True to the Game
By Tony Wafford
Please do not misconstrue or get it twisted as we say, I am no Lakers hater. It always does my heart good to see a strong black man excel in whatever he endeavors to do. We have much to be proud of in terms of the way our men have excelled in spite of the odds in so many areas of human activity including but not limited to athletics, business, politics, medicine, science, religion and in community work. I therefore applaud the Lakers (Artest, Fish, and Kobe) for a job well done–I just don’t subscribe to it in the same way as everybody else. I’m sorry, but I am having issues with the fact that we demonstrate so much allegiance to something that most of us can only get as close as a television screen to. What’s up with that?
Maybe I just don’t get it because I’ve been filling my mind and heart with the words of two of the most brilliant black male minds on the planet! Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, and Dr. Maulana Karenga and therefore I can invest no real stock in the sensationalism and capitalism that has become so intertwined in the game of basketball. What you talking bout Rev? I’m talking about the fact that during the closing season, individuals paid upwards of 50k for a seat in the nose bleed section of the Staples Center! Never mind the fact that the Staples Center/Nokia Complex was plopped down in the middle of one of the poorest neighborhoods in downtown Los Angeles. During Lakers season hoards of people will drive and walk right over some of the most poverty stricken people and families in the county, but you will never hear anything like that from the mainstream media, they are to busy sensationalizing the game–some would say that game seven being played here in the City of Angels was nothing short of divine intervention, was it really? Who gets the bulk of the money generated by sports memorabilia worth millions of dollars? On the street, the supposedly authentic versions of Lakers jerseys start at seventy bucks, but I’ve never seen so many jerseys and flags in my life. Some have as many as four flags attached to their vehicles, then there are all the hats, pendants, and chains–excuse me but I thought we were in a recession. In the midst of all the Lakers money flying around, Lakers mania is in full effect. I haven’t gone anywhere over the last month or so and not run into some form of Lakers mania. In the grocery store, the post office, the pharmacy, the bank, in the schools, over the air waves, even from the pulpit with clergy throwing up “L” signs in the church! This allegiance to the Lakers is phenomenal! We are certainly true to the game of basketball!
I only wish that we could be half as true to the game of life, health, wealth, and wholeness in our communities. I only wish that our allegiance and camaraderie surrounding the Lakers would spill over into our every day lives so that we become as passionate about the quality of life in our communities as we are about basketball. It is my hope that we could witness a pledge of allegiance to more substantive things like quality education, healthy diets and lifestyles, healthy relationships and healthy families.
These are the things that good black role models, like Rev. Dr. Wright and Dr. Karenga would consider remaining true to the game, but at this point in time I guess being true to the game is nothing more than a thro-back rap record from the nineties.