Media folks are a fickle bunch. They can have one opinion one day and then completely flip the next. I’m just as guilty of it as anyone, but it doesn’t make much sense to cling to your opinion, especially when it’s just wrong, in light of new information.
Take the newly minted NBA champ Milwaukee Bucks and unanimous Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. A year and a half ago, “The Greek freak” was the heir apparent to — insert your favorite old basketball player here: LeBron, Steph, Dame. He was going to make the center position a focal point of the NBA again. Shaq 2.0. There was talk of the Golden State Warriors making a run at him if Antetokounmpo contemplated a trade demand.
Six months ago, however, the narrative changed. Suddenly, there were questions about how good Antetokounmpo really was. Suddenly, the modern big man was already obsolete. “He can’t shoot. He can’t hit 3s. He can’t hit free throws. All he can do is dunk,” critics opined.
“He’s not getting better. Is he regressing?” they continued. Maybe he had already reached his ceiling. Maybe the resurgence of the dominant center position — back to the basket, dominate in the paint — was already over.
Then came his star turn during the NBA Finals. In six games, he averaged over 32 points per game, 13 assists and 5 assists. But it was and his Game 6 performance that saw him go into the record book with a 50-point effort — the first time that has happened in a clinching game in 60 years. The last time it happened? 1958, by another legendary big man, Bob Petit.
Among those 50 points was 17 free throws made, Missing just two. He also had 14 rebounds and 5 blocks.
Suddenly, Antetokounmpo is the face of the NBA again and one member of the media is falling all over himself trying to out-gush everyone. Colin Cowherd is certainly the leader in the clubhouse as he tweeted soon after the game: “It’s now officially Giannis’ league. Everyone else — get in the back seat. Giannis is driving.”
That may be a bit hyperbolic, but the simple fact of the matter is, Antetokounmpo has been all of those things: a young rising star, a young player suffering through growing pains and then breaking through on the biggest stage. To paraphrase the late KNBR host Ralph Barbieri: three things can be equally true.
The Oakland A’s really need to learn the definition of “negotiating,” because it’s not what seems to be the take-or-leave-it ballpark development plan the team apparently presented to the Oakland City Council.
Tuesday, the Oakland City Council voted “yes” on a proposed plan to help build a new ballpark and renovate an area along the Oakland waterfront.
That’s great, right? Now the project moves forward and …
Well, no. Seems the A’s were disappointed by the vote: mainly because the council wasn’t voting on the plan the A’s submitted. The council essentially voted on a plan it proposed, that included elements of the plan the team submitted.
Did the team think the city was not going to negotiate the plan? Did the A’s ownership and management group think the city was just going to rubber stamp the team’s plan, which I can only imagine worked heavily in the team’s favor?
The Oakland City Council did what any responsible elected body would do: it looked at the A’s plan, kept things it liked, tossed things it didn’t like, and added its own ideas and plans before voting to approve that one.
Now, the ball is back in the team’s court. What the A’s should do now is look over this new proposal, keep things it likes, get rid of things it doesn’t like and add any new ideas it may have and present that plan back to the city.
The A’s response to the vote? Team president Dave Kaval was in already in Las Vegas, doing an interview on the KTVU morning news as the A’s were planning talks with developers and land owners about bringing the A’s to the desert.
I have to wonder how hard the A’s are really working to stay in Oakland and after this latest dog-and-pony show, I have to wonder if even the city might just be sick of all the drama, as well. If the A’s really, truly wanted to stay in Oakland, I just feel like there would be of an more earnest, honest, thoughtful effort. But I just don’t see it.
Instead the attitude of the A’s group appears to be one of flipping the — ball — over their shoulders into the collective lap of the Oakland City Council as they board a private jet to be wined-and-dined in Las Vegas.
Nathan Mollat can be reached by email: email@example.com or by phone: 344-5200 ext. 117.