Remember the good ol’ days when a sports legend played his butt off for one franchise and retired twenty years later? Then, down the road he was humble at a ribbon-cutting ceremony where his own statue gets unveiled outside the stadium he played at for his entire career?
Since, we’ve gone from being humbled to gorging on nothing but humble pie.
Our star athletes make a “decision” to bolt home states for the company of two other superstars and boatloads of cash. They leave for balmy weather, hot women and endless parties.
In a speech, our President questions the fact that a legend in hoops doesn’t have a statue erected in Boston. A few months later, the city obliges.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Speaks Out
And most recently, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has gone as far as to complain about not having a statue erected in his honor, stating that he feels “slighted”.
But then again, these things get handed out like candy on Halloween. So, maybe legendary sports stars like Kareem have a legitimate gripe.
These days, everyone seems to be getting a statue.
Nick Saban coaches Alabama for a few years, wins a national championship and he’s already got a statue outside of Bryant-Denny Stadium.
We are going overboard.
American Sports Like Ancient Rome?
In fact, when it comes to statues, we fell off the deep end a while ago. If we keep this frenetic pace, the American sports world will give off a feeling of Ancient Roman times. It’ll be a world where statues of every Tom, Dick and Harry exist throughout the land.
This is not a knock on the talents of Bill Russell, LeBron James, or even the outspoken Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. It’s more so the fact that our country has become soft regarding awards in sports.
Every individual that has accomplished something in sports is taking a direct flight to a life-like, lifesize frame in bronze. Every kid who participates in a sport gets a ribbon or a trophy, even for finishing in last place.
The beauty of competition is being lost. If people keep winning something, it’s possible that much of our nation’s youth will lose the drive to finish first. Heck, in the old days, that was the only place that was awarded.
That brings us back to the statues.
Statues should provide a significant reason to be marveled upon. They are there for when a Dad takes his son or daughter to the big game. He can say, “That right there is a legend, he stayed loyal to our town, gave back to the community and won six titles, too”. It’s not for someone to say, “That right there is a guy who won a title, left two years later for more money and we never saw him again”.
That’s what it’s coming to, my friends.
We need to embrace the fact that it takes a lot to earn a statue. A statue needs to be a gift or an honor. It should not be something that we beg for (or come to expect).
That goes double for you, Kareem.
It needs to be a “million to one shot”, and not what it has instead become.
“MILLION TO ONE!”
Video (YouTube): Seinfeld clip where Kramer (the ASSMAN) gives Jerry a gift – a mini-statue, Fusilli Jerry