Wednesday, July 29, 2009
What's Really Good Stephon?
Someone sent me the link to this story from the Orlando Sentinel. It's brilliant. Check the piece from Shannon J. Owens
Never did I envision writing these words in a sports section, but the inexplicably odd behavior by NBA free-agent Stephon Marbury has forced my hand.
Do not eat Vaseline.
Seriously, crude oil byproducts are not for consumption.
Marbury, who has a birth certificate claiming his 32 years of age, recently shot a 24-hour live stream of what we assume is a typical day during the offseason last week.
His most notable events? That would be dipping a finger in a jar of Vaseline, which he swallowed to soothe a sore throat, and a near six-minute crying session to a Kirk Franklin song.
I'm not saying Marbury is crazy. Just crazyish.
Maybe he was looking for a Vaseline endorsement because he repeatedly yelled "CTC" (cut the check). Maybe he thought an entertainment agent would see his tremendous acting abilities.
What I do know is that this is another classic case of TMI.
That's right. Terrible Media Instincts.
Granted, our world is becoming increasing small and intimate with Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and that oldie but goody, reality television.
For some professional athletes, today's media landscape is an ideal playground. They can self-promote, market and directly communicate messages to their fan bases like never before.
For others, it's like putting a tub of ice cream in front of a 4-year-old. They don't know when to stop.
Remember Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett and his YouTube bit about the "Black Olympics"? Several black writers blasted him for his fried chicken and watermelon-eating contests.
Terrell Owens is continuing his quest for stardom through his VH1 reality show. One episode showed him shopping for overpriced Bentleys and mansions.
It's probably not the best way to win new fans if you're casually looking to spend the sum of their life earnings 10 times over.
But reality viewing isn't always bad. Shows that entertain and educate can be intriguing.
That's why Top Chef, Project Runway and The Amazing Race are network hits.
And a few pro athletes have reality shows actually showcasing a real talent.
Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Dhani Jones travels around the world testing his skills in various lesser known sports on his show Dhani Tackles the Globe on the Travel Channel.
Shaquille O'Neal is premiering his own reality show, Shaq vs., Aug. 18 on ABC.
Instead of spending another year bored training in a gym, he wanted to sharpen his skills competing against other elite athletes like Ben Roethlisberger, Oscar De La Hoya and Serena Williams.
"You also have to know the rules," O'Neal said. "If you put something out there, it's going to be out there forever."
Granted, he's been in hot water a time or two or 10 for controversial YouTube comments.
None of those, however, involves eating a swab of Vaseline.
"Marbury eating Vaseline got a lot of hits. I don't know if it's positive, but I know he got a lot of looks," O'Neal laughed. "I don't know what he was trying to accomplish there."
The life span of a professional athlete's career isn't very long unless that athlete is named Brett Favre or Dara Torres.
If they're smart, athletes will look beyond the 15 seconds of fame and fortune and make plans for the next life transition.
"You can understand why athletes are trying to expand their brand through reality shows," said Guy Troupe, president of the capital management firm Troup 21. "But in today's world where paparazzi and private citizens care so much about the behavior of athletes, that overexposure can expose the weaknesses they have in personal and professional life."
And hopefully, that doesn't include eating petroleum jelly.