Monthly Archives: June 2011

It’s Not Wrong to be Happy Lebron James Lost

Lebron James is still not an NBA champion. And that my friends is quite possibly a very good thing. As he is right now, Lebron James is denying us the chance to watch the most talented athlete on the planet shine, and do what he does best.

Michael Jordan was humbled in high school, cut from his team, and forced to work hard to overcome the adversity and ascend to the peak of his passion.

Kobe Bryant started all of about eight games in his first two years in the NBA, riding the bench, observing as much as contributing. He had to prove himself and deserve his spot on the floor.

Lebron James has had absolutely everything handed to him. Realizing that perhaps an NBA title will not be simply handed to him, no matter how sexy and glamorous his team is, or which superstars he teams up with will motivate James to do what it takes to be a champion.

Whether that’s work on his post game, grow up and achieve some mental toughness, or learn to keep his mouth shut, or perhaps all of the above and then some, perhaps James can use this as motivation to improve in those areas.

Perhaps then James can quit robbing basketball fans of the treat of watching what should be absolute greatness. Instead of the greatest player in the world being great, we were treated to the games greatest player not even being one of the five best players in the entire series.

So yes, Lebron James did not win an NBA title, and ultimately, everyone might be the better for it.

If this experience humbles James like it has the potential to, the chastising and derision of James may all eventually work out in his favor, and his losing was still enjoyed by those eager to take their shots at a man who has done plenty to earn them.

Perhaps no sports star has ever been the subject of such scrutiny, and in some cases such scathing criticism as Lebron James has. Then again, perhaps no sports star has done more to deserve it.

Whether it’s on the court transgressions, bad PR decisions, mindless comments, or just coming off as an arrogant jerk, the reasons to dislike James spread far and wide.

No, he’s not getting himself arrested, he’s not committing felonies, but he is seemingly on a mission to be as disliked as possible.

When one man proclaims himself as “King”, and has a tattoo saying “Chosen1” across his broad shoulders, you expect those broad shoulders to carry a heavy burden. When they don’t, it comes across as shameless self promotion, an over-sized ego, and a ridiculously inflated sense of self.

All three describe James perfectly.

He couldn’t win a title in Cleveland because Mike Brown couldn’t coach and Danny Ferry couldn’t put the proper supporting cast around him.

Well in Miami, he didn’t have Mike Brown to blame, and his supporting cast consisted of two players on the US Olympic team. He still couldn’t win a title.

So who do you blame now Lebron? You want to go tell Pat Riley he didn’t give you a good enough supporting cast? Why don’t you treat Bosh and Wade like you did Moe Williams and Antwan Jamison, making it so very clear that you don’t wish to be playing along side such inferior talents, enabling them to prohibit you from winning a championship. It obviously isn’t your fault that you failed again to win a title.

We of course know it’s not James’ fault. We know this because according to James’ on court behavior, he’s never missed a shot or committed a turnover without being fouled, and he’s never committed a foul himself.

So this latest failure can’t be Lebron James’ fault. There must be many others to heap the blame on. We surely can’t attribute this loss to the fact that supposedly the world’s greatest basketball player, who is said to have the potential to be the greatest of all-time, was nowhere to be found in crucial fourth quarters of close games.

So where does the blame go?

But of course, the blame goes to God, at least per James’ own comments. It’s God’s fault, because He didn’t want him to win a title this year, that’s what it was. More on that in a minute, but clearly, another example of Lebron James finding another excuse for why he didn’t succeed.

It’s one thing to go struggle, to have shots not falling, to have a bad night. It’s another to hide in a corner, almost like the poor little league kid in right field praying the ball isn’t hit to him.

James would have you believe that he’s not there to be a scorer. The best player in the world should be putting the ball in the basket, period. James argues that he’s a two way player, which he is, and a phenomenal one at that, and that you can’t just look at stats, you have to look at the other things he does on the floor, and what the end result is.

Well, the end result is the Heat blew a 2-1 lead over the Mavericks, including multiple large fourth quarter leads. So sure, we can look at things beyond the box score, like, you know, the final score. The final score makes it quite clear Lebron James didn’t do enough to help his team win.

