Wednesday, June 15, 2011

He'll never be Michael Jordan

Thanks to Tal Ben Yehuda for helping in writing this article


In 1984 the Chicago Bulls chose Michael Jordan in the draft and North Carolina's star began his NBA career taking the first steps to become one of the greatest players this game has had. It took Jordan seven years to reach the NBA finals and become a champion. Seven years of hard work, patience, trust and faithfulness towards the Chicago organization.

His first years at the professional level were hard, no discounts or short cuts were given for this great player. In his rookie season he was voted to the All – Star game but was boycotted by the older players who felt a rookie does not deserve that much attention. In the 1986 – 87 season Jordan already won the MVP award though his Bulls were once again swept by the great Boston Celtics. After that, came three consecutive losses to the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals. Until 1990 – 91, when Jordan's Bulls took revenge and swept the Pistons, reaching the NBA finals for their first time and winning the title against Magic Johnson's L.A. Lakers. Once the title door was open Jordan did not stop winning again and again with great season and playoff performances, transforming the Chicago Bulls into the best team in the 90s.

Jordan's greatness does not come only from the titles he won, the points he scored and the incredible stats he achieved during his career. His greatness comes from his winning personality, from his game vision and performance. Jordan never choked and never let his ego lose a game. He had the ability of making his teammates play better and had the ability to see the open man for the killer shot, as it was with Paxon in 1993 or Steve Kerr against the Utah Jazz in 1997 (Just watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2BlOTeoZVE).

Since Jordan retired from the game, the NBA desperately searched for the new super hero and in the process the media created false prophets who made the NBA's game super athletic, extreme showtime swagger, but little basketball. However, basketball remained a team game and the Spurs, the Pistons and the Celtics demonstrated that defense and team basketball leads to titles, despite the lack of showtime. Even Kobe and Shaquille's Lakers needed team effort to win the title, despite these two great individuals.

Nevertheless, show business is sometimes more important than the game. And in came Lebron, directly from high school basketball to the NBA in the number one draft pick in 2003 for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He quickly demonstrated that he was a fantastic athlete and basketball player with incredible stats and outstanding moves. He did not suffer any old player boycotts in his All Star appearance, rather the opposite. He was spoiled by everyone and in short time everyone was talking about the new Jordan and sentences such as "the best player ever" or "King James" were heard worldwide.

In sports however, like in life, short cuts are generally dangerous and do not bring positive results. Contrary to Jordan, Lebron showed no patience and above all no fidelity. As soon as he got the chance he ran out from Cleveland in order to quickly win a title which Dwayne Wade's Miami was offering. Cleveland's fans whose idolatry towards James had no limits and forgave him for continuing losses in playoffs, choking once and again, saw how their false king was moving away, pursuing a title instead of working hard for it.

Everything was prepared to crown "King James" in Miami and nothing seemed easier than playing the Dallas Mavericks in the finals. An old school team with a 38 year old guard, 32 year old star Dirk Nowitzki, and a great coach who played great defense and made this team believe that group effort pays off. Jordan's hard work took seven years, and in the meantime eight years have gone by for Lebron and still no title.

I have no doubt that Lebron James will win his title and there is no doubt he is a fantastic athlete and basketball player, but he's no Jordan and King James' kingdom is still empty. No matter how many titles he'll win or points he'll score, he'll never be Michael Jordan. So, congratulations Dallas in teaching one more lesson in sports and to Cleveland fans: continue celebrating.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Quiero donar mi centavo

El sábado pasado salí con mi mujer y mi hijo a pasear y decidimos llevarlo al pequeño parque de diversiones que hay en Bilu, cerca de Rehovot. Luego de un par de horas en el trencito y los autitos (vaya uno a convencer a un niño de año y medio que más de tres vueltas es mucho) decidimos volver a casa. A la salida del lugar paramos en una estación de nafta a comprar algo para tomar ya que mi cabeza daba más vueltas que el trencito. No sé si fue el efecto de los juegos o el hecho de que mi mujer y mi hijo en menos de dos segundos ya dormían en el auto, pero al salir de la estación comprendí como estaba siendo robado en todos estos años. El precio de la bebida que compré indicaba $8.99, pero obviamente el empleado me indicó que valía $9 y pague $9.

En ese momento la calesita comenzó a funcionar en mi cabeza y empecé a calcular cuánto ganan por cada centavo que nos roban. Y en cada vuelta le sumaba un cero más a la cuenta de centavos, y unos pesitos más a la cuenta del negocio. Al llegar a casa mi mareo era peor, pero el enfado ante el robo descarado era más fuerte que los efectos del parque infantil. Esa misma tarde fui al centro comercial de Ashdod a comprar un par de cositas al supermercado y un pincel para barnizar una mesa de madera. Como si fuera un conjuro que me perseguía, el precio del pincel marcaba claramente $19.99 y nuevamente otro negocio volvió a robarme mi centavo.

No hace falta ser un experto en marketing o en psicología para darse cuenta de cómo es el juego. Ese centavo hace toda la diferencia en la compra, el precio no es nueve o veinte, es menos, y eso nos hace comprar o sentirnos bien en la compra. Es verdad que de la misma forma que la compañía me gana un shekel por cada cien productos, yo también podría ahorrarme un shekel si compro cien productos a $0.99 en vez de a $1. Pero yo sólo quería una bebida y un pincel no cien. De regreso a casa, con la calesita dando vueltas nuevamente en mi cabeza se me ocurrieron las siguientes dos propuestas para que ustedes elijan:

Primera. La ley en defensa del consumidor debería prohibir que se marquen precios que no permitan retornar el vuelto al comprador. Es decir que todos los precios deben ser redondos ya que no hay centavos para devolver. En una versión más drástica, si fijan un precio con centavos, el redondeo debe ser siempre hacia abajo; si cuesta $8.99 entonces se debe pagar $8.90 y no $9.

Segunda. Cada negocio por ley debe adoptar a comienzos del año una institución que haga trabajo social de entre una lista de instituciones publicadas por el Ministerio de Asuntos Sociales. Todos los centavos obtenidos por fijar precios que son imposibles de dar vuelto deben ir al final del año a esta institución. Hagan el mismo cálculo inútil que hice yo el sábado y van a ver cuánto ganan estos negocios robando un centavo por compra, dinero que iría ahora a gente que realmente lo necesita.

Mi preferencia es por la segunda propuesta, que se queden con mi centavo pero que este ayude para algo y no para engrosar la cuenta de Tshuva, Ofer o alguna otra de las diez familias.