St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
TampaBay.com
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
tampabay.com

printer version

Staff opinion

Rant & Rave

By PETE YOUNG, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 9, 2003

RANT

A year ago, LeBron James was known only to basketball cognoscenti.

That was before he was placed on the cover of Sports Illustrated (Feb. 18, 2002), and before James, a 6-foot-8 senior from Akron, Ohio, showcased his transcendent talent this winter in two games televised by ESPN2.

Many have decried such publicity for a high school kid. However, numerous athletes -- many of them female -- have been media magnets at a much younger age. Jennifer Capriati was on the cover of Sports Illustrated when she was 13.

The major networks have devoted thousands of hours of programing to hyping and covering teenage gymnasts, figure skaters and tennis players. As long as the public craves sports news, the exploits of exceptional young athletes will be reported. Both of James' televised games drew big ratings.

James' eligibility quagmire and the circus about it is distressing, and he deserves some slack, for sure -- he is 18, after all. But not too much. He has been a local hero for years and knows the lay of the land.

He knew the $50k-plus Hummer H2 his mom bought him would bring excessive attention, and despite his statement to the contrary, he knows he wasn't given those two pricey throwback jerseys because of good grades.

Any more than his report card will help make him the first pick in the NBA draft.

RAVE

No riots, raging bonfires or blocks of overturned autos. No lowlights played and replayed across the country on the national news.

Stand tall, Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers' Super Bowl triumph was celebrated with style and dignity.

From filling Raymond James Stadium and patiently waiting hours for the Bucs to arrive the day after the game to putting up with the faulty PA system at the end of the parade, Bucs fans, for the most part -- there were a few DUI arrests, damaged vehicles, etc. -- were a model for appropriate mass celebrating.

There is a long and ignoble list of cities that have been far less civilized, and there were ugly disturbances after recent collegiate national titles around the Ohio State and Maryland campuses. In Oakland after the Bucs routed the Raiders, at least 25 people were arrested as multiple vehicles were set on fire and the windows to several businesses were broken. Hundreds of police officers responded with rubber bullets and tear gas.

Such behavior often is due to socioeconomic factors completely unrelated to any championship game outcome as much as the excessive delirium of a few misguided fans. Regardless, Bucs supporters stayed above the fray.

The Bucs put on a championship display, and Bucs fans did the same. Well done.

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright
 

From the Times sports desk

Motorsports
  • No restricting Junior
  • Dixon wins consecutive NHRA Shootouts
  • Keep an eye on DEI teammates

  • College basketball
  • Gators hammer Tide for one last hurrah at No. 1

  • NFL
  • Plummer has offer to stay a Cardinal
  • Hubert Mizell: Chief of the Chiefs gets well-deserved spot in Hall

  • Baseball
  • Marlins win their case over P Nunez

  • NHL
  • Slapshots
  • Av rally keeps it hot, Wings cold

  • Parimutuels
  • Ben Awhile gets break in Classic

  • College basketball
  • Kentucky's 12th straight another blowout
  • Taurasi leads UConn past pesky Eagles
  • Salukis watch
  • Michigan returns to top conference
  • Tar Heels steal one from FSU
  • USF dodges trouble

  • Arena football
  • Cohen, Dell get to see other side

  • In brief
  • James scores a career-high 52

  • Sailing
  • Student and master face off for the Cup

  • Running
  • Wins prove to be workouts

  • NBA
  • Richardson puts on quite a show
  • Game a changing of guard (and center)

  • Tennis
  • Croatian rally stuns U.S. team

  • Golf
  • Love won't need a record round

  • Preps
  • Meet Brandon's 'Death Row'
  • Tornadoes collect title, milestones
  • Spongers' road leads to 20 wins

  • Bowling
  • Slow start can't stop the Xmen

  • Outdoors
  • Daily fishing report

  • Staff opinion
  • Rant & Rave

  • Reader opinion
  • Your turn

  • Rays
  • Victories answer every Rays question
  • Rays will be getting back to basics
  • Devil Ray not at fault in crash, police say
  • Gary Shelton: I want my ... I want my Buc news ... right now!

  • Lightning
  • Charity goes on in draw
  • Buy or sell? GM will wait


  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts