Tag Archives: Donald Young

With Sampras, Courier Pushing This `Princess,’ Donald Young has Big Moment. What will he do with it?

A few months ago, Pete Sampras was beating Donald Young in a groundstroke game, of all things, and trash-talking. Repeat: Young, a 21-year old groundstroker and one-time hope of American tennis, was losing to a nearly 40-year old legend at what should be the worst part of his game.

“He calls me `Princess,’ ’’ Young said. “And he talks a lot of stuff. . .I didn’t know whether to take it seriously or not.’’

Take it seriously, Donald. Sampras was joking, but the best jokes carry some truth with them.

Young was the talk of the first week at Indian Wells after his breakthrough win over Andy Murray, 7-5, 6-3. For the first time, we were able to see Young at the top level of tennis, fighting as if he belongs.

So where does Donald Young stand now? What does he take from Indian Wells?

Think about this: We have been hearing about him for years, but this was the first time it was for beating somebody.

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Who to Blame for Failed Prodigy Donald Young? Start with John McEnroe

My column on AOL Fanhouse

The legend of Donald Young is that it all started when a 10-year-old ball boy at a senior tennis tournament in Chicago asked John McEnroe if he would hit tennis balls for a few minutes. McEnroe agreed. They hit, and McEnroe was so shocked at how good the kid was that he went straight to his cell phone, called his agent at IMG and told him to sign Young.

What a story! It tells of a selfless legend, but even more so offers hope that we might be discovered someday, or our children might be. Also, it suggests that Average Joes walking the streets might have greatness.

Count me as a former believer of that story. Now, I’m hearing the story debunked, that maybe IMG had already spotted Young, a marketing dream. Young was a good-looking black kid from a huge inner city, a city with loads of potential corporate sponsors, playing a traditionally white, suburban sport. Could he be the men’s version of the Williams’ sisters?

And maybe IMG asked McEnroe to hit with Young, staging the whole legend.

Donald Young has had enough staging, enough agents, enough John McEnroe.

Way more than enough John McEnroe.

This is the story about a prodigy lost. And there is enough blame to spread all over the place on Young. McEnroe gets my vote for the biggest share, over-hyping him, pressuring him, and getting people to believe too much, too soon. Was it all a marketing plan? Continue reading