Posts Tagged ‘NBA Finals’

Dear Kevin Durant Haters: Let It Go!

Saturday, June 17th, 2017

by Gus Griffin

gus

 

 

 

 

KD

Russell Westbrook averaging a triple-double this past year brought much deserved attention to the great Oscar Robertson, who previously had been the only player to accomplish such a feat, way back in 1962, his second year in the league.  Robertson came close to doing it his first 5 years in the league, usually missing because he would “only” average 9 assists one year or 9 rebounds another year.  He also had 5 different seasons in which he averaged over 30 points a game.

But as for rings for NBA titles with the Cincinnati Royals, he had nothing to show for his greatness.  While his teams made the playoffs 6 straight seasons from 1962-67, they lost to either Bill Russell’s Celtics or Wilt Chamberlain’s 76ers in 5 of those six seasons.   Four of those 5 defeats were to the eventual NBA champions.

It was not because he did not elevate his game in the big moments.  He averaged a triple-double in the 1962 playoffs.  Over that 6-year period his average playoff numbers were 29 points, nearly 10 assist, and over 8 rebounds a game.  Oscar Robertson spent his first and best 10 years in the NBA losing year after year in the playoffs because his team was simply not good enough.

Here is my question for the Kevin Durant (KD) critics who insist that he should have never joined the team that he could not beat: do you honestly believe Oscar Robertson would have stayed in Cincinnati all those years with the same foreseeable outcomes if he had the choice to join Wilt in Philly or Bill in Boston or even Elgin Baylor and Jerry West in LA?

Would you have?  If your GPS tells you that you can shave 10 minutes off your commute to your destination, can you honestly say you would ignore it and insist on going the hard way?

The fact is he didn’t have a choice because free agency at that time was a mere shadow of what it is today.  As a matter of fact, Robertson would go on to become the National Basketball Players Association president and in that capacity, in 1970, would file an anti-trust suit under his name against NBA owners which challenged, among other things, to do away with the option clause which bound a player to one team.  Though the suit was eventually dismissed as part of a collective bargaining agreement, it was an important piece of leverage that led to the free agency today enjoyed by players like KD.

With this important piece of historical context and the larger issue of LABOR RIGHTS, I am at a loss for why all this shade is being thrown at KD for joining the Warriors?

Whatever happened to “if you can’t beat them join them”?

That’s what Deion Sanders did when he left the Falcons to join the division rival 49ers to win a Super Bowl ring.  That’s what Greg Maddox did in leaving the Cubs to join the Braves to win the World Series.  What KD did is not new in sports.

Ok, if KD tweeted criticism of LeBron for going to Miami, he set himself up for some of this.

Furthermore, admittedly there is a competitive romantic side of me that would have admired KD even more as a champion had he done it from Oklahoma City.  There was an additional gratification when seeing the long-suffering likes of Andy Murray in tennis and Phil Mickelson in golf finally win major titles after multiple heart-breaking disappointments.  The same feeling came watching the Cubs in baseball and of course the great Akeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler with the Houston Rockets.

But that romanticism will always be trumped by the necessity to appreciate the struggle, yes even among professional athletes, for labor rights.  The fact that most of us in our lifetime will not have the leverage to impact our compensation and place of labor the way professional athletes do is not a basis to begrudge them.  After all, the simple reality is that millions of people have no interest or willingness to pay to watch you nor I do our jobs.   It should be an incentive to improve our own collective 99% lot and not hate on them, be it John Elway or Eli Manning maneuvering out of Baltimore and San Diego, or KD leaving Oklahoma City.

I suspect that the common sports myth of loyalty is a factor of the KD hate.

Weather we as fans want to continue to deny getting the memo or not, sports loyalty has always been at best the exception and not the rule.  Don’t let the final chapters for Kobe Bryant and Derek Jeter fool you.  The more common finality between a player and a team is that of Babe Ruth who ended his career with the Boston Braves when he could no longer hit homers for the Yankees.  Or Johnny Unitas who ended with the San Diego Chargers when he could not throw enough TD passes for the Colts.  The reality is under capitalism, even the all-time greats are mere commodities for the enrichment of the owners.  And yet you can find more needles in a haystack than you can fans that hold never-ending grudges against teams for their lack of loyalty to players.

Chris Rock once declared that men are only as loyal as our opportunities.  That bit of truth is not restricted by gender or other aspects of life to include sports.   So, I urge you KD haters; chill, get your favorite mind-altering substance, plug in some Toni Braxton, and LET IT GO!