The plus/minus rating is nowhere close to the most reliable stat in the world, however, when it’s as extreme as -24 for supposedly the most gifted basektball player in the world, that’s worth noting. The Heat outscored the Mavericks by 14 points without James on the floor, but were outscored by 24 when he was out there.

So clearly James was doing a lot of other things that don’t show up in the box score contributing to his teams success and ultimate NBA championship, right? You know, like getting torched by Jason Terry, a guy who’s never been to an All-Star game .

Had he continued to shut down Terry as he had early on in the series his offensive woes, or unwillingness to shoot the basketball wouldn’t have been focused on quite as much.

However, Terry, at a huge size disadvantage, and very little advantage anywhere from a physical aspect, scorched the nets in the second half of game five, and the first half of game six. When Terry boastfully stated that he didn’t think James could guard him for seven games, it was thought Terry was speaking out of place, and such words would only further motivate James to play stifling defense.

It turns out the opposite took place. It lit a fire under Terry and seemingly squelched any remaining fire James had. As Deshawn Stevenson said after game four, it was if James simply “checked out”.

In light of his almost complete lack of scoring in the 4th quarter, and absolute lack of clutch scoring, James said “The ball doesn’t go in every time”. And he’s right. But he seems to ignore the fact that the ball will absolutely not go in if you aren’t willing to shoot it.

Then again, such mindless comments from Lebron James that seem to make absolutely no sense seem to be the norm.

Last year on twitter he proclaimed, “Don’t think for one (minute) that I haven’t been taking mental notes of everyone taking shots at me this summer. And I mean everyone!”

Of course during the course of the year we’ve been told over and over again by his coach, and the King himself that he doesn’t care what the fans or media members think.

Then during his press conference he wastes no time taking his shots at all those fans who were clearly elated to see him lose, and to get his shot at the media thrown in too. But he doesn’t care what they think, right?

He told us he thought the league should contract, then of course backpedaled away saying he didn’t even know what contraction meant. Do what?

He told us that anything less than a championship this year would be considered a failure, but in his press conference following game six in which that goal was made completely unattainable James said, “We have nothing to hang our heads low”. And he’s right, save that little part of his season being a complete failure, per his own words at the outset of the campaign.

Lebron said before game five that it was “now or never”. Now he’s saying he just knows “The Man upstairs” hadn’t decided it was his time yet. Well, if game was now or never, then I suppose the rational conclusion to draw, based on James’ own words, is that it’s never.

And for the record, I don’t believe God has pre-determined when Lebron James is going to win an NBA title, I think He might have more important things on the docket. On that note, Jason Terry, your faith in God, while honorable and what not, is not the reason your team hoisted up an NBA championship trophy this season.

The point being, there’s a common thread here. Lebron James contradicts himself as well as any public speaker outside of Washington D.C. ever has. Does he do it because he’s really that dumb, that ignorant and stupid? Or does he do it because he, which at times he claims he doesn’t, others makes it clear he does, cares what the public thinks of him and does his best to try and atone for things he’s said that may rub people the wrong way?

Personally, I’m going with the ignorance excuse. Lebron James has been coddled since he could hold a basketball, and as he got older, he got worse. Accountability was never an issue for him, never something he dealt with. Neither was adversity. The world was, in his eyes, completely his on a silver platter with the rest of the people in it merely his servants and supporting cast in his quest for world domination.

So it shouldn’t come as a shock that he doesn’t get it. He doesn’t at all realize or understand the response his poorly chosen words receive. He’s out of touch with reality, so he obviously fails to see why many of the things he does rubs people the wrong way.

Insulting fans and media members alike in his press conference following the finals defeat and implying the lives of fans are inferior to his own was just James staying true to the course. He probably didn’t mean to come off quite like the arrogant jackass that he did, but because he’s ignorant to how the rest of the world thinks, and lives, he couldn’t understand how such statements can be taken that way.

