You know those fluff pieces in newspapers that try to persuade you that an athlete’s reputation is undeserved and that he’s really a good guy? This isn’t one of those. If Lee Jenkins was trying to paint OJ Mayo in a good light, he absolutely fails in today’s New York Times article on the kid.
The article relates how a OJ Mayo came to sign with USC and it doesn’t exactly portray USC coach Tim Floyd in a flattering light either.
When Floyd answered the phone, he heard a teenager’s voice on the other end: “Coach, this is O. J. Mayo. I’d like to come to your school.”
Mayo had not been on an official campus visit. He had not seen the new arena, the Galen Center. He did not know anything about the current roster.
“I want to be different,” Floyd recalls Mayo telling him. “I want to leave a mark.”
Mayo’s mind was apparently made up. He was already looking ahead. “How many scholarships do we have for next year?” he asked.
Floyd stammered. “After this,” he said, “I guess we have three.”
Mayo went through the priority list in his mind. “Don’t worry about recruiting,” he said. “I’ll take care of it.”
Before Floyd hung up, he asked one more time for Mayo’s cellphone number. “No,” Mayo said. “I’ll call you.
Now this is after one of Mayo’s friends had visited Floyd earlier in the day and told him that OJ wanted to market himself before going to the NBA and that the reason OJ wanted to go to USC was because LA gave him the best possible platform for doing so.
Basketball phenoms today are too worried about becoming a global icon and marketing and shoe deals, all before they play a second of pro ball. Sure Michael Jordan is the most recognized athlete in the world but he played for the love of the game and then everything else (colognes, clothing, Hanes, Space Jam) followed. OJ Mayo is more worried about his endorsement deals than he is about the game.
Now every sycophant and parasite in his entourage will just tell him that we’re just hatin’ but you can make a lot of money and not come off as an arrogant punk.
By the way, OJ’s first visit to USC? There was a documentary film crew following him. Of course.