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Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 at 5:28 pm  |  24 responses

SLAM homework due by Thursday 8 PM

Don’t let Mr. Rubenstein down.

By Sam Rubenstein / @samrubenstein

This is a real assignment I gave a few sections of my students today. For one group it was classwork, for another it was homework. ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A 9th GRADER? Prove it.

Name: _____________________________

9th Grade ELA – Mr. Rubenstein

LeBron James returns to Cleveland – Setting and Opinionated “Facts” activity

 

CHARACTERS

Erik Spoelstra – The current coach of the Miami Heat

Mike Brown – The former coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was fired after LeBron and the Cavs lost to Boston in the playoffs last year.

Pat Riley – The President of the Miami Heat. He is a legendary former coach who has won 5 championships. As team president, he signed LeBron James and Chris Bosh and re-signed Dwyane Wade this past summer.

VOCABULARY

Narcisissism – fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity.

 

Belittled – to regard or portray as less impressive or important than appearances indicate. To minimize, decry, deprecate, deride, scorn, dismiss.

 

Meticulous – taking or showing extreme care about minute details; precise; thorough.

 

Scapegoat – a person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place.

 

In the past we have discussed fact vs. opinion. You will read the column King James wants Spoelstra to bow to him, which was written by the columnist Adrian Wojnarowski, who is paid to have STRONG opinions.

 

Make a list of 5 of his opinions that are presented as facts:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

 

 

What is Wojnarowski’s opinion of LeBron? Is it fair? Why or why not? Explain.


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  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    My man.

  • http://stapledesign.com Spaceship Jay

    Ha! Let’s see who actually bothers to DO this assignment.. Without making total asses of themselves.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    You all better do it or Im going to have Sam spank you with a ruler. Seriously, if people are going to prattle on about this bullsh*t then this should at least force them to present their arguments in a respectable manner.

  • 23-DOOM-50

    Name: DOOM
    9th Grade ELA – Mr. Rubenstein

    LeBron James returns to Cleveland – Setting and Opinionated “Facts” activity

    CHARACTERS

    Erik Spoelstra – The current coach of the Miami Heat

    Mike Brown – The former coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was fired after LeBron and the Cavs lost to Boston in the playoffs last year.

    Pat Riley – The President of the Miami Heat. He is a legendary former coach who has won 5 championships. As team president, he signed LeBron James and Chris Bosh and re-signed Dwyane Wade this past summer.

    VOCABULARY

    Narcisissism – fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity.

    Belittled – to regard or portray as less impressive or important than appearances indicate. To minimize, decry, deprecate, deride, scorn, dismiss.

    Meticulous – taking or showing extreme care about minute details; precise; thorough.

    Scapegoat – a person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place.

    In the past we have discussed fact vs. opinion. You will read the column King James wants Spoelstra to bow to him, which was written by the columnist Adrian Wojnarowski, who is paid to have STRONG opinions.

    Make a list of 5 of his opinions that are presented as facts:

    1. Mike Brown changed his system to humor LeBron James

    2. LeBron is turning wade against Spoelstra

    3. That Wade is not standing up for Spoelstra

    4. James is trying to distract people from his return to Cleveland

    5. I don’t know

    What is Wojnarowski’s opinion of LeBron? Is it fair? Why or why not? Explain.’

    He hates on Lebron for no reason

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Why couldn’t I have had a teacher like Sam in 9th grade?!

  • http://www.youtube.com/tripledouble Triple Double

    That’s pretty cool. 9th graders are about 14 right?

  • arthur

    So many options to choose from

  • arthur

    Easy choices:

    1. “Spoelstra isn’t running from LeBron, but running at him.”

    2. “To James, the coach isn’t there to mold him into the team dynamic. He’s there to serve him.”

    3.”The fundamental problem for Spoelstra isn’t that James doesn’t respect coaches – he doesn’t respect people.”

    4.”Wade’s finding it much easier to align himself with James’ coward act than do the right thing.”