His mocking of Dirk Nowitzki being sick, and subsequent attempt to argue that’s not what he was doing just further illustrates the point. James was arrogant enough, and just enough of a jerk to mock Dirk in the first place. But on top of that he was ignorant enough to think he could pull a fast one on anyone who saw the video, while still carrying on his little inside joke with his buddy Dwayne Wade and nobody would get it.

No Lebron, the rest of the world isn’t as dumb as you think, nor are they as inferior as you make them out to be.

If James is allowed, and he is, it is perfectly within his right, to make such comments about the fans that make it possible for him to live his obviously superior life, then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with people taking umbrage with that and having their own negative things to say about Baron, er… King James.

Sure, we’ll all wake up to our sorry lives tomorrow all the same, whether he had won an NBA championship or not.

The thing is, because he didn’t win that championship, James will be waking up to his same life as a perceived front running choker who still doesn’t have a championship ring.

Then again, maybe he won’t wake up to the same life in the morning. Maybe he will wake up one day this summer as a much more humbled man, a more determined man, and a man who has what it takes to be a champion.

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Filed under Basketball, Playoffs, Sports

Must See TV- Sports Stars Most Worth Price of Admission

There are superstars, and there are hall of famers in every sport. However, just how many of these players are, by themselves, worthy alone of the price of admission? What player have you seen play, that without question, you have no regrets spending the dough simply to watch them do what they do?

In no particular order, I’ll give you 10 of my own. This is completely open for discussion, in fact, it’s rather encouraged. Go.

Devin Hester– He’s the NFL’s all-time leader in punt returns for a touchdown, and he’s scored 15 non-offensive touchdowns, third most ever, and the most among active players. Many of his returns are of the jaw dropping nature that leaves both opponent and fan alike wondering what just happened. Just remember, “They are who we thought they were”.

Michael Vick– His off field exploits and questions of his work ethic aside, has one man single handedly left as many people breathless on the football field and in the stands as Michael Vick? Being the quarterback, the ball is in his hands on every play, which means every play has the potential to make SportsCenter’s Top Ten list at the end of the night. The ball simply being in his hands brings people to their feet. When the best athlete on the field has the ball in his hands, this is what happens.

Dominique Wilkins– For the duration of the 80s, the Atlanta Hawks were simply one step behind the NBA’s great teams, routinely falling short against the likes of the dynasties in Boston and Detroit. That they were even competitive with those teams was due to one man, the “Human Highlight”. You don’t receive a nickname like that for no reason. This current Atlanta Hawks squad that routinely comes up short in the playoffs may be lacking a superstar, but these Hawks of the 80s weren’t at all. If you ever get a chance to catch game 7 of the Hawks and Celtics in the playoffs in 1988, do it. ‘Nique went toe to toe with Larry Bird, shot for shot, in one of the most epic battles the NBA has seen.

Ken Griffey Jr– Griffey’s was a career that was shortened and limited by injuries towards the end of his playing days. However, that need not do anything to put a damper on what “Junior”, or “The Kid”, had done previously in his career. Griffey quite possibly was the most talented baseball player to ever come through the big leagues. An argument could be made that he was the best overall baseball player to ever suit up. Of all the players I’ve ever seen play, I’d have to rank Griffey has the best of all-time. One can only hope people remember that about his career, and remember the sweet swing he brought with him, and of course the smile that never left. Not only was Griffey phenomenal at what he did, he enjoyed every single minute of it, and you could tell.

Barry Sanders– Has a major athlete ever retired with as little fanfare as the great Barry Sanders did? It’s highly doubtful. And ultimately, his retirement personified his career. Sanders was as elusive a runner as the NFL had ever seen, and he snuck out of the league just as he was constantly sneaking away and dodging defenders throughout his career. Few people have ever been able to come close to matching Sanders agility, and ability to start, stop, and be back to high speed in a matter of seconds.

Deion Sanders– Before there was Devin Hester, there was Devin Hester’s mentor, “Primetime”. Few nicknames have suited someone as well as Deion Sanders nickname suited him. Professional athletes ultimately are entertainers, and there are very few in the history of sports who entertained the way Deion Sanders did. His flare was part of his persona, as was his flare for doing absolutely amazing things on the football field, and on the baseball diamond. While he had some memorable moments on the baseball field, “Primetime” made a name for himself on the football field, as perhaps both the greatest cover corner in NFL history, and the most dangerous man the league has seen with the ball in his hands.

