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March 24, 2007

Comments

The Big Lead

After viewing the video again, the only way Mayo's tossing the ball to his father is if his Dad is in heaven.

This kid has been pampered and coddled, played hopscotch with high school, bumped refs, been arrested, and he selected a college without visiting once.

Forget athletes for a moment - how many people do you who select a college having never visited?

Tracer Bullet

O.J. Mayo may in fact be a raging dickhead, though I'm not sure how Wilbon would know that for sure. But if fat, balding, middle-aged and middle-class (or flat-out rich) sportswriters didn't pretend every self-aggrandizing 18-year-old spelled doom for the whole of Western civilization, modern sports commentary would cease to exist.

D-Wil

I was pampered, coddled, played hopscotch in high school (attended three different high schools), cursed umpires, got busted for a pot pipe, and never visited either college I ended up attending..... all in the name of playing championship-level tennis. And I graduated from H.S. at 15 and first was enrolled in college at 16!

I guess that makes me O.J. Mayo-like, too, huh?

Kristine

Yea, actually, that does make you OJ Mayo-like. It's not that he's trying to make the best of his situation. It's that he's doing it like an asshole BECAUSE he was pampered and coddled and allowed to curse refs.

crack

Does Mayo only have a mobile phone? Isn't a landline cheaper? Why not just a landline? Then he could receive calls for free.

And D-Wil, yeah you sound like you were an asshole too. Then again lots of people are at 18, and any of them who want to live in LA for the high profile risk getting branded an asshole for the rest of their lives.

The 19 year old rule sucks. Mayo should go to Europe this year, then he could start working on his global fanbase. Why don't high schoolers just go pro in Europe?

D-Wil

How do you know Mayo was not trying to make the best of his situation? And if I'm like him, then I'm an asshole, too?! Because yes, I, like many other tennis players, was pampered and coddled because of my ability. And yes, until I matured, I cursed chair umpires and linespeople, broke rackets - the whole deal; in fact Roger Federer (along with many, many junior players, including Andre Agassi who continued this behavior into his 20s)was much the same. Does that make Federer and Agassi assholes, too?!

I hope you, and other people who want to make snap judgments of teenagers take a step back and seriously consider the age of the person in relation to what they are trying to achieve.

And you know what's really interesting? Maria Sharapova was and remains much the same as Mayo when it comes to attitude and want to control her endorsement life. She has always maintained that ALL decisions she has made since playing on the WTA tour have been made solely by her; her father concurs.

Sharapova is, behind her public persona, an aloof and sometimes caustic person. On the court she often curses linespeople and chair umpires. However, you will never hear or read comments from the general public like yours about Mayo.

What I wonder is, are spectators - you - so taken by an athlete's persona that you actually meld that persona with the athlete as a human and treat them as their persona suggests instead of as they are as a person?

Omelette Lover

I positively love your take, but one small request -- any chance you can offer a dark text on light bg version of your site? After reading those all day and coming here, it's like some sort of optical illusion, burning my retinas.

But like I said, great analysis of the Mayo story and everyone's rush to vilify him. I'm 99% sure it has to do with him attending USC, a school that's one of the smallest, in terms of students/alumni, for the amount of media attention it receives, not to mention loaded with cash (and sports program hardware), making it a popular target for the hater brigade.

Kristine

I understand the breaking rackets, general frustration of play in competition. Everyone in the heat of the moment can yell at a ref. The problem with Mayo is that he takes that attitude off the court. There is nothing wrong with wanting to control your marketability and not be taken advantage of in a world where that's all too easy to happen. I like to call that assertiveness. Everyone should try to adopt that trait.

I don't like Mayo because of his ego and how he presents himself. Like an asshole. I'm not saying he'll never grow out of it, but he certainly WON'T grow out of it if people keep excusing his behavior, like you are right now.

Kristine

*And just to clarify...in my earlier comment, I was saying that he IS trying to make the best of his situation, and that's commendable. He's just doing it like an asshole.

D-Wil

I will ask again: is Maria Sharapova perceive in the media as as asshole for doing the same thing O.J. Mayo is? A woman who is prone to falling on her knees in feigned shock when she wins a difficult first round tennis match?

I suggest that if Mayo was a young entrepreneur he would be glorified for his business acumen. And the portrayal of his persona would be spoken of with words like, "brash," "maverick," "precocious," "brilliant," "savant," etc.

Burl

i wouldn't have him. No kid would run my program. I'm sure you've all heard of how he knocked down a referee during a game between the top two teams in Virginia, and his recent citing for marijuana possession, and he's gunna "take care of recruiting!?" He's not gunna take care of anything because if I'm Floyd he's not going to step on my campus.

Jason

I would say Mayo (and young tennis players) sound more like 'brats' to me rather than 'assholes'. Lots of people at that age are brats. Problem is, super-star athletes never have to join the real world and grow up so they become assholes. Also, it's worse in basketball because playing on a team with an asshole is just no fun (everyone's been on a basketball team with an asshole). And it's no fun to watch a team not get along and not have fun. That ruins my sports enjoyment experience.

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