Archive for the 'Basketball' Category

Man. Is LeBron James a Douche, Or What?

When I first heard about it, the LeBron James one-hour “DECISION” special didn’t seem like that bad of an idea.  Sure, it was an obnoxious concept from the beginning, but I could also appreciate it for its unabashed hat-tip to show biz.  Sports are, after all, a big silly show.

But as the day wore on yesterday, I began to imagine what it would be like to watch as a Cavs fan, and I got increasingly uneasy.  I should also admit that I believed all along that he was going to choose to return to Cleveland.  I mean, who in their right mind would set up an hour long spectacle in order to shit all over their home town?  It’s one thing to leave for greener pastures, but to go that far out of your way to be a dick on the way out of town?  Surely he had to be picking Cleveland.  Right?

Then I saw the “DECISION SPECIAL,” and it was SO MUCH WORSE than anyone could have possibly predicted.

I mean, that was cold.

I don’t have anything to say that hasn’t already been said better by foxier folks than me, but here are a few thoughts that I can’t stop myself from vocalizing:

- One of the things that reeeeally bothers me about this whole thing is the sneaking suspicion that LeBron James actually thought that the whole world would be excited about this.  I think he thought that we’d all shed our previous allegiances, and become Miami Heat fans.  For some reason, this chills me to the bone.  In addition to being an incredible tool, LeBron James might be bat-shit crazy, you guys.  Crazy like the Joker.  I’m literally afraid of LeBron James now.  The best thing we can assume about him is that he’s empty inside.  The worst is….scarier than empty.

- My favorite point about why his decision is icky is this: Superstars are supposed to compete against each other.  They’re not supposed to call each other on the phone and figure out a way that they can all play on the same team.  It’s just not right.  Imagine if Sidney Crosby and Ovechkin called each other on the phone and were all, “You know, it would be a LOT easier to win Cups if we were playing together instead of competing against one another, don’t you think?”  It’s just. plain. WRONG.

- On the other hand, if LeBron James doesn’t have that crazy competitive drive, that’s fine by me.  Seriously.  That’s okay.  I really think it’s alright to be suuuuuuper good at basketball and also have a normal human disposition.  Surely the same competitiveness that makes Kobe and Jordan and Magic “great” on the court also makes them total dicks in their personal lives.  Normal people have doubts, and not everyone wants to be a leader.  This is perfectly fine.  I actually think it’s kind of sweet.  BUT IF YOU’RE NOT THE GUY, YOU CAN’T TATTOO “CHOSEN 1″ ON YOUR BACK AND REFER TO YOURSELF AS KING JAMES.  Everything about that dumb special was presuming that LeBron James is one of the greatest that ever lived, while simultaneously selling a “decision” that made him seem small and insecure. How dumb do you think we are, LeBron James?

There were a few good things that came out of this though:

1. The Cavs owner is cah-razy, and I love it.  I know, I know, he’s stupid and he’s never going to sign another free agent again, and his letter was ridiculous, and he lost ALL credibility when he guaranteed the Cavs would win before LeBron, but still.  In the aftermath of that creepy display of consumerism, it was incredibly refreshing to get a taste of some unadulterated, genuine emotion.  The sad truth is that Gilbert’s lunatic rant felt like the first taste of sanity in a post-LeBron-ESPN-Decision-Special world.  So, now I’m a Cavs fan.

2. We will now have a new way of identifying the truly depraved people of this world.  They will be those wearing Heat jerseys outside of Miami.  I’ve heard a lot of excuses for rooting for the Yankees in Buffalo (“My father rooted for the Yankees, I grew up with them, Buffalo is a losing town I just want to cheer for a winner blah blah blah blah.”), but NO ONE grew up rooting for the Miami Heat.  There is only ONE reason to cheer for the Miami Heat, and that is that you are a GIANT TURD.

3. That ESPN special was so cold, so gross, so narcissistic, so unbelievably disturbing that it felt like a glass of cold water to the face.  It was a wake-up call.  Do not get me wrong, I have NO DOUBT we will ultimately ignore the wake-up call entirely, but I love that everyone in the country is on the same page (the page simply says, “THAT WAS SO FUCKING WRONG”) today.

