What a difference a year makes. The U.S. may now matter in two global sports that in years recent, we were an afterthought. Favre Gate of ’08 is now mere nuisance and the NBA is filled with Conference altering changes. I also no longer loath the month of July as its significance in the sports landscape is quite plentiful.
I have been quiet on this site for exactly two months. This is to long for something meaningful not to result from my absence. Today is a very important date. It is the day I made steps to seriously pursue a passion, a direction. Today I began developing a site, and similar to GDGT it will be a least a few months before it is fully unveiled. July is an exciting month. Happy Birthday America.
- GOOAAALLLL! That is right. Its summer so it is time to discuss elite soccer again. For 45 minutes, a full half, U.S. soccer was on top of the world. The Confederations Cup saw the U.S. leading Brazil 2-o, unfortunately the game ended 3-2 in favor of the South American power house. Brazil winning the Confederations Cup was not unexpected. The U.S. playing in the final and competing drew comparisons for many to the Miracle on Ice. While in no way does the Confederations Cup have similar importance to the Olympics, this would have been an unprecedented milestone in American soccer. Even with the loss, it represents the first time the U.S. competed in the final for a significant global soccer championship. World Cup ’10, yeah U.S. soccer, you have piqued my interest.
- The NBA Draft. Where to begin. Blake Griffin was selected first in the Draft. The Timberwolves selected three point guards while still having Sebastian Telfair under contract. There is a reason some teams stay in the gutter. You heard it here- some where between first and last – Ricky Rubio will never play for Minnesota. Perhaps because some have suggested comparisons to Iverson, I am hoping for great things from Milwaukee’s Brandon Jennings. Here is a great counter criticism post regarding his recent trials. Oh yeah, inexplicably, the Spurs some how landed DeJuan Blair at pick 37. There is a reason some teams always compete for a Championship.
- Wimbledon. In Ladies singles, as anticipated, the Williams sisters will compete head to head yet again for Grand Slam title. The title game is on the 4th of July no less. Its America’s little way of reminding the British about a document we like to call the Declaration of Independence. The Gentlemen’s Singles final is a bit of a different story. American born Andy Roddick will face off against Roger Federer, winner of 14 Grand Slam titles. This is not the match the tennis world was expecting or possibly hoping for. Today Roddick took down Britain’s Andy Murray. I will not lie – a piece of me was rooting for Murray after watching the Hope of Dunblane, but I have moved on. Hopefully Roddick can bring relevance again to U.S. Men’s tennis this weekend.
Independance Day in the U.S. celebrates our declaration of freedom from the British Crown and their system of tyranny that viewed American colonialist as second rate citizens. Yesterday, the city of Seattle declared its independence from the NBA, albeit with a whimper. The Sonics were the oldest professional franchise in Seattle, iconic, beloved and had one of the loudest and imposing crowds in sports. There was even this famous and inspiring post made entirely of sports fans hoping to save the team. None of this matters though because apparently sports is about one thing…money.
I am disgusted and completely disillusioned by how this can happen. I understand sports leagues and teams are a business, but should they be able to abandon a community like any other company if they can get a better deal elsewhere? Their very success economically depends on the community embracing the team and taking a personal stake of implied ownership. Its “my team” and “we” won that game and I really like “our” chances next year. Part of fans love for sports is the unique culture of each team, such as the developed rivalries over time. Would the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry exist anymore if the Red Sox departed for South Carolina. I strongly doubt it. Sure the league would try to manufacture it, but it would be fake and would loose the meaning it previously possessed.
We are on a very slippery and dangerous slope with sports in America. Not to long ago a similarly beloved and important franchise in the NFL quit on its city. I speak of course about the Cleveland Browns. Sure Cleveland got its team back and retained its its name and logos, but the fans were betrayed and they also lost out on a Super Bowl winner when the Ravens (former Browns) won in the 2000 season.
Who is at fault. In my mind this is easy, a majority of the blame belongs exclusively to David Stern. His job is to ensure the growth and success of the NBA. First from a pure economic stance, how can switching from the 14th TV market to the 45th a positive? To push for this and suggest that Seattle may not deserve to have a franchise is dumbfounding. Additionally, a commissioner should fight to keep teams in their respective cities as justification for fans league wide that their support is appreciated as well as for the integrity of the league’s historical records and statistics, which has significant importance to the sports fan. Seattle may get another team within five years, but at what cost? It will not be an expansion team, meaning some other city will loose its team. Perhaps the Knicks should move…fan support has waned in the past few years and the last renovation to the Garden was in 1991 making Key Arena look practically brand new(assuming you did not already view it as such). Of course that will never happen (probably), but I hope the point is clear all the same. I need to go take a shower.
So how does sports fit into Connected? Beyond the internet and technology overall, I believe two other areas that connect people around the world are our sustainable future and sports. That and I am a huge sports enthusiast, so I have decided to include a new post series called the 19th Hole that will casually comment on sports topics and top links I come across. Here goes:
- Perhaps the NBA should go back to the drawing board with its latest ref scandal. I am getting tired of explaining to my parents on the phone why something is a foul. Seems it always involves time of game and if the guy passed or shot vs actual contact. Lets face it…fouls in the NBA are completely arbitrary and there is a clear star system. That said…I do not believe the latest allegations by Donaghy. We have to hope it is not to that level.
- Ah Kobe Bryant. I remember loving him when he first entered the league, but you are a team killer. It is ridiculous how he has been hyped to finally be a great teammate. Unfounded, just look at his demeanor during the finals. A team leader and worthy role model Kobe is not. See Curt Schilling’s first hand comments on the topic. This is not what a MVP is made of.
- It is slowly happening…I am becoming a soccer fan. Does not get more global than that. I was all over the Champions League final and now I find myself watching the Euro 2008. Turns out I just needed world class soccer to get into it. Yeah I just called you out MLS
- Lastly, there is reason why Rick Reilly is the best. His most recent article discusses why we all need to cheer for Phil instead of Tiger at the US Open. And I quote…rooting for Tiger is like “rooting for erosion.” Rooting for Phil “is like rooting for the salmon to eat the bear.” Enjoy.