Archive for the ‘NBA Basketball’ Category

LeBron James’ ill conceived “The Decison”  happened  on July 8th but the bad taste it left in everyone’s mouth is still here.  To be honest, I am not an LBJ fan and couldn’t care less where he decided to go unless it was to my beloved Clippers.  If that had happened, he would have automatically been my favorite player.  That didn’t happen but what did happen left most sports fans disillusioned with LeBron, ESPN and the state of sports in general.

The people of Cleveland beg to differ

I will tell you what I think about “The Decision” in a minute but if you want to get it from a pro please go to ESPN’s Ombudsman, Don Ohlmeyer, and read his magnificent piece on “The Decision”.  Ohlmeyer’s article is probably one of my favorite pieces of sports writing in a long, long time.  The only thing I would’ve added is that this wasn’t the first time ESPN blurred the line between being a news organization and self promotion.  The Adam James/Mike Leach saga last December showed that ESPN had trouble being truthful and objective when the story concerned one of their own.  Here’s Ohlmeyer’s take on that too.  Another good read.

But even before that there was ESPN’s promotion of baseball’s Home Run Derby between 1995 and 2006 and the Sosa-McGwire saga of 1998.  I have no problem with the Derby but I did have a problem with ESPN being outraged to learn that baseball players were on the juice.  I wrote a little about it here.  ESPN had specials on the Sosa-McGuire home run battle and they would even cut in on all Sosa and McGwire at bats late in the season but no one ever thought to question if these guys were clean.  Later, they felt betrayed by both Sosa and McGwire after the whole congressional hearings thing played out.  That’s an insult to all sports fans because we all had an idea it was happening but wondered why it wasn’t investigated more.  When Selig made his big announcement that MLB would be cleaning up the game of PED’s, the only people surprised to hear that players were on the juice were ESPN and MLB.  I could write a World Cup length piece on it but I’m on vacation and can’t be bothered right now.  I’ll wait until some big name star gets outed for using to write that.

Note to ESPN: A lot of people feel this way

Back to “The Decision”.  ESPN had to know that having an hour-long, prime-time show was overkill and wouldn’t go over well with anyone not living in South Beach.  If they didn’t, then they don’t know their audience and are out of touch with todays ever cynical sports fans.  Truthfully, I didn’t watch it but already hated the idea when I heard it.  I didn’t know all the details until I read the Ombudsman’s piece on it.  How did ESPN allow itself to be taken over by LeBron and his posse for one night?  What was the reward?  Sure they did mad numbers but at what cost?  They didn’t make any money because LeBron pretty much made them pay for the privilege of allowing him to be on their airwaves that night.  Plus, ESPN should’ve known that something was up when LeBron decided that he wanted the loathsome Jim Gray to conduct the interview of him on a show LeBron and Co. conceived.  My favorite quote from the Ohlmeyer piece has to do with Gray’s involvement.  Ohlmeyer writes, “if the interviewee also brings along his own interviewer, you cannot protect the integrity of the broadcast”.  Word!!!

Jim Gray? What, wasn't Stephen A. Smith available?

Not only was ESPN at fault but how did LeBron not realize what the backlash was going to be?  He went from a loveable man-child to probably one the most hated guys in the NBA.  He’s right up there with Kobe now.  I hate Kobe Bryant and now LeBron but I can’t deny these guys are talented as hell.  Oddly, I think Kobe benefits from this short-sightedness by LeBron.  I immediately wished Kobe was in the gym at the time of the broadcast and thinking to himself, “I’m gonna turn it up this year and there ain’t nothing 6-3-1 can do about it.”  Kobe somehow was more tolerable to me and another Lakers championship wouldn’t be as hard to swallow as a Miami Heat triumph.

