How do you make Mother Moses cry? In a year when ball players were getting press for "str8 stupidness" it seemed strange that Kevin Garnett's written appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show went notice-free.
He wrote her a letter. They gave her the letter on-air as a surprise. In the letter, he said he wanted to donate something to her Angel Network, which was building houses for those who lost their homes in Hurricane Katrina. His pledge: To build one house per month for the next two years. That's 24 homes! Two seasons of "Extreme Makeover." Financially funded by one person … with no commercial return on his donation. A gesture that should have landed him on the cover of Time alongside Bill and Melinda Gates and Bono as Persons of The Year. A gesture that made Oprah -- read it again, Oprah -- break down.
But still, no member of the media wrote a story about it. USA Today scripted a blurb; ESPN.com made a mention. But overall -- nada.
Now, let Kevin Garnett or any other athlete run a stop light; let them miss a practice unexcused; let them miss a child support payment -- Bam! Lead story on "SportsCenter," forum discussion on "Rome Is Burning," breaking news on CNN.
In an era when it is too often publicly asked: "Where are our kids' role models?"; in a society that is starved for areas of positiveness to come from our professional athletes; in a world where we have been conditioned to believe that every one of these young superstars is unappreciative, ungrateful, undeserving and a void soul, a situation arose that could have shifted the entire perception of their existence. What Kevin Garnett did was just that big.
But guess who dropped the ball? Us. The media, for not saying anything about it, and the public, for not demanding that we do.
The moral of this story: How do you make the media not pay attention to you when you are a superstar athlete? Do something humane.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
KG and Oprah
The media often ignores the good for the bad. Scoop Jackson says it best in his 2005-in-review column: