Posts Tagged ‘Dwyane Wade’
Last week, before the news of child sexual abuse at Penn State University rocked the sports world, the newswire was abuzz with another story. It had been rumored that certain circumstances in the NBA labor negotiations were causing current NBA players to see their childhood idol and proverbial hero, Michael Jeffrey Jordan, in an entirely different and negative light. Much of the subsequent conversation surrounding this topic was sparked by a column written by Jason Whitlock for Fox Sports, labeling “His Airness” as a “sellout” for being the “hard-line front man” for NBA ownership’s eagerness to roll back the amount of revenue shared with the players on a yearly basis.
Jason Whitlock calls “MJ’s” stance the “ultimate betrayal” due to the fact that the league is now filled with young, Black players who grew up worshipping Jordan and purchasing his overpriced shoes and apparel, ultimately helping to make him and his brand the financial titans they are today. He thinks Michael Jordan is betraying the same players’ union that went to bat for him and forced the Bulls to pay him $30 million per, in his final two seasons in Chicago.
Though all the aforementioned information is indeed fact, there is one huge flaw in this overall line of thinking. Michael Jordan is no longer an NBA player. He is the owner of an NBA franchise. On behalf of that franchise, Jordan has recently been engaged in negotiations where he’s sat on the other side of the table from the players. Michael Jordan is no longer obligated, nor would it be intelligent for him to think along the lines of, or fight for the wants/needs of NBA players. He is majority owner of the small-market Charlotte Bobcats; a team that has struggled in the standings as well as in the stands. The team’s average attendance last season was 15,846, leaving 16.9% of Time Warner Cable Arena’s seats empty on a nightly basis. The team does not have a transcendent superstar, nor could they afford to keep one succeeding the years of a rookie contract, if they were lucky enough to acquire one in the draft in the first place. His team also resides in a city that has once already failed as an NBA market, losing its first NBA franchise to New Orleans. The franchise has been losing money since the moment Jordan purchased it from BET founder Bob Johnson in February of 2010.
So why is it again that Jason Whitlock, NBA players, or anyone else with interest in this story, thinks that Michael Jordan should go out of his way to be the voice of the NBA player in these negotiations, to the detriment of his business? I don’t think anyone should be labeled a sellout for giving a damn about their bottom-line as a business owner. The current economic landscape of the NBA is not beneficial for many owners of small market franchises. So why shouldn’t they fight to change it? Why is there a growing sentiment that Michael Jordan owes the current crop of NBA players anything?
This isn’t the first time Michael Jordan’s name has been synonymous with the term “sellout”. Jordan has never been of similar pedigree of socially-conscious superstar athletes of the past, such as Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Jackie Robinson, etc. He has always garnered criticism for never lending his name or using his power, influence, or iconic status to get on the front lines of any pressing social issues. So, if social activism is what you look for in your influential, superstar athletes, call him a sellout for that. You’d still probably be toeing that fine line of ignorance, but at least the sentiment would be somewhat understandable to at least a certain rational portion of the population. But to imply…or to flat out say that a business owner is a sellout for looking out for the best interest of his business, is absolutely ridiculous, in my opinion.
I attribute this line of thinking to the overwhelming “employee mentality” prevalent in our society. Everyone wants to walk around calling themselves “bosses” but think in a manner opposing everything a boss stands for. I often hear fans sing cries of empathy for athletes while lauding the position of ownership in sports. No one (obviously Jason Whitlock included) puts themselves into the shoes of the men who invest hundreds of millions of dollars into sports franchises. People who live lives content with working for comfortable pay while making the next man rich do not seem to understand the risks involved with investments on this level…or any other level for that matter. They’ve been brainwashed to believe that the person who could potentially get injured on the next play takes all the risks in a labor relationship. But none of the “employee-minded” realize the risk of leveraging a fortune to run a sports franchise. When your biggest work-related investment is a full gas tank or a functional bus pass, I expect you to think this way.
For Jason Whitlock or anyone else to hold these types of expectations of Michael Jordan just because he was once a player is reminiscent of how struggling Black people expected their struggles to be eradicated because Barack Obama got elected president. Michael Jordan is a team owner now and Barack Obama is president of America, not Black America. He would have had to have been elected the president of Zamunda to remotely have a shot at fulfilling those silly expectations.
In actuality, I wish this story wasn’t even about Michael Jordan. I say this because I’m certain that many people will agree with my sentiments, albeit for the wrong reasons. People will agree, not due to any profound business-related points I may have think I’ve made regarding this topic; but simply because negative-speak about “MJ” has been deemed as blasphemy in many circles. Well, this isn’t one of those circles. Michael Jordan has personality flaws, just like the next man. If you’ve ever met your hero in person, outside of a camera-filled setting, then you probably know exactly what I mean. It is also trendy in many circles (especially Black ones) to vehemently oppose anything written by Jason Whitlock. I don’t subscribe to that methodology either. As with any sportswriter or writer in general, each piece is met with the same high level of objectivity and my opinion of that particular piece will be formed as I read it. I don’t allow myself to form an overall opinion of the man based on each of his individual writings. Whitlock has written plenty of material that I have absolutely agreed with, but he has also written plenty that I’ve thought to be utter malarkey (to borrow a term from my sports media colleague, Brandon Pemberton).
So yes, Michael Jordan has made a fortune selling overpriced shoes, sugarless juice, and horsemeat burgers to idol-worshipping, Black, inner city youth. Feel what you will about that fact, but keep in mind that we all had a choice. Yes, Michael could have been more active in the plight of “his people”, but I guess that just wasn’t his thing. Yes, MJ’s “brand” has always been more important to the man than anything that you and I have tried to deem important for him. However, Michael Jordan’s example taught today’s players how to be “brands” in the first place. Without the path that he laid, the Lebrons, the Kobes, the Wades, and the Durants of the world would have never even begun to realize their full earning potential in this league. “MJ” has done more than enough for these players. He doesn’t owe them anything more.
I haven’t written about Football in a while and after watching LeBron fail to give full effort in the NBA Finals, it reminded me of a certain football player.
Mr. Cutler…or as he will be known for now on…“Jay Ramone Cutler”. You sir, are a pipsqueak! I’m not going say you were not in pain or bring up other players like Ronnie Lott cutting of a piece of his finger to get back in the game, or Phillip Rivers playing 6 quarters with a torn ACL, or Byron Leftwich having a broken shin and having his lineman carry him instead of not playing, or even Tom Brady playing with a stress fracture in his foot last season.
I personally don’t know your pain tolerance but I do know you appeared to mentally check out of the Chicago Bears’ game in the playoffs last season. After leaving the game, you looked like your mind was on your second job at Vandelay Industries and you could care less about the NFC championship game.
Initially I heard you had an MCL sprain, then after it seemed as though the entire world called you a quitter, it became a tear. By the time the lockout is over you will have a disease in your leg and need an amputation.
This isn’t the first time I have seen you mentally check out of a game. I have seen you do it in college and I have seen you do it in Denver. My co-host Dev can attest to how I have always called you a fraud and thought you were a horrible quarterback. You have all the physical abilities but it appears that you think you are better than you are and don’t have what it takes mentally to be elite. (Sounds like LeBron huh?) You are becoming wasted talent. Like Calogero’s pop Lorenzo told him in Bronx Tale, “the saddest thing in life is wasted talent”.
Anyone who doesn’t think you quit is either a delusional Bears fan or someone who has a low football IQ. You embarrassed your family, your team, President Obama, Oprah, Kanye West, Common, Michael Jordan, Derrick Rose, Dwayne Wade, The Vice Lords, The Gangster Disciples, Al Capone, Larry Hoover, Mike Ditka, Walter Payton, Jim Belushi, Mayor Daley, or anyone else associated with the city of Chicago!
The fact that you are a complete jerk made your peers think it was cool to talk pork chop greasy about you. That means you are a sub-par quarterback and a jerk as a person. Hopefully you will rebound from all this and decide to work at becoming an elite QB. That is if we actually have football this year. If last season doesn’t make you stronger, you’ll always have your job at Vandelay Industries to fall back on.
Last night as I watched the Dallas Mavericks win their third straight game and capture the first NBA title in franchise history, I still couldn’t believe how LeBron James wilted under the pressure in the biggest games of the season. James left the Cleveland Cavaliers to “take his talents” to South Beach and join Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in what was supposed to be a super power this season and for seasons to come. I had no real problem with him joining the Heat. He had no shot of winning with the Cavs the way they were constructed and I thought it was big of him to go to a team where he wouldn’t be the sole guy. It’s a known fact that it was Wade’s team and he had a proven track record of clutch play as he was the finals MVP in 2006. The only problem I had was with the whole “Decision Show”, and the WWE- like celebration the next day, like they had already won something. He asked for all of the ridicule and verbal thrashing he received because of these things.
