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WHAT DO YOU THINK?
What would an eleven do? What would you have done in a similar situation?
By Greg Shepard
Published: Winter 2000

Most people are elevens in some areas some of the time. Most people fall short of being an eleven some of the time. No one can be an eleven in all areas all of the time but the goal is to try. Like a sculptor, an eleven chisels away imperfections by making goal choices and through awareness.
An important part of our Be An Eleven concept is to discuss current issues. Discussing issues helps an individual formulate a value system. This value system is personal. You should always be left with the gift of choice. Let's discuss some issues and then tell me what you think.
Many coaches and schools are now using this discussion format in classes, advisory periods or even in an athletic practice. Perhaps character is being developed. No one should ever foist their value system upon another, but I want to know what you think. What would an eleven do? What would you have done in a similar situation?
The following are three stories that made national news. Let's discuss them and then be prepared to tell me what you think.
Basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was arrested for investigation of driving under the influence of marijuana. Police pulled him over for speeding and then smelled the drug coming from an open window of the car. Kareem failed the field sobriety test. He was then taken to a local jail. This was the second time in two years Kareem has been in trouble over marijuana. The former Lakers star says he uses marijuana to alleviate migraine headaches that have bothered him for years.
What do you think? Would an eleven smoke Marijuana and drive? Is using the drug to alleviate headaches a valid excuse? Is there a difference between using Marijuana in the privacy of your home and using it while you drive? Has Kareem been an eleven in many other ways?


Bobby Knight was fired after an incident involving Indiana Freshman Kent Harvey. Coach Knight and Harvey came across each other at the Assembly Hall on Indiana's campus. Harvey was there to pick up football tickets. Kent Harvey greeted Coach Knight with, "Hey, what's up, Knight?" That prompted Coach Knight to grab his arm and admonish him.
Coach Knight reportedly said, "Son, my name is not Knight to you. It's Coach Knight or it's Mr. Knight. I don't call people by their last name, and neither should you." Harvey's stepfather, a long-time Bobby Knight critic, took action and complained. This in turn became a huge media event. Harvey and his two brothers who were with him at the time even received death threats.
Coach Knight was the subject of hundreds of articles. Most, that I read, were negative towards coach Knight. I did not read or see anything which discussed the actions of Kent Harvey. Let's do it and then decide just what you think.
Does Harvey have a right to say, "Hey, what's up, Knight?" Is that an eleven way to address a coach? Would an eleven give out a threat of any kind? Should the stepfather reprimand his stepson? Should Harvey apologize to Coach Knight? I asked my 14-year old son, Mark, if he would ever address a coach as did Harvey. He said, "No, dad, never." "Why not?" "Because dad, it is disrespectful."
If Mark had done that to any coach, I would have been very disappointed. I would say, "Would an eleven apologize." Mark would answer. "Yes."
I know this is like being a Monday morning quarterback but here is what could have been said during the incident. "Hey, what's up, Knight?" "Hi, what's your name?" "Kent." "Hi Kent, you a Hoosier fan?" "Yes." "Hey, good talking to you Kent. Oh, by the way, my friends call me, Coach Knight. Hope you'll be mine." Then Coach Knight shakes his hand and says goodbye. Surely, Kent's disrespectful greeting had happened to Coach Knight before. Construct a plan of action to common things that get under your skin. Act don't react.
Finally, what about this scenario? The stepfather asks his stepson to apologize. Kent does and says, "Coach Knight, I'm sorry." Then Coach Knight says, "Maybe I over reacted. I'm sorry." Kent says, with a smile, "No harm, no foul." What do you think?


Allen Iverson Says ‘Sorry' For Rap Song.
Last October, Allen Iverson apologized to gays and women who might be offended by the lyrics on his new rap album. He also begged kids not to buy his album if it might lead them to violence. What Do You Think?
Now, listen carefully. Here is Allen's apology, "If individuals of the gay community and women of the world are offended by any of the material in my upcoming album, let the record show that I wish to extend a profound apology." He has already be criticized by newspapers and radio shows although critics say Iverson's rap lyrics are typical. Here is my question: If the album is not out yet and you are profoundly sorry, why not pull it before it comes out? Does he need the money? What do you think?
If the lyrics are average, does an eleven strive to be average? Says Iverson, "If a kid thinks that I promote violence by the lyrics of my song, I beg them not to buy it or listen to it. I want kids to dream and to develop new dreams." Gee Allen, if this is really so, why don't you rap about dreams and achieving dreams? You could really help a lot of those kids who come from your background of the projects. You could be a Dream Keeper. You could help others play their song. You could be an eleven.
Allen says his album is only for those over twenty-one. But in reality, a great percentage of those who buy rap music are kids under the age of twenty-one. Many will buy it just because an NBA player is singing it. Unwitting parents may allow this one rap song in their home because it is performed by an athlete. Here is one of the lyrics, "Man enough to pull a gun, be man enough to squeeze it." The song ends with the lyrics played over the sounds of a gun being cocked and fired.
Does Allen have the right to choose to do this kind of an album? Of course! Does he have the right to make this album without being arrested? Of course, it's called freedom of speech. Does Allen have a moral responsibility to lead in a positive direction? Is this a different story? What do you think? Has he put some of his teammates and 76er's organization in an uncomfortable situation? Are the above lyrics a long way from being an eleven? What do you think?


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Bobby Knight
Allen Iverson

Return to Winter 2000 Articles


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