Monday, December 19, 2005

Truth Be Told . . .

Ron Artest is not the NBA's version of Terrell Owens. No doubt, each of these guys has a self control problem; an inability to subordinate the immediate gratification for the greater good. Artest lashes out physically; Owens lashes out verbally. Both are reacting to a perceived lack of respect by others. The difference lies in their motivation. Artest generally thinks of himself as someone who still must prove himself worthy - he has a chip on his shoulder. Owens generally thinks of himself as more than worthy - he is self-absorbed. Each has a detrimental effect on his team - missing time when he could be contributing. However, Artest's antics are, with exception of his plug for his rap album, physical altercations in connection with the game. Owens' actions are the result of shameless self-promotion sometimes in the game and sometimes out of the game. Many said that Owens' desire to return for the Super Bowl was motivated more by his need to showcase himself than the Eagles' victory. He wanted the attention personally and the story was Owens not the Eagles. This is consistent with his Touchdown celebrations. I think they are mostly funny. I also think they are intended to draw attention to himself when the true focus should be on the scoreboard and the win. That's why Owens' actions are more detrimental to a team - they are divisive and destroy single-minded effort toward a common goal. At least with Artest, the team could sometimes rally around his "effort."

Its not surprising that teams which can subordinate the individual for the greater good are generally more successful - Patriots, White Sox, Spurs etc. The Lakers with Shaq and Kobe are a good example. When they focused on the common goal and not the individual attention, they won three championships. When they focused on themselves, notwithstanding the same talent, they lost to a team with less overall talent but more cohesiveness, the Pistons.

With Artest, at least a team has a better opportunity of harnessing and controlling the physical outbursts. Moreover, when it came down to it, he recanted his trade request. With Owens actions - demeaning to teammates and management for both teams he has played for - he destroys the fabric that keeps a team together to a common goal. That kind of destructiveness is infectious, as the Eagles locker room now confirms. Moreover, when he had the chance to step up an apologize, he fumbled, letting Rosenhaus do the talking and looking like a moron.

In the final analysis, both Artest and Owens are dominating players in their respective sports who negatively impact the overall performance of their team by their actions.
But, Truth Be Told . . . I'd rather try to control one person getting T'd up, than a whole team getting T'd off.


Anonymous Jeff Tedford said...

I agree Oski. I would rather have Artest on my team than Owens, although I think both people get under the skin of their teammates and will ultimately kill any chance of being a championship team.

11:42 AM  

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