Posts Tagged ‘Michael Jordan’

“Don’t feel entitled to anything you didn’t sweat and struggle for.”   -Marian Wright Edelman

I’m not one of those people who think athletes, as a whole, deserve this or that but there are some instances where I believe some athletes are entitled to a certain career.  Joe Montana should have been a 49er for life.  Michael Jordan should never have had to put on that ridiculous Wizards jersey.  Ray Borque should have won a championship with the Boston Bruins and not have to do with it the Colorado Avalanche.  Can you imagine if back in the late 1950’s the Boston Red Sox had decided that Ted Williams was past his prime and maybe he should ply his trade elsewhere?  After all, he only hit .254 in 1959.  That’s not very Splendid Splinter like and it was the lowest batting average for the career .344 hitter.  Instead, Ted Williams came back and retired on his own terms and, more importantly, retired as a Red Sox player.

 

This never should have happened

This brings me to Derek Jeter.  Am I a Yankee fan?  No, but I’m not a hater either.  I seem to be in the minority that thinks that Jeter deserves to be a Yankee as long as he wants.  Derek Jeter grew up a Yankee fan and his goal early in life was to be a Yankee.  He worked hard and achieved his dream.  He debuted in 1995, won rookie of the year in 1996, won five World Series, an All-Star MVP, a World Series MVP and five Gold Gloves.  I’ll talk more about Jeter’s most recent Gold Glove later.

Derek Jeter has become a New York icon.  He OWNS the Big Apple.  He’s the damn captain of the New York Yankees but the Yankees want to play hardball with his contract negotiations.  He’s been such a huge part of this franchise that he deserves, nay, is entitled to stick around as long as he wants.  It’s not like, at 36, he’s washed up.  Sure, he doesn’t have many good years left but he does have something left in the tank.

The sign says it all

His demands of somewhere around $25 million a year for five years is a bit steep.  Jeter’s agent denies these demands.  The Yankees are offering $15 million a year for three years.  The Yankees offer seems more reasonable given Derek Jeter’s age but their differences shouldn’t be dragged out in the media.  The Yankees told Jeter to test the market and see what’s out there.  How dare you?  Whatever the Yankees and Jeter are doing should be kept behind closed doors.

Then again, this is not The Boss’ Yankees anymore.  As much of a hard-ass George Steinbrenner was, I doubt he would allow this to be played out in the media.  Why all the sudden are the Yankees worried about spending money?  This is the same team that game Jason Giambi $120 million over seven years and Carl Pavano a four-year $40 million dollar deal.  Why is money so important now, and with a legend and future Hall of Famer, Derek Jeter?  Hopefully the Yankees and Jeter can come to terms and find a number they both can agree on.

On to the most recent Gold Glove won by the Yankee captain.  The Bearded One and The SandRant both derided the decision to bestow a fifth Gold Glove on Jeter as, “a joke”.  Why is it such a stretch?  Derek Jeter only had six errors in 2010.  Those six errors are the lowest in his fifteen full seasons.  Those six errors are also the lowest of any American League shortstop.  His .989 fielding percentage was also the lowest of any everyday American League shortstop.  Only two American League shortstops were involved in more double plays than Jeter.  Those players are Alexei Ramirez of the Chicago White Sox and Cliff Pennington of the Oakland A’s.  That’s nice but Ramirez had twenty errors and a .974 fielding percentage.  Pennington had twenty-five errors and a .966 fielding percentage.

 

He can still get it done in the field

I have a feeling the major argument anyone will make has to do with range.  Yes, there are eight AL shortstops that have a higher range factor than Jeter but how much stock should we take in this number?  Most of the shortstops above Derek Jeter in range have double-digit errors.  You definitely want a shortstop with range but let’s not get too excited about it.  How many of those extra chances a player gets by having range ends up in the stands?  Sure, getting to that ball might save an extra base hit or a run here or there but I imagine that gets cancelled out with an errant throw that allows player to advance.  Maybe Cesar Izturis of the Baltimore Orioles deserved a closer look for the Gold Glove but to totally discount Jeter is the real joke.

Besides those stats, here are some other stats you might be interested in.  Here’s a list of Derek Jeter’s girlfriends over the years.

Mariah Carey (before she became a cow)

Miss Universe Lara Dutta

Joy Enriquez

Jordana Brewster

Venessa Minnillo

Jessica Biel

Minka Kelly

Jessica Alba

Scarlett Johansson

Gabrielle Union

Vida Guerra

Rachel Uchitel (Tiger Woods knows her too)

Adriana Lima

Yankees, pay the man!

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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

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