The penchant for individuals to stereotype each other based on one’s gender or nationality is once again become prevalent in the United States of America. This is not to say that the behavior ever disappeared, but in recent times it is once again becoming an unnecessary habit in our culture. The recent international – well deserved – media coverage of the New York Knicks basketball team point guard Jeremy Lin is an example of my observation. Lin, who is a Chinese born American, in his first seven games as a starting point guard in the National Basketball Association (NBA) has compiled statistics – points scored and assists – as good as and better than some of the NBA’s greatest Hall of Fame point guards, namely Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Isaiah Thomas and John Stockton. A word, “Linsanity,” has even been coined to describe Lin’s success.
Yet, Floyd Mayweather, an African-American, who is considered the current pound for pound best boxer in the world, issued a remark which intimated there were African-American basketball players who did what Lin was doing, but they did not get the same recognition. Mr. Mayweather’s comment was incorrect, because he failed to realize Lin was being saluted on “the first seven games of his career as a starting point guard in the NBA.” No other starting point guard to date had attained Lin’s achievements in their first seven games. The kudos bestowed upon him were appropriate. Among all the wonderful accolades Lin was receiving, the stereotyping continued when a sports item was reported included the word “chink.” ESPN Anchor, Max Bretos, who made the remark, was suspended and his colleague, the writer who penned the disparaging comment, was fired for the insensitivity. Lin, a Harvard University graduate, has accepted his new celebrity status with much humility. His remarks have been gracious even to the individuals who have mocked him.
The Jeremy Lin story has become an international sensation, because the most unlikely gentleman (Lin), based on his nationality, athleticism and school he attended, was not supposed to succeed in a sport where African-American athletes are dominant. Is Lin the current best point guard in the NBA? I say no. That honor is reserved for Chicago Bulls point guard and 2011 NBA Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose. What Lin – once again – has proven is when opportunity and preparedness converge success is inevitable. Let’s give him credit for being prepared and stop the stereotyping.
Two weeks ago, my friend, California Assemblyman Steve Bradford, called and asked me to provide him with some background information on my former boss, media mogul and humanitarian Quincy D. Jones. Steve was appointed to introduce Mr. Jones to the California Legislature before presenting him with a prestigious award. Thus, he requested information which was not commonly placed in Mr. Jones’ bio. One of the items I gave him included Mr. Jones’ regret not signing Whitney Houston to his Qwest Records label. And, the rest as they say is showbiz history. The untimely passing of Whitney Houston on the eve of the 2012 Grammy Awards was a tragic incident. It reminded me that less than a week ago I was discussing her with Steve. She had one of the most gifted voices in recorded music; a voice for the ages. Her extraordinary talent will never be duplicated or forgotten by her fans all over the world.
I remembered the first and only time I met Whitney Houston. She and her publicist at the time, Regina Daniels, came to meet with my former boss, Bob Jones, Vice President of Communications for the late icon Michael J. Jackson. I greeted Whitney and Regina upon their arrival at our office and escorted them to meet with Mr. Jones (Bob). I remembered she looked beautiful and wore a smile that could warm a thousand hearts. After meeting with Bob for about 30 minutes, she, Bob and Regina left to visit Michael Jackson at his home, Neverland. They walked across the street and entered the Armand Hammer Building on Westwood Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles got into the elevator to the rooftop, entered the heliport area, boarded a helicopter and travelled to Neverland to meet with Michael. From all reports of Whitney’s visit to Michael’s home, a wonderful time was enjoyed by all the individuals involved. To this day, whenever Regina and I see each other we always hug and smile knowing (without saying it to each other) what we both experienced that day.
Over the years, Whitney’s problems with drugs and alcohol have been well documented. Recent media reports have noted she seemed in the best of health and was getting her life in order. So, her sudden passing shocked us all. We, her fans, were cheering her on to destroy the demons which had invaded her life. She must be remembered for the millions of young women and men she inspired to be the best they can be and not for the problems that plagued her during the latter part of her career.