    5.”it’s clear James is influencing Wade.”

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com Michael NZ

    Ha! Triple Double. I have no idea how old a 9th grader is either. 9th year at school? So yeah, 14? Am I smarter than a 14 year old? Doubtful. Wojnarowski is obsessed, I know that much.

  • http://slamonline.com Sam Rubenstein

    Yes the ages are mostly 14 and 15 year olds. The most common opinion so far is that the media always “gives neck” to the people they cover.

  • http://joshwritesthis.com JoshB

    I’m only going to answer the last question since the five statements have already been answered several times.

    What is Wojnarowski’s opinion of LeBron? Is it fair? Why or why not? Explain.

    He thinks he’s a narcissist (“would’ve preferred to have been truthful about James’ narcissism”). He believes he is a “[joker] of the highest order. [Who cares] so little about anyone but [himself]. He refuses to accept responsibility for failure (“he doesn’t need to be accountable, that there’s an easy fall guy”). “[James] doesn’t respect people,” etc. etc. The point is, he is none too enamored by LeBron James.

    Is it fair? Probably not. It’s obvious that Wajnarowski hasn’t spent much time speaking with James himself, instead relying on hearsay from “league sources,” who are most likely relying on hearsay themselves.

    That said, my personal point of view is even further away. I can no better critique his opinion of LeBron than he can make said opinion, because I don’t know LeBron any better.

    The reason I’m drawn into this is because I’m a sociologist. The fervor surrounding LeBron is … well, it’s just interesting to me. A man who gets payed millions of dollars to play a game and is called the best by everyone around him for years has a bit of an ego? Really?

    That’s what everyone expects and, in some cases, LeBron seems to deliver. The big question is how much of LeBron’s ego is genuine and how much is projected. People at slam here have had some interaction with him from a young age, so I’m really curious to hear your opinion about it.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    I think ill throw away the homework assignment and go turn an apple into a bong.

  • http://www.twitter.com/HurstySYD Hursty

    Ha, awesome Sam.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osbonre

    Sam is the effing best.

