Ray Ratto

Being singled out by Trump should be among Curry's greatest achievements

Being singled out by Trump should be among Curry's greatest achievements

So I guess the Warriors don’t need to have that White House meeting any more. And who’d have guessed it – the reason is that noted Trotskyite, troublemaker and rouser of rabbles, Stephen Curry.

Donald Trump withdrew the mythical White House invitation to the Warriors – again, in a tweet, where he does his most hilarious thinking – and singled out Curry of all people as a reason worth mentioning.

Curry. The quietest, most mild-mannered of public figures, the one who seeks the most placid path of daily existence, seemingly the most traditional of family men. He’s the problem.

I’d say you can’t make this stuff up, but you clearly don’t have to.

I don’t live Curry’s life – a fact which I am sure he regards as a very good thing – but I would like to think that being called out by this President is among his five greatest achievements.

He can arrange his family, his two championships, his college career and his friendships above it in any order he wishes, but having an invitation to the place that guy lives withdrawn in a tweet should be in his top five.

The invitation was mostly a conversational media gambit, in fairness. Nobody ever thought the Warriors would be invited, or that they would have gone if they had been. You could not have gotten Steve Kerr or David West to go at gunpoint, just to name two.

But you also could not have gotten Trump to stand next to the Warriors. Theirs was and is a symbiotic relationship built on utter revulsion.

But the fun part here is choosing Curry as the fulcrum. It’s as if one of his advisers thought Curry was the weak link that would make the Warriuors feel bad about themselves.

Except that we pretty much know that Trump doesn’t submit his tweets to vetting.

In fairness, though, Trump did do us all a favor. We no longer have to speculate on what might happen if a mythical invitation was proffered. We mercifully got to the end-game because the President doesn’t shut up. And because the Warriors can’t hide their nauseated faces when the topic comes up.

But Trump’s involvement might have slightly improved the team’s street cred by being the first team to be aggressively not invited by the White House to honor a championship since the Reagan administration. The Warriors may cause a lot of people’s teeth to grind for being so Warrior-y, but they sassed back the most sassable President since Richard Nixon. That counts for something.

But Stephen Curry singled out as the leading Bolshevik in the crew – now that’s funny. His family must be incredibly proud.

49ers achieve rare feat done just 40 times since 1940

49ers achieve rare feat done just 40 times since 1940

This is how far the 49ers came in one evening: They played well enough to convince their fans that the officials screwed them.
 
I am not here to take a side on this. You play in a league with indecipherable rules, you take your chances with the officiating. Besides, if you want to avoid getting whistled out of a game, don’t give up 41 points.

Worse, don’t score 39 and lose. That’s happened only 40 times since 1940 out of nearly 15,000 games, so that’s an achievement in and of itself. 
 
But the complaining is a sign that, for the first time since 2013 perhaps, the 49ers mattered enough to their shrinking audience to haul out the old “Jeff Triplette did us dirty” meme. 
 
That is significant progress in a non-technical way, because as the shots of the stands have showed us, the modern 49er fan is more used to walking (as in out) than talking (as in smack). They are not by and large interested in the gestation period -- they want to see the baby.
 
And, rarely for the NFL, the 49ers’ greatest eras did not come with long rebuilds. They happened almost in a flash. Bill Walsh was 2-14 and 6-10 before the heavens opened in 1981. Jim Harbaugh went 13-3 after eight non-winning/stagnant seasons which didn’t come close to being an actual structured rebuild. 
 
In other words, around here, patience is for saps, the journey is not entertaining on its own, and progress is declared only upon arrival.
 
The real world, though, is different, and though everything about Thursday’s loss speaks to advancement here/regression there and has in no way a relationship to the 12-9 loss to Seattle a week ago, blind officials are a nice cheap way to pretend that there is. Nothing is more satisfying for a chronic loser than to say, “We would have won if those thieving bastards blah-blah-blah.”
 
It is also a dose of empty calories, but if you can’t have something nourishing, a bag of candy will do in a pinch.
 
In any event, the 49ers are 0-3, but good enough to moan that they can be unlucky or cruelly treated. It may not be progress inside the building, but it is outside, and judging by the sea of empty stadium seats, the 49ers need all that they can get. 

In retirement, Andre Ward will have days when he desperately wants back in

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AP

In retirement, Andre Ward will have days when he desperately wants back in

Andre Ward finally did what he said he would do – retire before the sport of boxing retired him.

Now we’ll see if boxing intends to leave him be.

Ward announced his retirement via Twitter Thursday morning, seemingly ending the career of one of the world’s greatest fighters in the elusive pound-for-pound category. He now plans to get into media, which is a battle of its own (ask Teddy Atlas when he talks with Stephen A. Smith how rewarding that can be).

But there’s that word “seemingly.” Boxers have a greater incidence of unretirement than any other sport because they miss what they do, they are typically surrounded by people who like the paydays the boxer’s fights provide, the unpaid tax debts some incur never go away, and sometimes they just don’t have anything better to do.

And then one day they find out they can’t do anything at all because of the punishments that come with violent sport, and then they become either tragedies or cautionary tales. Almost nobody gets to 95 like Jake LaMotta did.

Ward has said repeatedly that would never happen to him, that he was in control of his destiny and would remain so. And you want to believe him, because he would be that rarest of boxing stories – the unmitigated success.

It will be his toughest fight, however, far tougher than Sergei Kovalev. Boxing has this weird thrall upon its practitioners that can prove irresistible, if not outright necessary, and Ward will have to train as hard to repel its call as he did when he was neck-deep in it. It will not be easy, and he will have days when he desperately wants back in.

But retired fighters typically make poor unretired fighters, and the more one unretires, the worse the future becomes. So Andre Ward has to win this one more than any other fight.

And maybe it will be an easy victory for him – but it is a victory that will have to be achieved every day, almost like fighting alcoholism. Boxing is bad for you, and though it has been good for Andre Ward (as far as anyone knows), being an ex-boxer will be even better. He has done what needs to be done, and now he needs to do something else, one that doesn’t require putting his body and brain at risk for our amusement.

If this can be done, Andre Ward can achieve it. But neither he nor anyone else should think it will be any easier than understanding an Adalaide Byrd scorecard. Post-boxing will be difficult and rewarding business. All he has to do is master it every day for the rest of his life.