Go ahead and win another title. As long as 6-3-1 doesn't I'm cool with it

LeBron James, for all his business acumen, seems like an insecure child sometimes.  He’s already defined his career and legacy as a failure is he doesn’t win a ring.  He needs that ring to be Michael Jordan or better.  The only thing is that Michael would never have gone to another team to get what he wanted.  Michael was going to make things happen on his terms.  People would have to join him and not the other way around.  Kobe is the same.  Magic and Larry Bird were also the same.  LeBron just wants to be part of something and if that gets him the ring, nothing else matters.  That’s why he’ll never be like Mike.

Jordan would've never joined The Bad Boys. It was his way or no way

Was it worth it LeBron?

Does Dwyane Wade realize that he’s gonna be LBJ’s lackey in Miami and not the other way around?

Be careful what you wish for Dwyane

Advertisements

Sincerely

Everyone outside of  Miami

Dictated to: The Bearded Guy

There have been an outrageous amount of horrible calls and missed calls throughout this World Cup, that have spurred renewed conversation of FIFA’s use of technology and instant replay during the World Cup. With most of the talk being motivated by horrible foul calls, I’m really hoping this doesn’t happen. I’m not against instant replay. I think it has its place in football (the American type) and basketball. And although I would agree with The Mark, who earlier wrote about his opposition to using replay in baseball (see Baseball Is Just Fine The Way It Is), I really don’t have a strong opposition to it in baseball, I would just like to keep the game as traditional as possible…but with the addition of steroids, the designated hitter, the wild card, and relief pitchers in the last half decade, I’m basically giving up my hopes on that. While I think instant replay may have a place in soccer, it’s a small place at best, and wouldn’t help right the foul calls that have people upset.

For Foul Calls?

My opposition pretty much comes down to one thing, soccer is just too fast paced to have instant replay. Replay is fine in other sports that have breaks and adequate time between plays. Football, there’s almost always a 30 second break after each play, except for in the sadly underused no huddle offense; In basketball when each team has 5-6 timeouts per half and there are 30 stops for free throws per game, they are not concerned with adding a couple more breaks to review questionable calls. Soccer on the other hand has zero timeouts per game and rarely has stops over a couple seconds. There are hardly pauses for most foul calls, as most teams are trying to get the game going before the other team has a chance to reset. This sort of play also allows for an advantage to the most physically fit team, so to add a break for instant replay would take away strategy and advantage from the game.

If they don’t decide to stop the game, then the other option would be to let play resume and review, but how would they correct the call. Reverse the call and reset the game clock to where it was? Offer a makeup call? Basically, when it comes down to putting instant replay in effect, you can either stop the game and ruin the pace of the game or you can let the game proceed and have no effective way to reverse an incorrect call.

Also consider though, since there is so much interpretation involved in what’s a foul, yellow, and red card, it’s practically impossible to have a perfectly called game. What I think is a yellow card is a foul to someone else, what some else thinks is a red, I think is a yellow. Is a player intentionally hitting someone or was it an accident (foul or yellow)? Replay will never solve the difference in interpretation and if done by a review booth, could potentially cause inconsistency in calls.

If any of the people who were bitching that instant replay was necessary in soccer for foul calls could please tell me how they planned on enacting it without destroying the game, that would be greatly appreciated.

For Goals, Red Cards?

I will agree with the pro-instant replay people that it should be used on goals (unless sensors start getting used, which would be even better). Unlike most other stops to the game, this stop is longer, with adequate time to review the call from a booth. And it’s the most crucial part of the game to call correctly. I don’t see this having a huge effect on the game except ensuring accuracy.

There are some areas that still lie in a gray area for me, though, such as the review of red cards. I don’t think it was fair that Kaka had to sit out a game for his slight brush against Keita that sent him (evidently convincingly enough) crashing to the ground in the worst imaginary injury to date in the World Cup. All review showed that this was simply a case of Keita abusing slight contact and the ref’s bad view of the situation. So, do we undermine the refs and review double yellows? And again, do we undermine them and tell them that what they saw as an intentional foul, which should merit a yellow, we happened to feel was unintentional and should simply be a foul call? I think there should still be no instant replay with these, since it’s just too complicated to reverse, just as I said with a regular foul call, but it hurts me to say that when there are clear mistakes being made.

