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.

 

 

 

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LaVar Ball Says, Kaepernick Waits, NBA Solution and Wife of the Year

20170322_001600.pngMy Three Sons

LaVar Ball is the new “cash me ousside” girl.  I am not ragging on Ball as a parent so don’t get it twisted that I am calling him a bad dad.  The father of UCLA’s Lonzo Ball and two younger sons with a future beyond high school basketball, has become the latest poster child for sports memes on social media.  A man, who once averaged 2.2 points per game during his one season of college ball at Washington State, has been critical of NBA legends Michael Jordan, LeBron James and continues to have a war of words with Charles Barkley.  To sum it all up Ball is basically claiming that he and his sons can beat all these guys.  It doesn’t stop there.  He also went after their parenting skills.  The elder Ball has more in common with Danielle Bregoli than those basketball gods.  My news feed is full of hashtag “LaVar Ball says” just like it was with “how bout dat” a month ago.  The comparison to the troubled teen from Dr. Phil isn’t all negative.  Bregoli is cashing in on her unconventional path to fame.  Ball makes a lot of head turning statements, but is there a method to his madness?  Lonzo Ball is often considered to be the biggest star and top NBA prospect in college basketball. The longer UCLA stays in the tournament, the more headlines LaVar can grab, the larger the payout will be for a shoe contract.  15 minutes of fame is over in 5 minutes nowadays.  Anyone heard from the Jersey Shore kids lately?  Like Bregoli, Ball knows he has to strike while the iron is hot.

Checkout the LaVar Ball says Twitter page

Protesting to Play

Colin Kaepernick, once a promising young quarterback, has become a cautionary tale.  If you stink on the field you can’t afford non-football extras.  It is believed that Kaepernick, who remains a free agent, is still searching for a contract due to his kneeling during the national anthem last season. His protest plays a factor, but it is far from the main reason why he is currently unemployed.  Where is the guy who started in the Super Bowl and shredded the Packers in the playoffs?  Seems like a lifetime ago.  Since 2014, Kaepernick is 11-24 as a starter and has seen three of his head coaches canned in the process.  NFL front offices aren’t lining up to throw money at a potential coach-killer who was benched at the beginning of the year in favor of Blaine Gabbert and went 1-10 as a starter in 2016.  Sure the less accomplished Mike Glennon got a contract he probably doesn’t deserve because the Bears can sell his potential to their fan base while they figure out what they want to do long-term at QB (still looking for Sid Luckman’s replacement).  The whole social justice warrior thing is just baggage on top of Kaep’s poor play. It is no different than Tim Tebow, another man with good intentions, but draws too much attention to himself without the on-field production to compliment the media hype he’s receiving.  Kaepernick fans should be patient.  Jay Cutler, Robert Griffin III and in a sense Tony Romo are all in search of a new home.  If Sam Bradford keeps getting inked to big deals there is hope for Colin yet.

Sitting Not So Pretty

Last month a buddy and I attended a game at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia between the Sixers and the Heat.  To say the game lacked star power was an understatement.  All the big names such as Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, Ben Simmons and Chris Bosh did not display their talents on the hardwood that evening.  Despite the noticeable absentees it ended up being an exciting atmosphere with great game action and minimal sloppy play.  That is a rarity combined with Phildelphia’s uniqueness as a sports town.  Last year we went to Madison Square Garden and Kristaps Porzingis didn’t play.  The MSG experience was memorable, the basketball being played not so much.  Those games didn’t feature teams that would or will be competing for an NBA championship and the guys that didn’t suit up were truly injured.  If we were going to see the Cavaliers, the Spurs or the Warriors and all of the star players were healthy and sitting I can tell you right now I would ask for my money back because this is a players league and fans pay top-dollar to see All-NBA talent. For the league it not only hurts future attendance, but it also puts the networks in a crunch who televise these games.  The solution is simple and it is called reduced minutes.  If the purpose of sitting superior talent is to save their mileage for the postseason then why not let them make a cameo in the game (that they would otherwise sit out) before they call it a night.  There could be the risks of an unwanted injury or they might have to play more than expected if their team gets in foul trouble, but it could go a long way to prevent damage to a product whose revenue is primarily driven by the world’s best players presence on the court.  Even if it is just for half a quarter the fans still get to say they saw LeBron James or Steph Curry make a bucket or two, more folks tune in at home and the only people left unhappy are the odds makers.

March Madam

The Kentucky Wildcats controversially defeated the Wichita State Shockers this past weekend in the NCAA Tournament, but that’s not the story.  Lynn Marshall, the wife of Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall, was seen wearing a basketball jersey in the stands while she appeared to be passionately cheering on her husband’s team.  Her passion may have gotten the best of her since it has been reported that arena security had to confront Mrs. Marshall about her behavior in the stands multiple times during the game and was eventually escorted from her seat (after the game was over) because she was allegedly shouting obscenities.  I’m sure this has caused headaches for Coach Marshall and the athletic director at the university and Lynn is receiving her share of heat which is probably justified.  To me her tantrum is a breath of fresh air.  I’d like to believe Mrs. Marshall’s tirade was out of love.  In a country where nearly half of marriages end in divorce it’s great to see the occasional spouse go bonkers in full support of what her husband does for a living.  My wife has used a few choice words about my former employer after I lost my job.  I’m probably more like Gregg and will say all the politically correct things about where I used to work, however I saw my wife’s venting as love for me more than I did for hate of my old company.  I do appreciate the fact that my Mrs. didn’t use any kind of social media or public platform to say what she felt she needed to say.  For Gregg’s sake I hope Lynn will contain her future enthusiasm as necessary.

Click here to catch some of Lynn Marshall’s antics