Well, well, well... It seems that Jason Whitlock is bit of a laptop gangsta.
From the relative distance of of his national platform on AOL, Whitlock wrote a scathing article about NBA All Star Weekend condemning it as an "unmitigated failure" ruined by "young hip-hop hoodlums" that have "transformed the league's midseason exhibition into the new millennium Freaknik, an out-of-control street party that features gunplay, violence, non-stop weed smoke and general mayhem."
But, in his article on the same event for the Kansas City Star, Whitlock painted a much different picture. Perhaps he knows better than to walk the streets of Kansas City after writing checks his ass can't cash. Not so much "real talk" when you're not tucked safely behind your laptop, eh Jason? In stark to contrast the AOL article, Whitlock romantically describes the very same All Star weekend as "a calling you felt deep in the pit of your stomach" for young Black men and women and went on and on about the fun times he had with his buddies. He only meekly criticized the event "as a mixed bag of good and bad."
There is quite a difference from big, bad "real talk" AOL Jason and midwest, guy next door Jason. Which one should we listen to? Neither.
Why would Whitlock want to write two different things? Looking for attention? Looking to start controversy? Pandering to the audience?
First of all, I want to stand up and identify myself as one of the "hoodlums" Jason Whitlock identifies in his AOL article. Yes, I am one of the hoodlums that has turned NBA All Star Weekend into bedlam over the past 5 or 6 years. I love going to NBA All Star Weekend. Some years I go to the games and other "official" events. Some years I don't. I mostly enjoy the whole atmosphere of it and the opportunity to put on a nice dress and have a good time with people like me. I decided not to go to Vegas this year because I knew it would ultimately be a crap shoot on whether it would be worth the trouble. Sure, Vegas would be fun on some level no matter what. However, I knew Vegas would have tremendous problems with traffic, huge crowds and just a general inclination to mill about. All these things do not, personally, make for a fun All Star. It turns out my assumptions were true and I do not regret skipping Vegas. Only certain cities are ideal for All Star from my perspective. Cities like Philly, Atlanta and Vegas were not. However, I have no reason to believe that Vegas was any less or more dangerous than any small area with thousands of partygoers whether it's All Star Weekend, Spring Break, the National Cocktail Party or Mardi Gras.
But I may rejoin my fellow "hoodlums" in New Orleans. I have no concerns about my prospective safety in New Orleans. If any event should be described as bedlam, it would be Mardi Gras. But if New Orleans can handle the alcohol fueled titty baring, I'm sure they can handle All Star just fine.
And I doubt there is some media/David Stern conspiracy to suppress all of the "mayhem" that went down in Vegas. It's not that deep. Serious mayhem doesn't go down in casinos - period. And Whitlock went out of his way in his AOL article to cobble together anecdotes of fear and terror from the locals and rumors from cab drivers and gossip sites. But, there were A LOT of people in town, not just Bloods and Crips. There was a huge apparel convention, the NBA All Star weekend revelers and, the biggest draw of all, Chinese New Year. (If you want to pin blame for any violence, don't sleep on the Chinese. The Triad doesn't play.) Any disturbances and everyone assumes it was the NBA, the hip-hoppers, and/or the thugs.
Some have been wondering where the coverage of the lawless chaos in Vegas has been. It's here now. It was even brought up on PTI today (Wilbon didn't agree with Whitlock's characterization) (Update: Whitlock made The Drudge Repot. I'm sure he's proud). All because Jason Whitlock decided to speak up and be that guy. Now that some Negro has said it, it's okay to agree, I suppose.
Frankly, ever since Whitlock was, ahem, dismissed by ESPN, he has become a bitter, disingenuous writer. He used to be insightful. Now he's just a curmudgeon at thirty something. I suppose it's his idea of revenge against the "bojanglers" to be a tour guide for certain Americans who like to be told what they want to hear. Just because Whitlock can say certain things because he's Black doesn't mean they are true. If Whitlock wants to be "that Negro", he's free to do so. But I hope he peeps the irony that telling certain people what they want to hear he is just pandering - or as he would put it, "bojangling."
For further Whitlock-related frustration, check out Sports Media Watch, an excellent blog.
(Thanks to Sports Media Watch for the picture. Thanks to reader, Diallo, for the heads up on the hypocrisy. And thanks to Andre 3000 for the title, a lyric in the "Walk It Out" Rmx.)