Hey Cleveland. Really sorry to hear about LeBron leaving. That really sucks that you couldn’t build even a decent team around him in 7 years, let alone a decent city. Ooh, ouch. Does the truth hurt? Because that’s it. “Your” superstar wanted to win a ring and the Cavs couldn’t get it done, and now he gets to do so in a city that’s worth visiting. Maybe you should direct your anger at the organization that you paid good money to while they ran their team like it was Lehman Brothers.
Speaking of which, hey there Dan Gilbert. You sure had some crazy-as-hell angry words to say about LeBron leaving. Maybe you should save those words for your inept GM since the best player he ever paired LeBron with was 2 months worth of Antawn Jamison. You really think that Cleveland will win a championship before Miami? Your team couldn’t win WITH LeBron, and now you think that a collection of role players is going to win one on their own? I would actually be surprised if your team wins more than 25-30 games for the next 3 years, while Miami will probably win a championship by then. So maybe you shouldn’t have put that in writing. Also, you said that LeBron is teaching our children the exact opposite lessons we want them to learn. Really? Because I would love for my children to learn to follow their dreams, to choose happiness over money, to spend your time with your friends and people you care about, to choose a career that is fun, fulfilling, and rewarding, to be unselfish, and to make tough choices regardless of how they’ll be perceived by others.
In fact, I think that LeBron’s choices, save one that we’ll get to, are exactly the things we always talk about getting left behind in this joyless, money-obsessed sports culture. He turned down tens of millions of dollars because he cared more about winning than anything else. More than pissing people off, more than fans’ perception of him, more than staying in the only state he has ever called home. And to all those people saying that he should have gone to the Bulls if he wanted to win, you’re dumb. Yes, the bulls would have had a better starting 5 than Miami and a better bench, and perhaps a better coach. But doubting that a team that boasts 3 of the top 15 players in the league, including 2 of the top 5, is just stupid. They are going to win championships eventually and often. This reminds me of the same doubting that people were voicing when the Celtics put The Big 3 together. Those arguments went into three categories: 1) Can the big three share the ball and put their egos aside (yes); 2) Can Rondo and Perkins support them enough (this seems REALLY dumb now that Rondo has made them into The Big 4); and 3) is their bench good enough (this actually might have been the dumbest at the time considering the veterans like James Posey who joined their bench at a discount just to help them win a ring). So what’s the knock on the Heat? That they have to sign a bunch of veterans for cheap in order to win? Don’t worry. There will be enough people wanting to join that team at a discount for the first, or last, shot at a ring. It’ll happen. It always happens with front-loaded teams like this.
Also, some people are calling Lebron a pussy instead of an asshole. It goes something like this: LeBron’s legacy is forever tarnished since he chose to be Wade’s second fiddle; he couldn’t rise to the challenge and lead his own team to a championship; Kobe or MJ would never do this, they would rather beat ‘em than join ‘em. Well, you people are all hypocrites. Yes, every single one of you. You are the same people that like to talk about basketball being a team sport and that no one player can win a championship on their own. You railed at Kobe for being selfish for all those years after he drove Shaq off and claim that he’s somehow turned over a new leaf, as opposed to finally having someone good enough to pass the ball to again. You’re the same fans who say they like the college game better than the NBA because it’s more of a team game and not a one-man show like a lot of teams have become.
And for the smarter ones of you, who are actually also the worse hypocrites, you are going against everything you know about winning basketball. Magic Johnson was the best player on his team. He was unselfish and did whatever it took to win, especially doing what he could to make his teammates better and keep them happy by sharing the ball. Same with Isaiah Thomas: unselfish, hard working, demanding excellence, but also not demanding anything he didn’t also demand of himself, setting the tone and serving as an example for the rest of the team. Same with Bill Russell. He was the ultimate champion, and he was also the most unselfish person on his team. He was happy doing the dirty work, paying attention to the little things, the small details in how things are done and why they are done on as you build towards excellence. While other players scored points and made dramatic plays, they were only in the position to do so because of their captain patrolling the paint, anchoring the defense, getting rebounds, starting fast breaks, passing to the open guy, and basically doing everything with the understanding that there is no such thing as personal success in a team sport, winning is the only measure of success. As a Chicagoan, I grew up watching Michael Jordan’s Bulls win 6 titles in 8 years. Everyone talks about that now as if it was Jordan and company. Well let me tell you a little story about a guy named Scottie Pippen. Scottie Pippen was the best perimeter defender of all time. Scottie Pippen could score 40 in any given night. Scottie Pippen could get to the rim at will, or settle for an accurate jump shot. Scottie Pippen fought for every rebound. Scottie Pippen would pass up a shot to find the open man. Scottie Pippen could shut down point guards like Magic Johnson or power forwards like Karl Malone, and did both on the biggest stage possible. Scottie Pippen was the best all-around player I’ve ever seen.