Everyone who has followed my sports blog knows that after LeBron’s performance against the Celtics and Bulls en route to the NBA Finals, I finally thought James had ascended to “that level” of a player. I even went out and said he was now better than Kobe Bryant (http://warroomsports.com/blog/2011/05/12/lebron-scores-10-straight-to-close-out-the-celtics-is-that-clutch-enough-for-you/).
First of all, I would like to apologize to the “Black Mamba” for spewing that blasphemy from my mouth before LeBron even won a single title. But I really thought I had seen him take it to another level. He was closing out games down the stretch by hitting killer shots and after watching the way he defended Derrick Rose, I was sold.
But then came the NBA Finals and the unexplainable, passive play of the most physically talented athlete I’ve seen in my life. It’s just a flat out choke job, no other way for me to explain it. D-Wade said last night after the game that the phrase “choke job” is used too often in sports, and he might be right in some situations. But in this case, his homie, his teammate, was a flat no show when the Heat needed him the most. The Heat had a chance to take control of the series. They were up by 15 points in the fourth quarter with seven minutes and change to play and coughed up the lead, being outscored 22-5 to end the game. LeBron scored two points during the fourth period of the game, and didn’t make a single basket during the run Dallas went on to steal Game 2.
In six games, LeBron James scored 18 fourth quarter points. He seemed to defer to Wade and even to his other teammate when he could have forced the issue. He just seemed disinterested, passive, and scared to take over the game when he clearly was the most talented player on the court. Last year in the playoffs, James clearly quit on his team in Games 5 and 6 against the Boston Celtics and I couldn’t believe it. I can’t say he quit on his team this time around, but he wanted no part in making a difference in the outcome of this series. Watching him drive and dump the ball off to the likes of Juwan Howard and Joel Anthony instead of taking the shot himself was frustrating to watch.
Scottie Pippen’s (who played with arguably the best basketball player of all time) unmitigated gall to say that LeBron James was (or could be) better than Michael Jordan was irresponsible. I don’t know what personal vendetta he has with “His Airness”, but you see he later took those words back the next day. The lowest point outcome in an NBA Finals game by Jordan was 22 and I’ve seen him carry the Bulls to a victory and nearly pass out coming off the floor due to the flu. People also want to compare LeBron to Kobe Bryant, who might be the closest thing to MJ we will ever see, but Kobe never disappeared in the fourth quarters of games. And one thing I can say about Jordan and Kobe, they never loss for lack of effort. Yes, D-Wade made some costly mistakes in the 4th quarter of last night’s game, but he made those mistakes playing his game and going hard.
The bottom line is this: a player with his talent, the hype, the self-given nickname, the cocky attitude and arrogance, should expect to get ripped the way he is today and will continue to during this off-season and until he wins a title. And his post-game comments aren’t going to help him either. His whole “I’m better than you at the end of the day” attitude and the “my life is still better than yours” thing is just going to get him more” haters”. He acts like the fans are the reason why he was out-played by Jason Terry in a Finals playoff series. “Prince” James has no one to blame but himself for the lack of testicular fortitude it takes to win a title. He had more talent than he had in Cleveland and he still couldn’t get the damn job done. So until he wins a title, don’t dare compare this man to the likes of Jordan, Magic,Bird, Shaq, and Kobe. He doesn’t deserve it. You know what LeBron is? He’s the equivalent of having a 12-inch penis (pause) that doesn’t get erect. Ok, I’m done with this guy. I’m looking forward to the NBA Draft and hopefully a full 16-game football season.
The King is dead. Long live the King!
Or should I say The Kaiser? King James, with a little boot in the backside from Dirk Nowitzki and a brand of defense the likes of which Mavericks fans have never seen, has abdicated his NBA throne to the “Ghost-Faced Drilla” from Wurzberg, Germany. That’s right, the man so many had perhaps unjustly labeled soft and unable to lead a team to a championship now sits in the top spot of The Association’s monarchy.
Mavericks’ legend Mark Aguirre paid Dirk perhaps the highest compliment, “Answer me this: If you switched Dirk with Wade, or Dirk with LeBron, would the Mavs be in the Finals? No way.”
