Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Spencer Hawes: More than just a bust

It is one of my personal favorite lines from the instantly-classic Stephen A. Smith Heckling Video from the 2007 Draft: after the sock-puppet version of Stephen A. is passed over by Spencer Hawes he (it?) looks at the camera and deadpans as only a sock impersonator can:

"Spencer Hawes is gonna be a bust."

Indeed, a sentiment echoed by many. It came from stats gurus (sorry no link, they like to make you pay for their truly divine insight), sportswriters, and bloggers alike. No doubt, the signs are there. He didn't rebound much (6.4 per) for a star 7-footer at the college level, which is scary. His athleticism is another thing viewed as an obstacle he must overcome. And lets face it, a lot of us are still skeptical of white guys, especially American white guys, when it comes to playing at a high level in the NBA.

I watched him play a few times last season, and beyond the high offensive skills (one of two positives everyone seems to agree on) and height (the other one), I believe I saw a mental toughness there that would seem to help young Hawes succeed in the NBA. Only time will tell.

In the public relations realm however, Hawes is quickly working to surpass the spectacle that even the most Tskitishvilian of busts could create on the basketball court. Its pretty common knowledge that Hawes loves George W. Bush, and isn't afraid to tell you that. Many people who support Bush these days seem to not really pay attention to his little mishaps, but there are many very smart Republicans out there who back themselves up with intelligence. I figured Hawes was admirable for not being afraid to voice his opinion, and that maybe his security even came from an intelligent mind that supported his beliefs. As I learned today, I think I gave the man a little too much credit:

Hawes Debunks Global Warming, Takes on Al Gore

Oh god. This is going to be bad.

A brief quote from his case against "An Inconvenient Truth" in a debate class:

"It's one big lie. I talked about that in my opening speech -- it's the media's liberal overexaggeration of just about everything."

I knew those thousands of liberal-ass scientists were up to no good. I guess he just flung my whole intelligence assumption right out the window. His thoughts make him seem like an idiot, no doubt. I should stop, because he isn't working for NASA, he is a basketball player. Just because he's high profile doesn't mean we should expect him (or anyone else) to be well versed on current issues. These expectations are unfair, but they exist.

And a shitstorm is going to come down on this man. Maybe not for this comment, for this he might just get ridiculed for being a jackass, which is really the best case scenario at this point. But eventually, he'll say something that will cause big-time PR damage. Regardless of his lack of athleticism, his upside for public humiliation is up there with the all-time greats.

If he becomes a good player much of what he says (unless he goes Michael Richards on us) may be ignored to a degree, as in "thats just Spence bein Spence." America is usually willing to forgive a winner. But not a bust. Play hard Spencer.

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