  • http://sdfklfds.com Jukai

    Make a list of 5 of his opinions that are presented as facts:
    1.Woj comes right out and says that Lebron planted a major ESPN story with the help of his business partner, Maverick Carter. This idea came from an article written by Dwyer, who inferred that Maverick Carter was the single source for the ESPN piece (although the author of said ESPN story, Chris Boussard, wrote it as if there were multiple anonymous sources). Dwyer’s writing style made it appear as though he was only half-serious, and had no real knowledge that Carter was the unnamed source. Woj ran with it as if it was pure fact, without any shred of evidence to prove that Chris’ source really was Maverick Carter. The source could have been Gloria James, it could have been Dwyane Wade, it could have been Carlos Arroyo or it could have been Pat Riley himself. It could have come from a janitor watching everything going on in practice. There’s no evidence at all that it was Maverick Carter. Yet, Woj speaks of his as if it was fact. As the article goes on, this becomes a common theme.
    =———————————————-=
    2. Woj reports that Wade has been ‘turned’ by Lebron and that this is what caused Wade to release the negative statement he made about his coach, Spolestra. It is certainly fair to speculate that Wade has decided to side with Lebron, because after all, it was just months ago that Wade was praising Spolestra’s coaching ability and declaring that he was the ‘man for the job.’ However, it’s equally open to interpretation that Wade is upset with how little Spoelstra has worked on Miami’s offense and how little Spoelstra has taken blame for the Miami losses (deciding instead to blame chemistry and a lack of defensive hustle, which falls squarely on the players). Woj writes that it is obvious Wade is being influenced by Lebron, going as far to use the word ‘clear’ to show Lebron’s influence over Wade. There is nothing in the article to suggest that Wade may actually be angry at Spoelstra without any influence by Lebron. It is simply a case of speculation journalism stated as fact.
    =———————————————-=
    3. To further his speculation of point two, Woj makes it seem like many people close to Wade are upset that he has ‘betrayed’ Spo by siding with James. Yet, in order to back this conclusion up, Woj only has one quote from an ‘old assistant coach of the Miami Heat’ who could have possibly worked for Spo. Judging from what Woj uses to back up his point, there is only one person on the planet who is upset with Wade. Yet, Woj is of the opinion that many people close to Wade are upset. With only one unnamed source, the rest is simply speculation.
    =———————————————-=
    4.Woj’s attempt to make James seem disrespectful is near ridiculous, but because he is a great writer, it’s still unbelievably convincing, as seen by the majority of the commentators on SLAM after this story broke. However, the examples are flimsy at best: Lebron yelling at a ‘renowned’ chef for serving him cold fries is a downright silly example. First off, how would a normal person react if they were served cold fries at a fast food chain? One would probably go to the counter and complain that they were served cold food. How in the world is that scenario different from what Lebron did? Not to mention, ‘renowned’ itself is an opinionated statement, yet written as fact. I’m sure Colangelo didn’t hire the ‘Iron Chefs’ to serve the team fries. The second piece of evidence is easily the most ridiculous part of Woj’s article: he makes it seem like a player throwing his sweaty jersey on the floor is unusual. This is common in NBA practices and even after some games. There are people hired to pick up the jerseys; it is akin to leaving a food tray at your table because you know someone is paid to clean it up. None of these examples, to me, paint Lebron as a disrespectful person. Yet Woj writes as if these facts make Lebron look horrendous. All of Lebron’s teammates have gushed about what a great person he is. Big Z followed Lebron because he enjoyed to play with Lebron, and he enjoyed to be around Lebron. This opinion that Woj is trying to push seems utterly out of bounds. They are simply negative opinions about Lebron’s behavior, written in such a way that make it seem like Lebron being a disrespectful person is factually correct.
    =———————————————-=
    5. To close, Woj states that Erik Spolestra has no fear of losing his job, while Lebron is scared that someone is finally standing up to him. Ignoring the fact that Woj states in this article that Mike Brown never stood up to Lebron, while in several articles last year Woj repeated that Lebron gave up against the Celtics last year when he had a disagreement with Mike Brown, there is simply nothing tangible to support the article’s closing assessment. Several different news agencies have reported that Spo is worried about his position, and that his behavior towards his players (the yelling, the calling out) is distinctly different than how he has treated his team in the past. While one could debate that Spo cannot simply sit Lebron or Wade for lack of effort so he is forced to raise his voice, it is an unusual, out-of-place behavior that seems to point that Spoelstra is beginning to worry about his job security due to his inability to get the best out of his three star players. Woj’s closing statement is pure speculation, a summary of an article with very little citations to back up his ‘facts,’ along with lots of leading sentences and improper pluralization to make the reader believe things are worse than they actually are.
    =———————————————-=
    =———————————————-=
    =———————————————-=
    What is Wojnarowski’s opinion of LeBron? Is it fair? Why or why not? Explain.
    Wojnarowski’s opinion of Lebron is negative, to the point of unbelievability. At first, it was semi-refreshing to hear a voice that did not go with the general opinion, the opinion of a media that believed that Lebron could do no wrong. Nowadays, with how disliked Lebron is, Woj finds himself competing with a plethora of writings who wish to write scathing articles on Lebron. To still remain relevant, Woj has begun over-speculating and over-spinning every article he writes when discrediting Lebron. He treats his peers’ articles like a buffet; he takes things he likes about them and utterly ignores other details which he disagrees with. After all, Woj took from the Dwyer article about how Maverick Carter was the source in Chris Boussard’s ESPN piece, yet ignored the the major point of Dwyer’s writing, which was that Spolestra’s offense was legitimately frustrating the superstars on the Miami Heat. He nitpicks everything that puts Lebron in a bad light, and if anyone agrees with Lebron, even former Finals NBA MVP Dwyane Wade, they too are ostracized in Woj’s mind and therefore must be scrutinized. Because Woj never admits that what he writes is speculative journalism, the reader is lead to believe that what Woj writes is fact. Even worse, there are those out there who believe because he is not refuted, he must be correct (citation: Myles Brown, ‘Do Not Serve LeBron James Cold Fries’). This logic is inherently wrong. There are plenty of tabloids and celebrity magazines which report utterly false stories everyday. Most are ignored and never refuted. It is simply not in a celebrity or athletes best interest to refute everything that a writer says. After all, all the writing is doing is speculating— even though he writes it as those it is fact. Wojnarowski is the king of this, the king of viewing Lebron in an unfair light.

