Lin’s Rise Shouldn’t be so Surprising

The circumstances are Lincredible. The meteoric ascension to stardom is one of a kind. The hype is more than deserved for this Linderella story. The shock of Lin measured a 9.0 on the Richter scale after his game winner on Tuesday night in Toronto and who knows how long we will feel the after effects.

Still, why are we so flabbergasted by Jeremy Lin?

Asia’s version of Tim Tebow has been dissected about as much as, well, the real Tim Tebow. Most human beings on the earth haven’t gone the past 2 weeks without asking how the hell this kid didn’t get his opportunity sooner. In this age of youtube sensations, endless video scouting and advanced statistics, it is almost unfathomable to have a talent as sensational as Jeremy Lin go undrafted and sit on the end of the bench, about to get cut.

I, as well as you, have read and heard the endless discussion as to why Lin’s talent was missed by most everyone. Yeah, he is Asian. Yeah, he is scrawny. Yeah, he doesn’t shoot well. We get it.

What I still don’t get is why we are continually shocked by these mega-talents who were oh so close to bagging groceries at their neighbourhood Hy-Vee? Because we shouldn’t be.

Not anymore.

Jeremy Lin’s story may be mind-blowing but the thought that he could just as easily be out of the NBA right now instead of taking the Big Apple by storm isn’t. There are too many examples of talented individuals who have taken their respective sports by storm for us to be truly surprised anymore. To continue to be in disbelief as to how these guys aren’t noticed is like being stunned that Lindsay Lohan is back in rehab or that Kim Kardashian is trying to exploit another NBA player for even greater fame (FYI, Kim Kardashian is rumoured to be going on a date with Jeremy Lin).

Prior to Linsanity, Tom Brady was the poster boy for mis-evaluated talent. We all know about the 199th overall pick turned GQ, supermodel dating, touchdown throwing golden boy of the NFL. How did Tom Brady get passed on 198 times in 2000? Crazy? Not so much.

Talent is constantly under and over estimated. In another shocking development, the sun will set in the west tomorrow evening.

There is a very thin line between the big leagues and coaching high schoolers. The line is thinner than most professional athletes would like to believe. Most professional athletes live off of the belief that it was their own exceptional talent and hard work that allowed them to reach the top of the sports world. They need to believe it.

Arian Foster’s pompously narrated ‘self-made’ story on the show E:60 is a prime example of this. He went from undrafted running back to arguably the best in the NFL.

Little do most of them really know about the great deal of luck that made it possible for them to excel and make those millions of dollars. The overweight guy on his couch, hollering at the TV could very well have been overlooked. That’s just the nature of sports though. There are so many talented athletes and so few spots that there is bound to be missed talent.

Sometimes though, that almost missed talent turns into a superstar.

Everyone is now on the watch for the next Jeremy Lin. His Linsational story has made people wonder how many more like him are out there. There is probably someone on a college bench waiting to be the next Jimmer or a division II potential superstar lighting it up in relative obscurity somewhere in Omaha.

Stephen Curry, the son of former NBA veteran Del Curry, only received offers to play at Davidson, Virginia Commonwealth and Winthrop. He became a college superstar, the 7th overall pick in the NBA draft and, aside from the injuries, is excelling for the Golden State Warriors. His brother Seth went to Liberty University before Stephen Curry’s stardom forced scouts to take notice of Seth’s ability. Seth is now the starting for the Duke Blue Devils.

Again, Jeremy Lin’s story is exceptional but, in the end, he’s simply another missed talent. Continue to be amazed at the aura, the man, and the legend that is Jeremy Lin.

Just don’t be so surprised that he slipped through the cracks.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will happily return the favour.

Subscribe to my blog too and you can get the latest posts such as Mark Jackson’s Tunnel Vision

Advertisements

Larry Fitzgerald is Only a Wide Receiver

Chris Johnson is probably still a little jealous right about now. While he sits at home, Larry Fitzgerald is enjoying his first day with a brand spanking new 8 year, $120 million contract. With this new deal, the Arizona Cardinals have told Larry Fitzgerald that he is not only one of the best receivers in football but one of the very best that the game has to offer.

This is stupid.

It’s not stupid to say that Larry Fitzgerald is the best receiver in football nor is it stupid to say that he is one of the very best that the game has to offer.

However, it is stupid to give a receiver (a rumoured) $50 million in guaranteed money. It looks like Homer Simpson is back to controlling professional sports franchises again. At least, I would hope so.

The Arizona Cardinals ownership seems determined to relive the winning magic that they experienced not too long ago. Maybe some Cardinals fans can take comfort in the fact that ownership was willing to overpay for the two cornerstone pieces of the franchises in Kevin Kolb and Larry Fitzgerald.

