Category Archives: NBA

Sterling Silver Balls

A few months back amid Michael Sam coming out and Jason Collins officially becoming the first openly gay athlete in the Big Four sports, people asked me to blog about my thoughts on the topic. I refused for two reasons. The first was that I was new to the blog community and didn’t want to go down a controversial road and rub readers the wrong way so early in my young career. Secondly, I didn’t think it was much of a story. Let me explain.

By no means am I a hippy-dippy-let’s-all-be-happy type of person. I am neither a racist nor a homophobe, though. I simply tend to have a general disdain for every walk of life, which I believe was spawned from two things: teaching teenagers and working in the service industry. In both of those professions I have learned one thing. You can be black, brown, yellow, green, purple, gay, straight, or an asexual hermaphrodite, a majority of the time, I am going to assume that you are a douche. And I’m not the greatest person for that, but at least I don’t discriminate. When my good friend asked me recently why I decided to make this blogging thing a long term goal as a profession as opposed to a hobby and get out of the service industry, my answer was simple. I don’t like people. Obviously, that is spoken in hyperbole, because as I sit here with my new fiancé making our wedding invite list, we are freaking out over how many people are on it. All I really mean by it is that the reason I don’t like someone isn’t the color of their skin or who they decide to shack up with at the end of the night. Maybe I’m just old and bitter!

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Anyway, I do believe what Michael Sam and Jason Collins did does have some heroism behind it. I think it’s great that now aspiring youngsters don’t need to worry about their sexuality in pursuing their dreams. But what I really think it shows is a disturbing trait in our society that this even matters. Why a gay person has to hide who they are to get ahead in America, the land of the free, the land of opportunity, the land where people can come to from any walk of life and have a chance to turn it around, is disgusting in my opinion. Now, Donald Sterling has poked his warped head and people want to know what I think.

Donald Sterling, V. Stiviano

The remarks made by Sterling just ten days after the nation celebrated Jackie Robinson Day are obviously disturbing to me. I have already explained to you that I am not racist, so why waste my time preaching about what everyone else has already said. There is so much more to this story that people don’t want to touch upon because what this story is really about will piss them off.

For those of you who live under a rock, let’s do a quick recap. TMZ leaked a tape in which he and his fellow waste-of-newsworthy-space mistress, V. Stiviano, got into a lover’s spat over a picture on Instagram with Magic Johnson. What ensued was some incredibly stupid and somewhat racist remarks by Sterling about who his girlfriend was allowed to bring to his Clippers’ games (I wonder who his wife is allowed to bring to Clippers’ games?). Adam Silver quickly stepped in and banned Sterling for life and is currently imploring all NBA owners to unite in forcing Sterling to sell the Clippers.

This is the picture that started it all? Really? Wow, Sterling that is racy...
This is the picture that started it all? Really? Wow, Sterling that is racy…

Racism has always been overtly blatant in European sports, specifically soccer. Many futbol fans have been talking about how small an issue this is compared to what goes on overseas. Barcelona defender, Dani Alves, was the most recent recipient of a banana thrown at him. This disgusting display of racism has happened for awhile in soccer, and now players are standing together and fighting back in a no racism campaign. My favorite Premiere League Team is often the brunt of anti-Semitism. The Tottenham Hotspur players and fans are often attacked and called “Yids” which is a very derogatory term when used incorrectly towards Jewish people. It is so bad that several players have been accused of making the Nazi salute during games against Tottenham. Racism has and always will occur in the world, especially in sports. Sports is where all walks of life come together. It is a powder keg for bigots to self-implode. This stuff is hardcore. This is racism at it’s worst. What Sterling did was plain old ignorant.

A lot of people have commented the last few days that Sterling is simply a product of his time and that most really old, rich, white guys are racist. Sterling just got caught saying what they all think, they’ll tell me. Is this somewhat true? Yes, as an 80-year old man, he grew up in a very different time in America. He witnessed when it was legally acceptable to be separate but equal. Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr were at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement while Sterling was in law school planning on how to make his first million. Most people have tried to learn from the actions of that era and have moved on, but for people who were alive before that era, it is simply a way of life. Does that make it right? Is Sterling the victim here? By no means would I defend this swine, his statements in that recording were racist as were his actions several years before this. That’s not the real problem here, however.

Sterling went and said something in private about a race of people that turned him into the magnate he is. Adam Silver took action and delivered a harsh but very just punishment. Sterling is the first owner banned for life by the NBA, but in the end, he still wins. If he is forced to sell the team, he will be awarded billions. If he remains a stubborn old mule, he will still profit greatly, no matter how many sponsors and athletes pull their support. The real problem here is that when you are mega rich, there is little risk in the actions you take.

