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The unprofessionals

This past week, three of my favorite superstars made absolute fools of themselves. All of them displayed conduct that can simply be described as... unprofessional. Michael Jordan turned his Hall of Fame speech into a self-promoting diatribe. Serena Williams lost her U.S. Open semifinal match in an explosion of anger. Not to be outdone, Kanye West humiliated a teenage girl on national television.

Michael Jordan’s Hall of Fame speech was the most disappointing. I always thought of Jordan as the consummate professional. Although he certainly was highly competitive and at times showboated, he always seemed to compete with style and grace. We all wanted to be “like Mike.” As a kid growing up in northern Florida, I had no business rooting for Chicago, but Jordan’s incredible athleticism and professionalism turned me into a diehard Bulls fan. I vividly remember running around my house as a little 10 year old screaming in jubilation after Jordan hit the game winning shot against the Jazz in ’98.

For these reasons, I was somewhat surprised to hear Jordan in his speech tell his family that “[he] wouldn’t want to be [them]” or admonishing other NBA Hall of Famers for incidents that happened decades ago. Jordan didn’t stop there. Jordan ridiculed former Bulls general manager Jerry Krause for a quote made years ago and even criticized his high school coach for not putting him on varsity as a sophomore. The basketball great revealed a dark, bitter side of his personality that the public hasn’t seen before. It was almost as if he had been waiting for this moment to unleash years of frustration and anger upon his fellow competitors, teammates, friends and family. Jordan’s remarks were mean-spirited and unprofessional. But Michael can get away with it. He is after all, the greatest basketball player of all time (the greatest athlete of all time according to ESPN). A living icon. I mean if Jesus played basketball he’d wear number 23, right?

Even MJ can't handle his own greatness

Even MJ can't handle his own greatness. (ESPN)

The angry meltdown by Serena Williams was the probably the most understandable of the three. Serving to stay in her U.S. Open semifinal match against Kim Clijsters, Serena was called for a foot fault by the lineswoman. Serena went berserk. She stormed the lineswoman, started cursing and waving her racket. At one point she even threatened to shove her tennis ball down the lineswoman’s throat. That last remark lead to a penalty for misconduct, ending the contest. Serena Williams was bounced from the U.S. Open because she threw a temper tantrum. Serena was fined $10,000 by the WTA and has since issued a sincere apology. The outburst appeared to be an aberration in an otherwise stellar career. Perhaps she just caved into the pressure of defending her U.S. Open title and living up to all the hype. Nonetheless, Serena’s furious tirade was startling, bizarre and rather unprofessional. Why so much anger?

"You won't like me when I'm angry."
"You won't like me when I'm angry." (Witchita Eagle)

Now we turn to Mr. West. After Sunday night, I think we can all agree that Kanye has lost his mind. As Taylor Swift was accepting her MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video, Kanye yanked the mike out of her hand and proclaimed that Beyonce’s “All My Single Ladies” video was the best of all time. Now I like Beyonce, and I agree that her video was probably better, but what?? Why is a 32-year-old man trying to shame a 19 year old? Why is Kanye acting like a fool?

Kanye you were once cool. Everyone loved you. Every album you’ve made has been a hit. You even made auto-tune sound okay for awhile. What’s the problem man? Why are you hating on Taylor Swift? She’s just a little girl that sings light, harmless, pseudo-country songs. It’s not like she’s George Bush or anything.

And now looking back on that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” quote, I no longer respect it anymore. At the time I was proud of Kanye for speaking his mind and expressing the frustration that African Americans and gulf coast residents were feeling in the wake of this country’s worst national disaster. Now I just see it as a bumbling  rant by a spoiled, ego-inflated celebrity who wouldn’t even let a charity organization share the spotlight with him. Kanye’s recent actions have not only been unprofessional, but juvenile and pathetic. It’s time for him to grow up.

Someone please stop this man.

Someone please stop this man. (AP)


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