten months and in the fifteen minutes following the game I don’t even care who our next president is. Of course I come to my senses quickly thereafter when I realize I get most of these guys back for basketball, and track…and then 5 more years after this one. So let’s concentrate on what’s important for the next 8 years.
7:00
I’m sitting in my bed. I’ve come directly home after the game because I want to be with my family, anticipating an Obama win. It’s kind of like New Years except if New Years had never ever happened before and you only had your dreams as comparison. My mom tells me they’re going by her friend’s house for an election party. I agree to join them shortly. So far only Kentucky has been secured by McCain. And they are trying to get me on edge about Pennsylvania so that I watch some more of their MSNBC commercials. They can spare me the drama because I’m going to watch and savor every moment of black man for president I can. But of course I’m a little worried because this is literally the thing I most want in the world! And I have no control over making it happen. I have to sit and watch and hope that racist America isn’t as strong a presence as I have believed it is for the last 10 years. I’ve been down this road a time or two when my optimism turned against me and I felt abandoned and alone against the harsh oppression of “The Man.” Ok, I’m being a little dramatic with the oppression but not with the hopelessness. 8 years of Bush in office when everyone you congregate with can only agree on his ineptness is enough to make anyone think the world is conspiring against them. They finally get around to calling Pennsylvania for Obama, and 30 seconds of relief sink in then almost immediately out. How the hell do they know he’s going to win Pennsylvania if only 10 percent of the votes have been counted? I mean I guess these guys are smarter than me at this, but how can they know? I knew that the Lakers would get blown out in game 6 of the Finals,Photobucket and I said it as confidently as I could to anyone who would listen. But I didn’t actually know that. I just used what I knew about basketball, determination, the human will and my own wishful thinking. I could have been wrong. Are these guys calling states based on the same criteria or do they have something more tangible?
8:00
I’ve arrived at my mom’s friend’s house and a whole bunch of people who feel secure of victory are already talking over the T.V. I’m less interested in their banter so I find a T.V. in another room where I can concentrate on my prayers. More polls are closings and more states will be called in a few seconds. There is truly nothing like the excitement of having a horse in this race.
McCain strikes first winning Kansas and their 6 precious electoral votes. Obama smacks McCain and the traitors in Kansas, who harbored the man’s family and didn’t vote for him, when he wins New York which electorally counts for roughly about 5 Kansas’s. Michigan and Minnesota, Wisconsin all fall consecutively and Obama is on a roll. MSNBC announces the first toss up as North Dakota goes to McCain. That coupled with Wyoming and McCain matches the 6 votes he just got from Kansas. At this rate he’ll just need 4 more elections to reach 270. They announce Arizona is too close to call yet, and a nice feeling comes over me. They’re still talking about Florida and North Carolina, and Virginia. I rarely to never have interest in these states but now I’m regretting all the time I’ve neglected them, and hoping they don’t take it too personally.

8:23
The talking heads are doing their commentary thing. Of course they’re Obama Partisan so I’m eating up everything their saying. They bring T.D. Jakes back on, who I can’t say I care too much for, concerning his opinion. But he has the floor so I’ll listen. He starts muttering all these things I don’t want to hear about how “It’s anybody’s game, we’ve underestimated McCain, It’s not going to be a landslide.” Etc. When he’s interrupted….
Sir, we have some news, we have some very important news. Ohio has gone…to Obama.
You were saying T.D. Jakes? My heart stops a little and I get a warm feeling that creases my torso. They flash the picture of a smiling Obama and a blue Ohio.

And my heart fills up because I didn’t even realize how much I had missed Obama. In the last few weeks of his campaign he had somewhat muted the so called rhetoric, to avoid scaring away some of American’s delicate sensibilities towards our tribally derived, call and response, chants of hope. The words that endeared me most to Obama were now being spoken to and through me to everyone. And I thought of all the people who felt so passionately for this man. And all the ideals I assumed, when I was young, that one should feel for the man we call president came pouring out in me and reflected on the face of Americans from the streets of San Francisco, to Grant Park down south to Atlanta back up to Harlem. And their approval was mirrored across the Atlantic to Africa, right through Europe to China and then back again to America. And though in my youth I would put myself in place of secret service agents and wonder what motivated a man to have a job that might mean dying for another man. And I never saw the face of a man I would die for in any of these men that might have needed protection. For that matter I couldn’t even say I understood the motivations of servicemen and women who defended a country at the mandate of men mandating for personal gain. But on this night I looked on through glassy eyes at the only man not related to me I would die for, because I would be doing it for MY country which I have never believed more strongly is a place worth dying for. And even though I cheer for America in the Olympics, and even though I have no desire to live abroad, and even though I would rather eat a steak than escargot, for the first time ever I was proud to be an American. As Barack finished his speech I stood in the living room with my parents and sister And we toasted each other like it was New Year’s Eve. A fresh start, a new day, a new country. It’s not the first time the world has changed before our eyes. We watched planes crash into buildings. We watched our city swamp and burn. But all of those events, all of those martyrs, all of those souls passing to heaven did not happen for nothing. They did not happen so rich men could get richer, gouging gas prices and selling us war helicopters. They died and we suffered through it so we can reach this day when all of mankind is better off because we have someone like us, who feels that Government is not here to exploit a people but to serve and protect a people. And on this day we can look into the eyes of a man who speaks from his heart the same sentiments we feel in ours. His heart and ours speaks “Yes we can!” And so even though as he stated we are not celebrating because we won an election, but merely the chance to put things right that we have let go astray. We have already won because somewhere there is a little boy who can toss aside a Vibe magazine and pick up a Newsweek to find his identity. We have already won because the world now remembers that integrity and service are the kind of things that make leaders, and those who strive to be leaders will strive for those qualities. Because the world is already a better place when Joe Biden’s white, blond haired, grand kids can stand on a stage and hold hands and hug Barack’s nappy haired black kids in front of the whole world and Martin Luther King can stop rolling in his grave waiting for it. We have already won because Barack Obama is president. Photobucket

Michelle Obama/ Beau Biden 2020!!