Why is this relevant? Because that’s that’s the type of player LeBron is best suited for. He was always more Magic than MJ. He played point guard for much of his high school career. He has amazing court vision and is a spectacular passer. He just never had a good player to pass the ball to, either on the perimeter or in the post. He was never allowed to be the unselfish player he could be. He was always more Pippen than Jordan, with his all-around talents lending themselves to fill up the box score in every category, threatening triple doubles every night or even for a season while treating us to life-changing blocks and other feats of athletic superiority. And now, for the first time, LeBron is finally in a situation that will allow his talents to flourish to their fullest extent. Yet people are claiming that this will somehow diminish him? If he averages a triple double for the season, is he the second best player on that team just because Wade or even Wade and Bosh, are scoring more points? How about if he averages 18-9-9 with all the aforementioned blocks and other important plays thrown in there. Is he not the best all-around player on the court? Scoring is only one of several phases of this game, and now he can excel at all of them at once since he is unburdened with being the only offensive threat on his team. I, for one, am excited to finally see the LeBron we have been missing out on, not “the next MJ” that everyone else wanted him to be. Let’s all shut the fuck up, shall we, and realize that there will never be another MJ. But LeBron can write his own legacy as the evolutionary Magic/Pippen/Dominique that he is best suited for.
So then, why is LeBron an asshole? Um, did you SEE that hour-long turdcast on Thursday? That was the shittiest hour of television of my life. It was poorly conceived and poorly executed. It was self-serving despite being for charity, which is really hard to do, though an egomaniac of that proportion has no problem pulling it off. It was rehearsed and felt like it. He came off as extremely boring and lacked charisma, which is definitely a first for someone who has always showed such personality when the bright lights are shining. And it lacked any suspense, which was the entire point of having this “announcement.” Everyone know by Thursday morning that he was going to Miami. Why would his inner circle leak his decision to the media in advance of this and completely kill any and all anticipation for the event? How did he think that breaking the hearts of an entire city on live television was going to make him more sympathetic a person than if he had done it in a more private, dignified manner? In all, what did he hope to gain from this? What benefit did this have over, say, a press conference? The only difference is that he could sell advertising, which he then gave to charity. But truthfully, if he was really so concerned about charity, there are much more low-profile yet more-effective ways to raise money than hosting a “me fest.” This is how he’s going to become a “global icon” (his words, not mine)? By looking like a selfish asshole even while giving to charity? By being selfish even while turning down millions of dollars and personal glory to be a part of something bigger than yourself? Now THAT, my friends, is a special kind of asshole. But asshole or not, he made the right choice.
JaMarcus was caught with the Purple Drank yesterday by police. For those that aren’t in the know, sizzurp and purple drank are terms for a drug concoction consisting of codeine cough syrup mixed with Cool Aid or Sprite and Jolly Ranchers to sweeten it. It’s also referred to as “lean” due to your inability to stand up straight afterward. It’s really popular down south, and originated in the Houston hip hop scene. It then spread throughout the south and to the rest of the country from there. It’s EXTREMELY addictive and pretty deadly given the amounts that addicts drink it in. In fact, the cocktail is blamed in the death of DJ Screw and Pimp C. Now Lil Wayne has admitted to being addicted, and there was a big Outside the Lines piece on its prevalence in sports. Here’s hoping that JaMarcus can get treatment and kick his addiction so he can get back to stealing millions of dollars from the Raiders and sitting on his fat ass.
I know free agency doesn’t start until Thursday. And even then, deals for LeBron and others won’t be in place due to teams negotiating sign and trades. BUT, according to World Wide Wes (a top adviser in James’ camp), Lebron and Bosh will both be Bulls next year. A few NBA executives have said they believe that it’s a done deal. Here’s Rick Bucher discussing the latest rumor:
International singing sensation Ron Artest revealed that he will release his much anticipated new single Champion in July. While celebrating a title with the Los Angeles Lakers, a sports team that he spends his free-time with, Ron Ron announced his release date to a music world hungry for his next hit. Now, the wait is over.
Combining his ability to sing, produce, and rap, Artest burst onto the scene with his Michael Jackson tribute song, Michael Michael Michael… You My N^gga, which moved the music world to tears.
Though many critics and fans were skeptical that Artest could make a worthy follow up to such a moving tribute , Artest blew us all away with his song Afghan Woman, which told the plight suffered by an Afghani woman, and also his solution to their struggles: gettin’ it on with Ron Ron.
As hot as those two songs have been, it’s hard to imagine a release more anticipated than Artest’s Champion. I, for one, can’t wait to hit the clubs and beaches this summer, pumping my fists and shaking my head in confusion at Ron Ron’s latest smash hit. It’s gonna the banging-est song of the summer. Here’s the exclusive interview where he drops the knowledge on us.