I must admit, during the first half of the series-clinching Game 6 victory, I was thinking I wouldn’t be able to publish this article; what with Nowitzki languishing in an unfathomable 1-12 shooting funk. But like so many times before, when the stakes were highest, Dirk was at his best, shrugging off the slump to seal the victory with five clutch buckets in the last 7:22 of the game.
“We’re world champions,” Nowitzki said after taking a private moment to wipe away a few tears of joy in the locker room. “It sounds unbelievable.”
It wasn’t always this way. I’ve been an avid Dirk defender over the years, but there have been moments when he just wasn’t able to put this team on his back and lead them over the hump. In the final three games of the 2006 Finals, Dirk went 20-55 and missed a number of key free throws down the stretch. In 2007, his MVP season, Nowitzki shot 38% from the field (2-13 in the clinching Game 6) as the Mavs became the first #1 seed to fall to a #8 (Golden State) in a seven-game series. 2008 saw another first-round playoff exit against Chris Paul and the upstart Charlotte Hornets. The next two seasons would end with second and first round losses, respectively.
This year, there was something different about Dirk. Perhaps galvanized by past failures, Nowitzki would not be denied. After a pedestrian regular season by his standards, Dirk turned it up a couple of notches once the playoffs started, playing his best basketball when it mattered most. When the Mavericks needed a big bucket or clutch free throws to overcome a huge deficit or seal a victory, Dirk delivered. He was clearly the best player in a postseason that culminated in a championship.
Now on to the man Nowitzki supplanted as king. Last season, in game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Lebron James looked up and came to the perhaps premature realization that no matter how good he played, no matter how many spectacular dunks he threw down, he could never win a championship with the collection of talent around him in Cleveland—so he checked out of the series mentally, and the Cavaliers quickly followed suit. Lebron will deny it, but if it looks like a duck, sounds like and duck, smells like a duck…
Fast forward a little over a year to the NBA Finals, and the situation is very different, but it’s also the same. Lebron is a member of the most talented (if not the deepest) team in the league, yet he frequently distanced himself from the front lines of this pitched battle for the NBA Championship, deferring to Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh whenever possible. Actually, James’ fourth-quarter game of hot potato throughout the series was worse than deference, it was desertion. Pat Riley, Wade and Bosh, are thinking of asking for a $14.5 million refund. They’re thinking they recruited the wrong superstar.
James was not gracious in defeat, lashing out at his and the Heat’s critics:
“All the people that were rooting me on to fail, at the end of the day they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life they had before,” James said. “They have the same personal problems they had today. I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want with me and my family and be happy with that.”
“They can get a few days or a few months or whatever the case may be on being happy about not only myself, but the Miami Heat not accomplishing their goal,” James said. “But they’ll have to get back to the real world at some point.”
James’ latest big-moment disappearing act prompts us to reevaluate his motives for running out on his home-town-team instead of sticking it out through good times and bad, for better or worse (a-la a certain seven-foot German). Lebron claimed he joined Wade and Bosh in Miami so he could win multiple championships, but now there appears to be more to the equation than that. It looks more like Bron-Bron couldn’t bear the burden of leadership, of being his team’s hoops messiah. How else can you explain his habit of fading, no, sprinting into the background when the spotlight is squarely focused on him and him alone?
Compare this to the play of Nowitzki and his own teammate, Dwyane Wade, who combines physical brilliance with mental fortitude and inspirational leadership. Wade demands the ball at the end of games and James is all too willing to give it to him, especially on the game’s biggest stage. Confession: I wrote two versions of this article; the one you are reading, and one proclaiming Wade king if the Heat had won the series.
To be fair, perhaps LeBron James never wanted this mantle that was foisted upon him at the age of 18. He never dubbed himself “King.” Whether he wanted it or not, as the most physically-dominant player this game has seen since Wilt Chamberlain, the crown was his to wear. But now it appears that it was too heavy for those chiseled shoulders to bear. Who knows, maybe by the time the Kaiser is ready to cede the throne in a few years, LeBron will be ready to take it back. He need only look at the evolution of one Dirk Nowitzki to find a role model.
But until then, the Mavericks and their fans hope to win another title or two during Dirk’s reign.
The Dallas Mavericks lost game one of the Finals on Tuesday and there were plenty of reasons why they did. The question is: what can they do to avoid going down 2-0 and tie the series up? Here are a few things I believe they can do to have a chance to win tonight.