Not me. Luckily, I’m not a Cardinals fan.

It’s going to take a lot to justify giving a wide receiver, of all positions, $50 million in guaranteed money. To the best of my knowledge, this isn’t Madden football and the Cardinals do not possess the power to simply turn the salary cap mode off. This isn’t Major League Baseball. In a desperate attempt to prove that they care, the Bidwell family is potentially hampering their organization for years to come.

$120 million for a player who touches the ball 10 times on a good day is a troublesome thought. The Cardinals already overpaid when they addressed the most important position in football. For the most part, I’m fine with that. In all likelihood, John Skelton isn’t your guy.

A wide receiver can only do so much though. Yes, a great receiver can be a game-breaker but in no way will he ever be a $120 million game-breaker.

An inability to manoeuvre with any sort of flexibility under the cap is always an issue with these contracts but with a franchise quarterback like Tom Brady or Peyton Manning that kind of money is certainly justifiable.

Even Peyton Manning and Tom Brady took pay cuts to ensure that they gave their team some financial flexibility.

Larry Fitzgerald wasn’t willing to take a pay cut and his team is going to suffer for it. He may not act like a diva but his ego is obviously similar to a diva. Personally, I think it’s selfish to sign a contract of that magnitude but that’s a story for another day.

Related: Who is Peyton Manning?

No one forced the Arizona Cardinals to pay Fitzgerald that much. Either way, they should have backed out instead. His contract could have been someone else’s problem next year. That money should have been spent better.

A great receiver can push a good team over the edge. A great receiver cannot make a bad team a good team. What do we think of Steve Smith’s $10.9 million per year contract with the Carolina Panthers?

Heck, that’s nothing.

Sure, Larry Fitzgerald is one of the most beloved players in the history of the franchise but that shouldn’t get in the way of running a business. Not to this degree. The last thing any organization needs is tying up a ridiculous amount of money in a person that doesn’t take every snap.

Alone, Larry Fitzgerald cannot turn his Arizona Cardinals into a winner. I mean, he is only a wide receiver.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will happily return the favour.

Subscribe to my blog too and you can get the latest posts such as A Dying Breed

Who is Peyton Manning?

Showing us exactly what he is made of has always been a problem for Peyton Manning. He has danced around the thin line between choker and winner throughout his career. Unlike Joe Namath, John Elway and Joe Montana, we haven’t figured out what type of man Peyton Manning is.

Maybe this time, he can help us out a little.

In the coming days, the man who some have already dubbed the greatest quarterback of all-time could be made the highest paid quarterback of all-time. Only one problem, the salary cap. To take a contract upwards of $25 million would no doubt be a hindrance to his team. He would be a dictator squandering unnecessary money all while the masses suffer.

Without a great leader a country nor a team cannot become great. Without a sufficient group of followers a country nor a team cannot become great.

If Peyton Manning decides to become the highest paid player in the National Football League he will do so out of needless selfishness. Under the new $120 million cap, a team can’t allocate 1/6th of their budget to a single player and still expect to win.

Football is a team game and without adequate depth it won’t matter who you have under center.

Right now, Peyton Manning has the opportunity to be the embodiment of a team player. He can take a bullet to the leg. Really, it’s just a slap in the face.

Owner Jim Irsay probably regrets saying that he would make Peyton Manning the highest paid player in the NFL during the uncapped year of 2010. To his credit, he hasn’t backed off. Irsay stated “He is going to be the highest paid player and he is going to make more than Brady.”

Nevertheless, Peyton Manning doesn’t have to give into the sweet sirens song. The glory of being the highest paid player shouldn’t be more important than the glory of being a Super Bowl champion again.

$5 million to guys like Peyton Manning is chump change. It goes without saying that he doesn’t need the money but I’ll say it anyways. Combining endorsements and salary, Manning made a total $38,700,000 million last year alone making him the fourth highest earning American athlete of 2011.

Jim Irsay has also said recently that “To me, this isn’t about how much money I have to spend, because the money is going to be spent.”

To me, this money doesn’t have to be spent. Peyton Manning can put a stop to it. Receiving a bigger signing bonus will give more cap room for the Colts to work but imagine the flexibility a smaller contract would allow.

Telling management that he is willing to sign a contract more in line with Brady’s 4 year $72 million extension would be virtually a no-lose situation for Peyton. His reputation as a person would sky-rocket, his team would be better off and it would put himself in a better position to cement his legacy as one of the true greats.