The disturbing truth is that if LeBron James had said, “I’m sticking with my hometown team, the team I’ve always loved, the Cleveland Cavaliers.  I want to bring a championship to the city where I grew up,” my heart would have swelled with joy, and I would have forgiven LeBron for all the hubris and the narcissism of “The Decision”.  But it would have been wrong of me to forgive him for “The Decision” just because he said the thing I wanted to hear.

I think the ESPN spectacle was more wrong than any decision could have possibly been right.

That horrible sense of self-loathing everyone who watched the special is feeling today?  That’s the guilt-ridden hangover we earned last night.  It’s important.  That hangover is infinitely better than the alternative.  Without this crushing hangover, we might go on, drunk forever on whatever noxious, truly poisonous brew ESPN decides to serve next.

Other, Less Awesome Sports

I made the category tag “Other, Less Awesome Sports” almost as soon as I started this blog.  It was intended to be a tag that could encompass all of my encounters with non-hockey sports.  When I started TWC,  my hyper-awareness of sports was brand new, and I quickly realized that even without trying, I was having daily interactions with all kinds of sports.  I had been thinking about sports as a I’ve-been-looking-for-you-my-entire-life love affair, but I quickly realized I was in a you’ve-been-here-all-along situation.  After I sought out hockey, I simply noticed that sports were all around me, all the time.

The last few weeks I’ve been going through a funny sports rebirth. I’m watching other sports more and more.  Frankly, I’m surprised by my depth of interest.  Shocked even.  I like sports!…and not just hockey!

Basketball

Basketball was the one sport that I truly thought I could never like.  I’m still a little astounded to catch myself tuning into the NBA Finals.  I can’t fathom that my interest in basketball will bleed into the NBA’s regular season, but you never know.  Four years ago I couldn’t have fathomed that I’d ever have season tickets to the Sabres, so I’ve learned to never say never.

I like the raw athleticism of basketball, and I like that it’s such a simple concept.  Run back and forth and take turns putting a ball through a hoop.  That’s the whole thing.  Basketball is a very simple sport, and I like it that way.  I’m also fascinated by how close the spectators are to the action.  I guess hockey has nearby spectators too, but in hockey the glass creates a sense of separation whereas in basketball those dudes are right there.  They can land right on you, and they often do.  I also like how basketball players are freakishly large.  Basketball is a sport played by genetic mutants, and that amuses me.

What I don’t like about basketball is how the first half is pretty boring (and as far as I can tell, largely irrelevant), and how the last two minutes often involve everyone purposefully fouling everyone else.   I also don’t like how the players act like GIGANTIC effing babies every time they get bumped.  Hockey has spoiled all other sports for me in this respect.  Which leads me to….

Soccer

Holy COW are soccer players drama queens!   But in the case of soccer, the drama just cracks me up.

I am REALLY enjoying the World Cup so far.  I’m a little iffy on soccer still, but the spectacle and drama of the World Cup has got me hooked.

The real moment of falling in love with the World Cup came while I was watching the Ghana game yesterday.  They were so spunky, and their fans were so much fun with their dancing and hopping around.  For some reason the people from Ghana (Ghanians?) kind of clued me into what a big deal the World Cup is.  I know that’s a very obvious point, but as most of the people reading this blog know, we really don’t care about the World Cup in the United States.  It recently occurred to me that the rest of the world is having a gigantic, rollicking party, and meanwhile the United States is sitting around being all sullen and, “Whatevs.  Your party is lame.” You know what?…. I think we might be the lame ones.

Why are we such pills about the World Cup?  Can’t we see that everyone else in the world thinks it’s totally rad?  And isn’t that reason enough to give it a chance?

Yes, soccer is kind of redonk.  The clock goes UP and no one knows when the game is going to end.   That’s weird.  BUT, it looks real VERY good in HD, and, it’s on in the morning. Sports!  At seven in the morning! It’s amazing.


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