1. Rebound the basketball: They were out-rebounded 46-36 in game one and allowed Miami to grab 16 offensive rebounds. Dallas held the Heat to 39% shooting from the field but they allowed too many extra possessions. Part of playing defense is securing the rebound and ending the team’s offensive possession. Tyson Chandler’s four rebound performance is a flat out joke and he needs to play better in the paint. Dwayne Wade and Lebron James are great rebounders for their positions and the Mavericks’ guards need to commit to rebounding and not leaking out.
2. Better production from the bench: The Mavericks bench scored 17 points in the last game, 12 of them by Jason Terry who didn’t score a point in the 2nd half. The Heat put Lebron James on Terry and took him right out of the game. J.J. Berea went 1-8 from the field and had two points and 3 assists in 18 minutes of play. The Mavericks need better production from him running the second unit against the Heat’s second unit. The bench averaged 40 points per game during the season and 39 points during the playoffs and they are a big reason the Mavs are even here.
3. Stop Chris Bosh: Lebron and D-Wade are going to get theirs either way you put it, but if Dallas can contain Bosh and hold him under the 19 points and 9 rebounds he had in game one, they will have a way better chance to win. Bosh had 5 offensive rebounds in game one and Dallas needs to keep him off of the O-boards tonight.
Yes, it’s easier said than done, especially when you have Lebron and Wade taking turns down the stretch making plays. But hey, Dallas has to win this game tonight or they can chalk it the hell up.
Prediction: Miami is a 4 1/2 point favorite tonight and I like the Heat as a straight up winner tonight over the Mavericks.
Well the NBA Finals start on Tuesday night and Lebron James and the Miami Heat will face off against Dirk Nowitzki’s Dallas Mavericks for the NBA title. I will break down the series from my point of view and give you who I think will win it all. I know everyone likes the Heat and believes Dallas will be pushovers, but don’t count them out that easily.
Miami: Erik Spoelstra came into this season with the heavy task of getting his new players to mesh together offensively while earning their respect. Miami going through early season struggles and learning from them has paid off and he has his team in the NBA Finals. He is a very good coach, especially defensively and I look forward to seeing what schemes he hatches to stop Dirk Nowitzki. He has also been quoted as saying Lebron James will see time guarding J.J. Berea when the Mavs go to their small lineup, where they play Dirk at the 5.
Dallas: Rick Carlisle has the Mavericks back in the NBA Finals 5 years after their last appearance, a series in which the Heat defeated them 4-2. But this is a different team Dallas will put on the court in this series and Carlisle wasn’t the coach then as well. He has the Mavs playing with discipline, toughness and they now put forth effort on the defensive end of the court as well. This is clearly the best team Dallas has put on the floor in the time Dirk Nowitzki has played for the franchise and Carlisle is a big reason why. I’m looking forward to seeing how he defends Lebron James and the Heat, and how he utilizes Dirk offensively.
Miami: Lebron James is playing out of his mind right now and he has taken his game to another level by finally deciding to be the lockdown defender we all thought he could be. His size, strength, speed, and agility is like no other we have seen in the NBA and that allows him to defend multiple positions effectively. Look for him to check J.J. Berea at times as well as Dirk Nowitzki. But now that Udonis Haslem is back in the mix and they have Chris Bosh as well, the Heat will try to use them more on Dirk to keep James out of foul trouble. We know what Lebron brings offensively and that’s a given, but Bosh’s production as the team’s 3rd scorer could be the difference in the series. He should have an advantage against Nowitzki and should look to be aggressive and get him in foul trouble. Haslem and Joel Anthony will do the grunge, dirty work on the boards and defensively, and Haslem’s championship experience will be big for the Heat.
Dallas: Dirk Nowitzki is playing the best basketball of his hall of fame career and a championship would put him in the class with the all time greats. The Mavericks need him to show up and carry this team if they have any chance of beating Miami in a seven game series. Shawn Marion will most likely draw the assignment of Lebron James and Tyson Chandler’s shot blocking, ability to run the floor, and offensive rebounding will be key for the Mavericks. Chandler brings a toughness in the paint that Dallas has never had in past seasons.
Miami: Dwayne Wade is a former NBA Finals MVP (2006) and is a stone killer down the stretch of games. Yes, Lebron James is the better player, but Wade has a proven track record in the finals. I expect Wade to play better than he did in the series against the Bulls. The Heat needs him to play much better than the 18.8 ppg and 40% shooting from the field that he produced against Chicago. Dallas is a way better team than the Bulls and they have the ability to put up points. Mike Bibby is the starter at the point and the Heat could use a better shooting performance from him as well. He will get plenty of open shots and he needs to make better than the 30% of his shots he made last series.
