As sports fans, we tend to take a lot of things for granted. It's the nature of the beast. One minute, an athlete like Steph Curry emerges and captivates the national consciousness with his underdog tale of starting from the bottom to become an NBA MVP. And once that wears out, despite his magnificence, the conversation shifts to his wife, his daughter, or some other mess about Nike orchestrating Kevin Durant's move to Golden State to minimize Curry's cultural currency and sabotage Under Armour's momentum in the shoe and apparel game.

One minute, KD is a humble, lovable, grounded kid, seen as the anti-LeBron for once announcing a contract extension via Twitter instead of a live television special. The next minute, he's got grown ass men (perhaps in terms of age, but not necessarily in terms of maturity and true wisdom) having conniptions over a supposed "weak move" in free agency to go "ring chasing."

It's always something, with the pendulum swinging wildly between extremes. Those who are simple-minded enough to put stock in the social media-driven narrative and the reality television nature that pervades how our games are discussed get easily lost, like Sammy Sosa trotting away from his Blackness.

It's disheartening that in this climate, where a historical wonder like LeBron is derisively referred to as "LeBum" by idiots who irrationally continue to worship at the alter of Jordan rather than appreciating the incandescent brilliance before us here and now in today's beautiful game, that a collective understanding and appreciation of current genius gets lost in the microwaveable news cycles and fugazi sensationalism of a news culture more focused on clicks than quality.

Within the present construct, it's easy for those who are easily distracted to lose sight of one of the greatest athletes in our modern times. 

Venus Williams' Wimbledon journey

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When you examine the demands of what's required, in terms of training, physical and mental preparation, intestinal fortitude and a competitive desire to be a world champion in any sport, the fact that 37-year-old Venus Williams was back at center court this morning competing in the Wimbledon women’s singles final is beyond phenomenal.

The five-time Wimbledon winner, who came Straight Outta Compton to team up with her sister in becoming the greatest American sports story ever, squared off against Spain’s Garbine Muguruza today with history on the line.

Venus had a chance to become the oldest woman ever to win a Grand Slam event in the Open Era, which began in 1968. Her sister Serena, last year's Wimbledon champ, owns that distinction courtesy of the most recent Australian Open, which she won at the tender age 35 years and 125 days.

“It should be the biggest story ever if Venus wins this,” said Lindsay Davenport, who won Wimbledon in 1999 and is now a Tennis Channel analyst, prior to today's match. “In women’s tennis, it’s just amazing that she’s able to do what she’s done.”

Williams is the oldest woman to reach a Wimbledon singles final since Martina Navratilova was runner-up to Conchita Martinez in 1994.

It doesn't seem that long ago when folks were writing Venus' tennis eulogy. The last time she appeared in the Wimbledon final was eight years ago when she lost to Serena. Her last Grand Slam title was won at Wimbledon in 2008 when she beat Serena in straight sets. Six years ago, she was diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease causing chronic fatigue and muscle soreness. We thought we might have seen the last of her when that was revealed. 

But she's continued to inspire and amaze us with a late career renaissance and resurgence. 

Being denied what would have been her sixth Wimbledon crown after losing 7-5, 6-0 to Muguruza, who won her first Wimbledon singles title, is nothing to be heartbroken over. The fact that she made it this far, at this stage of her career, is enough for me to smile at and give thanks for. 

Garbiñe Muguruza wins Wimbledon 2017 ladies' singles title

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Venus looked sharp and spry early on, with some great back and forth action taking place. But she faded in the second set as Muguruza, last year's French Open champ, seemed to get stronger.

“She’s such an incredible player,” Muguruza said after the match. “I grew up watching her play. … I feel incredible to be able to play her here.”

Because of Serena's dominance, some haven't truly been able to grasp Venus' importance to the game. In the same manner that their Compton neighbors crashed the music industry and reformulated America's consciousness around the over-arching inner city blues, even in places with palm trees and majestic sunshine, the Williams sisters kicked down doors in an unsuspecting sports world that didn't quite know how to handle their style, flair, hair, talent, drive and unrelenting belief in the beauty of their own athletic dreams.

Make no mistake about it, there would be no Serena without Venus.

"She's the only reason the Williams sisters exist," Serena said after beating Venus to win the most recent Australian Open, "inspiring me to be the best player I can be."

If you remove Serena from the equation, Venus would be the one who everyone refers to as the GOAT. Her impact, when you consider her vast accomplishments and the role she played in her little sister becoming the most dominant force in the game, cannot be defined by the limited lens of tennis.

Venus Williams Wimbledon 2017 runner-up interview

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Venus, by virtue of her play and the instigator of the dream that eventually manifested itself in the phenomenon known as "The Williams Sisters", elevated sports and an entire culture. She set the tone.

And through not only their athletic gifts, dynamism and accomplishments, but through their intelligence, drive and self-assuredness as well, all the while fighting against a collective subtle hate from those who wished, better yet demanded failure from them, we've been treated to something we'll never see again.

For that, I say thanks Venus, in sincere appreciation. You were written off years ago and have long been underappreciated. But as you've been doing for over 20 years at the game's highest level, you reminded us again through yet another Wimbledon dash to the Final, that you're a rare jewel to be cherished, and not one to be taken for granted.