Is your mind currently being blown? No? Well why don’t you try watching this video and see if that changes.
The Bulls just took a flashy step in their mating dance for this summer’s free agents by hiring the Celtics defensive guru Tom Thibodeau.
Widely considered the best defensive coach in the NBA, Thibodeau is sure to help lure in any free agent who understands the wisdom in the saying “defense wins championships.” Truth is: Chicago was already the premier destination for players who want to win now, with a great defensive center patrolling the middle and a superstar point guard feeding them the ball. Now they have a potentially great coach to guide them through the playoffs with the best defensive schemes in the league. That said, here is a list of every major free agent from those we want to sign to those we should avoid like a girl with a visible herpes sore (along with the reason we should sign them in parentheses). I am NOT including D-Wade since he is too close in playing style to Rose and doesn’t make any sense for our team, or Paul Pierce since he won’t leave the Celtics.
We can afford two of the following:
LeBron (Most talented player on the planet. Needs to get his mom away from Delonte West.)
Dirk (Outside shooting and some inside scoring, solves both of our current issues though in reverse order. 7 foot tall Aryan with long hair, looks crazy intimidating.)
Amar’e (Inside scoring and some outside shooting, solves our biggest issue. Wears Macho Man Randy Savage glasses during games.)
David Lee (Inside scoring and rebounding. He is also white, so he will be a fan favorite that people will describe as scrappy and blue-collar.)
Boozer (Inside scoring and rebounding. Once tricked a blind old man into believing he wanted to stay in Cleveland, then got the hell out of there.)
Manu (He’s just awesome. Can score at will when needed, and does little things to help you win. Downside: very old. Upside: can slap a bat in the face in mid-air.)
Joe Johnson (Outside shooting, solves our 2nd biggest need. Is part of the NBA clique they call “Our Family” along with LeBron, Wade, CP3, and Carmelo. If they were the Rat Pack, Johnson would be Joey Bishop. “Who?” Exactly.)
Ray Allen (Outside shooting with a hint of old man smell. But he’s Jesus Shuttlesworth, so he gets a pass.)
Rudy Gay (Drives to the rim and can shoot. He’s athletic and not a huge pussy, which makes him an upgrade from Luol Deng.)
J.J. Reddick (I’m actually dead serious about this. He’s a good outside shooter who we could bring off the bench, and we could probably sign one or two bench guys for cheap this year after landing a big free agent and putting ourselves in title contention. Also, he started a rap group that will surely be both terrible and hilarious.)
Mike Miller (Another good shooter we could hopefully sign for cheap, but only if he grows his long hair back and agrees to flash his tits every game. So hot.)
Guys we shouldn’t sign, but are listed just so we can laugh at them:
Yao (The modern day Bill Walton, Yao’s feet betray him every year. Can’t wait for him to be waiving a towel on Boston’s bench in a few years.)
Michael Redd (Would provide outside shooting if he could avoid injuries or donuts. He has fat rolls on the back of his head, which is hilarious.)
Sean May (We haven’t had anyone with tits on our team since Eddie Curry got shipped to NY.)
Ricky Davis (I don’t have to make a joke here. He’s the joke.)
T-Mac (Remember when he was good? Like, REALLY good? Now he’s gonna be lucky to have a spot on someone’s bench. It’s fun to laugh at people who fall far off their pedestals.)
Marquis Daniels (He owns a blinged-out necklace of his own head. I’m gonna buy that necklace at his bankruptcy auction in a few years.)
Shaq (To paraphrase Animal House: Fat, slow, and old is no way to go through life, son. He would be great for comedic purposes though. Dude’s still funny.)
Nate Robinson (We don’t have any rowdy midgets on our team right now, and this guy is a Napolian Complex Hall of Famer.)
Chris Douglas-Roberts (Though he played at Memphis with Rose, he has three names, which is just obnoxious. What, you think you’re too good for only two names? You’re not better than me, CDR. You live in Jersey. There. I win.)
Trenton Hassel (We need to get back to the Jerry Krause mentality of picking up guys who are better than expected, even if it means passing up guys that are just better. Just kidding. That was how we ended up with a 15 win season.)
Bobby Simmons (A hometown guy, Bobby Simmons is single-handedly responsible for the downfall of DePaul basketball. Nice job, Bobby.)
Eddie House (Because Chicago hasn’t had a sports figure who brought his kid to every game since angry Cubs fans chased Dusty Baker out of town with flaming torches.)
Allen Iverson (Instant street-cred.)
Leon Powe (He’s crazy jacked and once won an NBA Finals game single-handedly against the Lakers. That’s not a joke, that actually happened.)
Bassy Telfair (Stephon Marbury’s younger, shittier cousin likes to bring guns on planes and used to hang out with Jay Z. I’m guessing those calls go straight to voice mail these days.)