  • http://sdfklfds.com Jukai

    I hope, once it gets out of moderation, you enjoy my small thesis, Myles. I pretended it was my own homework and wrote it with you in mind.
    Thanks for giving me a soapbox, Sam.

  • http://slamonline.com AlbertBarr

    Slow clap for Jukai

  • http://twitter.com/BeezKneezy LA Huey

    Cool teacher.

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com Michael NZ

    Jukai: woah.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    Woj may be overly acidic and clearly biased, but he’s also a fantastic award winning journalist and furthermore, a well sourced reporter. Its beyond presumptuous to think he takes his cues from Kelly Dwyer, good as he may be. Its far more believable that two men came to similar conclusions based on their sources and intuition. The reason to speculate that Mav leaked that story is because thats been standard operating procedure for the James camp for quite some time. I hardly said that because Woj hasn’t been refuted, he isnt correct. I stated and still believe that Woj is not committing slander unless someone provides evidence that he is fabricating these stories. yahoo! isnt some fly by night operation and Woj isnt some blogger ranting from his mothers basement. His articles are widely circulated and greatly shape Brons public perception. If he were an outright fraud, believe he wouldve been taken to task by now, either by his employer whose reputation hes diminishing or by James’ people for the “slander” hes committed.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Myles – You must present your arguments/views within the directed form. Fail.

  • http://sdfklf.com Jukai

    Myles: that response appears wrong to me on so many levels.
    First off, please tell me what awards Woj has won because I’m not familiar with them. I believe he got critical acclaim for the books he writes, not his journalism. He also is being sued for the books he hasn’t written. How telling.
    Secondly, I never said that Woj has committed “slander” in my response, and in this day and age it is REALLY hard to prove slander. Don’t you see all those People! magazines on the stands at the grocery store? Do you really believe Angelina and Brad Pitt fight every day, hate their kids and are on the brink of divorce at every issue? In the USA, burden of proof over falls on the claimant who has to prove that the article was both MALICIOUS while simultaneously proving it never happened. It is very hard to do, and most celebrities/athletes simply only go after major cases.
    So, if Lebron goes to court because Woj called him a dbag, Lebron has to go to court and explain how it has hurt Lebron’s image (and also prove it wasn’t his other actions, like The Decision) while simultaneously explaining that everyone throws towels on the ground and gets angry when someone f’s up their food: it simply isn’t worth it, especially because American courts start holding it against you the more you’re in court. The media is too well protected, and with even a shred of proof, journalists can spin things HOWEVER they want it.
    And as a journalist, you know this.
    Also, I believe he took a cue from Dwyer because he LINKS TO THE FREAKING ARTICLE. So he’s either taking a cue from Dwyer or placing the blame on Dwyer incase the Mav Carter thing turns out to be blatantly false. I guess, considering how snaky Woj is, it’s probably the latter.

  • http://sdfklf.com Jukai

    If this was Bill Simons, everyone here would be screaming bloody murder.

  • http://sdfklf.com Jukai

    I also forgot to mention that while Woj claims that Spoelstra wasn’t sweating his job, Broussard wrote an entire article about how he thought Spoelstra is clearly shaken.
    So, do you believe Woj or the ACTUAL award winning journalist Broussard? Hooooohum.

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