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Forget the NFL draft; give me the NBA
This column was supposed to be about why Cam Newton isn’t on my draft board.
Yep. I wouldn’t draft the Heisman Trophy winner with the first pick in Round 1 or the last pick in Round 5. He smells like Vince Young, looks like a fit JaMarcus Russell and throws the ball as accurately as Tim Tebow.
Worse, there’s a vocal segment of the African-American community prepared to emotionally cripple Newton with claims of racism at the first sound of legitimate criticism.
I jumped off the Cam Newton bandwagon the moment Newton mentor Warren Moon went Al Sharpton because one scout negatively critiqued Newton’s personality.
As a card-carrying, lifelong Jeff George supporter, I’ve defended my favorite QB from harsher, sustained criticism, and he was never accused of theft, academic fraud and/or being the prize in a pay-for-play scheme.
Pro sports are a dirty business. When teams are handing out $30 million in hard cash at the top of the draft, $h#% is going to get said. It’s all in the game, yo.
A year ago, I would’ve written an awesome takedown of Cam Newton, similar to this pre-draft expose I wrote about Vince Young.
A year ago, I lived and breathed the NFL 24/7, 365.
Now I don’t. This damn lockout might go down as one of the biggest mistakes in sports history. It’s opened my eyes to the fact I can function without talking NFL year-round. I don’t think I’m the only hard-core football fan who has come to this realization.
I’ll be shocked if the ratings for the draft don’t dip. I don’t sense the normal level of anticipation and buzz for the NFL’s offseason Super Bowl.
When the Super Bowl ended, I made a mental note to ignore the lockout until late August and the threat of losing games was real. I started unfollowing people on Twitter based on how often they tweeted about the lockout. I had no interest in which particular owner was showing up at mediation, arbitration or negotiation.
I filled my free time with basketball, the NBA.
I don’t think I’ll be coming back to the NFL offseason with the same level of passion. The NBA is absolutely awesome right now. I’m not simply talking about the playoffs. I’m talking about the spectacular regular season I just devoured.
Critics of the NBA aren’t watching the games. They’re holding on to old stereotypes. They can’t get past the tattoos (I’m so glad Denver was eliminated Wednesday night). They have no idea Allen Iverson is no longer in the league.
The NBA is at the beginning of another Lakers-Celtics-Pistons-Bulls golden era. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin can make the NBA must-see TV for the next 10 years. Hell, I didn’t even mention Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams or Kevin Love.
Only one thing could screw up the NBA — a work stoppage.
David Stern and NBA owners had better be taking notes on Roger Goodell and NFL owners. The country is in no mood to sympathize with millionaire and billionaire boys bickering over a game. We’ll move onto something else. I keep hearing great things about the NHL playoffs. I swear I’ll write an NHL Truths column if Stern and Billy Hunter screw up the NBA.
I’m as ADD as the rest of the country. My interest can change quickly. Expose me to something better and I’m all in.
CONTACT JASON WHITLOCK
NFL free agency and the draft used to tide me over until the NBA playoffs heated up. The lockout ended free agency. I now have less interest in the draft. If a team wants to make the ridiculous decision of investing untold millions in Cam Newton, it can do it without my warning. The Titans ignored my Vince Young warning. (The Colts wisely took my advice on Jeff George. Is that why the Titans ignored me? Just thought of that.)
Tonight, I’m going to watch Orlando-Atlanta, Los Angeles-New Orleans, Portland-Dallas and Ernie, Kenny and Charles on “Inside the NBA.”
Let me know who gets stuck with Cam Newton.