So We Just Let The Horrible Officiating Continue?

There’s bound to be error in soccer, I know. It’s very difficult to be in proper position when the ball is moving so quickly, there’s no way to always be in a correct position to see any possible call and foul, and to add to that, the ref is running the whole time while trying to keep an eye on 22 people at once. But I’m not asking for perfection, I’m just asking for the copious amount of bullshit calls to be reduced to a small handful.

While I disagree with instant replay, there needs to be some change in the officiating. I don’t know that I can stand to watch another World Cup where players spend more time on the ground fake crying than up on their feet actually playing the game; I’ve already lived through Vlade Divac’s career and don’t care to see this type of play in any sport again.

Other solutions.

More refs. Baseball has 4 umps for a max of 13 players and they are watching a much more limited area of play, and all of this with more time to react, instant replay for homeruns, the ability to consult each other, and even more umps in playoffs. Football has 7 officials for 22 players and are watching 1 direction of play (for the most part) and all of this with only one play going on at a time, time to consult, instant replay, and booth review. Basketball has 3 officials for 10 players and are watching on a much more limited court size, and all this with the ability to consult and have instant replay. Basically what we see with soccer is there are fewer officials, more players, and due to the speed of the game and the inability to consult at length, 2 of the 3 officials have a lot of power taken out of their hands and the power really lies with the head ref. This has just been encouraging the fake fouls, since the players are taking advantage of the lack of vision on the field. I think the addition of more refs, (maybe another on field, and split power like in basketball?) would discourage this embarrassing behavior.

"The foul's on......eh, who cares?"-Coulibaly

Explanations. One thing that’s clearly necessary is justification of calls. I don’t think that the Coulibaly call is evidence of a need for replay as much as it’s evidence for mandatory explanations. The Bearded Man just wrote about this in his recent controversial post Why The World Cup Sucks and I absolutely, absolutely agree. The fact that he is unable to say who the foul is being called on is unacceptable. Even worse is FIFA’s avoidance to address the issue. Even as quick paced as the game is, he does have the two seconds it takes to tell a scorekeeper the players number. There’s no point in having headsets if they’re clearly not being used properly.

All I can say, is hopefully some sort of change will be made. I would like instant replay to stay out of the game, but if it does in fact sneak its way in, at least I won’t have to watch another miserable World Cup with the refs being the third team on the field.

-The Sand-Rant

Some little kid probably already had these three guys on one of his Video Game teams

Pick the conversation that suits you

TBG: Hey, you remember when we were growing up in the mid 90’s (Insert The Mark Age joke here) and we would play Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, and eventually N64?

Reader:

A)Yeah, of course, I had a huge collection of games

B) Yeah, kind of, I played them at a friends house

C) Yeah, but I only played Final Fantasy

D) No, I (read books, was Amish, sucked)

If you answered A or B keep reading

If you answered C or D please never comeback

TBG: Okay, so did you play those great sports games before everyone was forced to play the EA sports line almost exclusively?

Reader:

A) Sega had sports games?

B) I love Prime Time Football and Kobe Bryant in NBA Courtside!

C) EA for Life

If you answered A you are younger than 10 years old, thanks for being our youngest reader

If you answered C keep reading although you might not get this like B readers

If you answered B, This article is for you.

TBG: Besides being able to talk trash, what was your favorite part of those games?

Press the C button and let the trash talking begin

Reader:

A) The graphics, they are still great!

B) You could do ridiculous trades, force teams to release players although you weren’t in control of them, and no salary cap. So you could make your favorite team an all-star squad and destroy everyone.

C) Dude, I am sorry what were we talking about.

If you answered A or C, you’re in your own world.

If you answered B, you know we are kind of living this right now, right?

