I have a big problem with what Lebron James did last Thursday night on ESPN. A big, big, big problem. What he did, essentially, was take the team out of team sports and make it all about one person. The problem w/ his "performance" is that it will more than likely cause other superstars of other sports to do the same thing.
Enter Ilya Kovalchuk.
So far, Kovalchuk has been the primadonna of this year's free agent class. People have labeled it Kovygate (for some unknown reason) and papers from New York to Los Angeles have documented the winger's inability to make a decision on where he wants to sign.
The problem here is that a Canadian television station has asked Kovalchuk to pull a Lebron James and announce his decision on air, according to NESN.com.
I have a major problem with this because I grew up playing team sports. I played little league baseball, town team basketball, high school football, basketball and lacrosse and ended my sports playing career with college football. I've done everything I could do without making a professional jump (because honestly, I wasn't good enough) and throughout my lifetime I was taught that the name/logo on the front of the jersey meant more than the name on the back.
When did this change?
When Kevin Garnett came to the Boston Celtics via trade, there wasn't a big blow-up over it. KG or Ray Allen didn't go on ESPN and hold an hour television special (note: not a press conference) to announce if they would/would not waive their no trade clause.
Lebron James, and Ilya Kovalchuk should this event happen, are exactly what's wrong with this current crop (and subsequent crop of players hereafter) of players. This is deeper than just an hour spectacle on "The Network", its about the death of the "team" aspect as a whole.
Certainly there are still teams like the Boston Celtics and events like the World Cup and the Olympics were the team is still prevalent, but with this generation of sports, that will be washed out.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I am disgusted. I'm disgusted in the 12 million+ people that watched the Lebron special and then complained about it the day after. We all (self included) knew what was going to happen and when it was over (or at least when he made his decision) we changed the channel and then said how classless James is.
If Kovalchuk goes through with this, he'll be no different. The idea of announcing a decision on a show is a joke. Instead of holding clubs hostage (James only told Miami his decision), just make your decision and hold your press conference. Be done with it already!
There are a million people out there that would love to play in the NBA or the NHL and would do it for under 100K a year. The fact that we, as sports fans, allow these "superstars" to parade around on TV, pimp their clothing lines and hold us hostage for millions and millions of dollars is an absolute abomination.
When salaries go up, who ends up paying for it? That's right America (and Canada), we do. At some point we need to take a stand against rising salaries, ESPN "specials" (which are just fucking reality shows) and all the other bullshit that causes a family of 4 to spend upwards of $400 just to watch a GAME.
If the "superstar" doesn't care about the name on the front of the jersey, why should we care about the name on the back?
Monday, July 5, 2010
Over the last couple days there has been rampant speculation that the Leafs were chasing former Blue Jacket and Ranger Nikolai Zherdev, well, they were all lies and just that. Rumours. At least according to word coming out of the Leafs camp today. However there is still a rumour being circulated that Zherdev is still in talks with the Buffalo Sabres, could this be someone to play on the top line with Vanek? Possibly, a more likely scenario is that of which would see him play along side of Stafford or Pominville, but with Zherdev looking for a reported multi year deal worth 4 million a season is that too much for a guy who had 23 goals and 68 points in 82 games in his last full NHL season? He spent last season in the KHL with Atlant Mytischi where he netted 13 goals and 39 pooints in 52 games he seems like player that can bring depth scoring to a team that needs some right now.
The Sabres had quite a bit of trouble putting the puck in the net in their first round playoff exit at the hands of the Boston Bruins, and it was no small secret that once Vanek went down, the Sabres offense went with it, however we need to be asking ourselves is this the player we want to be spending top money on? or will he run back to Russia on this first think smokin with his tale between his legs if things don't work out? Nikolai seemd to be coming into his own his last couple of seasons before he made a bee-line to the KHL, putting up solid numbers in Columbus and in New York and playing a full 82 games in both seasons so we know he can withstand the rigor of the NHL season and thats something the Sabres are looking to turn towards, they need to add some secondary scoring to help Vanek out, that same secondary scoring that left on Briere and Dury's backs when they skipped town four years ago.
Either way you slice it, Zherdev would be a good addition to a team that is lacking in the scoring department, they question remains.. is he worth the money?