NBA free agency is five days old and while most of the deals have been made, including Kevin Durant saying adios to Golden State to join his friend Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn, there is still another Moby Dick swimming in the ocean with two or three (depending on who you believe) Ishmaels hoping to snag him.
The NBA world is on a standstill waiting to see where 2019 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Kawhi Leonard will spend the next three to four years of his career at. All season long, reports were that he was Los Angeles bound to be a Clipper. Once the season ended however, the premier LA team, the Lakers, have now stepped up to earn Leonard’s services despite earlier reports (again, depending on who you believe) that he doesn’t want to play with LeBron James. The Lakers acquiring Anthony Davis from New Orleans apparently may have changed that.
And of course, there is the team that Leonard just left, the Toronto Raptors from which he was traded to and led to a NBA championship. At the time of this writing, Leonard spent the Fourth in Toronto after meeting with the organization, his final meeting after spending the previous days in talks with both the Lakers and Clippers.
So as we wait, sports pundits are doing their best Nostradamus impersonations, telling their viewing public where and when Leonard will sign. But also among these prognostications are other opinions that in this age of ‘Shock Jock’ entertainment, are more fruitless than fruit gummies — misguided views that if go into the wrong ears, can be a determent to the listener.
Fox Sports 1’s, better known as FS1, ‘Speak For Yourself’ host Jason Whitlock made the declaration that if Leonard signs with the Lakers to join James and Davis to form yet ANOTHER Big 3, it would be a “weak” move.
“Rivalries work. People are compelled by great competition. That has what always worked. This new AAU ‘Super Team’ stuff is not as good as two guys going for each other’s throat,” Whitlock said.
So far I’m with him. But then Whitlock made those statements meaningless with the following words.
“Yes sometimes a weak decision is still a good decision. If that’s what you want. … I didn’t play football my fifth year at Ball State. I made a weak decision to step away from football to focus on my academics and becoming a journalist.”
When asked by Ric Bucher why was it a weak decision, Whitlock answered, “I let my teammates down, I should’ve played and I regret my decision.”
Whitlock has reached a pinnacle in this industry that many young journalist aspire to obtain. He is at the equivalent of an athlete achieving their Mike Trout contract. He has achieved more than he would have ever done on the football field so to say that it was weak to go after something more important — in his case his career — than to get beat up for an NCAA that values its own bottom line more than the health of the kids who bring in the coin is a misplaced view.
It’s never weak to do what’s best for you. It demonstrates the spirit of your own awareness to understand that to achieve your life goals, you have to make decisions that best places you on the journey of that fulfillment even if it means letting others down.
For Leonard, if returning home to play for the Lakers, the organization that as a kid growing up in Los Angeles he loved, makes him happy above anything else, even if it means teaming up with James and Davis, then he should make that move and tell the world to kick rocks. Because it is a lot stronger to do what makes you happiest than it is to do what others want from you.
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