Sterling is just another example of why it is good to be rich and have celebrity status in America. If someone like you or I, dear reader, would have done something like this, believe me, the results would be much worse. But for Sterling, he stands to profit off of being an ignorant fool and offending an entire race of people along the way SEVERAL times. But since he has money and fame, his only real punishment is that he isn’t allowed to go to NBA games anymore. O.J. Simpson ring a bell, anyone? Go ahead, try it out. Flee a murder scene with two dead bodies on your own property in a Ford Bronco while eluding tons of police officers and resisting arrest all on national television. Then I implore you to use your one phone call and tell me the outcome.

What it really comes down to isn’t race. It is about a stupid man being able to get away with it and most likely not learn a lesson. Have you seen how many more times O.J. has been in court or gone to jail? Sterling got in trouble in the early 2000s for being a racist and he got in trouble again nearly a decade later for the same thing. And, just like last time, the end result is that Sterling is being set up for a huge pay day. Is his image smeared? Absolutely. But he is an 80-year old man, how much do you think he cares what myself or a bunch of millionaire basketball players think of him? Sure, he was fined the maximum amount permissible by NBA rules, but what’s 2.5 million dollars to a man worth billions?

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, in an article for Time magazine, summed it up perfectly:

I’m bothered that everyone acts as if it’s a huge surprise. Now there’s all this dramatic and very public rending of clothing about whether they should keep their expensive Clippers season tickets. Really? All this other stuff I listed above has been going on for years and this ridiculous conversation with his girlfriend is what puts you over the edge? That’s the smoking gun?

He was discriminating against black and Hispanic families for years, preventing them from getting housing. It was public record. We did nothing. Suddenly he says he doesn’t want his girlfriend posing with Magic Johnson on Instagram and we bring out the torches and rope. Shouldn’t we have all called for his resignation back then? (Taken from the Washington Post blog.

Kareem is a very outspoken athlete in his beliefs, but it is hard to disagree with him. It wasn’t until it home to millionaire athletes and coaches that something was done. When he was turning away tenants in his housing projects and being sued in courts of law for overt racism, David Stern sat back and did nothing. Sterling screwing over the lower class based on their race was apparently A-Ok then, as long as he wasn’t doing it to his highly paid superstars. (Incidentally, should the players and coaches have truly walked away from the NBA like they threatened, they would still be millionaires. If someone like myself or you, my loyal followers of Wayniac Nation, did the same to our job, we would be in dire straits.) Now, all of a sudden we care. I think Adam Silver was fair and just in his actions, however there is only so much he can do as a commissioner of a sport. But he certainly laid down the law and let the NBA know there is a new sheriff in town. Only time will tell how Sterling responds.

I need to cool off. Until next time folks, we are just days away from the NFL Draft!

 

 

 

 

Don’t Get Caught Watching the Paint Dry

The 27 months of NBA playoffs are upon us. The twelve year journey to anoint the 2014 NBA Champion started a week ago and I guess it has been entertaining. I haven’t watched a single minute and unless the Spurs make the Finals, I most likely won’t.

What I did watch, however, was a bunch of basketball movies and clips to prepare for this week’s post. Based on the success of my Fantasy Dream Amazeballs All-Hollywood Baseball Team I have put together a hoops’ movie team in honor of the NBA Playoffs. The criteria will be the same. There will be no real players, so that eliminates pretty much the entire cast of Like Mike (thank god) except Bow Wow and Morris Chestnut. Nor will Michael Jordan from Space Jam or Leonardo DiCRAPio’s Jim Carroll from Basketball Diaries be considered for the starting line-up. Earl “The Goat” Manigault is also ineligible, despite the movie rumored being a nearly fictional account of his life. Just like last time, likenesses and characters based on real players are perfectly acceptable. Real players playing fictional characters are also welcome. So, sit back and enjoy your Sunday with the:

THE ALL-TIME FICTIONAL HOOPIDITY DOOPITY ALLY OOPITY BASKETBALL MOVIE TEAM

We goin to Sizzler!
We goin to Sizzler!

Point Guard: You would think Wesley Snipes is the greatest athlete of all time! He had TWO characters in consideration for the baseball roster and now makes his case for basketball. Sidney Deane (White Man Can’t Jump) was flashy and loud talking but he had some mad skills to hold his own against anyone. His passing ability was uncanny. Deane’s counterpart, Billy Hoyle (Woody Harrelson, White Man Can’t Jump) has a deadly three pointer, but he may be too old to contribute to this team. Can he still drive to the hoop and lead this team? Well, if Harrelson can’t cut it as Billy Hoyle, maybe he can as Monix (Semi Pro). Monix was the aged, knee-less, veteran who came in and helped turn around the Flint Tropics dream season. Sure, Calvin Cambridge’s (Lil Bow Wow, Like Mike) entire playing ability was dependent on MJ’s magic shoes, but wasn’t everybody’s back then? Lola Bunny (herself, Space Jam) was bound for WNBA stardom. Despite the MonStars cheap shots and over powering size and demeanor, Lola never backed down and took it right to them.

