I had a person I do not know send me one of my posts from years ago. I had no idea that stuff was still floating around. After getting this post, I did a search and was stunned to see the various message boards and services that have used my stuff, poor spelling and all. It seems I have been quite blunt and controversial to say the least.
I have decided to post a few older entries from time to time as a way to show that the more that things seem to change, the more they stay the same. The post I am inserting below is about ego, AAU, older players, and what the sneaker companies are really after. I hope you folks enjoy this past from the blast........just kidding, Blast from the Past. See if you recognize the names, etc.
6/24/03 LFBALL: 'Rumble in the Bronx -- Unfortunately I was not able to attend this years Rumble. This tournament has become a real favorite of mine. Many of you remember me writing about those wonderful chicken wings sold outside the gym. I sure hope I am not too busy to attend next years tournament.
I do have a few comments based on what I have read and continue to read about the recreation basketball scene. What the heck is happening? Is it really right that Sean James, a new household name, be allowed to play in a 17 and under tournament even though he is 19 going on 20? My feeling, not that it means alot to many people, is he should not be allowed to play. Does he deserve a chance? Of course he does! But at what expense? Are folks really looking out for him or attempting to just win? If he was a 6 ft 1 guard who is close to turning 20, would he be embraced? Only if he played like Russell, Yada, or Sebastian! I really want this kid to get a chance to play college basketball. But I do not think it is right for him to go against 16 and 17 year old kids. There are open tournaments for him to play in. Plus when kids are in the teen years there is a huge difference between 17 and 19, unless your name is Labron James. This kid (Sean James) is known by every college coach on the east and west coasts. He did not need more exposure. From what I understand, he just needs to concentrate on academics and offensive skill development. Plus, his continued play limits the development of younger players who are attempting to be true scholar athletes. Please understand I am not hating on this kid. Heck, I would love to see him get a chance to compete at the highest level. I applaud Coach Tiny Morton for taking this kid and keeping him under his wings. I just think there are other ways of assisting him than playing him against younger kids.
This leads to my take on some teams looking to win at any cost necessary. What do you get? Do you get to meet the President of the US? Are you booked as a guest on Letterman? OK, you will get that college assistant job you always wanted as a full-time assistant! Or maybe it's just the feeling of power? Yes, that's it, power! The power to influence or steer kids to coaches and schools. And maybe later steer the more successful player to NBA agents and advisors. Not all coaches are this way. There are many that really want to just develop kids and help them get into school. These are the heroes you rarely hear about. Artie Cox, Mr. Screen, David from LI Road Runners, Tippy, the Abyssinian Church crew, CAS Warriors, etc. Yes, the biggies assist kids also, but these guys do it and often no one notices.
This makes me wonder why certain sneaker companies really sponsor those high profile camps. I know, they really want to assist inner city youth..... I am not saying many that run the camps do not care about kids, because some do. Both Adidas and Nike reps really care about young folks. But just not more than they do about those super players. I wonder when was the last time Lenny Cooke heard from Nike or Adidas? How about Omar? Think he could get a free pair of sneakers if he asked? By the way, those companies spend a lot on what they call "Grass Root Basketball." Hell of a name. Wonder who thought that up? I remember flipping on a consultant who said I was an expert in grass root marketing. Just imagine if they put the same financial resources into tutoring and life skills workshops all over the country. Please do not tell me about the workshops at the camps. Rich Kosik does a tremendous job, but is it truly what is wanted? It now seems that the best players from both Adidas and Nike go straight to the NBA draft. "So what's the use," I would imagine them saying. I say, all the Rec/AAU coaches need to back up and reevaluate their mission, if they have one. Also, if they wish to get to the college or pro level as coaches, there is nothing wrong with that. Just do not do it on the back on naive young men. Nor should coaches allow ego to impact on the development of our youth.
Well, that's it for now. I hope I have not pissed anyone off. But I do hope I have stimulated conversation and thought,'