Outside Reading — Simone Says edition

The Superhumanity of Simone Biles by Will Leitch

Simone Biles was abandoned by American Olympic officials, and the torment hasn’t stopped by Sally Jenkins

I have zero patience for anyone second-guessing Simone Biles’s decision to withdraw from competition in Tokyo. Beyond the fact that Biles doesn’t owe any sort of explanation to anyone aside from her teammates, who have been uniformly supportive, she is an extraordinary athlete — unquestionably the best her sport has even seen and so far ahead of everyone else that it’s difficult to conceive of anyone matching her in the near, or even distant, future — and she can and should be trusted to make an accurate judgement about her ability to perform and contribute at any given moment. Those who actually understand the sport are able to articulate how much Biles would be putting at risk if she took the floor when not operating at an optimum level, and it’s a compelling argument for switching from participant to cheerleader. Writing for New York, Will Leitch celebrates Biles’s choice. For The Washington Post, Sally Jenkins unleashes fury on the USA Gymnastics and USOPC organizations that have regularly betrayed the athletes they are in place to serve.

What the NBA Championship Means to Me by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Closer to my home, the Milwaukee Bucks captured their first NBA championship in fifty years. Though professional basketball isn’t a sport I follow, my dairyland pride still swells with the news, especially because I have immense respect for the team and the organization due to their leading role in last year’s protests against police brutality against Black citizens. The last time a Cream City squad claimed the league trophy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was on the roster. He writes about the experience, including some insightful thoughts on how celebratory rallying behind a team can be healing for an entire community. This article is published by Jacobin.

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