 

Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

The War Room Episode 312

Saturday, June 18th, 2016

Jun 16, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) stares at Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) in the fourth quarter in game six of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland won 115-101. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

 

 

Check out the latest episode of #TheWarRoom (The Best Podcast Since Al Gore Invented The Internet), featuring JRSportBrief, on the #WarRoomSports Podcast Network!

Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/war-room-are-legacies-at-stake/id876851099?i=1000370868076&mt=2

Youtube: https://youtu.be/6cb5ul8Xo9E

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/warroomsports/the-war-room-are-legacies-at-stake-during-these-nba-finals-ft-jr-sport-brief-ep-312

BlogTalk: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thewarroom/2016/06/16/are-legacies-at-stake-during-these-nba-finals-ft-jr-sport-brief-ep-312-1

Pocket Casts: http://pca.st/1cnR

LeBron’s Most Defying Year?

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

by C. Bruce

LBJ

After gaining the first pick of the NBA Draft and finishing last year 33-49, the Cavs have a chance to do something special. They may have one of the best one season turnarounds in NBA history. With the addition of LeBron James in the offseason, the Cavaliers have a chance to win its franchise’s first NBA title. Each and every year LeBron James is regarded as the best player in the NBA. Often, people try to compare him and Jordan. Could this be LeBron’s most defining year? If LeBron wins a title, he would be the greatest of his generation. A title means LeBron would have done the improbable. Through the early season struggles, injuries and controversy, it would be his most difficult title ever accomplished.

After starting the year 19-20 the Cavs have just eliminated the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals and now have a chance to take home the franchise’s first NBA title. No team has ever won a title after starting the season under .500 through 39 games. Throughout the year the Cavaliers came under more media scrutiny than other teams in recent memory. Coach David Blatt and the players were constantly criticized for a good part of the season. The Cavs not only had to deal with the tough media, but also devastating injuries. Early in the season the Cavs lost their starting center Anderson Varejao. Injuries/rests caused LeBron James to miss double-digit games. Kevin Love’s season was ended early in the postseason with a separated shoulder. Also, Kyrie Irving is ineffective at times on the court due to an ankle injury. He is being taken off the court constantly and led to the locker room. With all of the injuries and obstacles the Cavs have faced, an NBA Championship seems highly unlikely.

Throughout the postseason Cleveland has been battling injuries. With some of its best players out, and others severely injured, the Cavs are not the most talented team in the East. On their current playoff rosters, the Bulls and Hawks both have more talented teams, in my opinion. With at least 4 All-Stars on each team, the Cavs come up short with only LeBron James and a banged up Kyrie Irving as the team’s only active All Stars. However, the Cavs have something the Bulls and Hawks do not have; LeBron James. Although LeBron has not been very efficient shooting the ball this postseason, he has led the Cavs to the NBA Finals by elevating the games of Tristan Thompson, Matthew Dellavedova, Iman Shumpert, and J.R Smith. He has turned this team from LeBron and the role players to a serious Championship contender. The Cavs have beaten a Bulls team; who many regard as the most talented in the East, even when Cleveland is at full strength. With a severely injured Kyrie Irving, LeBron led team role players to beat the Bulls in 6 games.

The Cavs have just finished off the #1 seeded Atlanta Hawks in a 4-game sweep to earn LeBron’s fifth consecutive NBA Finals appearance (6 in total). The Hawks were arguably the best team in the NBA throughout the regular season, and now that the depleted Cavs were able to seal the deal and win the series, they will probably play the Golden State Warriors. The Golden State Warriors had one of the best regular seasons in NBA history. They have this year’s NBA MVP in Steph Curry, and a good mix of veteran and younger All Stars. If the Cavaliers are able to complete their goal and win the championship, they would have beaten three teams who exceed their talent; the Bulls, Hawks, and Warriors, and without two of their top three players playing at 100%. LeBron would unquestionably be the greatest of his era. He would be the only player in recent memory to take a team of role players and win an NBA Championship. The Cavaliers would have beaten the top two teams in the league without home court advantage; which possibly makes the championship that much more improbable. But we know LeBron and whenever he is on the court he makes the improbable look probable.

 

C. Bruce, for War Room Sports

Christopher Bruce is a War Room Sports intern, who is currently a sophomore Business Communications major at Arizona State University.

NBA Quick Takes: Russell Westbrook, Spurs vs. Hawks NBA Finals, and Dennis Schroder

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

by Kamal Hylton

Kamal Hylton Blog

 

 

 

 

Hello War Room Nation!