Dallas: Jason Kidd is at the end of his career, but is still a very effective point guard, playing off of guile and smarts as his physical tools aren’t what they used to be. He sets the table for this team, gets the ball to the right players in the right spots, and has become sort of a dependable shooter from the three-point line as well. DeShawn Stevenson is a good defender who will spend the majority of his time checking Wade. He is the Mavericks best bet to slow Wade down if it’s possible.
Miami: After getting virtually nothing from their bench during the season, the Heat has gotten some solid contributions off of the pine in the last series. After missing most of the regular season with a foot injury, Udonis Haslem has brought back the toughness, leadership, rebounding, and hustle the Heat had been missing all season. Mike Miller has woken up and had a great game four against the Bulls, scoring 12 points and grabbing 9 rebounds as well. The more production and solid mistake-free minutes they give the Heat off the bench, the better.
Dallas: The Mavericks have firepower coming off the bench and knock-down shooters as well. Jason Terry is one of the best 6th men the league has seen and can get you 20 plus points off of the bench on any given night. J.J. Berea is very effective getting into the lane creating for himself and for others. When Dallas goes to the small lineup with Dirk at the center position, Berea is the key to that lineup working as well as it does. Peja Stojakovic has been coming off of the bench and hitting open three-point shots for the Mavs on a consistent basis. Brendan Haywood could start for most teams at center and provides another big active body for Dallas to throw at the Heat.
My Prediction: When Lebron James decided to join Wade and Bosh in Miami, this is what they envisioned, playing for an NBA title. They are now four wins away from accomplishing this feat. Yes, Dirk Nowitzki is balling right now, but I don’t think Dallas has enough star-power to win 4 of 7 against Miami. People think Miami runs right through Dallas easily, but I don’t. I like The Heat in 6 games and Lebron James takes home the Finals MVP award.
You can’t make this stuff up. Death Wish, The Crow, Gladiator, Man on Fire, nothing gets a guys’ heart pumping like a good revenge flick. Could Mavs vs. Heat 2011 join the list of great payback pictures?
After five years of exile to a barren wasteland, a trio of men returns to avenge the loss of their collective manhood at the hands of the evil NBA Empire. Sounds like the tagline for a movie, but it’s befitting the scenario that has unfolded in the last forty-eight hours of playoff basketball in The Association. Make no mistake, Mark Cuban, Dirk Nowitzki, and Jason Terry have been in playoff purgatory for the past five years after being emasculated by the Miami Heat in the 2006 NBA Finals. For those that have been stranded on a deserted island for half a decade or so, the Mavs were up two games to none over the Heat, and were well on their way to a three-game lead when Dwayne Wade (and maybe an official or two) went out of his mind and carried his team to four consecutive victories to steal the championship. What followed was a downward spiral of epic proportions: four out of the next five seasons ending in first round flameouts, and the other ending in the second round. Inevitably, Nowitzki and Terry were painted as good, but soft players that wilted under playoff pressure. And now here we are, five seasons later, and the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat (pending the formality of their inevitable close-out win over the Bulls), are preparing to cross swords for the right to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy. It’s Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd leading their band of role players and refugees from the island of misfit hoopsters against the heavily-favored tropical triumvirate from South Beach. It’s David vs. Goliath, Rocky vs. Apollo Creed, and Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader. Most of those outside of Florida will be rooting against the Heat after Lebron’s unceremonious dumping of his hometown hoops bride, Cleveland, for better-looking trophy wife, Miami, last off-season. Thus, we have our hero and our villain that everyone loves to hate.
You certainly won’t hear Nowitzki or Terry verbally acknowledge their thirst for retribution, but have no doubt, that fire burns within them. It has forged them into a strong, polished blade with a keen edge that, in all honesty, was lacking in other deep playoff runs. But will that edge be sharp enough to sever the grip Wade, James, and Bosh already seem to have on the NBA’s greatest prize? Most will say no, but this Mavericks team has been proving us all wrong throughout the postseason; first by beating the younger, more athletic Trailblazers in the first round, then sweeping the two-time defending champion Lakers in the second round, and finally by vanquishing the up-and-coming Thunder in five games. Only time will tell if Dallas’ new-found mettle will prove strong enough to carry them to a championship, but we can all get our popcorn and soda, and enjoy watching the underdog Mavericks try to defeat the villainous Heat in a good, old fashioned grudge match. This writer can’t wait to see how the story ends.
