Monday, July 12, 2010

Benedict Bron

Four days removed from "The Decision," and I have some thoughts I would like to share about this whole thing.

It's interesting to see people discuss how we, as Cleveland fans, should be grateful for the 7 years LeBron James "gave" to us. Why the hell should I be grateful for that? If one is good at basketball, why should I expect anything less?

Yo LeBron, thanks for performances man. I really appreciate them.

Are you kidding me? By telling us fans to be grateful for his 7 years, it's almost like telling us that he didn't have to do what he did. Sorry ESPN, but I'm not grateful for what LeBron did. Because, frankly, he didn't do shit. All that asshole did was give us fans hope that our 46-year championship-drought would come to an end. I'm not grateful for hope, anymore. Hope is just a tease. And hope can end in triumph, or, in our case over and over, failure. LeBron failed. And he did so in many ways.

LeBron James is a failure. Whether it's leadership, winning, or loyalty; he fails.

Leadership
I was talking about this LeBron situation yesterday with some people, and one person brought up a very interesting, and very true, point. Many people confuse being a great basketball player with being a great leader. LeBron is, without a doubt, a great basketball player. But why does that make him a great leader? He's not.

What leader complains about EVERY foul called on him? A leader maintains his/her composure, because they know that their actions will rub off on teammates. If I realized this all along, I would've been the first person in line to get those Papa John tee-shirts.



What leader quits on his team and coach? With Coach Mike Brown absolutely begging his troops to foul at the end of Game 6, LeBron refused, and then walked off the court almost as if he didn't even care that Boston embarrassed him and his teammates.



LeBron talks too much. We, as Cleveland fans, defended him wayyyyyyyyy too much over the past 7 years. He does not have the killer instinct that Jordan, Bryant, and Wade possess. Not one bit. We wanted him to, but he doesn't have it. And he never will. Skip Bayless, Charles Barkley, and whomever else spoke the truth over the past 7 years, I would like to offer my apology for defending such an egotistical prick.



Winning
You wanna know your stats LeBron? Zero. You have zero, Jordan has six, Kobe has five, Wade has one. It's funny how you'll always have less rings than Wade. And it's funny how we defended a Kobe vs. LeBron argument. LeBron: Please enjoy your 2 MVP trophies while Kobe flashes his FIVE NBA CHAMPIONSHIP RINGS! When it comes down to it, no one cares that you have the best stats. The only stat that matters is the number of rings, and you're in last LeBron. Adam Morrison is beating you, just so you know.



Now that you'll win with the greatest player in your draft class, Dwyane Wade (remember, he has more rings than you), I hope you'll feel better about yourself. Look LeBron, I don't care what you think, because we all know what you think about yourself. To be considered the G.O.A.T., you aren't allowed to declare that for yourself. WE, the fan base, analysts, rest of the world, decide this. Michael Jordan isn't the one who says he's the greatest; WE are. Enjoy being second-fiddle, Scottie.

Loyalty
The first two points, leadership and winning, may be the two that matter most for your legacy according to the rest of the world, but us Clevelanders know that loyalty is the most important. This is because winning is rare, and leaders come and go. Let's take a look at Cleveland's heroes, and see what they all have in common.


OMAR VIZQUEL

JIM BROWN

ZYDRUNAS ILGAUSKAS

Now, what do these players have in common? They were loyal to the city of Cleveland. Vizquel spent 11 years in Cleveland, Brown spent his whole career with the Browns and serves as an executive advisor for them, and Big Z has played his entire NBA career in Cleveland. Z also took less money to return to the Cavs last season.

Let's compare those 3 icons with the next 3 people I show.


JIM THOME


ART MODELL


CARLOS BOOZER

I think you get the point, here. All 3 of these guys bolted Cleveland. Thome, a beloved Indian, Modell, the owner of the Cleveland Browns, and Boozer, now an all-star and former Cavalier. Thome, once a fan-favorite, receives his share of boos from the Tribe fans when he plays at Progressive Field. Modell hasn't been back to Cleveland in 15 years. And Boozer faked injury/illness for the first few years so he wouldn't have to play in Cleveland.

