Not that I think the Association (or Kobe, of course) is perfect, but last time I checked an unproven prospect with two years of college ball under his belt is in no position to call out a superstar, or pop off about the entire league. Especially not some foreigner, who doesn't really know what this game is made of at the professional—U.S. of mother-fuckin' A.—level. Let's face it, the Euros can crow all they want, but we run this sport (all that international competition doesn't count as pros) (the worlds and Olympics being nothing more than glorified college ball with slightly more talent and weird rules)!!!!!
Dude rips Americans for not staying in school and learning from master coaches so their attitudes will be better, but heads for the draft after two years at a second-tier program. Is that not more than a little hypocritical? If he worships Duncan so, why not follow Timmy's example and still the full, loyal four years? Does Bogut really think he's more mature at this point (or better on the court) than Duncan was after two years at Wake?
I'd take Chris Bosh over Bogut any day.
Back to his personal attacks on #8: something tells me that there's a poster with Bogut's name on it just waiting upon his entry into the league. And it will be a hell of a lot less flattering than even this
Two possibly related things I find worth mentioning:
-Shaq's respect paid to Mikan is truly heartening. Mikan's about as far from today's game as you can get, yet his sheer presence laid the groundwork for basketball as we know it. Granted, as a big man Shaq has more of a direct connection to Mikan's legacy, but it's also an acknowledgement that this man set the very foundation of post-war ball into motion (mixed metaphor there was totally intended). I wonder if I wouldn't get a little indignant, though, if someone like Bogut took the opporunity to lionize Mikan at the expense of basketball today.
-A brief NBARS that may or may not be relevant to the Bogut affair. Mostly because the new single is hot, I've been thinking a lot about Kanye West again. It's strange that when he brags and boasts just like every other rapper, people take it as truly offensive and pernicious, because, you know, he's not like that and should know better. If he can help himself and does so anyway, he must be a delusional monster. I wonder if this same thing doesn't also apply to Kobe, another gracious warrior of the borugeoisie. Granted his ego is outsized even by Rucker standards, but isn't some of the criticism of Bryant based on this idea that a smart, well-heeled citizen of the world has the power to not come off like a member of the Marbury extended fam?
With Bogut, too, he's allowed to make comments about the politics of the league that would be offensive if a white domestic player said them. Oddly, though, instead of being kept at a distance (as his liberty to do so would suggest in the first place), it's just the mouthpiece a lot of people seem to have been waiting for, one who can say whatever he wants on a technicality yet somehow be all the more authoritative for it.
-And, on a more thoughtful and totally uncontrovesial note, the issue of number recognition. Everyone knows the uniform number of their favorites, and even plenty of over-exposed players who have no business being recognize by their number. But how many people in today's Association can be referred to by number alone? I would say that this is a mark of greatness, but Penny certainly had it in his hay.
My short list: Kobe, Iverson, Shaq. Those are the only players who, if I just said to you (for example) "#3," regardless of context, you would know who I was talking about. Obviously LeBron has it, but his is more tricky because 1) he's always going to be in Jordan's shadow with that number 2) he picked a number that people are prone to remember and identify as iconic, possibly intentionally (or at least in honor of the Jordan mythos)
T-Mac and KG are awfully close. But T-Mac's number is boring and KG and Duncan cancel each other out.
Arenas probably belongs on there, too, since all anyone ever talks about is that wacky number of his.