Today we watch people talk about sports more than watching the sport itself. The sport shows that cut up the highlights, bring us the sound bites, make stars out of some and pariahs out of others are all the casual and sometimes rabid fans know. Until last week most people have never heard Kwame Brown speak, much less spew the stinging rebukes by using an educated analysis of individuals who jumped on the bandwagon of demonizing his name for the last 20 years. It wasn’t my first time hearing him. I watched a YouTube video of him explaining why he didn’t miss the NBA a few months ago and was impressed by his insight and self-awareness, along with his ability to articulate the message. However, I join the rank of many in saying that I had not heard him do what he did to the hosts of All The Smoke podcast after he felt they disrespected him by calling him a bust again in no uncertain terms. Finally, as he said, he had had enough of being called a bust, and now it was time to strike back- and strike back he did. What Kwame didn’t know is that the world needed it.
High-profile analysts like Stephen A. Smith makes an estimated $10 million dollars a year. Skip Bayless got a $32m deal from Fox. While the networks are filled with pushing personalities to fame, over the last few years, we’ve seen shows start from podcasts, grow audiences and sign huge deals with companies such as Spotify and others. At best, some of these individuals have played sports at a high level at worse for experience sakes some have never played past pop warner. However, subscribers line up to hear what they have to say regardless of their qualifications and usually when athletes respond they are labeled as sensitive. This usually works since these athletes are paid huge sums of money and it appears that there’s no need to respond to internet trolls (i.e. Kevin Durant). This time it was different. The athlete was the victim, and the sports analysts were the bullies.
Kwame made 64million dollars in his career. He bought his mom a home at 18 and you have never heard of him being broke, on the street corner, doing celebrity boxing matches for money, but many people call him a bust. Oh. I hear the chatter, let’s keep it basketball. Ok-If you make it to the NBA, play 12 years, and make 64milion dollars, you are not a bust. To further this point, the situation as he explained it, playing with and for Michael Jordan was less than ideal. This is another story.
We have to be careful who we chide. Some of us needed Kwame Brown to say what he said. The average person has been in his shoes being ridiculed over and over for something that happened 5, 10 and 20 years ago and we are sick of hearing about it from those who were not there or are not qualified to speak on it. Kwame speaks to us. While the language and all that he said may not be kid-appropriate, his words needed to be heard.