Team’s are moving around the NBA Free Agency market in order to have three of their own 2008 Dream-Teamers. We have all looked at the names floating around and thought “When did a (8-16) year old become in charge of this process.”

TBG: Yeah, the possible culprits  are Bosh, Wade, and the King himself.  They officially could kill the NBA.  If all of them decide to collude and go to Miami. It will be time to lay the NBA to rest.

Reader:

A) Yeah, you are right I would cancel my NBA court side and start watching Wrestling (probably not).

B) Com’on Bearded Guy, you know it was fun to dominate and rack up meaningless stats.

If you answered A you can skip ahead,  B readers continue you below.

TBG: I know what you’re saying Reader B, I did it too and had a stellar lineup on Kobe’s Courtside:

Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan, Shaq, Shareef, Ray Allen, Antoine Walker, KG, Eddie Jones, Jason Kidd…to name a few.

Memphis learned their GM skills from this game

But let me ask you this, how long did you enjoy playing when it wasn’t competitive? How many,if  more than one, seasons did you play that video game through?

Reader:

A) 2 months, and I played a season and half, I was the MVP, Finals MVP, and set a scoring record. What’s your point?

B) I think I got you….

If you answered A or B keep reading.

TBG: The point is that you got bored with dominance. You were at the top of the game could do whatever you wanted as a team and you wanted to go and play something else. This is how it’s going to be for fans and even that team, if they land all three players. It’s not fun for fan if the outcome of a season is pretty much determined and it’s not fun for a player if their isn’t a challenge to overcome, if everything comes to easy, and they never have to take over single-handedly. It also leads to issues with touches, shot attempts, and endorsement dollars.

Reader:

A) What about Shaq and Kobe situation, MJ and Pippen type situation (see also Bird and Celts and Magic and Kareem), or Kobe and Gasol situation?

B) That makes sense!

If you answered A see below,

If you answered B you can skip ahead.

TBG: Those situations are much different.  When Shaq and Kobe were together Shaq was the clear Alpha Dog. MJ was the alpha, plus Pippen was drafted by the Bulls, and Gasol was a numbers guy, not a wins guy, in no way did he challenge Kobe for  Alpha status. Plus the Gasol trade was a crime against the Association.  In all these situations, the personalities fit together and were not brokered together in some kid’s imagination.

Reader:

A) The Truth shall set me free

B) I guess, although I don’t totally agree

If you answered either keep reading

TBG: This is where the EA gamer comes in, how many seasons do you play in Dynasty mode trying to sign good free agents, or prospects, or develop your players?

Reader:

A) All the time, my teams status continues to improve and there are often difficult things to achieve in building a Dynasty.

B) I was the Sega and Super Nintendo guy, can you explain what this means in life terms.

They can't be in the same jersey: for us and for them

TBG: I think of it like this. Lebron and Wade are Alpha dogs for sure. Both great players with their own legend built up where they currently play. Playing together would ruin one or both of their E/A Dynasty modes. Being the best player in the league and wanting to be one of the best of all-time would be kind of over shadowed when you teamed up with the second best in order to win your share of championships.  Kings do not have a Co-King. Kings do not share their throne. Kings don’t defer to a number two. King is a singular title.  Bosh is more of your Gasol type, and the Raptors are at a place where they can only get a sign and trade value out of him, but only if it’s a deal they can agree on. They will probably end up with less than Memphis did for Gasol. So Miami might buy Wade a sidekick for the future. I guess I can deal with that, but the epic event of all three teaming up would lead me to take my copy of the NBA down to the used game store and try to get some cash for my memories.

Enjoy Our Video Game July

The Bearded Guy

Currently the NBA dominates many of the main pages of sports websites, not just with playoff updates but with the upcoming Lebron sweepstakes. Beyond the upcoming free agency of Lebron, several significant things occurred over the last week that will make a difference in the remainder of this season. The fascinating part is that something major has happened at each level from ownership to players performance all within this time span. I will highlight the week in four categories: The Team, The Owner, The Coach, and The player.

