Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Does talent come with a mandate to aspire to greatness?

I posted this on my Twitter not long ago, but it's a question that I am truly curious about and would love to hear opinions on.

This is a question that initially occured to me in the context of Rasheed Wallace signing with the Celtics. Or, rather, it didn't occur to me. It occured to Joey over at FreeDarko in this article. You won't mind if I quote for context, will you?

"We already know that history is likely to speak ill of Roscoe. It will harp upon his volatility. It will almost jeer as it calls him an underachiever. And it surely will subsume his contribution to Detroit's recent championship, bundling it with "however" and "if only" while emphasizing the technicals and the meltdowns. Rasheed will go out as grousing, mercurial, unreliable. His enormous talents will only damn him, as the critics, whose voices appear to ring loudest, cite his gifts as evidence of the disappointment he's authored.

Our sports culture so thoroughly disdains "wasting" talent that Rasheed Wallace's career is almost wholly anathema. (...) Rasheed bears some blame, of course. His flare-ups have been counterproductive, and shameful moments like Game 6 against Cleveland three seasons ago strike at whatever sympathy his personality, history, and style encourage. Be moody. Reject that talent carries with it a mandate to aspire for greatness. But don't flout obligations, or punk out in such explosive, consuming fashion."

So, the question is...does it? This doesn't just go for sports. It can easily be transposed to anything, but our discussing will naturally lean toward acting.

If one is talented, what is it to "waste" those talents? And why does it gall us so to see it?

I don't expect much discussion, but I do think it's a topic that warrants it.

1 comment:

Dennis Frymire said...

Great question. Let me work on an answer.