Your Annotated Smartphone Bathroom Reader for Thursday, June 12th, 2014.

The World Cup has arrived.

Andrew Bogut Opens Up on Life in the NBA
Robert Craddock
The Courier Mail

Andrew Bogut has become known as one of the NBA’s most compelling players, mostly because of his brutally honest nature, at least in comparison to his peers in the NBA. This interview with the Courier Mail, a journalistic outfit based in his native Australia, highlights those traits. This interview is interesting because we can see the chief differences in terms of perceptions about American professional sports. The interviewer dwells on aspects of the NBA (and pro sports) that the average American reader wouldn’t notice, like the publishing of pro athlete salaries, and the jobs a college athlete works to make ends meet (Bogut relied on fast food dollar menus and worked as a bar back while playing for the Utes). This interview is short and well worth your time. Now if only Bogut would answer Kevin back about separatism in Quebec…

The Presumption of Jon Jones
Tomas Rios
Sports on Earth

This excellent piece by Tomas Rios looks closely at recent criticism launched at Jon Jones, a black UFC fighter who stands out among his mostly white peers, and whose existence is largely reviled by the sport’s majority young, white male fan base. In his exploration into Jon Jones, Rios makes an incisive and accurate assertion: that “the public’s relationship with black athletes is easily poisoned, and that poison works regardless of whether anyone makes note of it.” Rios usefully juxtaposes Jones with LeBron James, who has undergone another round of poisoning by fans and the media because of a Game 1 leg cramp, and a Game 3 losing performance (even though he played the best out of any of his teammates). In both athletes, Rios sees that “black labor (and labor in general) is so taken for granted that it’s seen as a violation of the social contract for a laborer to question the terms imposed on him.” This is hard-hitting work, and Rios — never one to shy away from telling how it really is — does an excellent job.

On the Pride of Cleveland Sports Fandom…While We’re Waiting
Jacob Rosen
Waiting for Next Year

Most know that I’ve long held a fascination with Cleveland sports, with an emphasis on the Cavaliers, and their fans. There’s much one can learn from a fanbase that is convinced that it is cursed, as well as the vitriol that such a fanbase faces on a daily basis, not just from their enemies, but from their compatriots. In this piece by Jacob Rosen, we are confronted with an assertion that nearly every sports fan can identify with: that fervency and sports fan-dom do not always go hand-in-hand. Rosen writes that his “main purpose is just to share with you all, the lovely readers of WFNY, a half-concern and half-confession wondering if I’ve found it all that enjoyable to be so intensely concerned about all of these teams so constantly,” and he does so elegantly. Using pieces written by other role models of his, Rosen explains that creating distance — both physical and mental — between oneself and their sports obsessions can be a positive trait, especially if that obsession is affected personal relationships. Rosen is on his way to Oregon for graduate school, and assumes that “it’ll be difficult to watch every single Indians, Cavs and Browns game because of school and TV.” But at the same time, “it might be hard to care so much, so passionately anymore.” This experience matches mine, and in many ways, it can be rather liberating. This is a good piece for any sports fan to read, regardless of your preferred team or player.

About Jacob Greenberg

Jacob is a behaviorist by day, blogger by night, and founded the Diss. Follow him on Twitter @jacobjbg
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