This is Kamal Hylton, your boy from North of the Border, a writer/editor for NBA Nation Australia and part of the War Room Family with The Gaffer and Hooligan Soccer Podcast on the War Room Sports Podcast Network.

While the podcast is taking a break, I thought I’d hop onto the WRS Blog and give you a weekly view on the NBA… through my eyes.

I’m not feelin’ Russell Westbrook’s Interview

By now you’ve all seen Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook’s interview, the one where he only used the word “execution” in all its various forms to answer reporters’ questions after the Thunder beat the Western Conference leading Golden State Warriors 127-115 and he had a career night of 17pts, 17ast and 15rebs.

To refresh your memory or for those that haven’t seen it, here it is:

Most people have come out and said things like “Screw the media!” and “Let Russ be Russ!”. I’m all for players being themselves and sometimes members of the media ask questions that deserve these types of answers, like when a reporter asked Westbrook this question in 2013.

However this trend is going too far and I’m now completely against it for a few reasons.

This isn’t even creative or original, copying Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch’s “Thankful” interview doesn’t get him any type of respect or brownie points with me… it just makes him look corny. Also, none of those questions were out of line in any way or could even be considered “dumb”. After the third use of “execution”, I would’ve shut my recorder/video camera off and walked away. Reporters only get limited time for post-game interviews, this nonsense cost those guys battery life and space on their devices as well as time that could’ve been spent with more engaging players.

Most of all it lacks professionalism on Westbrook’s part, those guys are there to do a job just like him and even if he doesn’t like doing interviews or has a problem with a particular reporter, I don’t think it’s that hard to suck it up and answer questions with an ounce of respect. Maybe I’m biased being part of the media, but this one word answer thing from players has gone from funny to tired REALLY quickly.

I’d love a Spurs vs. Hawks NBA Finals for one reason

I know it’s WAY too early to be talking about NBA Finals predictions, but the way the Hawks have been playing during this wining streak (currently at 13 games at the moment of writing this) has me wanting them to make the finals. Picking up the moniker “Spurs East”, I’d actually love to see them take on San Antonio for one major storyline.

Mike Budenholzer vs. Gregg Popovich… or what I like to refer to as Karate Kid vs. Mr. Miyagi.

karatekid_450x3001

Their story has the makings of a Hollywood film, let me set the scene.

Budenholzer spent 19 years under Popovich in San Antonio, working his way up from an unpaid video coordinator to assistant coach and as his right hand man. Together they won four NBA championships, Budenholzer playing the role of understudy to Pop until this season. Now striking out on his own, coach Bud has taken over a middling Atlanta Hawks team using the teachings of his grand master to make them one of the best in the association.

If Spike Lee or Steven Spielburg got hold of that script it’d be an instant hit! Being a self professed “basketball nerd”, I’m most fascinated by the high level game of human chess that these two would be playing on national TV. Popovich taught Budenholzer pretty much everything he knows about NBA coaching, but did he save a few tricks back for a moment like this?

I’m on the edge of my seat just thinking about the possibility of this game.

Dennis Schroder is my Homeboy!

I’m sure you all have non “superstar” players that you love watching or are fans of that others don’t understand why, maybe it’s the intense way he plays defense? jumps out of the gym? or drops dimes?

Well that player for me is Dennis Schroder, the second year German backup point guard on the Atlanta Hawks. Now I know what you’re thinking, why is he one of your favorite players? For one thing he has a smoothness to his game this season that’s enjoyable to watch on this Hawks team and the way he attacks the basket shows that few players can stay in front of him, how he comes off screens and glides to the rim is reminiscent of a slithering snake. The other reason why I like him is for the nickname that’s quickly catching on, Dennis “The Menace” is not only catchy but fits his style of play to a tee. It’s actually on a t-shirt, one that I bought myself (http://www.redbubble.com/people/laff/works/13048484-dennis-the-menace). I actually spoke with him for a few minutes after the Hawks defeated the Raptors at Air Canada Centre recently, talking about his development, the nickname and the fact he has fans in Australia.

(*Dennis Schroder interview courtesy of NBA Nation Australia)

He was fantastic, he’s a quiet guy but I get the feeling that’s mostly because of the minor language barrier. He has a great command of the English language, better than some people born in North America, but I get the feeling once he’s fluent in all the little nuances and references that he’ll hold his own in the trash talking department.

That’s all for now, but I’ll leave you with this cool “NBA On NBA” theme remix that recently came out by Boy Pierce.

