Never count out Jay-Z. I don’t say that, because my first non-jazz album was Reasonable Doubt and I listened to it every day on my cassette Walkman through elementary school behind my mother’s back. Not because I was a frequent customer of Rocawear clothing in middle school and high school, doing my best impression of a fashionable urban teenager. I say it, because Jay-Z delivers, period.
There’s no getting around it, Monday's National Championship game between Louisville and Michigan was one of the greatest college basketball finals ever played. Unlike many games of the past, it was truly an event.
Spike Albrecht's first half sent everyone to Google to figure out who he was and what unique obscure reference they could tag to his name. He was destined to be the storyline until, well, he wasn’t. Hardaway's powerful dunk midway through the second half ejected half the country out their respective seats. Russ Smith's head case of a game, Peyton Siva's passion and drive and Shane Bohanan's muscle in the paint, down low combined to give Louisville the victory. Even watching the injured Kevin Ware cut down the nets and Rick Pitino ducking for his life at the sound of the fireworks at the end of the game added to the event value long after the final horn sounded.
“It’s hurting America. Here is what I wanted to tell you guys: Stop… You have a responsibility to the public discourse and you fail miserably” Jon Stewart said to Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson in his now infamous 2004 appearance on the now defunct CNN program called “Crossfire”. While not cited as the official reason for its cancellation, Stewart is credited for killing the show.
Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith have worked feverishly (and one might assume unintentionally) to brand themselves as a sports version of Crossfire. The show thrives on contrived controversies, outlandish positions and a Barbershop style format. The two men have managed to make sports debate (as opposed to discussion) popular, while deflating the spirit of the word altogether. Journalists and media critics long dismissed the show as a farcical circus.
Lance Armstrong will admit to using Performance Enhancing Drugs.
Barry Bonds is not in the Hall of Fame for the foreseeable future.
Tiger Woods is not the number 1 golfer in the world.
10 years ago it would have been impossible to think that those three statements would be true. Not when Barry Bonds just completed his second of 4 consecutive MVPs. Not when Tiger Woods just completed a 3-year (2000-2002) stretch of complete dominance the likes of which no golfer had ever seen. Not with Lance Armstrong dawning the cover of Sports Illustrated as Sportsman of the Year in 2002.