Those that really know me know that “Californication” is my all-time favortie TV show. David Duchovny plays Hank Moody, a damaged writer who just wants to spend the rest of his life with his soulmate. Maybe life does imitate art.
My mother always sends home her People magazines when she’s finished with them. It’s like what Mitch Hedberg said about someone handing him a flyer…”Here, you throw these away.” Unless there’s something about Eva Mendes in one of those issues, they go straight from my car to the outside trash dumpster when I get home.
My mom is also a celebrity expert because whatever she sees on, “The View” or hears from Shepherd Smith on “Fox News” is the gospel when it comes to the lives of celebrities. She’ll often ask me if I heard about what about this famous person did or said, or how she can’t believe this celebrity did something so outrageous. Our ongoing argument is whether or not Anthony Bourdain is married…she’s 100% certain he’s not in spite of all the evidence I’ve shown her that he is still hitched. What’s the point of all this? That (A.) Celebrities…including athletes are just people like you and me and (B.) we truly don’t know them.
Here’s what I knew about Lamar Odom before this past week…he was a professional basketball player who had great years with the Lakers and was traded to my Mavs the year after winning the “6th Man of the Year” award in 2011. It didn’t exactly work out with Dallas, although it wasn’t the abomination that was the “Rondo trade.” I also had an inkling that he was married or somehow associated with one of those people who are “famous for just being famous.” Scott Van Pelt addressed it best on ESPN.
Here’s what I learned about Lamar Odom this past week: He’s a human being with character faults like the rest of us. He is also a guy who went out of his way to help a LOT of people. Stories about him paying the rent of dozens of people and helping newly drafted rookies get acclimated to life in the NBA were abundant this past week, but were not as headline grabbing as being on drugs in a brothel.
I addressed hero worshipping a bit in a previous article on Real Ball Insiders, but I would like to dive deeper into the subject this week. Before I begin I’d like to point out an amazing article previously written on this subject by Ryan Hall…who seems to be quite the bad ass in Martial Arts. (Note to self: Remove reference from my Internet history on “Triangle choke”). Hall penned a lengthy article on hero worshipping back in 2013 and is a must read for anyone who thinks celebrities should be put up on a pedestal.
Every once in a while I will put together one of those “fantasy dinner guest lists” that people like to create and share. My list would obviously include the before mentioned Ms. Mendes, Elon Musk, “probably” Mark Cuban (I’ll explain why in a minute), Brent Musburger, Louis CK and others. What do I know about these folks?
• Eva Mendes – Nothing…other than she is breathtakingly beautiful and I love her smile. Hey a damaged writer can be shallow as well.
• Elon Musk – Probably the smartest dude on the planet and quite frankly. I’m not sure I could even understand what he was telling me if I ever was able to have a conversation a conversation with him.
• Mark Cuban – Owner of my Mavs who I have had numerous email exchanges with and who helped me (along with an Executive from the NBA league office) get Mavs games on cable in the Tulsa area back in 2010. He also blew me off after I spent $600+ on nosebleed seats to see a Mavs game with my family several years ago after he promised a “meet and greet” before the game.
• Brent Musburger – My all-time favorite sports announcer. It’s a shame he’s relegated to the SEC Network instead of calling national games on ABC. I had several email exchanges with Brent’s brother Todd about being able to meet Brent when he would visit Norman or Stillwater for football games. Todd promised and failed to deliver. The fact that he’s an attorney should have given me pause because they are trained to lie.
• Louis CK – He’s a comedian who’s made millions talking about his life in a self-deprecating way. If there’s someone to look to for inspiration for my comedy career I would be hard pressed to find someone better. Yet I know nothing about him as a person.
You know who I really consider heroes? Everyday people I run across during my week. Like a lot of people I’ll purchase a lottery ticket every once in a while and dream about what I would do with my millions. I have to admit my dreams are probably pretty boring other than calling in a drone strike on Ryan Gosling. I would LOVE to hand over a couple grand to the girl at Einstein’s Bagels, who makes sure Baxter gets his puppy bagel every week or the checker at Wal-Mart who always has a kind word for me each time I shop there. There’s also a former coworker and a Bixby Police Officer who would be able to retire immediately if I came into millions of dollars, because of the impact they had on my life recently. Everyday people do stuff no one knows about…just like no one knew Lamar Odom was paying the rent and phone bills for all those people.
I would be remiss if I didn’t briefly talk about sports villains. Why? Because of the improbable ending to the Michigan-Michigan State game yesterday. Blake O’Neill is Michigan’s punter and half the state loves the guy and the other half despises him. I like a lot of people had fun trolling Michigan fans after the game on Twitter. I didn’t really care who won the game but I certainly wasn’t rooting for Michigan because I’m not a fan of their coach. While I shouldn’t be surprised…I was aghast at the messages tweeted at O’Neill last night from Michigan fans. Reprehensible crap including suggestions on suicide methods.
O’Neill isn’t a villain any more than Texas kicker Nick Rose was for missing an automatic extra point against Cal earlier this season that cost the Longhorns an opportunity for one of the most improbable comebacks in that program’s history. O’Neill, Rose and Odom are just people. Not heroes or villains. Because of the glare of society in general and sports in particular, they had their faults magnified for everyone to see and make judgment on…they only saving grace in all this is that my mom is not a sports fan.
In the meantime, there WAS a story this week in sports that inspired me and gave me hope. It’s this kid.
He’s the water boy…not for the San Diego Chargers but for their Cheerleaders! Watch it kid, I’m moving to Silicon Beach and would ditch IT and comedy in a heart-beat for your job. It’s what Hank Moody would do.