 To catch all my NBA writing, photos and videos be sure to visit NBA Nation Australia (http://nbanationaustralia.com) and follow them on Twitter @NBANationOz (https://twitter.com/NBANationOz).

Kamal Hylton of NBA Nation Australia, for War Room Sports

After Further Review (#533)

Friday, June 13th, 2014

by Christopher Dinkins

Christopher Dinkins Blog

 

 

 

 

After Further Review

 

AFTER FURTHER REVIEW #533 SHOUTOUT to you TONY DORSETT……((NBA)) ***THE FINALS*** SPURS 107 (leonard 20/14) HEAT 86 (james 28)—sa 3-1…..HERO-KAWHI LEONARD / GOAT -DWAYNE WADE…..ummm….its ALWAYS something with yall “pseudo hero” LBJ aint it ?????…..if it aint cramps…its the bubble guts….that’s not how you THREE PEAT (sorry PAT RILEY)….the friends of MIAMI HEAT sure know how to appreciate their team……don’t really wanna hear from you even if series gets extended…..you fake and you know it !!!!!!….((MLB)) winners include YANKEES…REDS…PHILLIES…ROCKIES…GIANTS…ORIOLES…PIRATES…RED SOX…BREWERS(13)…TIGERS…ASTROS…..still think DEREK JETER (yankees) is done ????…..check yourself before you check THE CAP’N…maaan that 3 minute rain delay lasted longer than HEAT lead in FINALS…..and that ATLANTA-ROCKIES tiff was kinda wack….everyone is sooooooooo sensitive…((NFL)) the HARD KNOCK life will be in ATLANTA this season…..HBO went the “no controversy” route wit this one….hope MATT RYAN is ready for his closeup….SEAHAWKS agree with DT-KEVIN WILLIAMS 1YR/$2M+……((WNBA)) SUN 96 (bentley 22) MERCURY 95 (dupree 21)……leading scorer-MAYA MOORE (lynx)24.1…..leading rebounder-ERIANA LARKINS (fever)11…..assists leader-COURTNEY VANDERSLOOT (sky) 7.3….SHOUTOUT to LIN DUNN and YOLANDA GRIFFITH for induction into WOMENS BASKETBALL HALL of FAME !!!!…((TENNIS)) WTA tourney in NEW HAVEN now known as CONNECTICUT OPEN…..DUSTIN BROWN over RAFAEL NADAL (6-4.6-1) at GERRY WEBER OPEN……RADEK STEPANEK over ANDY MURRAY (7-6(10).6-2) at QUEENS CLUB…these are warmups for WIMBLEDON which starts JUNE 23 thru JULY 6……((GOLF)) **US OPEN** leaders–MARTIN KAYMER (-3/65)..4 tied at (-2)…..somebody might need a “frozen ARNOLD PALMER”….((SOCCER)) **WORLD CUP** BRAZIL 3 CROATIA 1……the new dude for BRAZIL….NEYMAR tallied two goals for host country squad….it was a good game tho…..even with the own goal by BRAZILIANS…..todays action MEXICO v CAMEROON…..SPAIN v NETHERLANDS…..CHILE v AUSTRALIA…..and I think MIAMI HEAT fans should leave that chant stuff to the professionals….howboutthat ?????……NHL GAME of the day RANGERS v KINGS game 5/STANLEY CUP FINALS (8pm/NBC)…..LA leads 3-1……MLB GAME(s) of the day BLUE JAYS (hutchinson) v ORIOLES (jimenez) / NATIONALS (zimmerman) v CARDINALS (lynn)…..WNBA GAME(s) of the day LYNX (8-1) v DREAM (5-3) / STORM (4-7) v STARS (4-5)…..TRUE SCHOOL JAM(s) of the day “THE BUBBLE BUNCH” – JIMMY SPICER / “MARY,MARY” – THE MONKEES…..its FRIDAY……BANG..BANG..BANG it right on out !!!!!!…..the BALLISTICS have been kicked !!!!!…..AFR.

 

Christopher “The Mayor” Dinkins of GeeQue Palace Sports, for War Room Sports

Takeaways from Game 6 of the NBA Finals

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

By Chris Price

B-ball fans, I didn’t get a chance to watch Heat-Spurs Game 6 the other night.  I was in the midst of a great camping trip with the wife, but we both caught the second half of the game on ESPN radio.  Just got a chance to watch the recorded game earlier, and I must say this was a good one.  The game made me mull over some things and I wanted to make a couple of observations.  Bear with me.

