Thursday, January 11, 2007

Are You Too Good For Your Home?

Michelle Wie makes millions of dollars a year. How? Well, currently she's stacking that green by shooting eight over par through nine holes at the Sony Open. Pretty sweet work, if you can get it. Since turning 'pro' at age sixteen, Michelle has won a grand total of zero events. That's thirty-three professional women's tournaments without a win, and one made cut out of twelve in men's tournaments.

So why is she a professional? Well, I suppose the reasoning has to do with the fact that she generates cash, and a lot of it. There aren't many asians above six feet who can hit a ball 280 yards. So, Nike, Omega, and Sony assume that'll give them a great opportunity to tap into her market. You know, the market of six foot asians with faces like a shovel. But, this also seems to be based on the Kwame Brown Theory of professionalism. That is, if someone has qualities that indicate they could become good, get in on the ground level. I don't agree.

The teenage years are key for the development of a human being: for an athlete especially. Not only are they growing into their bodies, but also their minds. They're figuring out how to be confident, how to deal with pressure, and what they want out of life. Tiger Woods, Michelle's idol, understood this, and didn't go pro until age 20. Would you have been able to handle the problems of being a paid professional at age 18? I know I wouldn't have. Obviously, the risk for someone to have their growth stunted is high. I mean, really, look at Kwame. He's just now reaching the level of "pretty OK", and he'll be 25 in two months. Imagine what it could have been like if they'd paced his development more carefully.

Obviously, this issue is not simple. There are success stories when it comes to athletes who turn pro young: Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, and Lebron James, to name a few. How can you pass up big money when it's available? Who's to say they won't get injured and not have opportunities like this down the road? All these are valid points. But, watching Michelle stink it up makes me wonder if she doesn't wish she could go back to hitting balls on the driving range. Because, right now, she's not a valid professional. She's more like Happy Gilmore. She gets invited to tournaments because she can hit the ball far and draw a crowd. That's not a solid foundation for a career.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Joumana Kidd Will Kick Your Ass

In one of the more bizarre and unfortunate stories of this season, Jason Kidd has filed for divorce from his wife Joumana, citing spousal abuse. Jason's attorneys claim she became increasingly more paranoid and angry, going so far as to hit him and throw things. The complaint also states that she used one of their kids to steal his cell phone and harass every number he'd dialed. Granted, it's easy to question the idea of a 5'2" model attacking a 6'4" professional athlete. Especially a 6'4" professional athlete whose been previously cited for domestic violence. This fact hasn't gotten past Joumana's crack legal team:

He says he's threatened by her? He's a star athlete. She's 5-foot-2 I think, and 105 pounds. It's shameful what he did here. The truth will come out.

I, however, don't think it's beyond belief. Kidd was completely contrite about his past and addressed the issue without hesitation. Joumana may not have a size advantage over him, but she would understand the public perception and know that people would be likely to side with her. And it's also reasonable to believe that Jason had a hard time defending himself. He not only knew how it was going to look, but that if he did respond, he could truly hurt her. Of course, it's ultimately difficult to know exactly what happened here. Thankfully, the authorities got involved and it can play out in public. Besides, the fact that Jason filed a complaint made me think it's probably true. How many pro athletes would be willing to say publicly that their pixie sized wife was knocking them around?

The subplot of this situation is how it affects the Nets. With three genuine stars and some developing young players, the Atlantic should be theirs to win. But, they're sitting at 15 wins and 19 losses. I asked my friend James what he thought was wrong with them:

Lawrence Frank is one horribly unlucky coach. He's great though. If the Nets are dumb enough to fire him, I think it will set back the franchise about 5 years. There isn't any real possible improvement they could make in the coaching department. The problem for them is bench depth and injuries. I could make a strong argument that Krstic is the best player in the NBA that only makes $1 million. P.S. Eddie House stinks.

Well put. When you're limited to relying on three players to carry you, one of those players going through a bitter divorce and custody fight can't help you out. In any division in the West, this would be a death penalty. In the East, I can't imagine it'll keep them out of the playoffs.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

O Who?


Chris Petersen and Bob Stoops met in Glendale Arizona to settle a bet: who had the bigger stones? Bob was picked as the winner long before the contest ever began. After all, his balls have had a long and illustrious career, he'd earned it. But, the man from Boise State would not be intimidated. He came out swinging, taking advantage of some early mistakes and proving he deserved to be there. But Bob, just like you knew he would, came roaring back. Too bad that Chris Peterson just has bigger balls. They're huge, and if you watched the 4th quarter and the overtime, you'd know it was true.

When I started out watching this game, I thought most of what I would have to say about Boise State would involve their quarterback. Specifically, that he looked like a Creed concert. But yeah, he's a baller. He did what ballers do and recovered. He's an amazing quarterback, and should be given an opportunity at the pro level. But for real, if a guy who looked like him started dating your sister, you would be pissed. Even as he spoke to the post game reporters after winning it all, I couldn't help but be distracted by his bad facial hair and tribal tattoo.

And to repeat the standard argument, yes, this is an incredible argument for a playoff system. Hopefully we can get this resolved in the decade. There are just too many good small schools who deserve their chance. My appreciation of Bob Stoops is documented, but you were not publicly pantsed by Chris Petersen in vain. Woo UT won our bowl. Minor gloating. San Antonio has a river with an area you can walk on, I'm told.