You're a different egg LeBron. You're from Cleveland, you know our heartache better than anyone. Very frequently, you choose your words carefully by claiming you're from Akron, and not necessarily Cleveland. Well then, I guess I'm not from Cleveland either. In fact, the majority of Cavs fans aren't from Cleveland as well. Since you're such a literal person, let's look at what you've said over the past few years:

"I got a goal, and it's a huge goal, and that's to bring an NBA championship here to Cleveland. And I won't stop until I get it."
http://www.nba.com/video/channels/nba_tv/2010/03/31/20100331_alink_james.nba/ --- Fast forward to about 4:45

"I don't want to go ring-chasing. I want to stay with the Cavs and build a champion."
http://sportsbybrooks.com/lebron-i-dont-want-to-go-ringchasing-as-i-call-it-28664

You're a liar. You made a decision in which you can't come back home.



Boozer was gone two years before he came back, and he still got it bad. And he was just Boozer. You're LeBron. This could've ended so much differently. This isn't Mike Brown's fault, this isn't Dan Gilbert's fault, this isn't Mo Williams's fault, and it isn't the fans of Cleveland's fault; this is 110% your fault.

We weren't the ones who ignored phone calls and texts.
We weren't the ones who teased by hosting Free Agency meetings in Cleveland.
We weren't the ones who held camps in Northeast Ohio the week of July 1st.
We weren't the ones who played basketball at those camps with several current and former Cavalier players.
We weren't the ones who went on National TV to absolutely and disgustingly embarrass our hometown.
We weren't the ones who quit.
We weren't the ones who couldn't get it done.
We weren't the ones who betrayed our hometown.


We were the ones who loveD you.
We were the ones who had a LeBron Appreciation Day.
We were the ones who had a tunnel of fans lining the streets of Cleveland as you met with teams.
We were the ones who put up a billboard of you, professing how much we adoreD you.
We were the ones who went to your high school games.
We were the ones who argued that you were better than Kobe.
We were the ones who ALWAYS had your back.


However, things have changed.
We are the ones who will burn your jersey.
We are the ones who will never let you back.
We are the ones who will "De-LeBron" our rooms.
We are the ones who think it's hilarious about Delonte and Gloria.
^^^We are the ones who know it's true!
We are the ones whose favorite team is the Cavs, and second favorite is whoever plays the Heat.
We are the ones who love our owner.
And last, but not least by any means, WE are the ones who hate you.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Putting On The Shift

For about the past two weeks, I've been thinking about other topics to write about. I've come to recognize how difficult it is to discuss a topic NOT involving LeBron James and the free agency period. It's been so bad that ESPN's own Jim Rome had this same problem the day before the beginning of the NBA Finals.

THREE OUT OF FOUR BURNS ON LEBRON?!? Give me a break ESPN... And to think that these guys get paid the big bucks to tell me things I'm not supposed to know...

Anyways, it certainly is difficult to come up with something interesting. I was reading about how Ubaldo Jimenez had just won his 11th game of the year, and, thus, looked up the Colorado Rockies' record only to find out they are in 4th place of the NL West. That's when it hit me; the National League is getting better and better, and they're closing in on the American League.

Then I thought of the NFL and realized that the NFC may, in fact, be better than the AFC.

And after years and years of dominance, it looks as if the Eastern Conference is beginning to takeover the throne as the best conference in the NBA.

For years, the American League, American Football Conference, and Western Conference have reigned supreme in their respective sports. However, I've noticed a change in direction within each sport.

Major League Baseball
I'll start right off the bat by saying that the American League East is the best division in baseball, no doubt about it. Who would've thought that the Toronto Blue Jays would have a record of 33-25 this year, WITHOUT the best pitcher in baseball? That .569 winning percentage is good enough for 3rd place (tied with Boston) in the AL East, behind baseball's best: The New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays.

However, at this point in the season, the American League has 5 teams with at least 5 wins above .500. The National League has 7 teams. The American League is home to the 2 worst divisions in baseball: the Central and West.

The NL West has 4 teams over .500.
The NL East has 3 teams over .500, plus 2 more teams right on the edge of being .500.
-- The last place team, Washington, will be adding phenom Stephen Strasburg tomorrow too, so they could very well catch .500.
The NL Central has two teams 9 games over .500, on the brink of .600 winning percentages.

I'm not saying that the Yankees and Rays are not the two best teams in baseball, and that they won't win the World Series. But the fact of the matter is that the National League is picking it up big time, and it's going unnoticed.

In my opinion, NL > AL.

National Football League
For a while, it's been a league all about Tom Brady's New England Patriots and Peyton Manning's Indianapolis Colts. Both are all-time greats, and will continue to play that way.

However, the league has dynamically changed. From 1998 until 2007, an AFC team won the Super Bowl 8 out of 11 times. For the past 3 years, an NFC team has won twice, and we are one non-fumble-recovery-touchdown away from having 3 straight NFC Super Bowl Champions.

The NFC had 6 teams over .600 last season, compared to the 3 of the AFC. As for one of those 3 teams, the New England Patriots seemed to have lost that championship swagger last year... With a 2-6 road record, it isn't very likely this team can ever return to the top. I don't see anyone threatening Peyton Manning's Colts for a couple years. He has too many options, and every other team in the AFC has too many questions. Maybe the Ravens? We'll see.

On the other hand, the NFC has a plethora of teams who can contend for the Super Bowl. I would list them all, but that would be a waste of my time. Just don't expect to see St. Louis or Detroit in Dallas for Super Bowl XLV.

In my opinion, NFC > AFC.

National Basketball Association
The Western Conference, for as long as I can remember, has OWNED the Eastern Conference. The worst I can remember was in the 2007 Finals, where my beloved Cleveland Cavaliers were swept by the San Antonio Spurs. How in the world was the best team in the Eastern Conference a team with Eric Snow, Larry Hughes, Sasha Pavlovic, Ira Newble, David Wesley, etc.? It's pretty baffling, to be honest.

However, ever since that year, the Eastern Conference has been making their push.

For the record, let me begin by saying that the Eastern Conference's bad teams are worse than the Western Conference's bad teams. Also, the Western Conference has more threats to win the NBA Championship than the Eastern Conference.

But, they sure are getting old, aren't they? If the Lakers can't win this season against Boston, is Kobe's legacy ruined by losing to Boston twice in the Finals, and thus ending the Lakers run as the best of the West? Dallas hasn't won a damn thing, San Antonio has had the same roster for 10 years it seems like (but George Hill sure is nice), Phoenix can say bon voyage to Amare, Denver could be saying the same thing to Melo next summer, etc. Oklahoma City will be top 3 in the West by next season.

The Eastern Conference: Home to Cleveland, Orlando, and Boston. Also known as LeBron James (for now, and hopefully forever), Dwight Howard, and The Big Four. Also found in the East: Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, and those chokers out in Atlanta. It just seems to me that the East has been getting ahold of all the talent these past few years, and they're erasing this embarrassment bestowed by the West.

If I had to pick the best player at each position for each league, it would go as follows:

Eastern Conference
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Dwyane Wade
SF: LeBron James
PF: Chris Bosh
C: Dwight Howard

Western Conference
PG: Chris Paul (Hurt)
SG: Kobe Bryant (Getting old)
SF: Kevin Durant (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwUany4yp_0&feature=fvsr)
PF: Tim Duncan (Getting old)
C: Amare Stoudamire (Probably coming East)

This is one of those leagues where you could go either way. This year, I wouldn't hesitate to say that the Western Conference is better than the Eastern Conference.

Next year may be a different story.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Everybody Says Pathetic Nonsense

Everybody Says Pathetic Nonsense. That's what ESPN has stood for recently, especially since the Cleveland Cavaliers' departure from the 2010 NBA Playoffs. Ever since that Game 6 in Boston, where the Celtics clearly showed the fight and will to win compared to the lethargic Cavaliers, ESPN finds a way to stir up rumors, or nonsense.

Yes, LeBron James is facing free agency this summer. And yes, he is the greatest player in his free agency class, as well as the entire league. However, speaking as a sports fan, I'm not interested in the "what-ifs" and the rumors swirling around LeBron James's future when HE DOESN'T EVEN KNOW IT! I wake up every morning, open my laptop, click on safari, and ESPN.com pops up on my screen. And every single day, I can find a link on the home page discussing how the Chicago Bulls are, 100%, going to get LeBron, or how the Knicks have the best chance at getting LeBron, or how the Nets are speaking with Phil Jackson and that Phil Jackson is going to go to New Jersey.

Bullshit.

Let's discuss the possible destinations for LeBron James.

Chicago: According to many experts and analysts, Chicago is the likely destination for LeBron James. I'll give them this: Derrick Rose is an extraordinary young talent who tore up the Cleveland Cavaliers this postseason. Along with him, Joakim Noah, perhaps the ugliest ATHLETE ever, had a fantastic series as well. He certainly gave the Cavaliers fits inside. Luol Deng had a solid series as well. However, LeBron James LIVES in the paint, or at least he should. He is unstoppable. He needs players around him who can shoot. Derrick Rose is a career 24% 3-point shooter. Luol Deng is a career 30% 3-point shooter. Noah is an upgrade over an Anderson Varejao, but he is no Amare Stoudamire, Chris Bosh, or Carlos Boozer. Plus, if LeBron James ever wants to beat Orlando, he is going to need a big body to guard Dwight Howard. LeBron needs shooters around him as he drives the paint, as well as a big center. The Chicago Bulls shot 33% this year from 3-point, compared to Cleveland's 38%. Cleveland won 60 games for two years straight because LeBron was surrounded by deadly shooters. If he goes to Chicago, he will be surrounded by other players who play in the same area as him: the paint. To make matters worse for Chicago, they don't have anyone who can guard a Howard or an Andrew Bynum. Sorry Chicago.

New York: As much as New Yorkers would die for this to happen, there is ZERO chance LeBron James would be stupid enough to go to a team where he has ZERO chance to win. If LeBron James went to New York, it would be because Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, or Amare Stoudamire did. However, Wade is staying in Miami, and Stoudamire is probably going to join Wade in South Beach. As for Bosh, him and LeBron would be great. But who else would New York have to offer? Chris Duhon was their starting point guard for most of the year. What the hell has he done? Sorry New York.

New Jersey: We might as well throw them out. They're not getting John Wall. They're not getting Evan Turner. I don't care what anyone says - Any team that wins 12 games is not good. They were the worst in the league this season. Just because you lost a lot of close games doesn't mean you're "not as bad as your record." False. Your record determines if you make the playoffs or not. Your record determines whether you are good, or you suck. New Jersey sucks. They have Jay-Z. Cool. Cleveland has Usher, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We're talking about basketball, not music. No knock on Jay; he is the best. But can we stick to basketball please? Sorry New Jersey.

The list of "possible destinations" is endless, according to ESPN. Sure, the end of this season was a nightmare for Cleveland. But with an Owner and General Manager who have continually proved they're willing to make any move necessary, it is fixable. The first change has already been made with the firing of Mr. Potato Head. Delonte West is sure to be gone this summer if him and Gloria truly did shabang. Everyone is forgetting that Cleveland won 60 games for TWO straight years. The Knicks have won a total of 61 games the past two years. The Nets have won 46. 46 games isn't even good enough to make the Western Conference playoffs these days, just ask the 2008-2009 Phoenix Suns. As for Phil Jackson, he has Kobe, Pau, Bynum, and Artest in LA... Why the hell would he leave that? (Please come to Cleveland Phil!)

36 days until July 1. 43 days until LeBron James signs with Cleveland.