Pedro of Barcelona is Steve Kerr. Feel free to disagree and be wrong.

It’s been, say, four years since my last intra-sport comparison. At Run of Play in 2010, I looked at college basketball to talk about Barca’s possession game, the half court offense, and Chinese water torture. A year earlier, I reflected upon the Chicago Fire career of one Cuautehmoc Blanco and another comparison stuck: Steve Nash at Phoenix.

Both were a bit aged. Neither played much defense. Yet both were indisputably the catalyst for their team’s respective offense. Recently, another NBA/Soccer comparison dawned on me: Steve Kerr of the Chicago Bulls during the 1990′s and Pedro of Barcelona and Furia Roja fame.

Here’s why. Continue reading “Pedro of Barcelona is Steve Kerr. Feel free to disagree and be wrong.” »

Mario Balotelli, Black Athlete Fetishism, & Emotional Volatility

When you hear the name “Mario Balotelli”, what terms come to mind? On the positive side, the words “powerful”, “strong”, and “muscular” ring around the room. On the negative side, we’ve all read about his “volatility” and “outbursts” and “immaturity.” Yet why do we tend to focus so heavily on terms of power when describing black male athletes, when the discourse of grace also applies? Why do vocally dissident black athletes get fed to the sharks?

The first discourse is a dishonest and disempowering “black athlete fetishism,” the second reflect subtle misogynist underpinnings – reason, the province of the white rational male, must trump emotion.

Let’s deconstruct both these ideas, shall we? Continue reading “Mario Balotelli, Black Athlete Fetishism, & Emotional Volatility” »

Montana to Messi: True Love at First Sight

What draws you to soccer over the silky swings of Golf or the wonder rallies of Tennis? I believe, good sir or madam, it is because you are a social creature. You crave and delight in human interaction. More succinctly, you marvel at coordination sans communication. Some American soccer bloggers look down their nose at “throwball” (American Football), rejecting the mainstream sport for the supposed counterculture value of “soccer.” However, I see comparisons in combinations. Please bear with a slight historical summary of “throwball” for European based folks and then we get to my thesis err theme – Montana to Rice and Xavi to Messi, the magic of the pass. Continue reading “Montana to Messi: True Love at First Sight” »

Is Cuauhtemoc Blanco really Steve Nash?

Brian Phillips quasi-liveblog of the US-Mexico game included a few somewhat unflattering descriptions of one aging icon: Cuauhtemoc Blanco. While I secretly hope/believe/suspect Brian was sarcastic, it has to be noted that Blanco is no longer the bunny-hopping, swashbuckling forward of yesteryear. He also does not play defense. Yet, his head-fakes and feigns continue to ripple nets at both the MLS and international level.

Let’s take a look at some of Blanco’s typical passing plays:

And now check out some Steve Nash highlight plays.

At least in my mind, only one question reminds: is Blanco the Nash of MLS, or is Nash the Blanco of the NBA.