“Are you willing to go down the stretch of an elimination game with your second best player sitting on the bench to put more shooting around your best player? Tough decisions if you’re a coach.” – Jeff Van Gundy, when Dwyane Wade subbed in for Mike Miller at 3:48 left in the 4th quarter

The lineup that brought the Heat back from down 10 at the beginning of the 4th to up 3 later in the quarter was Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen, Mike Miller, LeBron, and Birdman.  JVG noted this was also the lineup that blew open Game 2 for them… Miami’s best lineup might contain only one member of their “Big 3”.  Take a minute to let that sink in. Miami’s best lineup might contain only one member of their Big 3.  When D Wade came back into the game, LeBron stopped being as aggressive, some chemistry seemed lost, and the Spurs eventually took the lead.

The Takeaways…

A. Been told y’all from the beginning “The Decision” was not a good look, on multiple levels.  The same people who were championing The Big 3 coming together are the same people now talking about trading Wade (a Top 5, 10, 15, 20 player, however you want to look at it) or bringing him off the bench so that he doesn’t bother LeBron’s rhythm… So that the Heat can be more effective… Because they are not as effective with both of them in the game.

B. The Cavs management were not as dumb we thought.  In Cleveland, LeBron had shooters to space the floor, post defenders, rebounders, and finishers. That’s all he needs, or seems to want to play with.  I don’t ever want to hear “LeBron needs help” again.  He doesn’t need the type of player you might naturally think he does to win with his current style of play.  He is playing with two perennial All-Stars and has yet to make either one of them better or find a workable chemistry with either.  Who he is “making better” and finding greater success with is his team’s role players.  He is playing at his best, and most comfortably, with a solid point guard, two shooters, and a rebounder/finisher.

C. Dwyane, LeBron, and Bosh have never had great offensive chemistry.  The only way they all worked was by them (primarily Dwyane and LeBron) creating havoc on defense, creating steals and getting out and running in transition.  When they are not creating turnovers, or when a team is able to stop their transition offense, they limit their effectiveness (at least in how they want to play).  This is how you have a Ray Allen looking like he’s possibly more effective than Dwyane Wade for any stretch of time.  Ray Allen has value just standing in a half-court set without the ball (he stretches the defense); Dwyane Wade does not.

D. The Heat will not be able to play their most effective lineups for the majority of Game 7 because there is no way Erik Spoelstra is going to bench Dwyane Wade. There is no way he is going to play Bosh for 20 or less minutes.  Conversely, there is no way he is going to bench LeBron for 10-15 minutes to let Wade work (also a slightly positive +/- against the Spurs without LeBron on the floor). Because of real life dynamics, the Heat will probably try to win Game 7 using less efficient lineups… They have more talent than the Spurs but worse chemistry. We’ll see which one wins out tonight.  The Heat still have a good chance because their talent is supreme and they are playing at home; We’ll see how it goes.

E. I only heard part of the 3rd and the 4th quarter of the game on the radio the other night, so I thought LeBron went into superhero mode in that 4th quarter. When I went back and watched the game though, I realized that he didn’t; he just played comfortable LeBron James basketball with that particular Chalmers, Allen, Birdman, Miller lineup.  Now some people think LeBron is a superhero anyway so this could all be semantics, but I didn’t see a guy taking over the game.  I saw a guy who was able to do what he does because of space, and knowing he was the 1st and 2nd best offensive option on the floor.  LeBron just “did him” in that 8 minute stretch before Wade came in, and the result was a 13 point swing in favor of Miami.

F. Oh yeah, and as far as him choking or almost choking at the end of regulation, I can’t even call what I saw choking.  Because I’m used to seeing LeBron tentative from time to time.  In the last couple minutes of the game, he went back to looking like he did in Games 2 and 3.  To me, “choking” refers to a guy being visibly shaken by the moment and nerves causing you to play at a level below what you are capable of. Choking to me is not missing shots or making bad passes.  For instance, vs. Indiana Game 2 where Lebron made two late turnovers, I did not consider that a choke.  LeBron was still being aggressive but just made two poor passes; it was poor execution.  In Game 6 though, the turnovers he made were because he was being tentative.  On the first turnover, he over-dribbled and on the second, I literally don’t know if he was trying to pass or shoot.  His reactions to both of those turnovers further let me know these weren’t just poor execution turnovers.  On the same hand though, I don’t know if you can “choke” and win the game.  And even though he shot those late 3-pointers with what looked liked 20% confidence, one of them joints went in.  If Ray Allen didn’t hit that corner three, it would have been a Cruel Summer, but I can’t say LeBron choked because his team won the game… AND LeBron did hit the three to cut it to 2 with 20 seconds left.  He’s got to get credit for that.  And after that he was very comfortable in the overtime and was key to helping his team win this game in that period.  In my opinion, no choke should be credited.

