Commentary

The things for which I'm thankful

Originally Published: November 24, 2009
By Scoop Jackson | Page 2

As corny as it sounds, there is a reason for Thanksgiving that goes beyond food and mediocre football games. Sometimes it's important to recognize the things we really should be thankful for.

• I'm thankful for the Saints. Thankful for 10-0. Thankful for what they've been able to bring back to New Orleans: a spirit once lost. Thankful for the resurrection.

• I'm thankful for the fact that on Dec. 5, we'll see the defining game of the college football season. I'm thankful that, with prayer, the BCS will follow that game with a bowl game between TCU and Cincinnati.

• I'm thankful for the reality of a Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight next year.

• I'm thankful for Ray Rice, Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren Sproles. I'm thankful for the return of Earl Boykins and for all the other guys who were told they were too small to be successful or find a place at the professional level.

• I'm thankful for the arrival of Brandon Jennings.

• And for the arrival of Wesley Johnson.

• I'm thankful for NBATV. For the NFL Network and the RedZone channel. For ESPN's 30 for 30. I'm thankful for all Bud Greenspan's documentaries.

[+] EnlargeBrandon Jennings
Gary Dineen/NBAE/Getty ImagesBrandon Jennings dropped 55 on the Warriors. We're thankful we get to watch for years to come.

• I'm thankful a minority or a woman didn't do what Bud Adams did, because it would have been received totally differently because of race or gender.

• I'm thankful for "Skins & Shirts" by Ernie Barnes and "Rising" by Bua and Neil Leifer's iconic shot of Muhammad Ali standing over Sonny Liston. And to have them all hanging in my office.

• I'm thankful that there might be two undefeated teams and a one-loss team in the NFL's final four. I'm thankful Randy Moss went back to No. 81. And the Yanks went back to No. 1.

• I'm thankful there are still storytellers in sports. I'm thankful there is still room to question decisions made by those we consider geniuses. I'm also thankful the roles aren't reversed so that athletes get to write stories or report on us.

• I'm thankful for Lewis and Reed, Mathis and Freeney, Nash and Amare … and Ernie, Kenny and Charles.

• I'm thankful for living in an age in which I've gotten to see and appreciate Jordan, Tiger, Ali, Jerry Rice and Pelé. Got to witness Julius Erving in the ABA, Len Bias in college, every game in Walter Payton's pro career, Wayne Gretzky in his prime, Bernard King in a Knicks uniform, Roger Federer at the U.S. Open and the Red Sox winning the World Series … twice.

• I'm thankful for George Karl calling me the black Bill Simmons two weeks ago and for meeting Jim Brown last week.

• I'm thankful that ESPN is embracing the World Cup.

• I'm thankful for every Gary Smith story ever written and every Howard Bryant story he's about to write. I'm thankful for Rick Reilly's compassion and humor, and to The New York Times for Play magazine. I'm thankful for blogs and bloggers with integrity and anytime a person of color gets a sports radio show.

• I'm thankful for Andre Agassi's "Open."

• I'm thankful that even though my kids don't play basketball on the regular, they still have beautiful jump shots. I'm also thankful that my wife "gets" how important the game still is to me.

• I'm thankful sports still has the power to change lives and save lives. I'm thankful I am in a position to play a small role in that.

• I'm thankful for this small bit of wisdom I've been able to carry with me every day of my life: "Enjoy the process and the end results will take care of themselves."

Scoop Jackson is a columnist for ESPN.com.

Scoop Jackson | email

ESPN.com columnist