Posts Tagged ‘Basketball’

The Tiger’s Handlers & Charles Barkley

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

ISPA likes Charles Barkley! In fact I have always liked Charles Barkley. I met him once casually when he was still playing. I was in a hotel and Charles ambled down to a lounge area next to a sports themed bar in the hotel lobby. There were no seats in or near the bar, so he waddled over and sat where I was sitting. I have used words like amble and waddle because he had just played that night and he walked as if he had a hundred pound lead weight on his back. He introduced himself politely (Remember he was at the height of being tagged as the original bad boy of the NBA.) and stated he just wanted to get one beer and relax. Well, he was soon spotted by the sports bar knuckleheads who immediately began taunting him and even throwing crushed up bar napkins and straws in our direction. Throughout this entire ordeal Charles didn’t even flinch and he conducted a pleasant conversation. He was gentle, polite and intellectual. I was as impressed with him as a man, not just an athlete, as anyone I have met in my career.

I just read some comments Charles Barkley made on the Tiger Woods situation and they echo what I mentioned yesterday in this blog space. He said, “I think any celebrity who pays these ‘crises management’ people to speak for them is an idiot. Say your thing, say you screwed up, my bad, move on.”  Vintage Charles Barkley. Common sense, practical, candid and smart.

Charles will be on a new special this Sunday on the HLN channel called, “With all due Respect.” He will co-host with CNN host Robin Meade. I’m going to tune in just to support this man who appears to mirror the same values and voice of ISPA and a man I am very impressed with.

Dr. John E. Mayer, President-ISPA

Let’s Rally ‘Round Antoine Walker

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

The media has been reporting several personal difficulties for former professional basketball player Antoine Walker. Reportedly he owes $900,000.00 to a casino and the Chicago Sun-Times has been reporting his ownership of “slum houses” in Chicago. So run down are these houses that one has a basement filled with feces from a broken sewage pipe. I personally have a number of colleagues around Chicago who know Mr. Walker (He grew up in Chicago.). Many of them characterize him as having a huge “entitlement” attitude. Now before you jump to the conclusion that this piece will be yet another blast on Mr. Walker, stop, I say we need to rally around an athlete in this condition. In fact, one of our ISPA professionals, Kurt David, specializes in helping athletes in the twilight of their careers. Helping athletes cope with life’s pressures is exactly what ISPA is about. Credentialed professionals assisting athletes in and out of the arenas and fields of play. Antoine Walker’s plight is another call for us to band together and rally for these athletes, not condemn them or even shake our heads and walk away.

We build sports careers at ISPA. Look into joining our legion of qualified professionals.

Dr. John E. Mayer, President, ISPA

Money Talks

Monday, October 26th, 2009

$4,400,000, 4,2,00,000, 4,000,000… No, these are not salaries of CEO’s. These are the salaries of the top paid college football coaches. Today, in Miami, the presidents of top level NCAA schools met to discuss reform in intercollegiate athletics. The presidents of these schools expressed that they feel powerless when it comes to controlling the athletic departments of their schools. The powerlessness is a result of the outside influence of sponsors and television networks. These outside influences provide the millions of dollars that sustain many of these programs. The figures above, indicting the top paid college football coaches, are telling as to the extent of money that is involved in college sports. Over 75 college football coaches make a million dollars or more. Many coaches, along with the large sums of money they receive, also get other perks such as access to private planes and lavish houses. There is no doubt that these coaches work hard and dedicate their life to their craft. Certainly, a great coach enhances a teams chance to win and a winning team has more potential to generate revenue for a school. The question becomes how much is a school willing to pay to win? Does the cost of winning come with the price of giving control over to corporations and not the administration of the school? At the end of the day the intended purpose of a college is to educate. College athletics are meant to enhance the college environment not dictate the environment. Stay tuned for more thoughts on this complicated matter.

Justin Mayer, Executive Director-ISPA

Sneakergate

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

Marcus Jordan, son of basketball great Michael Jordan, who is scheduled to play basketball for the University of Central Florida is drawing some heat for his sneaker preference. Marcus wants to wear his fathers Air Jordan shoes while he plays, however, the University of Central Florida (UCF) has a multi-million dollar deal with Adidas. Reports indicate the Marcus was upfront about his desire to wear the Air Jordan’s during the recruitment process and UCF never indicated there was a problem. Now that Marcus has committed to play for UCF the University is now weary about his sneaker preference and are indicating that they desire him to wear the Adidas. Clearly this has the potential to turn into a “he said she said”. Marcus had to be aware that UCF had a deal with Adidas (his father no doubt knows the sponsorship game) and what this entailed. However, if UCF never indicated during the recruitment process that this was going to be a problem then it does not seem fair that they suddenly change their tune when they have him already committed to playing. With the information at hand it is hard to tell who is to blame. The unfortunate part of this situation is that a young man, who already has a tremendous amount of pressure on him because he is the son of a basketball great, now on top of dealing with the pressures of being a college freshman and a basketball player must deal with this “sneaker scandal”. I guess we can chalk this up to the reality of college sports being big business (a topic for another day!).

Justin Mayer, Executive Director ISPA

Jeffrey Jordan Epitomizes a Student Athlete

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Last week, Jeffrey Jordan, Juanita and Michael Jordan’s son announced he was going to not play college basketball for the University of Illinois this season so he could concentrate on his studies.

This announcement has so many admirable qualities to it that this post can only highlight a few. First, what a great message to send to the countless student athletes around the globe. Second, and these are in no means in any order of admiration, what character this decision took. Third, what courage this decision took. Fourth, what maturity this displayed.

Certainly the bulk of praise for this decision goes to this fine young man, but I also must acknowledge Juanita (Yes, mom first.) and Michael Jordan for raising a young man under unfathomable scrutiny and instilling these values and characteristics in this young man in spite of all those pressures.

To us professionals in The International Sports Professionals Association this is a wonderful example of what athletics represents and can aspire yet to be in this age of steroids, misplaced values, and dubious characters.

Dr. John E. Mayer

President

International Sports Professionals Association-ISPA