Menace II Society

nate jonesContributor ISeptember 17, 2008

Josh Howard's most recent controversy has come from his refusal to salute the American flag at a charity basketball game hosted by Allen Iverson.  He has attempted to defend this action as well as his other recent incidents with a traditional and easy attitude: the "I do what I want" way.  Josh Howard probably doesn't understand his own beliefs or how the world works. He is confused and angry and also very powerful with a nice new contract. He is too young and too talented to give up on, though.

What he needs is a few lessons in professionalism. If the Mavericks want to avoid these sort of public shenanigans, they need to import some guys who used to have character issues but who have shaped up to show the kid how to party without going crazy and getting in the newspapers all the time. 

Veteran leadership is one way to avoid these kind of embarrassments. If the Mavs had a couple of real team leaders, this kind of thing wouldn't happen. You think Dirk Nowitzki is going to lead? The culture of foreign players who maturely accept the responsibilities thrust on them as the best players in their country does not jive well with some American prodigies who don't feel like they owe anything to anyone.

Is it hard to see why when there are a so many kids in the US who work tirelessly to improve their game with little or no guidance and then are thrust into the millionaire NBA lifestyle? 

On the contrary, players like Nowitzki and Yao Ming are well-educated and well-trained by professional coaches and teachers to understand the responsibilities that come with their incredible gifts. These guys are built up their whole lives to be something great and help others become great.

Guys who are "street" and then become top players in the NBA have sometimes been continually beat down and told that they are nothing. Why do they feel as though they don't owe anything to anyone? Because no one ever gave them anything.

They feel as though they earned it, and the only way to show them that they do have great responsibility as excellent athletes and rich people is by teaching them. 

Mark Cuban is in favor of a basketball "major" in colleges. So why doesn't he spearhead that movement by doing more to teach players about basketball and the world rather than focusing on outfitting his facility with the best food, video games, and saunas?

No, we can't mix education and sports. If NBA players want to learn, that's fine, they should go back to college in the summers. If they choose to come to the league after their one year in "college," and never go back, great. 

This system is just a breeding ground for PR disasters like Josh Howard's marijuana incident, his party fliers, his drag racing, and his refusal to salute the flag. David Stern doesn't want these kids learning, he wants to keep them afraid of the heavy hand of his law.

You make a comment about weed, you are going down. Nevermind that all of Howard's teammates probably engage in the same behavior. They're smart enough to do it behind closed doors. They're not getting caught, so all is well in the land of milk and honey.