The lost to her family must be unexplainable. I pray for them. Hopefully, her passing will serve as a teachable moment for all of the young entertainers who are attempting to make their mark in the “high-pressured” entertainment business. How many of us can say we have not done anything wrong? The difference is entertainers live their lives in the public eye, so everything they do or say is scrutinized. How can one live a life where you are celebrated one moment and ridiculed the next minute? It is a lifestyle not for the “faint of heart.” Young entertainers must learn that their behavior, good or bad, blaze a trail for their future. They must proceed with caution.
In celebration of my 50th blog post (whew), I decided to write about the sport I love and since my New York Giants won the XLVI Super Bowl this past weekend for the second time in four years, here’s to the G-Men. As I watched the back and forth score of Super Bowl XLVI between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots, I could not help thinking what has happened to the invincible Tom Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots. I know Patriots fans will ridicule me for what I am about to say, but I have facts on my side. It seems the New England Patriots have not been able to win a Super Bowl since their coaching staff was caught cheating (spying on their opponents play calling) in 2007. Their coach the “great” Bill Belichick was fined $500,000.00 by the National Football League (NFL) and he has lost the two Superbowls his team has played in since the “spying controversy.” As great as Tom Brady is it seems his team is not able to win a Super Bowl when they have no knowledge of the other team’s playbook.
I think Tom Brady is a good NFL quarterback, but is he the best that ever played the game? I say no way. Joe Montana, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, gets that honor in my humble opinion. Until Tom Brady can demonstrate he can win a Superbowl since the aftermath of the New England Patriots cheating scandal, his greatness must be placed on hold. Who really knows how many of the three Super Bowls he won were not with the aid of cheating? Eli Manning on the other hand, a quarterback who has endured the ridicule of the New York Giants fans, media and individuals like me, has won two Super Bowls in four years. Yet, some of the so-called NFL experts are pondering whether he is a top-tier quarterback. Eli Manning has earned my respect for being himself when everyone was against him. He just kept plowing forward with the support of his teammates, coaches and the New York Giants owner. He has proven that hard work without the aid of props usually is rewarding.
Meanwhile, most times, those who seek to engage in bad behavior always comes up a bit short in attaining their goals or usually their successes are fleeting. I felt good watching Eli Manning’s team beat Tom Brady’s team in a Super Bowl for the second time in fours years. Here’s to avoiding the nuances of cheating. Simplicity, hard work, honesty, talent and faith are invaluable traits to live by.
Technology is changing the way we behave. The opportunity for us to access critical information at a moments notice certainly is amazing. But, when is enough information enough? In today’s highly technological age, you cannot – quite a lot of times – have a conversation with a friend, business partner, sibling or anyone for that matter without them reaching to view or answer their omnipresent mobile phones. It has become so pervasive that most individuals accept this behavior.
While dining in restaurants, I have noticed too many fellow diners under the age of 40 years old, who are supposed to be engaged in conversation with their table mates, seemed to have their heads pointed toward their laps. These individuals ignore politeness by being transfixed with the information emanating from their mobile phones. Having dinner with them cannot be much fun. I recently read an article where a business owner was admonished by his wife to stop bringing his mobile phone to bed with them. A decision that the business owner recalled was a very difficult one for him to make. Most of us can recall a moment when answering our mobile phones was not the polite thing to do, but we did it anyway.
After witnessing an accident where one of the individuals injured was driving and texting, I decided to write this post. Too many of us are placing our lives in peril to answer our mobile phones or respond to a text while driving. It’s almost as if our lives don’t matter anymore. Our cell phones buzz or ring and our inclination is to respond “immediately” to the words or numbers on our mobile device screens. Yesterday, I answered my home phone and a robot voice instructed me to tweet some pertinent and secured information to a colleague. I was astonished. Whatever happened to calling me direct to get the information we discussed? Why was a robot instructing me to send personal secured information through a tweet?
I plan on being more polite and not answer every mobile alert, especially while I’m engaged with my spouse, friends, business partners or siblings. What about you?