Dear Giannis, Above all, sport is about failure

In Words by Giannis Antetokounmpo, pronounced after the elimination of his Milwaukee Bucks against the Miami Heat in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, we hear the not too distant echo of the countless interviews Naomi Osaka and Simon Biles gave on the problem of the connection between media expectations – sports and psychological distress (mainly in connection with their failure) in top athletes. It will come as no surprise to you that the three stars above are part of the Nike universe, a brand extremely sensitive to certain social struggles. To get straight to the point, the concepts expressed by Giannis are worth pondering, as are, on the surface, those of Simon Biles and Naomi Osaka. But perhaps something deeper is hidden in these words as in those.

To the reporter (Eric Nehm, the athlete) who asked him why Fail Giannis replied, “You asked me the same question last year Eric. You get promoted in your job every year? I don’t think so, so do you consider your work a failure if it doesn’t come about? I would say no You strive to achieve different results, to take care of your family, buy a house and many other things. It’s not a failure, but it’s a necessary step to win. […]

You have to understand that there is no logic of failure in sport. There are good days and bad days, sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t. There are times you realize it’s your turn and other times you don’t. This is sport: You can’t always win, others win too. And this year someone else will win.”

Let’s start with the first of the three (our) italics. Instead of going into the merits, Giannis replies scornfully to a journalist who – Thanks! – did his job immaculately, one might say admirably. As Gianni Mura admitted to us some time ago, the journalism is above all: “a form of craftsmanship”, i.e. also a Chisel work in gray areas that would otherwise never come to light. We constantly complain about fast news journalism, likes and always the same answers from athletes in the press room. Then when a journalist is a journalist who digs instead of licking, we are outraged. Giannis, however, comes off worse for attacking him on an obviously flawed level (is it really the same thing being a journalist and basketball player in the NBA in terms of results?) and then shifting the discussion to the family. So completely meaningless.

Which clearly refers to his (our) second italic. It’s not the first time the Greek-Nigerian athlete has spoken out about it Family. It had already happened recently when he explained in ainterview to ESPN: “The most important thing is to know how to balance these two different lifestyles. As a player, I have to attend a number of events, and I do so under the guise of being a Greek geek. But then when I go home to my family, I prefer to get away from it all including my nicknameto devote myself to my loved ones. The Greek Freak and Giannis are two different things, and I’m not saying that to sound arrogant, it’s just the way I’m trying to behave. I prefer to relax with my family, be myself” (emphasis ours).

Considering the split (and revealing) soul of Dr. Giannis and Mr. Greek Freak, let’s get back to the words addressed to Eric Nehm. What exactly does bankruptcy have to do with family? Of course, that has a lot to do with it, because an athlete is never just an athlete, it’s a man, a father, a husband, etc. Okay, but again: when we talk about them sportyBecause that’s what we’re talking about, what’s the point of hiding failure under the – flowery – blanket of failureHusband Father-Family-Mulino Bianco? Our impression is that by showing off their human sensibilities, athletes have stopped being athletes and therefore human beings. Or that they at least like to ride the hypocrisy and psychosis typical of our times to hide their failures. Results in sports, especially at these levels, really count. And failure must not be put in brackets.

It is clear that it cannot be won Always. It’s not clear, it’s obvious. The point is different: What kind of athlete is this, who doesn’t recognize failures, defeats, not even his own mistakes? No one offended Giannis – he was only asked to explain a sporting failure.

So in a speech that is perhaps even more thorny – because it emanated from the always sordid social insults to Naomi Osaka after her tears on the margins in March 2022 -, Nadal had said: “We have a great life. We are lucky to be tennis players and enjoy all these incredible experiences. let’s make money We have to be prepared for that. We must resist the things that can happen when we are put on public display. We like it when people support us. If this doesn’t happen, we have to accept it and move on. I understand that Naomi must have suffered a lot psychologically. I wish her the best, I wish her the best. But nothing in life is perfect. We have to be prepared for adversity.” Let’s define Rafa’s analysis as a completely different depth compared to Gianni’s analysis.

Nadal touches on a key point of the question: honors yes, but also fees to be the center. Otherwise you go to the 3v3 court for fun and if you lose there is always a practice match. Honors that do not simply and trivially mean “money”, but fame and credibility. And stresses that cannot be equated with “life or death” or with the rejection of sporting failure. Otherwise, what the hell are we talking about? “You have to understand that there is no logic of failure in sport,” said Giannis. But in what sense? How is it possible to say such a thing or, even worse, be sympathetic to such bullshit? Wasn’t Italy’s double elimination from the World Cup a failure?

Wasn’t the penalty Baggio dedicated to the Pasadena stars in 1994 the biggest failure of his career? Baggio himself, coming back to the episode, He said that «this speech will never be archived. It was the dream of my football life. After dreaming millions of nights to make this dream come true, I finally failed. Does this extraordinary sincerity, this wonderful purity, influence or glorify Roberto Baggio’s career? His name precedes him, nothing more needs to be said.

As wrote Mattia Tiezzi At“The point is that failure should not be viewed as a taboo, an ad personam attack, or a tool to discredit a result, but rather as an integral part of sport.” Completely in contrast to Furio Zara, who on diary instead he spoke from «Horizons that open up when everything seems dark. The sport’s most precious secret mingles with the thoughts expressed after defeat. Great speeches, speeches by great men. A resounding raspberry begins. The same as he would have said to poor Zara Kendrick PerkinsHis former NBA player and ESPN analyst, had he just read the words: “Is Giannis serious? It was a complete failure. Best record in the NBA, the favorites to win it all and lose to the 8th-placed player who made the playoffs after moving out of the play-ins who didn’t even have their 3rd-best player.

I see comments everywhere from people saying, “Giannis is the perfect example of what we need, he’s the face of the NBA.” But we’re talking sports, competition and if you have expectations that you don’t live up to, you’ve failed. Let’s not beat around the bush too much: If the same thing had happened to Steph, KD, or LeBron, something different would have been said.

Luckily here in America – in addition to those already mentioned the athlete, a real pearl of international sports journalism – there are people who still have the courage to speak beyond all simple simplifications. Because when it comes to big likes, Nike ads and lots of retweets, the critical voices to Giannis’ claims are clearly in the minority. The ‘silent’ people know, the ‘loud’ people of social media have already made up their minds: Giannis is a great man, his speech is memorable, a role model for young and old. And then someone will say that we are where there is controversy. It is the truth: honor, but above all a burden, to be called Contrasti.

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