Toronto – In Need of a Low Self Esteem Enema?

by Rob Gregg

Listening to the first two segments of the roundtable on Prime Time Sports on Friday prompted me to consider writing what you’re about to read. It was forty minutes of “hand wringing, woe is me, the sky is falling, why Steve Nash chose the Lakers” radio. Most of the noise was from Bob McCown. Canada Basketball’s Wayne Parrish, CBC’s Elliotte Friedman, and Sportsnet 590 The FAN’s Tim Micallef tried to calm the waters, but to little avail.

But then Toronto Star Urban Issues/Architecture columnist Christopher Hume chimes in today on the Nash issue as a conduit for his column on, well, I’m not sure what it’s on. Hume weaves a meandering diatribe that is equal parts petulant and pompous. Oh, and shockingly, there’s a swipe at Mayor Rob Ford. It’s not a full day at The Star unless Rob Ford takes another body shot. Hume’s column finally arrives with a stunning conclusion that “Toronto’s professional sports are a revealing reflection of a city hungry for athletic prowess, but unwilling to pay the price”. Pay the price?

It’s hard to argue against Hume’s assertion of an incompetent MLSE organization. Not that I needed an architecture columnist to point that out. But pay the price? MLSE has spent a gazillion dollars on their hockey management team in an attempt to build a winning organization. For the most part, they spend to the salary cap on players. They’ve paid the price. As for said management’s execution, well, another story for another day.

But to tie the typical Toronto “why not us” lack of self esteem refrain to Steve Nash choosing the Lakers over the Raptors and the Knicks is a giant leap.

As SI.com writer Chris Mannix related to readers in his piece regarding the Ray Allen signing with the Miami Heat, you can’t control motivation or opportunity. And I’ll add one other variable – circumstance. By the way, Allen chose a 3 year, $9 million offer over a 2 year, $12 million offer from the Celtics.

Not being familiar with the Star building, perhaps Hume should walk down the hall (or to another floor), and have Raptors beat writer Doug Smith give him a Basketball 101 seminar. As Smith has written in print and stated on the airwaves, if 100 players had the same choice as Steve Nash did, 100 would choose the Lakers. Why? Kobe Bryant is a good starting point. The only Bryant that Hume is familiar with is perhaps Bryant Park in New York City, or New York architect Timothy Bryant.

This familiar Toronto self esteem refrain is media white noise. It is fodder for the newspaper and the airwaves and ultimately dumbs down the conversation. Unfortunately, common sense dialogue often doesn’t make for good headlines, or sell commercial airtime.

Are the Boston papers asking “why not us” regarding Ray Allen signing with the Heat? You bet. Are writers in the New York dailies gnashing their teeth because Nash shunned the Knickerbockers for the Lakers? Indeed. We’re in the same boat as they are.

Gee, maybe Toronto really is a world class city afterall?

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