Y’all enjoy Game 7.

 

LeBron………It’s TIME!

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

By LeRoy McConnell III

Hey “Chosen One” it’s me again, your Conscience.  I am here to remind you of what day it is.  It’s a significant day in our short history as a Miami Heat.  I know, I know, today is game one of the 2012 NBA FINALS, against our new foe of the future, #35.  But hold up, not so fast, we will discuss game one in a moment.  Before we are able to move on, we must attack the past head on.  June 12, 2011, exactly one year ago, was game six of the NBA FINALS, where Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks celebrated an NBA Championship on our home floor.  LeBron, do you recall that series, where everyone was wondering where the hell we went?  I know it didn’t feel right when Dirk was the MVP of the Finals, holding our Larry O’Brien trophy in our house. We finally made it through a strike, a shortened season, and playoff battles against both Indiana and Boston.  Once again we come back to the promised land.

 

IT’S TIME, this whole series is about us.  It’s time to shine and carry the Miami Heat organization on our back.  We didn’t come to Miami for second place.  If so, we could have stayed in Cleveland.  Remember 5,6,7?  “I know we ran off our mouth, but that’s partly my fault because I wanted some of the spotlight as well!  There is nothing wrong with a little pressure on us.  Our nucleus is better than last year.  Heck, we aren’t even favored to win.

IT’S TIME, OKC is ready, ready to take what is ours.  #35 on the Thunder is the foe that has the potential to take everything from us.  The question is, who is hungrier?  #35 can’t get enough on his plate.  In fact, he and his squad have been going for seconds!  After we joined forces with D-Wade and Bosh, who would have thought there would be a team more talented than us?  OKC is younger, they play exciting team ball, and they believe it’s their time.

IT’S TIME, LeBron, I want that ring!  Do you know how sick and tired I am of the “Conscience of Kobe Bryant”?  It’s getting old, all that damn laughing and snickering in my face, with his bling, bling!  I wish I could knock the %^&* out of him!  This is for all the marbles.  Kobe AIN’T even the issue anymore.  What I am trying to tell you is, #35 is our adversary.  We are very similar to him.  We both are freakish by nature, no one on the court can stop us, and we both want the same thing, a championship.  #35 is a three-time NBA scoring leader who is going after our, our fame and our 5,6, and 7 championships!  The three-time scoring leader for the Thunder is trying to write our history.  Starting tonight, we put an end to his premature thoughts.  We waited all year for this.  We will go out there and play our game and who knows, celebrating in Oklahoma City won’t be so bad.  Last I checked, LeBron, we are the three time MVP!

LeRoy McConnell III of “A Fan’s Point of View”, for War Room Sports

LeBron’s Recent Play Reminded Me of Football

Friday, June 17th, 2011

By Jimmy Williams

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.

What’s on your mind Jay?

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.

I’m Nice!!!

Jimmy Williams

Dirk Nowitzki: The Purity of the Game in a Champion’s Mind

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

By Bradley Anderson

2011 NBA Finals MVP

In the maelstrom of Reality TV and surreal comments that is the saga of the July 2010 Champions, the Eastern Conference Champions Miami Heat,  we are doing a disservice to the true NBA Champions and one man in particular…Dirk Nowitzki.When subtly comparing and contrasting stars and teams, Chris Bosh made a profound inference.  And if one reads between the lines, you know to whom he was really speaking: “There’s nothing extra.  There’s nothing super.  He [Nowitzki] was just himself.  And in these situations, I think when you’re yourself and you play your basketball, the best thing always happen.”

“He’s worked very hard, for a very long time and he deserves it.  I think we can take a page out of their book and really just pay attention to peoples’ work ethic and how much time they put into the game.  Obviously, what we did wasn’t enough.”

When the clock struck triple zeros and the horn sounded, and the Dallas Mavericks officially became 2011 NBA Champions, Dirk bolted for the locker room.   He didn’t join the growing group of elated celebrants at mid court…the team, coaches, cameras, and Dallas fans who had invaded American Airlines Arena as if it was the one in downtown Dallas.  He was overcome by emotion and tears, and wanted those moments to himself.