The Team: The Celtics

Garnett: I get to be Bernie next time Paul!

Remember the regular season? You know the one in which the aging stars were taking turns being Bernie carried around by a couple of younger guys? Then something happened….some say it was Quentin Richardson’s shove on Pierce in Game 1 vs The Heat and other’s think they were tired of being over looked. Whatever the change, it has made a huge difference.

Series 1 MIA Heat vs BOS Celtics, Best player: Dwayne Wade, MIA

Series 2 BOS Celtics vs CLE Cavaliers, Best player: Lebron James, CLE

Series 3 BOS Celtics vs ORL Magic, Best Player:   Dwight Howard, ORL

Yet Despite not having the best player in any of the series, Celtics have simply out played everyone and if the playoffs ended today, Rajon Rondo would be the Playoffs MVP. Now I  know he did not have a great game, but he has been the drive force and put up some great games through out the playoffs. Although, Boston lost tonight with Pierce and Allen carrying the load, they are up 3-1 and the Magic needed OT to win one game. Rajon Rondo will come back strong next game, and it will be 4-1 series after Wednesday in Orlando, unless Matt Barnes get’s his fiance to come in and fight for him cause she can box! (As seen on Basketball Wives).

The Owner: Mikhail Prokhorov

It's affffirmatav I own you

Although the sale of the New Jersey Nets was approved on May 11,  Mikhail made last week his by appearing at the Draft Lottery and doing an interview with the Yes Network’s Mike Francesa on Mike’d Up (Formerly Mike and the Mad Dog). To his dismay, New Jersey didn’t land John Wall, I mean, they didn’t get the first pick in 2010 Draft, ending up with the three pick.  This could basically end the chances of getting Lebron to come in and play with Wall.  Unless the Wizards find that trash bag full of Rubles along with the 3rd pick in Belmont Harbor.  Mikhail made his fortunes on some insider deals and favors, so I don’t see him changing his practices now. Wizard’s GM go to http://www.xe.com/ucc/ before you start negotiating the terms.

The Coach: Mike Brown

Nice Cuff links, plenty of room to hide the buy off money from the Knicks

In an effort to keep their King, Mike Brown must be beheaded. Anyone who saw the lineup verse the Celtics would think Mike Brown was trying to land a job out of town. His line-ups with Shaq, Big Z, and the reemergence of Boobie Gibson while keeping his high energy guys, specifically Anderson Varejao, on the bench was so deplorable that I am surprised no one has mentioned the 1919 White Sox, someone should contact Donaghy’s Knick Friends for some info on the fix. I guess Coach Brown had seen all the exhibits at The Rock and Roll Hall of fame in Cleveland and couldn’t stand the thought of staying. Can we give more fire to the made up rumor about Delonte West and Gloria James, by saying Mike Brown actually video taped on four occasions? Good-Bye Mike, your coaching won’t be missed, but I hear your ability to capture a scene in wide angle might.

The Player: Amare Stoudemire.

"No Watery or Glassy Eyes Here"

After Game 1, Stoudemire called Odom’s game one performance lucky. Well turns out it didn’t matter what candy he ate cause the Lakers took  game two. Perhaps the Stoudemires’ were just unlucky with the first two games and his mom’s joy ride home, if that was the case yesterday luck changed for him as he poured in 42 points in a must win to keep the series relevant game (see NBA comebacks from 0-3, p.s. there aren’t any). Being shopped around mid-season to a crucial part of a finals contenders is quite the swing, he must have gotten a special pair of rec specs that have changed his fortune and cursed the Cavs for not picking him up.

The old ineffective pair

That’s just the tip.

