Friday, June 24, 2011

Production or Potential ?

Professional Sports in America began in the late 1800s with Major League Baseball, and now include the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLS, etc.  Thousands of these stars have graced our televisions, and wowed our eyes. The coaches and owners that select these players typically choose based on the trends of their time.  In Baseball and Football, the top players are chosen based on production and proven skill. Touchdowns, Wins, Strikeouts and Home Runs are  commonalities of every pick. In basketball, however, it is becoming more and more popular to select players based on unproven potential. In the 2011 NBA Draft, 4 of the top 7 draftees were international players. None of these players have experience playing in America, but, because of their size, athleticism, and "upside", they were selected higher than proven talents from the NCAA. Enes Kanter is a prime example of this. Kanter, from Turkey, has been a hot commodity leading into the draft, but has not played organized basketball in over a year. After leaving his home country to play basketball at the University of Kentucky, he was declared ineligible by the NCAA, because he had previously played professional basketball. Despite all of this, he was taken 3rd overall. Kemba Walker, on the other hand, is an athletic mastermind who proved himself throughout his three year college career. The 2011 Bob Cousy Award winner, a 2011 NCAA Champion, and the 2011 Final Four Most Outstanding Player had one of the best seasons of any collegiate athlete, yet he was the 3rd player selected from his position.  Historically, proven talent has always been a sure thing. In the past, players like Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'neal, and Kareem Abdul-Jabaar were outstanding in college, and their success translated to the NBA where all three dominated their respective decades. Nowadays, the top collegiate athletes typically do not stay in college long enough to develop, which causes NBA teams to rely on potential. 4 out of the past 5 number 1 overall picks have been freshmen, with the exception being a sophomore. Talent pays, and now that the players have caught on, they are foregoing instrumental years of development in order to get paid the big bucks. So the question still stands: Production or Potential ? The World may never know.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Why are Men's sports more popular than Women's sports?

     Since the beginning of time, Men have dominated over Women. In sports, it has been a universal phenomena. Football. Basketball. Baseball. EVERYTHING. The notion has plagued me for years: NBA players have an average salary of 4,900,000. WNBA players make an average of 55,000. This wide disparity in salary perfectly illustrates the views of the world today. People pay less attention to women's sports, and discount them as exceptional athletes, because men are bigger, stronger, and faster. This unfortunate prejudice has been passed down from generations, and someway or another we need to break the trend. 
     It's undeniable that Football, Basketball, and Baseball are owned by men, but in sports such as tennis, soccer, and golf, women could be getting just as much publicity as men. In Tennis, men and women are beginning to grow near equals. The top ten men average $3 million per year, while the top 10 women hover around $2 million per year.  Although they are both making significant amounts of money, the men are still making 50 percent more.The FIFA Women's World Cup begins on June 26th. The 2010 Men's World Cup averaged 400 million viewers per match. I expect the ratings generated from this event to be just another indictment on the sexism in the sports world of today. As far as golf goes, the disparity is much wider. On an average Tiger Woods year, the top PGA salary would hover around $10 million. Because of extenuating circumstances last year, the top salary was just above $4 million. On the LPGA, however, the top money winner earned less than $2 million dollars. Why is this? Why are there so many examples of the same thing? The sports are the same. The quality of play is equal. Gender remains the only difference.