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Monday, January 10, 2011

Athletes of the Year

If I had thought of this any sooner than, oh, say, five minutes ago, I would have included it in my year in review. Based on a recent conversation with Chris, I felt the need to recognize a couple of athletes. And while the theme won't necessarily always be athletes that faced adversity and caused controversy, that certainly seems to be the case this year. So for 2010, I wish to recognize:

Michael Vick
While his season ended last night, Michael Vick put on a helluva show this year in Philadelphia as the backup-to-starting quarterback. There may be some who read this and can't even stomach it because of his recent past, but Michael Vick is a man who, while he did some horrendous things, served his time and seems to be legitimately trying to make amends, but in terms of his image and his action. The maturity that seems to have been brought about by his time in prison and subsequent bankruptcy seems to have carried over onto the field--post incarceration Vick is light years better as a passer than pre-incarceration Vick. Even in his Twitter presence (which, and I don't know why, just feels like it's really him), Vick seems like a man trying to make amends.

Ron Artest
I've really never had much reason to think about Ron Artest. I saw the Malice in the Palace like everyone else, but after that I really didn't think much about him until recently. Sure I'm aware of his rap career (?) and his NBA career between then and now, but he really came back onto the radar with this past year's Lakers championship. Now I can't stand the Lakers, but Artest thanking his hood and his psychiatrist struck a nerve with me. In a fairly quick and innocuous statement, Artest told us all both that he knew where he came from, and that he needed some help to get to where he is today, which I found quite admirable. But that's not all: Artest has been active in speaking on mental health awareness, and he even announced that he is selling his championship ring to raise money to combat mental illness.
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