Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The mystique of professional athletes on two levels

For many years I have long been suspicious of the adoration professional athletes receives, and the huge salaries they receive as a result of the enormous television revenues from sport. Even the Politically Incorrect Guides, who say the professional sports salaries are fair because there are so few people capable of performing at this high level, are very suspicious of the way in which the public adores professional athletes - at least judging by what is said in the introduction to the forthcoming Politically Incorrect Guide to Real American Heroes. I too can relate to the notion that professional athletes are not admirable role models: they get cushy conditions to play under as well as enormous TV-driven salaries, and these can certainly spoil their skill level even though they undergo much better training than they did before television.

If Wisden’s 1985 and 2001 lamentations on the terrible technique of English batsmen since pitches became fully covered is even partly correct, today’s cricketers are so spoilt that they would be all out for a duck facing such bowlers as Schofield Haigh on the sticky pitches of 100 years ago, and in football it is hard to imagine how today’s teams would score on the waterlogged grounds of even twenty years ago with their repeated short kicking and marking style.

However, Denver Westword today has developed a list of The Five Worst Albums of All Time by Professional Athletes. I am well aware of professional atheletes - including the then-VFL’s Mark Jackson - moving into the world of entertainment for commercial gain - but I did not know most of this list:
  1. Deion Sanders: Prime Time
  2. Macho Man Randy Savage: Be A Man
  3. Muhammad Ali: Ali and His Gang vs. Mr. Tooth Decay
  4. Roy Jones Junior: Round One: The Album
  5. Shaquille O‘Neal: Shaq Diesel
Having a brief listen to Shaq Diesel, I can only call it awful even by the standards of pop-rap of the 1990s, and Round One: The Album and Mark Jackson’s “I’m an Individual” are equally atrocious. It shows the lack of practice and more importantly, natural ability for music in these professional athletes. They are simply trying to make their careers higher in profile than they would be without the aid of these songs being heard on radio by people who do not watch sports on television. However, there is little likelihood doing this will ever help music listeners become more passionate or discriminating.

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