Sunday, March 04, 2007

Vegas in NBA for Rap Bad

I just turned the title backwards because David Aldridge in his Inquirer NBA beat article Bad rap for NBA in Vegas has it backwards. David has turned in another one of his NBA lapdog articles. This kind milk toast writing does not distinguish him from others in the NBA media. The gist of his article was that the big stink Jason Whitlock raised about the All-Star Game in Vegas was overstated. Because nobody got shot and nothin' got burned down. Trying to make the distinction that the All-Star game did not attract the criminal element, just the thug element. And the shame was on the media for avoiding straight talk about race. Yes the 'thug' element is a code for black youths. And there should be a dialog about the duality of gangsta rap being viewed as the only avenue for black youths who can't play ball. There is no doubt there is some mutual attraction. Rappers want to be Ballers and Ballers want to be Rappers. Exhibit A. Jay-Z owner of the Nets. Exhibit B. Ron Artest's ill-fated rap album (or AI's for that matter).

But that's not what this dialog is about. The point is this ... Would you take your 10 year old to the All-Star game? Not that nobody got shot. The crowds of loiterers accompanying the All-Star game and the dilemma for local police is legendary. But goes unspoken by the media. Like all major sports the NBA is concerned about image. A job they do well. Perhaps too well. The media coverage of the NBA is too self-serving. Witness the shameless tom foolery that is the TV coverage on TNT. With their sideline coverage of who is invited to Tony Parker's wedding. Slam magazine was writing about the wild parties, sleep deprivation and how one writer was so dialed in to gambling at the MGM grand that he didn't know there was a shooting in the lobby.

The media is too close to the players and management to be objective. Call it the embedded journalist syndrome. Indeed it is the fact that NBA fans are closer to the players than in any other sport that makes basketball so alluring. David Aldridge and many of his peers are intoxicated (I can't condemn everyone). They are under a spell. Stores like this one bare witness to this.

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