The Finals MVP had to be coaxed to take his bow…to even accept his award.  Dirk was humble and showed a measure of deference to his team and supporting cast.  The pinnacle of Dirk’s career, the culmination of all the millions of shots, countless hours, the ridicule of millions calling him soft, even more questioning his heart.  Dirk Nowitzki accepted all that from the basketball world and media, and in contrast to another gentleman at another press related event, he didn’t respond with a defiant, childish, brash, disrespectful F**K YOU, or even a “I Told You So”…or an HBC: “Y’all Musta Forgot”.  He merely accepted his station in history as a champion with humility and grace.

Dirk doesn’t seem to do much in the endorsement and advertising arena.  No huge sneaker contracts, no beverage deals, no shameless self promotion (shout outs to Chad and Evelyn Ochocinco).  He doesn’t want to be the billionaire baller.  There is no Nowitzki Brand, but now, there is a Nowitzki NBA Champion.

Here is the man that committed himself, along with his owner Mark Cuban to making the Mavericks a relevant franchise.  After decades of obscurity and laughing stock material, the Dallas Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki “took their talents to South Beach!”

Bradley “B. Austin” Anderson of The War Room, for War Room Sports

3 Reasons for LeBron’s Dysfunctional Performance(s)

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

By Bradley Anderson

Ryan Jones' book on LeBron James

(The reasons lie with us as much as they do with him)

1) Throughout his amateur and professional career, I have not seen enough emphasis put on developing all aspects of LeBron’s basketball skills.  AAU, High School, and now NBA coaches are so enamored with his talent and athleticism, and the fact that they have a center’s size and power (ok a PF), a PG’s speed and quickness, a wing players athleticism, body control, and grace, they lose sight of preaching and teaching.  Be it the big things, such as footwork, positioning, back to the basket skill, or intangibles such as never quitting, always giving maximum effort, good sportsmanship, etc. I understand that you can’t instill “the killer”….”the mass murderer”….”the genocidal cool, calm, and collected megalomaniac” that existed within Michael, Larry, Earvin, Isiah, Reggie, Kobe, or even A.I.  I get that you can’t MAKE someone into a clutch player; however, there are so many little chinks in our gladiator’s armor that we all are bearing “witness” too now.  Flaws that have been pointed to, but the roar of the coliseum drown out any reasonable ear and the lust for the worlds “next”, combined with the “knee-jerking” “Sportscenter highlight”-thirsty audience that left no room for constructive criticism.  And much like a child left to be raised by the television set he/she sits in front of, so was LeBron coached by the people of the coliseum of his Rome: “stanleys”, lemmings, fans, and the media as much as he was placed in a disciplined, nurturing, ethics-building, skill developing, integrity-fostering environment.  We celebrated him so much and so fast, anointing him to be the “heir apparent” to a throne once sat on by a man who put the countless hours into honing his craft and developing his skill.  A man whose body was dashed upon the rocks of Detroit’s arena…a man so consumed with greatness and even further consumed by winning, that his sheer will could get him wins, when his 48-inch vertical and cat quickness exited stage left.

To the masses, fans, “stanleys”, lemmings, yes-men, enablers, scouts, handlers, managers, and coaches; I ask: “What now?”…and “is this all LeBron?…or do you have some level of responsibility and accountability in this?”

2) Fatherless Boys:  I don’t know much about LeBron’s father or his “father-figures”, who raised him, or what their value systems look like.  I do know as an intelligent young man, he often understands what to say, when to say it, and to whom to say it, in terms of the media and how it will resonate with the “fans”.  He is very conscious of his image, sensitive to his brand’s direction, and cognizant of the need to “say the right things”.  He has (up until recent times) been very politically correct.  I attribute this to his “handlers” (shout-out to Maverick Carter, you may want to change your first name right now or go by your middle name though), but also LeBron is pretty savvy in knowing who to have guide him.  All this being said, there have been a number of moments where his character development comes into question.  There are those times when he walks off the court without shaking hands with the opposing team.  There is the dancing and shucking and jiving in other peoples’ arenas.  There are the moments when his Momma goes “HAM” and “acts a fool”.  Who is there to guide him?  Who is there as a confidant to listen and offer sound, non-“yes-man” advice?  Who is there to be the opposite of coach Mike “Stanley Fan” Brown?  Who counsels him?  Who yells at LeBron? Who tells him to get his big ass in the post and get mean, and get aggressive against point guards and shooting guards? Who does he look up to and respect?  Has he had to grow, groom, and learn on his own for the most part?  Has he had to figure this out on his own as we all look on, heckling, laughing, supporting, hating, and lambasting him?  I don’t know the answer to these questions, but if he has, I actually think he’s done a damn good job of raising himself.  However, without that influence, he will never get to that “next level”.  I use one of my favorite players of all time: Allen Iverson.  Prior to Allen submitting to Coach Larry Brown’s tutoring, mentoring, scolding, and chiding, Iverson was running amuck.  But the brief, stern, fatherly, guiding direction of Larry got him focused enough at 5’10” and 155 lbs to take a team consisting of invalids, failures, intramural players, and trash-truck drivers to the NBA Finals.  I attribute this to the “father-figure” influence…that wise and guiding voice that tells you what you NEED to hear, not what you want to hear.

