This summer has been funny. With all the drama of players moving back and forth, making documentaries and giving their two cents in the process, guess who tops my list of "coffee talk" topics today? The NBA Development League. So two teams, The Rio Grande Vipers and the Erie Bay Hawks will be wearing jerseys with the names of sponsors on them. So not cool with this. The Vipers have signed a deal with Lone Star National Bank and the Hawks worked out a deal with the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. Four teams in the WNBA already have jersey sponsors and now the NBA is also considering allowing sponsors a spot on their jerseys. I think a slippery slope is being created here and while I have no problems with major companies and corporations supporting athletic teams, I think a line needs to be drawn at the jerseys. These guys are professionals and as such their jerseys are marketed for general public consumption. When I lay down my hard-earned dollar to buy a jersey, I make sure it is for a team I support and I player I am willing to defend. Now I am paying to help advertise a company, possibly a bank? Sure, we do this everyday in the cars we drive, the clothes we wear and in other ways, too but they come from necessity and personal choice. 'Personal choice' being the operative words here. All my life I have grown up surrounded by amateur sports and have participated in leagues wearing jerseys with a sponsor bar. I have supported those causes and companies who have supported the sports I love to play. But at a professional level, when game jerseys are also a commodity to be sold, I have a problem with a sponsor given advertising space on that jersey. They are already being promoted throughout the league through arena signs, team websites, commercials during radio and television broadcasted games and on team apparel. I wonder what President Barrack Obama would think of his Chicago Bulls sporting a sponsorship patch on their jerseys? He was in Washington recently to catch a WNBA game there with his daughter and her friend. Let's talk about this, Dwight Howard in Hollywood and Earl "The Pearl" Munroe's take on the three kings in Miami.
Like Father, Like Daughter
President Barrack Obama recently took his daughter Sasha and her friend to a Washington Mystics game, in Washington against the Tulsa Shock. Some of you might be saying, "who cares"? But to me, this is a big deal. During the game, Jennifer Lacy of the Tulsa Shock gets called for travelling and the President is seen on the sidelines explaining the rule to his daughter. This is an important image for young girls, fathers and parents alike to see. It is important because young girls need to see how essential being involved in sport is and having a role model like Mom or Dad helping them appreciate the game of basketball or any sport for that matter is huge. I am not saying it is not important for young boys to gain the same tutelage, but equal attention to be given to girls. I was at a Christmas party a few years ago and a mother about my shape and size (I take a size 10 in pants and that's all I am giving you) had the nerve to stand in front of the mirror, in front of her overweight daughter and ask if the pants she was wearing made her look fat. This drives me absolutely crazy. The image parents have of the world and of themselves, directly and indirectly, transfer to their children. You don't have to be a star athlete, or a specific shape or height to be active, but the images of parents being active and involved are important for young people to see. Kudos to President Barrack Obama.
Earl and his pearls of wisdom
In 1971, Earl "the Pearl" Munroe was dealt to the New York Knicks. One of the things fans most remember about his playing days is his ability to surprise his team and opponents with moves he created, sometimes on the fly. Over the course of his 13 years in the NBA, he played 926 NBA career games, amassed 17, 544 total points and served up 3, 594 assists. This is a legacy. So it only seems natural he is within his own right to comment on the argument Charles Barkley and others have made concerning LeBron giving up his legacy in moving to Miami: "I'm not so inclined to talk about a guy's legacy when he might not even be half way through his career...But when [Bill Russell] won those 11 championships didn't he have some pretty good players around him all those years, guys who were All-Stars, guys who are in the Hall of Fame?" Well played, Earl. Well played.
Howard going Hollywood
There are many NBA players who have taken to the small and large screens of Hollywood and Dwight Howard is one of them. Mr. Howard has had a few roles in movies and has spent a good part of this summer in Hollywood doing TV spots believe it or not. Basketball is on his mind too. He will be travelling to Senegal later this month to be a part of the NBA's Basketball Without Borders camp in Africa and is planning to go to India to promote the league. "I don't want to be known as a just a basketball player...so that's why I've decided to do things off the court" (Dwight Howard). Not sure if he will win any Oscars or Emmys for his non-NBA related projects, but like Chris Bosh and his documentary and outside-the-NBA projects, there is nothing wrong with Dwight Howard looking beyond life in the NBA.
Basketball Beyond the Floor
Remember to join me here on the DNB this Thursday when we will be discussing Blood on the Horns by Roland Lazenby. As I have said before, there have been a gazillion books written on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, but this particular book focuses on the 95-96 era in Chicago Bulls history. Happy reading and see you on Thursday.