Get ready, America.
Get ready for a summer filled with more partisan bickering, more divisiveness and more racial bitterness. Washington, D.C. will give us our share, but the real nastiness will be coming from Las Vegas.
Welcome to Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor. By the night of August 26, we won’t be as tired of this nonsensical boxing match as we will be disgusted by it.
The event will sell out in Las Vegas. A vast number of foolish individuals will spring for the Showtime pay-per-view telecast. But this so-called fight will only gain viral national (and international) momentum when it becomes a race war.
Any day now, one of the fighters or someone from one of their camps is going to say or do something that will cause the racial wheels to start grinding.
Maybe President Trump will Tweet that he favors McGregor. That will stir the racial pot.
Maybe Mayweather will drop an insult on McGregor’s heritage – on purpose.
Maybe McGregor drops a veiled racial insult on Mayweather – unwittingly or on purpose.
McGregor, a UFC champion, is fighting one of the best boxers of all time. There will be no kicking, choking or gouging. He is an overwhelming underdog with no real chance of winning. If Mayweather adamantly trains for the fight and takes this fiasco seriously he’ll move to 50-0 and knock McGregor out early in the bout.
So how do you really get interested in the fight during this summer of 2017? Make “The Great White Hype” a real event.
The 1996 movie starred Samuel L. Jackson and Damon Wayans and featured the black heavyweight champion of the world taking on an unknown white boxer named Terry Conklin -who is labeled Irish even though he wasn’t.
The champ scores a first-round knockout and Jackson – playing a Don King type character named the Rev. Fred Sultan – cashes in big time.
There is a scene where a senior citizen white woman walks up to a Las Vegas sports book window and calmly says, “I’d like to be $5 on the clean-cut white boy.”
This phenomenon has already started.
There has been an initial rush of wagers posted since the fight was announced last week – most of them less than $500 and most of them on McGregor. A $100 bet on McGregor would net a gambler $500 if he were to win the fight.
If you bet $500 on Mayweather and he wins, you would win $100.
The bout is about entertainment, but it’s going to get ugly before it gets here. I’m going to ignore it as best I can and my advice is that you do the same.
Tatum to see green – or tumble?
ESPN’s “The Best of Enemies” 30-for-30 documentary was well done and made those of us old enough recall the days of the 1980s when the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics met in the NBA Finals three times in four seasons.
Magic Johnson has the final sentence in the three-part documentary: “One thing is for certain. I will always hate the Boston Celtics.”
I still feel the same way about the Celtics, but it’s a respectful hate, if there is such a thing.
The NBA Draft is tonight (June 22) and it appears that the Celtics are going to select St. Louis product Jayson Tatum with the third overall selection.
The Celtics traded the No. 1 pick to the Philadelphia 76ers in return for the third pick and a 2018 first-round draft choice. Most mock drafts have the 76ers selecting Markelle Fultz and teaming him with Ben Simmons, the 2016 first-round pick that didn’t play last year because of a lingering foot injury.
The Celtic hate I still carry is because I’m an avowed Lakers fan. I hope the Lakers pass on guard Lonzo Ball and select forward Josh Jackson, but it’s looking like Ball will go to L.A.
However, if Jackson goes to the Celtics – and some pundits are predicting that – Tatum could start tumbling down the draft. Based on team needs, small forward Jonathan Isaac could go fourth to Phoenix, guard De Aaron Fox to Sacramento, point guard Dennis Smith to Orlando and power forward Lauri Markkanen to Minnesota.
Awaiting at No. 8 are the dysfunctional and desperate New York Knicks. Hopefully, Tatum is selected long before this horrible scenario plays out. The Knicks could use an intelligent, skilled player like Tatum, but Tatum would be better off beginning his career elsewhere.
Coleman in command
Tennessee sprinter Christian Coleman announced this week that he is leaving the college ranks and has signed to be represented by Emanuel Hudson of HSInternational sports management.
Coleman won indoor national titles in the 60 and 100 meters races, respectively and outdoor titles in the 100 and 200 meters.
He is the second sprinter in NCAA history to complete the double-double. Former Tennessee star and Olympic champion Justin Gatlin accomplished the feat in 2001.
Coleman shattered the NCAA record in the 100 meters in the national semifinals last week with a sizzling 9.82 finish. This topped the previous record by 0.07 of a second.
His 9.82 in the 100 is the fourth fastest by an American and tied for ninth in the world rankings. His 200 times for both indoor (20.11) and outdoor (19.85) are second in NCAA history. Coleman’s 6.45 in the 60 meters tied a NCAA record.
His proud grandmother, Doris Coleman, is a graduate of Sumner High School, Harris-Stowe State University and the University of Missouri-St. Louis and she still resides in the area.
Coleman’s father, Seth Coleman, is a graduate of Hazelwood East and he attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, where his family now resides.
“We are all rooting for him,” said Doris Coleman, as her grandson begins his pursuit of an Olympic gold medal.
“It would be nice for the metropolitan area to help the University of Tennessee and Atlanta support him!”
By the way, she said she doesn’t mean financially, just in spirit.
Coleman is competing in the U.S. Track & Field Championships that begin today (June 22) at Sacramento State University and then in the IAAF World Championships in London in August.
Alvin A. Reid is a panelist on the Nine Network program, Donnybrook and appears on ABC’s The Allman Report and several sports radio shows, including Frank Cusumano’s “The Press Box” on KFNS. His Twitter handle is #aareid1