It is easy to say that we live in a world with constant and (increasingly) instant information…especially when it comes to dirt and scandal. In the midst of the mud flinging on everything from celebrity gossip blogs and Twitter/Facebook posts, news flies at a pace faster than we at times can handle. Now nothing is going to stop the flow of gossip as it’s a poison that we may never find an antidote.
At times, seemingly unforgivable acts looked passed when those involved are able to produce great works afterwards. Are we too welcoming and “forgiving” to others as long as they continue to perform and entertain us to our standards or based on our previous impressions of them? For sake of agruments, lets dismiss “guilty or non-guilty” and “what is art” for another time
Let’s look at an example to examine this further.
By the summer of 2003, Kobe Bryant was already a 3-time NBA Champion, MVP candidate with endorsement deals totalling over $100 million. That was before he checked into the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera in Eagle, Colorado where shortly after he was accused of sexual assault by one of the hotel’s employees.
While the criminal charges were dropped and a settlement reached in the civil suit, it can be argued that many in the court of public option and many gossip column considered Kobe Bryant at best…an adulterer and at worst…a rapist. McDonalds, Ferreo SpA and Nutella terminated their endorsement deals with Bryant who was heavily booed for quited some time upon returning full time to the court.
Kobe’s reputation took even more of a hit during the very public feud with then teammate, Shaquillel O’Neal along with the lack of success the Lakers after the trade of O’Neal which many would say was forced by Bryant. In Phil Jackson’s book “The Last Season: The Team in Search of Its Soul”, Jackson referred to Bryant as uncoachable and by the 2005-06 NBA Season, Kobe Bryant was known as one of the villians of not just the NBA but the entire sports as he was voted #1 on many “Most Hated/Despised Athletes” lists.
Slowly but surely…those who booed Bryant were now once again wearing his jersey, especially after he changed his number from 8 to 24. By season’s end, he was once again a MVP candidate. By 2007, Nike released a new Kobe Bryant shoe for the first time since he visited Eagle, Colorado and Coca-Cola signed Bryant to a deal to promote Vitamin Water. Oh and the cover of NBA 07…and NBA 2K9
2 MVP Awards, 2 more NBA Championships and an Olympic Gold Medal later…while Kobe’s popularity may not be at the heights of his earlier years…Eagle, Colorado is only a whisper.
Nice turnaround huh? Let’s thrown a couple of more names who can be tossed into a similar side of this discussion.
Michael Vick, whom was convicted on dog-fighting charges in 2007, came back to the NFL in 2009 and was a MVP candidate by the end of the 2010 season with endorsement deals with Nike and Unequal Tech.
Roman Polanski has been a fugitive of the U.S. government since 1978 yet has made several successful movies with American actors and even was awarded an Oscar in 2002 (whose ceremony is held in California which is the state where Polanski was originally charged)
Robbert Downey Jr., Jerry Lee Lewis, Justin Timberlake, Woody Allen, Elvis Presley… the list goes on.
Is this work of great PR? Is it in our nature to forgive? Or do we become blinded by great works, regardless of the artist behind them? Or is the ART bigger then the ARTIST?
Are we dismissing potentially masters of their craft because we do not approval of their personal or moral choices?
Both R. Kelly and Michael Jackson never truly recovered from their scandals even though they were never convicted in a court of law.
Mel Gibson has been ostracised by mass media since scandals involving anti-Semitic remarks and accusation of domestic violence
Musicians such have Alicia Keys and Leanne Rimes have supposedly seen a decline in fan support in the midst of love triangles they’ve been involved.
So The Shaun asks…What more important…THE ART or THE ARTIST? Can great art/performance overshadow your personal perception of the artist? Or can that perception keep you from potentially great art/performance? Does the scandal affect your perception or can you look past it?
The Shaun is sure at least some of you watching the end of last night’s NBA All Star noticed something interesting as the final seconds winded down.
With the East All Stars down 3 with seconds to go, Lebron held the ball at the top of the key with Kobe guarding him. Lebron was in the midst of leading the surge to bring the EAST back from a double digit deficit and was 6-8 from 3pt range in the game. The announcers, the Orlando crowd and those watching at home all sat at the edge of their seats as 2 premier players look to give us a NBA moment to remember.
Lebron made his move….and then passed it wildly to Dwyane Wade to the final shot.
As those watching (even Carmelo Anthony who was open on the other wing) tried to figure what just happened, Kobe walked up to Lebron and told him what the whole was this at that moment…
From Skip Bayless to Charles Barkley, many have harped on Lebron’s inability to capture the moment and come through in the clutch in his career. This was not the first time Lebron passed up taking the potential game winning or game tying shot which have led many to believe he lacks the competitive fire necessary to lead a team to a NBA Championship.
Lebron has also be critisized for this post-game tweet.
Congrats to Orlando on putting together a great All-Star weekend! Had a blast in tonight’s game! S/O
@KDTrey5 for getting MVP. Back to work!
Some are reading this and thinking “So What?” which is understadable. The Shaun can only respond by asking, ‘Would Michael Jordan have responded to a loss, regardless of the game, in such a manner?’ Would Kobe? Bird? Magic? Or Even his own teammate Dwyane Wade?
THE ANSWER IS NO!
Kobe wouldn’t have said it!! MJ wouldn’t have. Shaq wouldn’t have! DWade wouldn’t have. What do they have in common…RINGS!!
Some might ask, but why was Kobe so mad? Kobe was mad because he understood the meaning of the moment, not only to the All Star Game but the game in general. Kobe knew millions were watching and everyone in the arena and watching at home wanted Lebron to take the shot, regardless if he made it or missed it. At least he would have shown that HE WANTED IT!
Now you know The Shaun was going to have to eventually chime on the craze that is Jeremy Lin. The Shaun is always a fan of feel good stories that come out of nowhere to prove us all wrong regarding misconceptions and defy stereotypes. Jeremy Lin’s story, no matter how much longer it lasts, is a breath of fresh that is much needed.
What makes Jeremy Lin’s sudden success over the last week a even better pill to swallow is Jeremy Lin himself. He has proven himself to so far be a very humble young man that is firmly grounded on the earth. In his interviews and body language, one can tell that he is simply enjoying every bit of his moment yet is not naive to think that he has done this alone. Even when reporters attempt to push him to put the spotlight to himself, he consistently gives credit to his teammates.
In a world that seems to be so stuck in emphasizing stereotypes, it is so refreshing to see someone smash them and make us rethink what is possible. It is no secret that the NBA has attempted to tap into the Asian market, yet Lin was not one of these media darlings from overseas that came into the NBA with the red carpet rolling out for him. Jeremy Lin has spend his life being overlooked because of he was Asian yet never let that deter him. He worked his butt just to get a roster spot then took full advantage of his moment when given the opportunity.
Again no one knows how long this story will last or how it will end. However isn’t that one of the great joys of life itself; to not know what comes next. Like Lin, The Shaun is just going to sit back and appreciate the fresh air.
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