Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Kobe vs. Lebron / the Dialectical vs. the Metaphysical

During the NBA finals,  I witnessed grown, heterosexual men performing simultaneous fellatio on another heterosexual man in front of millions of people on television and no one said a word (not even "no homo"). I don't mean fellatio in the literal sense, but more in the urban colloquial "Get off Kobe Bryant's bozak!" kinda way.  I question just how Kobe can even jump with all these sportscasters secured fastly to his scrotum (ok, no more penis references). In an effort to further engrander (not a word) the NBA's already grandiose foothold on America's pastimes, sports analysts and commentators, working in tandem with network execs and Lord Emperor David Stern, consistently subject viewers to such pompous circumstances that one can't help but question: "I wonder if the Romans would have been turned off by these overly dramatic displays of theatre and inflated self relevance ... AND THEY KILLED PEOPLE FOR FUN!" As if bungee jumping mascots, scantly clad hotties busting a move center court, and computer generated images of "LEGENDS PAST . . . Past . . . past . . ." (repeat 3 times for echo effect) weren't enough, the anointing and re-anointing of the “Chosen One” is way out of hand. Lebron James was the chosen one a few months ago. Now it's Kobe again (for the first time again). All this yammering made me wonder: A) What makes these two better than you and maybe me and B) which of these two talented ass-clowns is truly the “One”?

  Rumor has it that certain individuals are predisposed to achieve in specific fields / careers. These Suma Cum Laude’s of mankind are anointed with a set of super human abilities that they and only they can harness, as God has been known to be user specific in his gift giving. Said gifts are commonly referred to as talent.

  Lebron James is a marvel of nature's bioengineering and considered a talented basketball player by many. According to almost everyone, no human should be as big, strong, fast, intelligent, and equally agile on a basketball court as King James. After "witnessing" him (patent granted) perform, few can argue his abilities and seemingly natural inclination to thrust a basketball through a hoop, (ok, Kobe's puppet can argue but few other's can). Lebron is clearly touched by an angel. Or is he?

  Although also talented (for lack of a better word), Kobe Bryant is a workaholic and marketed more for his efforts in the weight room than his natural ability.  His tenacity on and off the court has been likened to other NBA greats (Michael Jordan), NFL greats (Jerry Rice) and boxing legends (Mike Tyson, and for more nefarious reasons). Kobe Bryant has clearly left nothing to chance and has placed his future squarely in his own hands. Or has he?

 There are many people who dedicate themselves to a task but still fall short. So wouldn’t there have to be trace amounts of divine intervention for the “One” to emerge? Clearly we were not all formed in the same ice tray otherwise the entire Americas would be comprised of superstar point guards in the NBA. Assume for a second however that Lebron was birthed in a pre Naismith era where basketball did not exist. Aside from being considered the Ford F-150 of slaves, what would have been his God given talents were he a product of a non emancipated America? Lebron and Kobe were in fact borne in an era where basketball exists and is highly revered in our esoteric culture bubble so their talents could also be attributed to circumstances. So given the “Eh Hem”, CIRCUMSTANCES, should all praises be due to Allah? Travel to Europe and it may be Ronaldinho or some other soccer savant seated at the right hand of the father.

 Talent does not exist. It is cute verbiage for the by-product of prior energies expended, perfecting the execution of a particular task (as I define it). Whether those energies were expended by your parents, your environment, your coach, or you, the end result seems an effortless, “natural” sight to behold when in effect, is quite the contrary. Comparable to luck, talent manifests itself when opportunity and preparedness arrive at a happy medium. If my father locked me in a room from age five and “prepared” me (and by prepared I mean kicked my ass consistently to performing perfection), I would also have had the “opportunity” to glide backwards across stages and shatter album sales worldwide. Thank God I am not that lucky or talented!!

 Once talent is recognized, it has been appreciated and can never really be compared (how do you quantify an ideal?). Whether that talent goes on to sign $90 million endorsements before playing a single regulation game, refuses to shake hands when he loses, and gets dunked on in a college scrimmage game then has the tapes buried deeper than lost JFK assassination Zubruder footage, or said talent wins four NBA championship rings, gets falsely accused of rape in a hotel room in Boulder, Colorado, then rats, “dimes out”, snitches, squeals, implicates, and shifts blame to the “Big Aristotle” is another subject all together. As for who amongst Lebron and Kobe is the most talented basketball player, the answer is infallibly “Whoever is winning at the moment.”


  Sidebar * If you have the ability to identify proficiency in others, you have the ability to replicate and exceed and thus, you are wasting YOUR talents by not doing anything. You are behaving stupidly’ (thanks Barack) by critiquing someone else while you putz around in ESPN Zone chugging down Coronas and watching others succeed on the big screen. Unless, of course, your talent is lobbing lewd language at the television, in which case - carry on. Sidebar Complete*


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