The MVP race is hotly contested this year, and the two frontrunners appear to be Lebron James and Kobe Bryant. However, many Kobe supporters are trying to put forth an argument that because Kobe has been previously overlooked for MVP awards in other years, he should get a "make-up MVP" this year. Are you kidding me? So you are recommending we shaft Lebron just so we can make up for having shafted Kobe? Then who will we shaft when we give Lebron HIS make-up MVP? I've appreciated Kobe's talents for years; just take a look at my past posts about Kobe Bryant. But I cannot support such faulty logic. If that's the best argument that Kobe supporters can make, then I vote for Lebron...although we all know that the real MVP is Chris Paul, right? Name the second-best player on that Hornets team.
Part 2: NYC Bias Rears its Ugly Head
Speaking of faulty logic regarding Lebron James, Adrian Wojnarowski's article in Yahoo! Sports does not deserve the respect it has gotten. The article is about Lebron James and Jay-Z being friends and the chances that Jay-Z will lure Lebron to the Nets. First, this is old news for us Cleveland fans, and frankly, we don't care. Adrian is a writer located in New Jersey, and he's writing about Lebron coming to the New Jersey Nets. Any potential bias there? The best he can do is dig up Sonny Vaccaro to do Sonny's usual job of unabashed enthusiasm about anything and everything. And what does Jay-Z have to say about the issue?
"How amazing would that be? I tell people all the time, he’s my friend first. If Cleveland is building a championship team around him then my advice is to stay there. If it’s the Nets who are building a championship team that could be around him then my advice is to come to the Nets."
That's it?! That's the smoking gun? That statement is so obvious that anyone but the most die-hard Nets or Cavs fan would say the same. I tell you what. If, come 2010 and the expiration of Lebron's contract, the Nets have a better team than the Cavs, I'll pack Lebron's bags out of town myself! He's tried for seven years to bring a championship to Cleveland; I don't think he owes us any more than that, if he can do better elsewhere. Of course, I can talk about packing Lebron's bags knowing full well that New Jersey will be dealing with the rotting corpse of Vincenzo Carter and the overpaid shooting of Richard Jefferson for years to come. Let's just say I'm pretty confident that Lebron will be staying in Cleveland.
Part Three: The Vogue Cover displays Athletism Bias
Finally...the Vogue cover with Lebron and Gisele has been attracting a lot of controversy. I first read an article objecting to the pose from D-Wil, and since then other articles have been published by other writers. I went to my local grocery store and checked out the magazine. Inside, there are two elegant pictures of Lebron and Gisele that I wish had been used instead. (Check out the photo of Gisele and Lebron with the basketballs--I love Gisele's work of sharing in Lebron's game and yet making it her own by using an unconventional pose.)
That said, I think what happened with the cover was not racism, but "Athletism". That is why it's been hard for some of my black journalist friends to make the argument for racism, although a lot of us do feel something is wrong with the cover. Lebron was portrayed as an animal or as a less-than-intelligent being, because he's an athlete. These portrayals unfortunately tend to fall more on the black athlete than athletes of other races.
What's even worse about the cover is how it functions as a "bait-box." If you express outrage about the cover, you just help Vogue sell more magazine copies and people brand you as an extremist (which isn't so bad, by the way; since when has normal accomplished anything?!), because it's not 100% clear that racism has occurred. If you let it go, Vogue gets away with portraying a black athlete as more animal than human. It's so galling! You're in trouble either way as a writer.
Part Quattro: Vindication.
I took a lot of heat for my blog suggesting that Nike was trying to use "god marketing" to promote Lebron James. Please go back and read a recent comment that was posted there. I of course can't guarantee the veracity of "peter", but it's nice to get some confirmation from what seems to be a well-placed source that what I write is trustworthy.