The January 2013 edition of Pittsburgh Magazine chooses to honor hockey god Mario Lemieux as "Pittsburgher of the Year." The choice is ironic as the awardee is featured at a time that the hockey season has been wiped out and many area businesses pummeled as a result of the merciless athletes' greed.
Lemieux is honored as one who "saved hockey" and as one that is "humble." Let us recall how hockey was "saved." Lemieux threatened to move the team from Pittsburgh if he did not receive public funding for a new arena/palace. Elected officials all the way up to then-Governor Ed Rendell asked how high they should jump for Lemieux and then-County Executive Dan Onorato shamefully stated that securing the funding was his "highest priority." Naturally, this dirty deal was consummated; Lemieux received what he demanded. Where there is a will to take the taxpayers' hard-earned money, there is always a way. Lemieux later admitted that he lied, that he in fact had no intention of moving the team regardless of whether his money grab succeeded.
At a time when vital services are being cut due to government entity insolvency, imagine how wisely the money to pay for Consol Energy Center could have been used had it been allocated to a legitimate purpose (or even returned to the taxpayers) rather than to be allocated to the further enrichment of a multi-millionaire. I wonder how many area residents take comfort in the fact that they have helped to subsidize the cost of hockey tickets.
Notwithstanding his philanthropy and good deeds, I find little to admire in the individual who engaged in a shakedown of the region and the state in order to fund a palace at which his violent sport is played.
The honor of Lemieux comes on the heels of a complimentary feature Pittsburgh Magazine article about Wiz Khalifa, the individual who at every turn boasts of his illegal drug use and enshrines vulgarity as a staple in his music and speech.
Are there no truly admirable individuals for Pittsburgh Magazine to feature on the pages of this once-renowned publication?