3)  Global Icon & Brand versus Greatest Of All Time (Winner):  We’ve reached a point in society where everything…EVERYTHING (and I’m speaking both in the world of sports and beyond) is about what will generate revenues, profit margins, and drive sales.  From 5th grade on (yes they nationally rank basketball players from 5th grade on…WHO THE F%#K cares who is the top ranked 5th or 6th grader?), the engine of the great marketing machines are trolling for that one stand-out player they can latch their claws into and create “The Player”…”THE HEIR APPARENT”.  The shoe companies are the first level, the dirtiest, and with the least amount of shame.  They begin by pushing athletic wear and sneakers on the kids’ amateur teams (AAU and the like).  These scoundrels are to amateur athletics what tobacco is to us all.  Well okay…perhaps a little strong, perhaps a little harsh, but you catch my drift.  It then expands to include food and beverage companies, apparel companies, and the list of things to sell, brands, and companies grow exponentially on the backs of these young athletes.  And what suffers?  The purity of the game? Definitely the soul of basketball?  Absolutely!  Is Dr. Naismith turning over in his grave, thinking of how it got from a peach basket to this?  Of course he is.  Beyond that though, the sport which was crafted to be for fun, joy, growth and development, good health, entertainment, and camaraderie, becomes about endorsements.  No longer are we concerned with the purity of the game, or even winning (let alone the other more noble concepts).  Much like Congress is subject to the whims of special interest (lobbyists own the Hill, you ain’t know?).  The sport is subject to the whims of big money corporations and his brother commercial mass appeal. And where does LeBron James fit into all of this?  He is just the latest, and quite possibly the greatest example of that nest, “The Player”.  He IS the personification of the machine. Where Michael Jordan and his generation were merely concerned with getting to the marquee colleges and playing for the best coaches, giving them the shot at a National Title and perhaps an NBA look, LeBron and his generation are courted for AAU “contracts” as freshman and sophomores in high school.  Where Mike was signing endorsement deals 2 and 3 years into his tenure, LeBron was in a Hummer his senior year and signed a $100 million endorsement deal with Nike before he graduated high school.  And can you blame him?  Growing up in a single-parent home, low-to-moderate income, and your talent is assessed a value before you can drive, vote, or drink.  I credit LeBron for being an intelligent person in knowing that his talent and abilities were his ticket.  While basketball is great, what it brings the global marketplace and the ability to be the salesman for ANY product may be paramount to being the Greatest Basketball Player to ever live.  As long as he’s in the top 50 (top 10 currently playing), he is worth billions and will reap that reward and success.  And so, his value system and priorities may include advancing his net worth into the billionaire category, and is that his fault or the world/marketplace he grew up in?  Michael Jordan, Wilt, Kareem, Magic, Isiah, Dr. J, Bird, Dominique, etc…they got their just due financially from being the greatest, arguably the greatest, or on the list somewhere near the top.  The opportunity to be the wealthiest sports icon ever never really crossed their minds, or at least it didn’t inhibit their play.  They wanted to win worse than they wanted that check and the “lights, glamour, glitters, and gold”.  When the scroll unfolded, it was the beast that rose and conquered the courts (shout out to Nasir Olu Bin Dara Jones), not the endorsers.  But who can fault James for the times he has grown up in?  We are a product of our environment.  What is more valuable, the riches and rewards of being very good, even great…or the triumph of reaching full potential and striving with all ones might for “GREATEST OF ALL TIME” status?  It is a conversation only LeBron can have with himself, and perhaps a select few wise men.  But think about the time and place and you will understand the man.

Bradley “B. Austin” Anderson of The War Room, for War Room Sports