It’s times like these where we see who a person is deep down. Albert Pujols has portrayed himself in the media as the perfect athlete who does more than his part for not only his team but his community as well. I find that hard to believe when $250 million isn’t quite good enough.

A great leader is supposed to put his people in front of himself. However, here we are discussing the heroics of slashing a few million bucks a year off of what could potentially be a contract worth $100 million. Hardly a sacrifice if you ask me.

Peyton Manning doesn’t even have to be thinking about the others. His motivations could be completely selfish and he can still come out smelling like roses. Selfishly, he could choose to put legacy over money. Selfishly, he can decide if he wants to be considered one of the best or THE best.

What kind of selfish does Peyton want to be?

This time around, it isn’t what Peyton Manning is doing on the field that will determine how the world sees him. This could be a career defining moment for him. One decision will show us what we need to know.

What kind of man is Peyton Manning?

Money lasts a lifetime. A legacy is forever.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will happily return the favour.

Subscribe to my blog too and you can get the latest posts such The Mirage of Plaxico Burress

Star Unfairness

Roy Halladay pitchers for the first time at Rogers Centre in a Phillies Uniform

Being unable to challenge our current beliefs. It’s a black mark on our society. We continually accept things because it’s the way it has always been done. I wish we could change that.

Related: Significant Injury?

Sports are similar to life in so many ways. The elite of society get the benefit of the doubt. For example, rich men get beautiful women and the beautiful women are so often let off the hook.

In this sense, professional sports are no different.

The Wade’ and Kobe’s in basketball get more fouls called, the Brady’s and Manning’s in football get more yellow flags tossed in their favour and the Roy Halladay’s of the world get a bigger strike zone.

And here I am thinking that equality was something society strived toward.

The Blue Jays and Phillies game today featured Roy Halladay’s long awaited return to the city of Toronto. The game also featured some very inconsistent but typical game calling from home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez.

The fans sure let him know it and more so than any regular season game I have ever seen.

For 9 innings, Alfonso Marquez was giving the benefit to Roy Halladay while Blue Jay pitchers were forced to pitch in a confined strike zone. It all culminated in Blue Jay reliever Jon Rauch’s very amusing ejection. He had reason to be upset considering a 3-2 curve ball that caught the knees on Ryan Howard, that would have ended the inning, was called a ball. He blew up after the next batter, Shane Victorino, hit a single to drive in a run.

He didn’t blow up because of the one call though. It was the frustration of an entire game in which the better team and the better pitcher received better treatment. According to Pitch FX, the Blue Jays had 10 strikes called balls while the Phillies had 1.

The typicality in this kind of umpiring is nothing new. It is everything that is wrong with the mentality of society and how we see people above us. These people are special and we believe they should be treated in that way. Apparently, they have earned something that puts them above the rules.

Greg Maddux built a career on being able get strikes called on pitches thrown 3, 4 and even 5 inches off the plate. These were Pitches that batters had less of a chance at hitting than a chess champion has at picking up Jessica Alba. I guess umpires felt bad for Maddux and his perfect control. He needed extra room off the plate too.

The plate that is supposed to be set in stone. It is there for a reason yet umpires continually choose to expand it for stars like Roy Halladay and Mariano Rivera. It makes great pitchers absolutely unhittable.

Star players haven’t earned the right to bend the rules and rookies shouldn’t have to earn the right to get calls within the rules. The rules are put in place to ensure fairness. Every single player should have earned the right to get the same call as the next no matter how many years they have played in the league or how many 0’s are in their contract.

Referees, umpires, fans, players, former players, writers and analysts all seem to find this appropriate. That should make us livid.

We expect superstars to get better treatment when it should not be the case. It is another one of those instances in society where we accept it because it is the norm and always has been.

Do you think it’s fair when multi-bizzilionaire Alex Rodriguez gets out of paying a speeding ticket and you don’t when you’re struggling to pay the bills with 2 kids and a second mortgage on the house? I didn’t think so.

It also isn’t fair for Carlos Villaneuva to have to fight for every strike when his considerably more talented counterpart Roy Halladay does not.

I’m not sure what makes me angrier. Star players receiving every edge imaginable or people unwilling to challenge completely illogical societal norms.

When are fans going to step and say that this isn’t okay? When are fans going to step up and say that we can’t ignore this any longer?

Talent across sports will never be on an equal plain but there is no reason why the rules can’t be. Stop excusing the problem with “he has earned it” and start challenging the issue at hand.

As similar as sports can be to life it still isn’t the real world. This might be a fact of life but it doesn’t have to be a fact in sports.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

Subscribe to my blog too and you can get the latest posts such as The Grunt Stops Here

%d bloggers like this: