My Last Basketball Post Until October

Yes, lady and gentleman, we're at the end of the NBA season and the Lakers have made me an honest enthusiast...
Let me start this all off by saying

I will spare you the cliche video of Queen's "We Are The Champions," as I am sure that the rest of Blogger, Wordpress, various forums and websites the world over are rife with it. I enjoy that the boys were able to tie shit together on the way to delivering a conclusion that was foregone. Yes, let us not forget who was said to be in the "up" position to take the title this year back at the beginning of the year.
Yes, an injury to Andrew Bynum (again -- ugh -- and this time while he was playing well) had this year looking scarily like last year, and none of us wanted to see THAT shit again. Then some shit happened... The foregone conclusion changed hands, Kevin Garnett got hurt and The LeBrons laid waste to an otherwise weak eastern conference, and THEY were the unchallenged juggernaut. For 2 rounds of the playoffs, they were both unbeatable and unbeaten. One problem was born of this, they were STILL unchallenged, they had beaten but the worst 2 teams in the playoffs and had no issue doing so. Now, I am no Stan for him, but LeBron is at least THAT good, meaning that he will go beast mode on substandard challengers. The problem is that it takes at least one superstar and a cast of working role players to win in the playoffs, let alone take it all.
Dwight Howard had that, LeBron James did not. Dwight Howard went on to the finals...

Back to the Lakers, on the other hand... Their trip to the finals was different. Filled with self-created setbacks. Blowing major leads and winning narrowly, coming (or not) back from WAY down to take (or blow) the game because they got complacent or otherwise comfortable. Making nailbiters out of surefire wins, spotting the opposition leads that they had not earned with stupid basketball, it was all there... Ask anyone I spoke to in detail about the path to the title, though. Every series went down in the number of games that I said that it would. Of them, only Houston should not have been around as long as they were, what without their only "real" superstar out of the series after the first game. I had conceded the Denver series at one point, seeing as how they played like they were hungrier than LA, but thus is the life of a Lakers fan.
Coming into the finals, I said "Lakers in 6," they were playing FIRE hot and Orlando on edge after having beaten the top seed in the ENTIRE playoffs to victory. LA would take games 1 & 2 at home, blow game 3, take game 4, Orlando would TAKE game 5 and the Lakers would start the parade right from the Staples Center after game 6... As it were, game 1 was a holocaust, game 2 a narrow victory with God on our side at the end of regulation, game 3 wound up being the one that Orlando legitimately won, 4 being a wildcard -- what with how the game went down -- but still a Lakers win.
As it were, my "Lakers in 6" edict would prove to be wrong...
...
BECAUSE WE WON IN FIVE, BITCHES!!!

Championship still secured. Second year in a row where the team coming into the season who had the wishes of all the critiques to win it all, won it all. I will not call this win "chalk" because of the shit that was gone through what with the way it all went down in the regular season and playoffs.

Enough on that...

LeBron James was installed as the league MVP before the beginning of the season, and I said at the time that he would earn it so long as his team made the damned playoffs, such is his nature. The league wanted Kobe Bryant NOWHERE NEAR that motherfucker at the time, something about an alleged and defeated rape case does that to an individual, Tupac and Mike Tyson spent the rest of their lives fighting back fake rape cases. Yes, I know that Malik Abdul Aziz (lmfao) is not dead, but his career has NEVER been the same and after the loss of his daughter a couple weeks ago, his life has become a bit worse.

This blog is not about Mike Tyson.

I am no "hater" of LeBron -- especially not the sense that legions of people seem to heap onto Kobe Bryant in the face of evidence to the contrary of reasons given -- I just have better sense than to heap all the praises reserved for the second fucking coming on an individual. Every rap against Kobe is met with an adjustment from him, then is replaced with another flaming hoop for him to jump through... Guess what, folks? With this year's championship secured, there ARE no more hoops to fashion for his jumping pleasures. LeBron James DOES have several flaws in his game, though, not limited to...
  1. Footwork - if met with opposition on the way to the hoop, he picks up the ball, and almost as if afraid of finding a teammate if not obviously open, he will either travel (wait, he calls that a "crab dribble" which makes 4 steps and/or a double dribble legal.
  2. Maturity - he has NEVER been a loser until he was in the NBA, up to even having his ass kissed since he was 14 or so. In such, he does not know what it is like to be culpable... If at 24 years of age, I am worth over 20mil and have 2 children with a woman and there is not a ring on her finger following an EXTENSIVE prenup viewed by my lawyer(s!!!), then I deserve the forthcoming screwjob when she decides to make herself independently wealthy at my expense. See Jordan, Michael Jeffrey and Strahan, Michael Anthony if you need to know how this story ALWAYS ends.
    Notice how he defers blame when he is clearly in the wrong? Remember the fallout behind the "crab dribble"? YouTube it if you must. His excuse was "no one else called it before, so this ref was wrong to call it," ignoring the fact that this was the first ref to sac up and call it.
    We won't even get INTO him walking out after losing in the playoffs again (he should be used to losing when it counts in the playoffs by now), and the reasoning he provided for it. Nothing, according to LeBron is EVER his fault.
  3. Jumpshots - shoulders back and leaning out of a jumpshot is NOT proper mechanics. As explained by the great Charley Rosen:
    • Shooting strokes are as variable as batting stances are in baseball, but there are several basic concerns that must be addressed.
    • Every shot starts with the shooter's feet. Some coaches prefer a shoulder-width, two-foot base, but I agree with Bobby Knight that a one-foot-forward base is preferred. That's because the forward foot (right for right-handers) allows the shooter to make last second adjustments in his balance, and also because stepping into his shot provides an easily repeatable mechanism.
    • Legs slightly bent for power and push off the floorboards. Head directly facing the middle of the front rim so that there's no torque in either the shoulders or the back. That leaves the release point, and here's how to determine this for each individual:
    • Stretch the shooting arm overhead and straight up.
    • Place the ball in one hand with the top of the palm and the fingers bearing the weight of the ball.
    • Use the off-hand to touch the ball only enough to keep the ball from falling.
    • Slowly bend the elbow and lower the hand.
    • The elbow should always be pointing directly at the mid-point of the front rim because the more the elbow is bent laterally the more the wrist and hand will twist and fail to be square on the ball. A bent elbow (and a crooked wrist) will impart a sideways spin to the resulting shot, which means that should the smallest surface of the ball touch the smallest edge of the rim, the shot will kick out.
    • The point where the elbow is correctly aligned and the ball can be totally balanced on the upper palm and fingers of the shooting hand identifies that individual's release point.
    • Then a catapult motion of the forearm in conjunction with a soft wrist flip and fluid finger snap — and don't forget to wave "bye-bye" to the ball as a follow-through.

    Go over THAT with your "shot doctor" motherfucker. Have Dwight Howard in the room with you. I learned it as a child in basketball camps before it was arrived upon that I would not be any taller than 5'8" and should look into other paths for my passions. I still use these lessons in pickup ball now, and I am not making millions of dollars in those games.
  4. Clutch presence - What happened in game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals was a lucky shot, nothing less nothing more. The look on his face when he let go of the motherfucker was that of a man who was expecting defeat. Cleveland showed us time and again that they can win by 15 and 20, but winning by 1 or 2 if having to take the last shot to get it is a negative. This is largely related to #'s 2 & 3 above; unchallenged and yet underskilled, especially considering that only one person on the team is licensed to even take the shot.
No matter on that, the failure in the eastern conference finals was not LeBron's fault... Danny Ferry built a lineup that CAN back LeBron up to an extent, then Mike Brown (the coach of the fucking YEAR?!!? Should have been Stan Van Jeremy) took away their confidence and ability to do what they were even onboard for when he sat up in press conferences after losses explaining that the game plan was to "give the ball to LeBron and let him work his magic."

Are
You
Fucking
KIDDING
Me?!!?

Look, there have been times where the ball has gone to Dwyane Wade, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony, and at least 10 other players in the CURRENT league with some seconds left in the game and we watching the game KNEW it was not coming back out of them, but it was the way the offense unfolded and NOT a direct order to get it there and watch them as they massaged the ball for 10 seconds, dribbled for 8 and spent the last 5 getting a shot up.

Enough on that...

Playing ball the night of finals game 3 at the gym, James and I were discussing pro ball while we shot around, and we got into the "conversation" (knock down dragout argument to anyone who was not us) when we opined that the "greats" of the past would not have blown as they did in the current league.

No, wait on it.

The lessons of our pasts make us more successful in our futures, Jordan realized this and became the benchmark for swingmen in the league to follow him. He had to learn too. Oscar Robertson, Dr. J, George Gervin and Magic Johnson were before him... He took from them the elements that would become his game. Early in his career, he was sub-200lbs and had a "let him shoot it, crash the boards" long jumpshot, but he hit the weights, shot millions of practice jumpers and got better, then after he snubbed the Pistons after beating him in 1990 (wow, I thought Jordan was a GREAT guy?!!?), then bitched in the press conference, the league changed the rules to be more Jordan friendly and the rest is history. Michael Jordan is and always has been a dick to EVERYONE -- including teammates and (especially) opponents, even fans. What he DID have was a drive to get better, one that the league had not seen until Kobe Bryant, it remains to be seen if LeBron can spend time not hanging out with rappers and bullshitting to display this and work on the places where is game is flawed instead of making bullshit excuses about how everyone else is wrong but him, even when he is the one failing to acheive what he is entitled to.

Anyway...

Marcus Mosiah Garvey once said "A people without knowledge of their past is like a tree without its roots," and this is just as applicable now. Somewhere in that last paragraph, I said that Michael Jordan was the benchmark, remember that? At this point in history, he is accepted as "the greatest ever," but he will not -- CAN not -- remain that. Kobe Bryant is a bigger, faster, stronger, better-shooting individual who happens to have built his entire basketball life on bettering the mold that Jordan previously broke. LeBron James? An even BIGGER and STRONGER, faster version of the two with a lesser ball-handling and shooting abilities. To his credit, he is young, and has the fact that it took Jordan some years to get that jumper all the way right. Dwyane Wade? While smaller, he is just as fast, just as strong and JUST as pure a shot with a reckless disregard for personal saftey it seems in his will to get the ball through the hoop. Carmelo? Bigger, pure shot, stronger, but not quite as fast, will to learn is there too, not to mention acceptance to being coached.
See what I just did there? I stopped at a FEW people who are more than capable of outdoing Jordan in the end. They learned from their past and are making the future.
Take Jordan in his prime years, and put him in the league RIGHT now, he gets worked like a $2.00 whore. The league in his time did not have the athletes that it has now. Fuck, take Oscar Robertson, Dr. J and George Gervin and put THEM in Jordan's league and watch THEM get worked just the same. Matter of fact, let Ron Harper's knees not conspire against his career aspirations at the time and it is HIS name in this conversation right next to -- if not above -- MJ.

See how it happens now?

Jordan is apparently the god of all things basketball, and I just made an argument that while he may be the best ever -- a subjective and intangible quantization at best -- right now, but it is STUPID to hold onto that he will remain that forever. Verbalizing this out loud pitted James and I against the rest of the fucking gym, no matter how much our arguments made sense. We reminded them how -- and yes, I know who won the damned championship that year -- in 1997 Allen Iverson put MJ on skates with that crossover.



Know what the league did next? A new MJ rule to outlaw that crossover.
We are robbing ourselves of parity and entertainment value to tell ourselves that things are not to get better as the future unfolds. The way that David Stern has jumped from Jordan's dick to LeBron's is sickening, as it shows us all that it is less about basketball than it is about money. Perhaps the "crab dribble" will be made legal after all?

Oh well... My folks in LA - enjoy the parade, take pictures and send them to me.

In all, Nike had Lightning in a bottle with their "Most Valuable Puppets" campaign, seen here:

1 - "Chalk"


2 - "Three Rings"


3 - "Unstoppable"


4 - "Mrs Lewis"


5 - "Lil' Dez"


6 - "Car Jump"


7 - "LeBron & Lil Dez, Home Alone"


8 - "Lil Dez Rap" (Phlip note - this is the worst of the series, Nike lost the wind in their sails when LeBron didn't make the finals... I expect a final one after this Lakers' win, Kobe returning "home" to LeBron)


9 - "2010"


10 - "Good Luck, Buddy"

(Phlip note - I was beginning to feel a little sorry for LeBron watching this one)

11 - "Kobe Bryant is Fast"


Too bad that this was derailed by LeBron's sense of entitlement and his coaching staff's abject fucking failure at their first sign of a real challenge.


I will see you folks in the draft coming soon here. For all others, we'll talk ball some more next season.




What the fuck am I gonna do now?
I REFUSE to watch baseball, FUCK baseball.
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