For my money, Michael Jordan first introduced the world to the notion that being competitive is the single most important characteristic of being a champion. Being competitive, as I can tell, requires the desire to not just beat opponents, but to seek and recognize the best opponents, and beat them at anything and everything, including, but not limited to: firm handshakes, cool stories, exotic women and beer, three-point shooting, day-to-day relevance, and name-dropping.
Some may refer to this as ‘it’.
Tiger Woods is a competitive competitor who competitively competes in competitions. Tom Rinaldi helps remind us of this during his recent interview with Woods on ESPN.
Rinaldi: Blah, blah, blahah. Who is the best player in the world? Blah.
Woods (pretends to think about the question as he perceives it to mean: what is the main concern with my current game, the resolution of which will allow my dominance to flourish once again?): When I get my swing dialed in? (smirks)
Rinaldi (concludes): You?
Woods stares at Rinaldi then, in a matter of one second, nods his head, eyes closed. His answer, in that split-second, translates to: “Of course, the best golfer in the world today is me. And, sure, my swing needs a little work (Justin Case: I am not suggesting that Woods’ swing needs some tweaking, I would never know. He’s the one who said it), but that is caused mainly due to the year-and-a-half whirlwind of mad clown, tent-less circus public scrutiny and assessment, a time during which I’ve embarrassed myself and my family. But I’m Tiger Woods! I win events before they start. That’s what I do. I’m surprised you asked me that question. You’re better than that, Tom. C’mon, man. Next question.)
Rinaldi: Will you break Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors?
Woods: That’s the goal. That’s always been the goal.
Blah ha hahah blah. Blaah ah ah haa ha blah. Blahama mama.
Rinaldi: Do you believe that you will reach the goal?
Rinaldi: What evidence do you have…?
Woods: I believe in myself.
Rinaldi: That’s enough?
As someone who is not a competitor, unless you’re referring to the ability to avoid competitive competitions against those who like to compete, in which case my ability competes with anyone in the world, I believe in Woods too.
And to those who don’t, I say: Keep competing.
DeMar DeRozan says he will not compete in the dunk contest as long as it continues to be, what he calls, a prop contest. While DeRozan has a legitimate gripe, the problem is the dunk contest itself is a prop. It is an unnecessary tool used to showcase the incredible, creative leaping abilities found in almost ninety percent of NBA players. The irony is that the dunk contest conceals the true poetry and artistry that is known as the in-game dunk.
DeRozan can say whatever he wants.
One thing is for sure: Dwyane Wade’s dunk last night over Kendrick Perkins deserves much props.