Crying Games: His Airness vs The King

20170531_221941.jpgSports debate is my guilty pleasure.  Some fans say they hate it, but I believe those detractors only hate the fact that they aren’t on camera giving their rebuttal to the Stephen As and Skips of the world.

On the eve of the NBA Finals there is one debate that has been ridiculously overplayed to the point that it is causing the talking heads to attempt to tear down an immortal legacy that was cemented a long time ago.

LeBron James is the best basketball player in the world.  He had the pressure of going pro right out of high school and exceeded the hype.  He has beaten iconic teams like the Big 3 Celtics, an All-Star packed Thunder team, the Spurs dynasty and the 73-win Warriors on path to championships.  He is a freak specimen.  LBJ is just one of the guys in the locker room.  You couldn’t ask for a better representative of the league on and off the court.

I have nothing negative to say about LBJ.  I’m not going to discredit his legacy, but I can’t believe I have to defend the one of the greatest athlete I have ever seen.   It seems like every other day I turn on FS1 and there is Shannon Sharpe, Nick Wright and Colin Cowherd just picking apart Michael Jordan’s accomplishments.  They start spitting out stats, crediting MJ’s teammates all of a sudden, suggesting he played weaker competition and after all these years finding holes in his game.

While I respect all these men’s careers they look utterly foolish on this one.  Jordan played in an era that was very physical, bigs still mattered and they didn’t have small ball.  Like LBJ, he made his teammates better.  He’s never really been given credit for helping to resurrect Dennis Rodman’s career.  If he needed to make a three he drained it.  Had to steal the ball or grab the board he did it.  The tape doesn’t lie.  Watch the games over again.  There is a reason 20 years removed from an NBA Finals his are still the highest rated to date.  Jordan was purely mythical.

The one criticism that bothers me the most is that Jordan didn’t face as tough of competition on the path to a title.  You can argue that it is even more disrespectful to those who played in his era.  Here is a list of notable players Jordan disposed of as he climbed to the top of Mount Olympus:

Patrick Ewing

Charles Barkley

Isiah Thomas*

Joe Dumars*

Dennis Rodman*

Magic Johnson*

James Worthy*

Clyde Drexler*

Dominique Wilkins

Alonzo Mourning*

Shaquille O’Neal*

Penny Hardaway

Shawn Kemp

Gary Payton*

Chris Webber

John Stockton

Karl Malone

Reggie Miller

bold = HOF   underlined = Member of the 1992 Dream Team   * = NBA Champion

 

LeBron has an opportunity to build on his legacy.  Why don’t we just enjoy the fact that we’ve had two once in a lifetime players in our lifetime?  Why do we have to anoint LBJ today when he still has a couple chapters left to finish?  He is going to have to do more to eclipse the basketball scripture that is the book of Jordan.  Let’s see if he can do it.  The King is the greatest on Earth.  If he is as borderline invincible as Sharpe, Wright and Cowherd claim that he is then he doesn’t need their pathetic attempts to take shots at the Airman’s legend in order to pad his own resume.

 

 

 

LaVar Ball Exposed and Mike Golic Jr. gets Two Thumbs Down

lavar-ball-big-baller-brandClown Shoes

It is time to stop giving LaVar Ball a cookie for being a good parent or a risk-taking entrepreneur every time he says something outrageous.  The charade is over!  It’s not even about basketball anymore; it’s about grabbing the headlines at other people’s expense and trying to cash in on his children’s success.  Newsflash LaVar:  Your son is not Jesus in high-tops!  Lonzo Ball has the potential to be a great player in the NBA, but I’m willing to bet he won’t transcend the game of basketball at least not on the court.  Ludicrous shoe prices, internet memes and possibly reality TV is more likely to be the Ball family’s claim to fame. I’m not anti-capitalism so I have no problem with the Big Baller Brand trying to make some coin, but LaVar is selling hype and ridiculousness and this slow-footed white boy ain’t buying it!

Golic Jr. is a Tomato

Mike and Mike, a show that is a shell of its former shelf, caught my attention last week when Mike Golic Sr.  and his son Mike Golic Jr. got into a debate over the original Rocky.  The younger Golic argued that the Oscar winning film was an “overrated movie” much to his father’s dismay.  Now little Mikey is entitled to his opinion on the film, but he is wrong on a couple of points:

Golic Jr. stated that unlike the sequels the original tries to be something that it is not. In other words he suggests that it is an action film disguised as a drama with a bad love story.  He actually gave praise to the sequels because they never tried to deviate from the fact that they were strictly action films.

