Kudos To Congress; Aloha, Reggie
Wednesday - May 25, 2005
It’s funny how the managers of professional sports leagues can go from uncommitted maybe men to determined persons of action as soon as they are taken to the woodshed. Even our old buddy Bud Selig, who not too long ago was the biggest wet noodle of the bunch, is now preaching fire and brimstone to all who dare to dabble in muscular go-go juice.
While no one wants congressional involvement in professional sports, there is no doubt that all the wrangling on Capitol Hill has forced everyone to get moving on the biggest problem facing sports today. So thumbs up to Congress. Too bad they haven’t been this attentive and nonpartisan facing other problems in this country.
House government reform committee chairman Tom Davis (R-Va.) says he will produce a uniform testing bill that will cover all four major sports and he brought together the leaders of the NBA, NFL, NHL and Major League Baseball in an attempt to scare them straight.
The plan sounds good, but one glaring problem remains. Although stiff penalties need to be handed out, if government does decide to get involved, those punishments must be meted out to all pro sports and not just those with big television ratings. If Brett Favre has to pee in a cup, so should 2004 all around rodeo champion Heath Kimber. It’s not about fairness of competition, it’s about safety. That is Congress’ burden. The leagues have their own problems.
The final go-round for Reggie Miller came in a 88-79 loss to the Detroit Pistons last Thursday. A sad day for many a basketball fan. The 39-yearold assassin left as he came in, running around like a madman and hitting quick jumpers from nearly every angle and distance. Miller hit on 11-16 shots for 27 points including 4-8 from behind the three-point line. Pacers’ coach Rick Carlisle removed Reggie with 15.7 seconds left so the fans could say goodbye while rival coach Larry Brown called a 20 to let the celebration continue. Nice.
In the coming weeks we will no doubt be deluged with testimonials and highlights of his career. Sorry, Knicks fans. You will always be a part of the Miller highlight reel for the 25 he hung on your team in the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals. And with all the usual post-career reflection and tribute, Miller may seem more Mother Teresa — no doubt wearing a basketball rim for a halo — than NBA jump shooter. But once you wade through all the hype, there are things that stand out from Miller’s career that need no embellishment.
Miller succeeded by outworking everyone. For 18 years he ran, ducked and dodged around screens, teammates and defenders until his opponents simply wilted under the pressure. That doesn’t take unworldly skill, just determination. If a legacy is supposed to inspire those who come after, then Reggie’s message will resound: To win you have to work. A fitting way to remember a man born with a hip deformity that caused him to wear braces on his legs until the age of 5.
Overcoming adversity and working for what you want. No player’s legacy is easier to understand.
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