Rarely are No. 1 picks a total surprise, though there was some conjecture about what exactly the T-Wolves would do with the top selection in last night’s draft. Anthony Edwards was the consensus, but everyone’s got their own ideas, and then there was the little hubbub about Edwards essentially saying the quiet part loud, where he basically talked of basketball as just his job.
This of course set everyone off, because being a player in the NBA is supposed to mean as much to every single player as it means to the fans who follow it religiously. It’s a dream for everyone, after all, and it feels like it is a waste if that dream is bestowed upon someone who doesn’t treat it that way. It’s a crime, right? How dare they. You know what I would give? And so on...
The reality is a good portion of professional athletes probably consider their jobs in the same way Edwards has expressed. It’s a well-paying job, doesn’t require the tedious hours of yours and my job, get to see the world, set up your family for generations if you play it right, but it’s a job. They just don’t say it out loud so as not to deal with the shit that’s currently being flung at Edwards.
Larry Walker thought baseball was boring. He wanted to play hockey. Didn’t stop him from putting up a Hall-of-Fame worthy career. Did Barry Sanders truly love football? There definitely came a time when he didn’t, if he did at some point, and he might be the best running back of all-time.
Just saying it’s not your passion, your raison d’etre, doesn’t mean it’s a slog. It can be a job you enjoy, while not necessarily feeling it in your loins. But to fans and media alike, you either snort it up uncut or you are an ungrateful loaf. The truth is always in the middle.
Do you really think football players universally love their jobs? They don’t. Most of them hate most of the job. Getting yelled at by insecure old men who are only doing it for performative reasons every day, and those same men are searching for your younger, cheaper replacement from the moment you walk into the facility, all the while you’re turning your body into stripped car parts. Other than the actual games, football players could probably do without the whole thing.
But they do it, because it’s a good gig for the money. But no one wants to hear that.
Edwards can have an All-Star, or even a Hall-of-Fame career even if it’s always a job to him. And he’ll hardly be the first to do so. But if he doesn’t, everyone will have an easy out to point at why. That’s really what Edwards has given everyone, which only puts more pressure on him. But his work ethic doesn’t have to depend on his love of the game. Plenty of people work hard at a job just because it’s their job.
Draft night had more than just draft news, as it came out that in the course of his rehab/preseason training, Klay Thompson got hurt again and will undergo an MRI today. Thompson missed all of last season after blowing out his knee in the 2019 Finals. The hope for the Warriors was that a returning Thompson would join with Steph Curry and the newly drafted James Wiseman to shoot the Warriors up the standings again. Two serious leg injuries in less than two years, if that’s what it turns out to be, will certainly dim the prospects of Thompson being what he was again.
Real shame for all those people paying condo prices for tickets at Chase Arena, deserving of such sympathy as they are.
In yet another example of the dangerous farce the NFL season is, the Raiders put basically a whole defensive line on their COVID list before Sunday night’s game with the Chiefs. All were deemed to have close contact with two other defensive players on the list, because, funny thing, they’re all on the same football team.
What will be even more comedic is when the Raiders find a way to get a majority of them off the list just in time to suit up on Sunday, and the NFL turns a blind eye because it’s not going to move a second Sunday night game out of that slot for fear of cancellation.