Tiger Woods is no NelsonMandela!
Tiger's father, Earl Woods, wasrecalling recently the day his son, Tiger, met South Africa's formerpresident, Dr. Nelson Mandela: "it was the first time Tiger met ahuman being who was equalto him, who was as powerful as Tiger is." Hello!? Brother Earl, Tiger"equal to" Mandela? Nonsense. I've also met and seen Mandela. TigerWoods can hit a golf ball, alright, but he probably does not know (orrelatively do much) about the fact millions of kids of Africanheritage, White kids and, in fact, among those of his self-styled'Cablinasian' heritage who go to bed hungry, everyday. Those kidswhose parents can afford it, see him on cereals packages. So much forhis impact on their lives; or shall I say breakfast plates. To saythe least, Earl Woods engaged in a scandalous abuse of analogy. Torank Tiger as "equal" to Mandela, in historic and present terms, is amaddening leap in grandiloquence. Hopefully, Earl is embarrassed, andshould be, by his reckless lack of proportion. Tiger is not, and hasnever been, and will never be in Mandela's league. Yet, for those whofind any value in Earl's spin, comparing Tiger to Mandela will belike to comparing Lakers' Kobe Bryant to Martin Luther King, Jr., thelate and esteemed civil rights leader.
By Chido Nwangwu (July 10, 2001)
Special to USAfricaonline.com and USAfrica The Newspaper,Houston.
Tiger's father, Earl Woods, was recalling recently the day his son,Tiger, met South Africa's former president, Dr. Nelson Mandela: "itwas the first time Tiger met a human being who was equal to him, whowas as powerful as Tiger is." Hello!? Brother Earl, Tiger "equal to"Mandela? Nonsense. I've also also met andseen Mandela. Tiger Woods can hit a golf ball, alright, but heprobably does not know (or relatively do much) about the fact thatmillions of kids of African heritage, White kids and, in fact, amongthose of his self-styled 'Cablinasian' heritage who go to bed hungry,everyday. Those kids whose parents can afford it, see him on cerealspackages. So much for his impact on their lives; or shall I saybreakfast plates.
My point? Tiger Woods does not show a significant measure ofsocial concern and progressive values to merit this "equal toMandela" drivel. To say the least, Earl Woods engaged in a scandalousabuse of analogy.
While I agree that that Tiger Woods is a great sports personality,on historical consequence, powerful value and range, to bring such aone-on-one measure of the young man against Mandela's record,Mandela's inscrutable but majestic presence, Mandela's unwavering butgracious and principled fights against all forms of injustice andbigotry, is to engage in privileged banality and simplisticreductionism of history to sheer sports entertainment.
Tosay the least, Mr. Woods engaged in a scandalous abuse of analogy.Worse, he seemed carried away in an unreflective sense of ahistoricalmeasurement and a walk away from reality. Tiger can wow the crowd andadoring fans, seasonally, but Mandela's contributions to mankind, hiswell-deserving mythology and gravitas will endure to the end ofcomprehensible history of mankind.
Shall we say, simply: Tiger Woods is famous, and has shattered anumber golfing records, and carted away a dozen or so trophies.Before Tiger Woods was even born, and for that matter decades beforehis father Earl could play in any major gold club, Mandela wasfighting against apartheid and setting a global standard againstdiscriminations and assorted theologies of hate.
He has starred down and overcome, historically, ethnocentricismand institutionalized racism in his country. More than anything else,he liberated minds. Mandela has stature and global statesmanshipwhich the young Woods' Grand Slam championship and Masters trophiescan never buy or earn.
His cheerleaders are taking their golf game too seriously when hisfather compares Tiger as "equal to him." my goodness! Where's hissense for proportion? I have walked (in the company of WalterIsaacson, managing editor of Time magazine, Rev. Jesse Jackson, andothers in March 1998, during President Bill Clinton's visit to SouthAfrica) inside the particular prison cell where the verydistinguished Mandela was held at an isolated spot at the ignobleRobben island operated by the goons of apartheid. Mandela; I haveseen the statesmanship of Mandela on issues of race relations andnation-building, and especially on forgiveness; I have seen Mandelaspeak his truths firmly and certainly to the face of power andprivilege that it's almost entirely obscene to compare our father,the most credible and respected leader alive today to the competitivetallies made by hitting a milk-colored ball on lush, well-tended golfcourses. Pointedly put, Tiger is a golf phenom, that is, too, aunilinear personality in a particular sport.
To rank Tiger as "equal" to Mandela, in historic and presentterms, is a maddening leap in grandiloquence. Hopefully, Earl isembarrassed, and should be, by this lack of proportion. Tiger is not,and has never been, and will never be in Mandela's league. Yet, forthose who find any value in Earl's spin, comparing Tiger to Mandelawill be like to comparing Lakers' Kobe Bryant to Martin Luther King,Jr., the late and esteemed civil rights leader.