Coming off of a 34 point performance last night in a 96-85 win over the Chicago Bulls in game three of the Eastern Conference Finals, it’s pretty obvious to me that Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh is playing with confidence and has found his place on this team. Early in the season, Bosh looked lost, passive, and out of place on the floor. He was often criticized for his timid play and lack of rebounding. Playing in Toronto, most people hadn’t really seen him play much unless you are a big fan of hoops and had the NBA League Pass.
Bosh was used to being the man for the Raptors, having the offense run through him and everyone else playing off him. While he averaged 20 points and 9 rebounds per game and made six All-Star performances, he’d never won a playoff series and he never was a legit superstar player. A player like Lebron James or a Derrick Rose type, who has enough talent to carry a team to high places with fair talent around them. There were plenty of basketball fans that thought Bosh was that kind of player but he wasn’t, and hasn’t been that kind of guy.
Now, playing with two legit superstars who have the ball in their hands the majority of the time, Bosh had a rough time early in the season finding his role on the team. The injury to Udonis Haslem made things even worse for him, as the team needed him to play a more physical role, similar to what Haslem would play. The Heat struggled with chemistry and Chris was one of the [main] culprits.
As the season progressed, Bosh and the Miami Heat have gotten better on the offensive end of the court. The Heat use him in pick & roll situations, which fits his game perfectly as he has one of the best mid-range jumpshots in basketball (big man or not). He also has been playing well, finishing off passes from James and Wade and hitting the offensive glass. In the three games against the Bulls, he’s averaging 25 ppg and grabbing 7 rpg as well. You can see the confidence that he lacked during the season as each playoff game goes by.
Finally, I’ve never been the biggest Chris Bosh fan and after the WWE type celebration he, Lebron, and Wade partook in [after signing], it made me dislike him even more. Add in the fact that he’s a fake tough guy and it irks me when he scowls and yells on the court, but I have to admit that he is playing well and will be one of the key reasons the Heat win it all this season.
I need to address the “quick to judgment” nature of the society we live in…and though this notion applies to MANY aspects of our everyday lives, I’ll keep it in sports. Why is it that every night in sports makes the general public forget about the night before? For instance, why do we (and when I say “we”, I mean YOU)…why do we jump to conclusions after every single game we watch? For instance, the whole world castigated the Chicago Bulls for their struggles in both the Indiana and Atlanta series’ while concurrently lauding the Miami Heat for the efficient manner in which they dispatched the 76ers and Boston Celtics.
Then, after Game 1 of the Heat-Bulls series, everyone now wondered how the Miami Heat could ever possibly match up with the juggernaut, 85 Chicago BEARS-like defense of the Chicago Bulls. Heat “wagoneers” were quiet, Bulls fans were crowing, the world was in immediate disarray. I even heard several “experts” hinting that the series might be over after Game 1 and after the first quarter of Game 2, they were almost completely convinced.
Then the other 3 quarters were played (like they usually are in a basketball game). The Bulls couldn’t score on the Heat’s stalwart defense, Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller made significant appearances, Dwyane Wade was…Dwyane Wade, Lebron James scored a few clutch buckets, and the Miami Heat successfully snatched back control of the series by winning a game on Chicago’s home court. The world was again turned upside down. All I heard the day after Game 2 were Heat “wagoneers”…excuse me… Lebron protective cup holders…speak tales of legend in lure of their King. I heard the SAME “experts” who had so adamantly proclaimed the day before that the series was over, now questioning the Bulls’ chances of winning the series. Didn’t we just crown them Eastern Conference Champions after the prior game…GAME ONE? On top of all that, I didn’t hear from any Bulls fans all damn day after Game 2.
So for all of YOU PEOPLE who flip-flop with the wind, IT’S A SEVEN GAME SERIES and it’s tied up at ONE! Please folks, let’s allow it to play out and let’s refrain from making new CONCLUSIVE judgments after every single game…after every single quarter…after every single bucket. Fans, “stans”, die-hards, and shameless wagon jumpers alike; try to see a bigger picture and stop basing your “moxy”, your fear, your sports knowledge, and anything else you have going on in those little brains, on one game. Shut up and let them play PLEASE!