Rocky was written by Sylvester Stallone while he was an unknown and was filmed on somewhat of a low budget.  Stallone had trouble convincing the studios to let him play the part of Rocky and he wasn’t exactly a sculpture back then.  Now like Golic Jr., I was born after some sequels had been made, but if you go back and watch the original trailers you get a better idea of what the film is really about because you get to see how it was perceived back then without the preconceived notion of the Rocky franchise. The tagline was “his whole life was a million to one shot”.   The original had a unique and raw quality to it that its successors didn’t have because it never intended to be a story that spanned over 40 years told in a series of action flicks.  The love between Rocky and Adrian is about two people who don’t really fit in, but find comfort in one another.  Not everyone likes that part of the movie, but it at least it appears to be somewhat organic rather than a cheese fest.  Rocky never tried to trick anybody and evolved film by film into what Golic Jr. suggests the original was.

Golic Jr. says he hated Paulie, “he’s a loser”.

 Well duh!  Paulie is a loser that’s the whole point of his character.  They never tried to disguise that either.  He had to pay for a date to bring to Rocky’s fight for Pete’s sake!  The purpose of Paulie is to show the dark side of someone who grew up in Rocky’s world.  Rocky is usually upbeat and kind while Paulie is often negative, drunk and blaming others for his own failures.  He can be mean, yet he provides comic relief.  Burt Young’s role was vital to the film.

And your father played in Philadephia.  Good luck walking the streets of in the City of Brotherly Love.  A lot of Paulies walking around out there.

 

Hernandez’s Suicide, ESPN’s Bloodbath and the NFL’s Race Issue

20170426_232137Not Sorry for Your Loss (Not Happy Either)

Aaron Hernandez’s suicide was shocking and I found a lot of people’s reactions disturbing.

First, why did some people feel sorry for this guy?  Sure he had his demons, but he was given so many great opportunities because of football and what did he do?  He murdered another human being.  Had it been an addiction to drugs I could understand people being empathetic.  You know who I feel empathy for?  The slain Odin Lloyd’s family.  Hernandez’s loved ones who are forever affected by his actions.  If someone knew Hernandez personally I might give them a pass on feeling sorrow for the passing of a person they once had a positive relationship with.

Second, why are people thrilled about his death?  This isn’t like when Osama Bin Laden was killed and people were happy that they finally had closure when it came to September 11th.  Because Hernandez killed himself Lloyd’s family might never get true justice.  Are you happy now?

Bristol Massacre

ESPN just gutted a big fraction of on-air and writing talent.  Big names like Ed Werder, Jay Crawford, Jason Stark and Danny Kanell among others.

There are a lot of people that are taking pleasure in ESPN’s demise.   This includes former employees, people who work for competitors and fans that feel alienated by the network’s political views.  I will admit I have my criticisms of ESPN, but why root for their failure?  Why not instead wish for a better ESPN?  You know like the one you loved back in the day.  Despite its flaws the network still has value.  The 30 for 30 documentaries are something no other rival network is able to duplicate.  And speaking of rival networks what is wrong with competition?  The WWE was a lot better when they had WCW to battle ratings with.  Without the “Mothership”, as Dan Patrick calls it, who will be the new punching bag?  Deadspin?  Please.

ESPN opened so many new doors for sports media and they took the way we view athletics to new heights.  As more people decide to cut the cable chord, other sports networks will start to feels some of the pain that they are experiencing in Bristol.

Rough Draft

The 2017 NFL Draft hasn’t even started, but it is already making headlines and not for good reasons.  Two of the top prospects eligible to be selected have had some pretty big red flags pop up at the most inopportune time.

Jabrill Peppers of Michigan “failed” a drug test because his urine sample was diluted from drinking too much water.  I guess the only reason for him to hydrate himself like that would be to pass a drug test?  Why else would an athlete of Peppers’ caliber take in that many fluids?  Goodell logic at its finest.

Peppers isn’t the only one who may have his draft status altered due to a non-football issue.  Ohio State’s Gareon Conley faces much steeper allegations after being accused of rape from an alleged incident that took place in a Cleveland hotel earlier this month.  Conley has decided to change his original plans of attending the draft and it is even being predicted that he might not only miss out on being a first-round pick, but could end up not even being drafted at all.

If Conley is guilty shame on him and he doesn’t deserve a chance to play in the NFL, but for a moment and the sake of argument let’s try that old thing we used to believe in, you know innocent until proven guilty.  The NFL has a big problem.  They always assume the worst when it comes to young black men.  They know they have this problem.  It’s why Goodell went so hard after Tom Brady for something so petty as the PSI of a football.  But the league just can’t get out of their own way.  They totally mishandled Josh Brown’s domestic violence case and yet they left Ezekiel Elliot’s open so long it was like they were almost hoping they would find something.  And going back to the draft remember in 2015 when La’el Collins was being questioned by police for the murder of his ex-girlfriend even though he wasn’t a suspect?  That cost him a chance at being a first-round pick and he did nothing to warrant that.

I believe that if Colin Kaepernick isn’t picked up a week following the draft there will be a scenario where the league gets involved.  No matter how unpopular his protests were the last thing NFL needs is an unemployed black QB, who is easily better than all of the backups in this league (and a few starters), that never broke any rules on or off the field.