Sunday, February 11, 2007

Aristotle and the NBA

Today I was watching part of the Lakers/Cavs game on TV, and during one of the commercial breaks there was an ad for the NBA starring Yao Ming shooting the same shot over and over again. At the end was shown a black screen with this quote from Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics in white lettering: 'Excellence is not an act, but a habit'.

Apparently this is a popular sentiment in the NBA. A quick Google search revealed the following portion of an article in a May, 2006, issue of the Miami Herald:

Miami Heat giant Shaquille O'Neal enjoys giving himself playful nicknames. A few years ago, when he stood alone atop his sport, he collected a trophy as basketball's most valuable player and dubbed himself "The Big Aristotle" while quoting the ancient philosopher.

"We are what we repeatedly do," O'Neal said. "Excellence is not an act but a habit."

O'Neal was not remotely close to excellent Monday night, and the New Jersey Nets dropped him and his Miami Heat teammates like a bad habit. What the Nets repeatedly did during this 100-88 scorching in Game 1 of this second-round playoff series was rain basket after basket upon Miami's baffled, weary head as Heat fans fled the arena early as if being chased by something equal parts hairy and scary.

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