Rather than Mandela and Tiger, it should be a comparison betweenTiger Woods and Michael Jordan. I believe Jordan is a more consummateand complete sports personality. Where do you start: is it Michael'sunique hang time? I believe that hang-time is a rare moment wherephysics and sporting agility and creativity mesh into one consummateshow of skill and grace and power. Or is it Michael's capability andevery opponent's fears that he could slam-dunk 10 points in 4minutes? Don't get me wrong, Kobe is very good and imaginative; butthere's one MJ, the master of he artistic flourish with the ball.
Any comparative example should be between MJ and Tiger (sportsfigures, not world political figures); but even there, MJ was abetter sports artíste and had gazillions more charisma andflair to his game than Tiger. Even as he's retired as an activeplayer, contemplates a return, and currently works as an executiveand basketball coach for the Washington Wizards, Michael Jordanremains one of the greatest icons of sports and moreso the livinglegend of this game of basketball. In my view, as I've statedpreviously at USAfricaonline.com, he's the magic and the magician,all rolled into one. He brings the thrill, as much as he's thethriller, of basketball. Even more than Tiger Woods, MJ played hisgame is such that whenever he plays, he elevated our minds and sportsimaginations. In short, he draws a compelling, anticipatorysuspension of our sports senses to ...what will MJ do this time? Whoelse in basketball can create such animations of our sporting spiritand ululations of the mind? No one else but the Michael Jordan. Thesheer artistry of his magic on basketball courts makes poetry. Hishang-time is a mathematically executed footwork set on a mission toslam, dunk, and you recall the rest.
The fact is, were Michael Jordan a painter, we'd call himMichelangelo. He paints sporting and athletic masterpieces on thecanvas of basketball courts.
Hopefully, I've made the case that comparing Tiger Woods to thetitan of African nationalism Nelson Mandela reflects such a recklesschutzpah and imaginativeness. Earl Woods probably needs to understandMandela's roles and global consequence in the transformation of mindsand measurable movements in the recent history of the world. Mr.Woods' spin that his talented son is "equal" to Mandela reflects amonocular view seeing nothing but sports celebritude; to be specific,golfing celebritude.
He fails to look at the more important angle of historicalconsequence, transformative value, social conscience andmulti-platform value to mankind. He may be forgiven as merelyreflecting the sheer joy of a proud father as opposed to amounting toany serious, contemplative measure of the two individuals: Mandela,being the man; while the Tiger is a gifted and hardworking youngfellow galloping into all the known records in one sport.
Mandela is not just about a single sport or sheer charisma.Mandela, rock ribbed nationalist, visionary, exemplary icon inpersonal dignity, durable boxer, principled symbol for all believersin the inevitable triumph of committed democratic forces over anyarmy/gang of tyranny and oppression in Africa and elsewhere, hasbecome this decade's ultimate measure for statesmanship, leadership,character and will.
To rank Tiger as "equal" to Mandela in historical and presentterms, is a maddening leap into uncertain phantasmagoria andimaginative assumptions.
Long live Nelson Mandela. May your lineage endure! Nelson Mandela, Tribute to the world's political superstar and Lion of Africa These views were stated during an interview CNN's anchor Bernard Shaw and senior analyst Jeff Greenfield had with Mr. Nwangwu on Saturday November 18, 2000 during a special edition of 'Inside Politics 2000.'
Tiger, your best years are ahead, and hopefully, yet to come...
Nwangwu,recipient of the Journalism Excellence award (1997), is Founder andPublisher of USAfricaonline.com (first African-owned U.S.-basedprofessional newspaper to be published on the internet), USAfrica TheNewspaper, NigeriaCentral.comand TheBlack Business Journal. He also serves as anadviser to the Mayor of Houston on international business (Africa)and appears as an analyst on CNN, VOA, NPR, CBS News, NBC and ABCnews affiliates.
InvestigatingMarcRich and his dealswith Nigeria's Oil
Through an elaborate network of carrots and sticks anda willing army of Nigeria's soldiers and some civilians,controversial global dealer and billionaire Marc Rich, literally andpractically, made deals and steals; yes, laughed his way to the banksfrom crude oil contracts, unpaid millions in oil royalties and falsedeclarations of quantities of crude lifted and exported from Nigeriafor almost 25 years. Worse, he lifted Nigeria'soil and shipped same to then embargoed apartheid regime in SouthAfrica. Read Chido Nwangwu's NEWS INVESTIGATION REPORT forPetroGasWorks.com
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These views were stated during an interview CNN's anchor Bernard Shaw and senior analyst Jeff Greenfield had with Mr. Nwangwu on Saturday November 18, 2000 during a special edition of 'Inside Politics 2000.'