|SPORTING ACTION - RIDE THE BENCH|
By Drew "The Truth" ALEXANDER
Alan Iverson, courtesy photo
|Reebok is definitely onto something by choosing this year's NBA Most Valuable
Player, Allen Iverson, to lead their "Defy Convention" ad campaign. Iverson
is among a growing crop of young athletes defying the conventional, pl
ayed-out stereotypes pervasive in modern media, and in the words of my main
man C.D. Ellison, working "Against the Grain" of traditional standards.
Suddenly, scores of 18-30 year olds are taking the
"never-judge-a-book-by-its-cover" motto and slapping it into the face of
"establishment." As a member of this misjudged hip hop generation, "The
Truth" must speak on it.
|As the Notorious B.I.G. once eloquently stated: "things done changed."
Whether you insist on living in the past with the Flintstones or live in the
present staring stupidly at what's obvious, it's time to accept the fact that
today's young athletes have definitely changed the perceptions of their
respective game. The "establishment" has stereotyped this generation of
talent as thugged-out, violent, baggy jeans wearing, hip-hop heads with a
blatant disregard for themselves and "what's normal" - translated as (guess
who?) - "The Status Quo." This is the one-track mind mentality taken on by
our older counterparts who have formed their own biased perceptions whether
they know so or not. What's the difference between a timid woman clutching
her pocketbook and the "establishment?" Nothing. Will we condone it? No. How
do we combat it? Ask Allen Iverson.
Even with the league on their knees praying to the basketball gods for the
next Michael Jordan, the scrutiny of Alley-I was abundant. Automatically
being looked down upon because of his cornrows and tattoos, his heart for the
game was always in question. Why doesn't he stop hanging out with his "thug"
friends? Why does he wear so much jewelry? Why doesn't he wear a suit? "Get a
hair cut!" screamed gray-haired suckas.
Here's my question for the "establishment:" Why don't you judge him for his
game? You always throw in our face the words of our late and greatest: "Judge
us by the content of our character, and not by the color of our skin." So -
do the same. But after this year's NBA Finals, action spoke louder than words
in the form of an MVP award, a league scoring title and Eastern Conference
championship, all with over 20 different injuries. I hope the "establishment"
has a mouth big enough to fit a Reebok special. And no, there aren't any more
seats on the Alley-I bandwagon.
Venus & Serena Williams, courtesy photo
|Another prime example is the sister duo of Serena and Venus Williams. They
are constantly battling against the snob-nosed, ass-rub-in-the-air "status
quo" of the tennis world. If they aren't dealing with tennis officials
claiming that their braids and beads are a distraction, they have some washed
up ex-tennis player (John McEnroe) publicly criticizing their understanding
of and skill in the game. McEnroe used the Williams' Sisters as scapegoats
while in search of his own respect like a bad Rodney Dangerfield movie.
Needless to say, Venus and Serena answered the criticism by burying the
competition. In 1999, Serena took home tennis' coveted trophy by winning the
U.S. Open, but it wasn't going too far from home in 2000 as big sister Venus
kept it there and captured the Wimbledon Trophy for good measure. How you
like them now?
It's sad in today's day and age that a society claiming to be more
open-minded than the rest allows such situations to occur. It also goes to
show no one is above this treatment whether you are a multi-million dollar
athlete or an average Joe; whether you wear a uniform, a business suit or a
t-shirt. Whether you're told your braids are a distraction, or when wearing
your "so fresh, so clean" casual clothing to work you're told: "I know you
have better clothes."
So to all my baggy jeans wearing, hip-hop heads with a blatant disregard for
the establishment, tell them all to RIDE THE BENCH.
To comment on this or any other column by Drew "The Truth" Alexander, email