Kwame Brown (Ha ha, Wizards. You ended up with this guy while we got Chandler and Curry! Just kidding, the joke is on all of us.)
Rodney Stucky (This guy is off limits. Joe Dumars knows that when you have a short point guard who doesn’t understand the game, you build your franchise around that guy.)
Luke Ridnour (The poor man’s Kirk Hinrich. Seriously, Hirich makes more money than he does.)
Antonio Davis (He’s retired, but I think we should bring him back just for the crazy antics of his bat-shit-insane wife who once attacked Obama’s campaign manager at a Bulls game, then threw hot coffee at a woman who she hit with her car.)
Jason Williams (Though I am not a fan of white chocolate, which isn’t even chocolate, I am a BIG fan of “White Chocolate” and his awesome rants.)
Kenyon Martin (Threatened to beat the crap out of his teammates for playing a prank in which they filled his car up with popcorn through the sunroof. Calm down, dude. That’s hilarious.)
Darko Milicic (Oh, shit! Darko’s available? We gotta nab him! Here’s how good Darko is: “He’s going to own the game. Own the game. We’re going to have to build a new arena. The only thing that could destroy a kid like that is a woman.” – Will Robinson, Detroit Pistons. “Darko reminds me of a young Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt used to do a little of everything, and I haven’t seen a big man with so much skill since Wilt.” – Will Robinson, Detroit Pistons.)
Adam Morrison (Any time you can add a guy who loses his composure in the last possession of a close game so badly that he starts crying in front of thousands of fans and millions of viewers, you gotta grab that guy.)
Larry Hughes (I miss having a guy on our team who admits openly that he doesn’t care about winning and just wants to have fun out there. Stay classy, Larry.)
And that about wraps it up. Why stop now? Because believe it or not, I don’t have all fucking day to just sit around making fun of bad basketball players, that’s why. I have serious things to do, like getting back to my job of being paid to watch baseball. So that’s it, and if you don’t like it, write your own damn list. I’m outta here.
Hey TOF fans. We got another shout-out on Deadspin yesterday, though for a much different reason than last time. Here’s my contribution to their ongoing Great Moments in Drunken Hookup Failure mailbag in accordance with their current theme: Blood Week. Should I be proud that I left Big Daddy Drew speechless? Scared? Worried? Mad with power? I’m gonna go with proud.
After last night’s blown call with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th of a perfect game by Armando Galarraga, umpire Jim Joyce ruined an extremely rare event in baseball history. There had never been 3 perfect games in one season, let alone in one month, and now that is still the case because of one umpire’s bad call. But I’m not writing to eviscerate Jim Joyce. He made a bad call. A REALLY bad call (it wasn’t even close), but still. And he made it in a sport that doesn’t allow replay on anything that home runs. Yet, because the replay technology exists, he was able to look at that same footage minutes later, footage that could have saved this piece of history from being ruined, and admit that he got it wrong. That said, we obviously need to expand replay to include calls at the bases, and to fair and foul balls that aren’t home runs. Was he safe our was he out? Was it fair or foul? These are things that are easy to determine if you review the footage, and we need to get the calls right.
So now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, it’s time to channel my inner “Fire Joe Morgan.”
Here is a quote from this morning’s NY TImes story on the blown perfect game by writer Tyler Kepner:
“The courageous call is the one Joyce made. It was so obviously wrong that Joyce, a major league umpire since 1989, clearly had no desire to help Galarraga make history. He simply called the play as he saw it. The problem, of course, is that Joyce’s decision is easily the most egregious blown call in baseball over the last 25 years.”
Wow. Let me start off my retort by addressing Tyler Kepner. Mr. Kepner, you just wrote the dumbest thing I’ve ever read about sports. Seriously. Making a blown call is courageous? Are you sure you weren’t looking for “egregious” or “outrageous?” No, you clearly really did mean that someone fucking something up is an act of courage. The fact that it was wrong was an afterthought to you? The most important thing, to you, was that this guy had conviction while shitting on a piece of history. If it was a close call, and Joyce had gotten it right, he should have been lauded for not bending the rules to cheapen such an achievement. But the call wasn’t even close. He was out by a whole step. I feel bad for Joyce now that he admitted his huge mistake, but that doesn’t make him a fucking hero for standing up for what was obviously wrong, not just in hindsight, but at the time. He’s not a martyr. He’s not a hero. He didn’t display valor while committing the job performance equivalent of shitting his pants in public. He’s a fuck up. And so are you. Tyler Kepner showed courage in defending the indefensible. If you would like to express your disgust with Mr. Keppinger, you can find him on street corners arguing with complete strangers in defense of OJ’s not guilty verdict, the Iraq war invasion and WMD claims, and BP saving money on safety measures at their oil wells.