Dale Earnhardt– You don’t have to be a fan of NASCAR to appreciate what Dale Earnhardt was. Just as Ali, Jordan, and Woods transcended their sports, so to did Dale Earnhardt. He elevated stock car racing to the national spotlight, putting it firmly in the discussion with football, baseball, and basketball in the struggle for the attention of the countrys sports fans. Earnhardt did it on and off the track. On it, if you were at a track, you kept your eye on the three car, at all times, because you never knew what might happen.

Calvin Johnson– How in the world do you spend your college career with Reggie Ball attempting to throw you passes and still wind up the number two overall pick in the NFL draft after your junior year? To start with, you need to be blessed with the freakish combination of size, speed, athleticism and hands that Calvin Johnson is blessed with. The Chan Gailey/Reggie Ball era at Georgia Tech didn’t leave a lot to be overly excited about. However, it did include three years of watching Calvin Johnson do things on a football field that shouldn’t be possible. If you need any more proof, just ask Clemson if they remember his coming out party his freshmen year up in Death Valley as he spearheaded and improbable Georgia Tech comeback.

Andruw Jones– Yes, watching Jones flail away hopelessly at sliders down and away was frustrating. However, watching the Braves try and fill the hole at center field since he left is arguably more frustrating. Andruw Jones is the classic case, for many people, of not knowing what you’ve got ’till it’s gone. Some may argue, and with some validity, that Jones was the greatest defensive outfielder in baseball history. It’s entirely possible. While there are others who flash some shiny leather quite a bit, none of them played nearly as shallow as Andruw Jones while still rarely having a ball get over his head. His instincts were second to none in the outfield, nobody could go get it quite like Jones could. Being able to enjoy Jones patrol center field for over a decade was quite a treat. Of course, so was his World Series debut in hallowed Yankee Stadium.

Michael Jordan– Do I really need to say anything? Arguably the greatest competitor in the history of sports, and also arguably the greatest basketball player to ever live (sorry Scottie).

Honorable Mentions

Greg Maddux– No, not a pure power pitcher who just threw everything by people, Maddux was more like an artist on the mound. From 1993 thru the end of his career in 2008, his strike percentage never fell below 65. That’s how you do what he did. Maddux’s work on the pitchers mound was truly a thing of beauty.

Tiger Woods– More so perhaps for people who play golf themselves, but the pure power with which Tiger Woods would unleash a driver, to see it in person, simply awe inspring.

Barry Bonds– Nobody hit more of ’em, and nobody hit em farther. Steroids or no steroids, you wanted to watch this man bat.

Roger Federer/Rafael Nadal– I put both together, because they are quite often linked together as well, thanks to their many epic duels on the court. The question arguably is simply, which of the two is really the greatest of all-time?

Dante Hall – for a couple of years in Kansas City, the “Human Joystick” was as fun to watch as anyone who ever played the game. Seven return touchdowns, including this memorable return against the Denver Broncos in which Hall did everything you’re NOT supposed to do on a return. Seven return scores in a two year stretch is just phenomenal.

Reggie Bush– What Bush has done in the NFL, and what he did or not receive while at USC did nothing whatsoever to take away from what was a phenomenal college career. Bush was the best athlete on the field, and often, it wasn’t even close. He was a man among boys with the ball in his hands.

Herschel Walker– The record book may not show it, but many will argue Herschel Walker is indeed the greatest college running back of all-time. They might be right, too. His size and speed led Georgia to three straight SEC championships, and a national title, heights they’ve yet to revisit.

Adrian Peterson– Before Oklahoma had theirs, that went off to play for the Vikings, Georgia Southern had their own Adrian Peterson, who will long be one of the most underrated college football players of all time. He’s an honorable mention for this run alone.

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Filed under Baseball, Basketball, Braves, Falcons, Georgia Bulldogs, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Golf, Hawks, Motorsports, NASCAR, NFL, Sports