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I think athletes and public figures ( politicians) often speak disingenuously in an effort to make themselves look good, and no word is used disingenuously more often than humbled. Because it’s a word that people, in general, hear and consider with positive connotations.
Athletes, politicians, actors, basically anyone who has fame and fortune, knows that people will dislike and resent them if they come across as arrogant or haughty.
My obsessive pet peeve with the phrase “I am humbled” – it is like nails on chalkboard every damn time it’s used in the wrong context – is but one example of how we bastardize the incredible English language. In summation, I would simply like to send the following message to all of the athletes and sports figures who undoubtedly will not be reading this post: stop your incorrect and disingenuous use of the phrase “I am humbled.” Save this terrific expression of thoughtfulness and this symbol of introspective clarity for the times when you actually mean it.
When you are explaining an achievement that you worked hard for and take pride in, tell us that.
Thus, the term humbled gets used in places where it doesn’t belong to convey a thought or feeling that isn’t really there.
Is it because they simply do not know what it means? Not everyone used to study SAT vocabulary lists for fun like I did (true story).
It’s going to be a lot of MVP trophies after me, and it was some before me.
At some point, you’re going to have to give it up to someone.” So let me get this straight Le Bron.
Note that this doesn’t mean I’m perfect and never misuse words, because I do; but I certainly make my best effort not to completely bastardize a word by using it in the context for which it is intended.
I suppose it is possible Matt Millen, Le Bron James, and Michael Vick do not know, literally, what it means to be humbled. But I think there is something more to it, a more reasonable explanation for the prevalent misuse of a term as easy to understand as humbled.