Enjoy

The Bearded Guy

Starting in the mid 90’s, after Real World had paved the way, we saw a boom in reality TV.  Big Brother, Survivor, American Idol came from this generation and have stuck around on major networks.  But when you get into the mid 30’s to 40’s channel-wise you are presented with a new type of reality TV.  The major train-wreck kind, the I want to marry a rock star, my boy friend is a tool, to the newly founded market of I’m an athlete or associate with an athlete.  I plan to dive into explore the new trend by breaking down the athlete based shows and the purpose behind them:

The Michael Vick Project:

This show aired on BET at the beginning of this year going 10 episodes.  After a sub-par comeback to the League, his PR team went about documenting the whole thing in order to try to rehabilitate his image.  The show lost steam and had little push in advertising.  Watching the first episode I could not decide whether I was supposed to like him or not, and why in the world were they interviewing his brother to back him as a creditable guy.  Does anyone remember Marcus’s actions at VT? BET maybe should have thought that through and said ‘Marcus, you go ahead and sit this one out’.  I don’t believe there are plans for a re-up for the show and for good reason…. Vick’s 2009 stat line: 6-13 for 86 yards, one touchdown, 24 rushes for 95 yards and two td’s as a backup.  Oddly his 93.7 passer rating was the highest of his career.

Purpose: Humanize him with a proposal, grave visit, family interviews, and his expression of shame!

The T.O. Show:

Why is this the main poster?

This little Gem is coming back for a second season after the VH1 quality success of the first 7 episodes.  In this show, our eyes are opened to the eccentric star that cries when you talk about his quarterback while wearing the jacket from Thriller.  This show was also a push to change the perception of a star, driven by his publicists who wanted some air time as well.  In season one, we get to see Terrell hook up with his Realtor, party it up, try to reunite with his X, and cry with his Grandma.  He loves to cry. Although, we all know Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease, this was a deliberate attempt for his TEAM to win us over. 2009 stats: 55 receptions for 829 yards and five TD’s, in a continuing decline of production.

Purpose:  To win back fans who were alienated by his odd 2007-2008 seasons.  Left us in the awkward zone still.

Basketball Wives:

Who's the Married ONE?

First, only one of them is married to a basketball player, Jennifer who’s married to retired player EricMr EdWilliams.  On the comedic side, her bio describes Eric as “…a wealthy and successful professional basketball player….” I had to look up who he played for and he was on 9 (7 teams) different rosters.  I don’t think that counts as successful, that’s like people saying Michael Olowokondi was a positive force for the rebuilding Clippers, OH WAIT his ex-girlfriend (NOT WIFE) is on the show.  I thought this show was going to be setup like a lot of the other group reality shows and we were going to see them all duking it out in some outlandish mansion that still isn’t big enough for people to have their own rooms.  Can someone explain that reality TV dilemma to me?  All the women feel they are better than Royce, the sideline dancer, ’cause NBA dancers maybe not be humans in their eyes? I don’t know, cause they way the chase jerseys just isn’t right, since they arent stalking them in college or at a night club.

Purpose:  For all these girls to stretch the money they have left. More like The NBA Hills than a reality show. The closest  show to a train wreck.

Please E! Make fantasy a reality!

Here’s hoping the  E! channel moves forward with Ben Roethlisberger’s new show “Small College Bar’s with Ben and Friends”.  Don’t tell me you wouldn’t watch!

Salute

The Bearded Guy

P.S.  The Mark,  Sorry for being LOUD

Its been almost a month since we have heard from Kennedy Wong and Sittingpugs whispering sweet nothings to each other through Sports blogs, so I thought I would call this the Simply-Wongless to replace The Blasians “weekly, I mean bi-weekly, oh wait lets just make it quarterly” Simply Ricockulous. I thought you were are NBA guy or basketball guy….hasn’t there been big signings at the college ranks and playoff match ups? Fam, you truly are the one who is Ricockulous!

"Since Kennedy Wong isn't here no one on DMZ sports loves me! "

-DMZ sports

Video of the week:

Can you believe he plays D-3?