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Starter: I’m going with Lola here. The other guys in this category are good, but they are either hustlers or destined for a bench role. Plus, Lola showed no fear against monsters for crying out loud. That’s who I want manning … er, womanning … er, wasckily wabbiting my team.

Shooting Guard: This category is over flowing with stars. Jesus Shuttleworth (Ray Allen, He Got Game) immediately comes to mind. He is raw, but man can he shoot. He has a jump shot that is strikingly similar to NBA star Ray Allen’s, which I still think is the prettiest natural shot of our generation. Clarence “Coffee Black” Brown (Andre 3000 Benjamin, Semi-Pro) not only gets a look due to his overwhelming basketball skills, but he has the heart of a champion willing to sacrifice everything to play for a loser. The lovable Air Bud (Buddy, Air Bud) gets some love because he’s so damn cute. Plus, like Ed the chimp on my baseball roster… he’s a freaking animal! Tell me you wouldn’t pay some serious duckets to watch a dog break some ankles and drop some dimes. Lewis Scott (Damon WayansCeltic Pride) was so good Daniel Stern and Dan Aykroyd had to kidnap him.

Starter: No question it is Shuttleworth. As we learned in Big Lebowski, nobody f’s with da Jesus!

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Small Forward: Another position full of elite athletes and superstars. Scott Howard (Michael J. Fox, Teen Wolf) is a mixed bag. If he shows up as Scott Howard, this team is screwed. But if he shows up as The Wolf… look out! Howard turns from a 5-foot, seventh man off the bench type of player to a guy who can dunk like MJ by simply adding some fur. Jimmy Chitwood (Maris Valainis, Hoosiers) is the game changing character based on Bobby Plump. The downside to Chitwood is all that he can do is shoot. As much as he brought to that amazing run, if he goes ice cold, his team is in trouble. Moses Guthrie (Julius “Dr. J” Erving, The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh) saved a whole damn city. If you haven’t seen this cult classic go watch it. It is a terribly fun movie about a failing basketball team formed around their star player’s zodiac sign, Pisces (hence the fish), to win basketball games. Jamal Wallace (Rob Brown, Finding Forrester) is one of the more unheralded basketball movie stars due to his youth and raw talent. He was heavily recruited by private schools across New York and showed he’s got serious skills on the floor and in the classroom. Butch McRae (Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, Blue Chips) had it all: ball handling skills, a nice shot, and a beautiful house for his mother.

DrJAintHavingIt Starter: I’m going Guthrie. He’s Dr. J and that means two things: awesome dunks and an even more awesome ‘fro!

Power Forward/ Center: I’m clumping these two positions together, because let’s face it, that’s how it works these days. Tim Duncan may be the best power forward to ever play the game, but he still has to match-up at center sometimes. I want my big men to have that same ability.

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Somehow, the dreadful Flint Tropics send their third candidate to roster consideration in the PF/C category. Team owner, leader, and all around entertainer Jackie Moon (Will Ferrell, Semi Pro) has more dance moves than basketball skills, but he can still ball. Neon Boudeaux (Shaquille O’Neal, Blue Chips) is just as much a beast on the floor as the man who played him. You need a monster dunk or complete domination inside the paint? You simply call on this Neon blue-chip prospect. He may have earned a Razzie Nomination for his acting, but we are judging on ball skills here. One of the many degrees of Kevin Bacon gets the final nod. Saleh (Charles Gitong Maina, The Air Up There) was not only the savior of Jimmy Dolan’s career, but he saved his own tribe with the game winning shot against the evil mining company.

628x471Starters: Neon and Saleh. Talk about Towers of Power. These guys could rival Tim Duncan and David Robinson. Neon, with more natural skills, will probably slide into the four while Saleh will man the center position. Besides, any player that you can mistake for the cartoon MonStar Pound from Space Jam is ok in my books.

The Bench:

Monix gets the nod to back things up at the point guard position. Sure, he’s older than Harrelson’s Hoyle, but all Hoyle has is a sweet shot and that was mainly when he was left wide open. Monix still has the heart to cut to the hole even if he can barely walk. Chitwood makes the squad because as a situational player there will be very few better. Down by three with just seconds left? Run the picket fence and get Jimmy open… just don’t get caught watching the paint dry! Jamal Wallace makes the team as a reserve because of his raw ability to swing from the two to the three and his basketball and regular IQ reign supreme to just about everyone else on the court. Moon merits a roster spot on notoriety alone. If we need a quick promotion, Moon is the man.  Scott Howard gets the call, but he is only allowed to play when donned in fur. I want The Wolf. The last guy to round out the bench is someone that wasn’t nominated for a starting role, but he stepped up when the Beavers needed him most. Chubby (Mark Holton, Teen Wolf) turned from zero to hero when he simply crushed the Dragons. How he fit into those 80s shorty short uniforms is amazing in itself.

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Head Coach: Edwina “Eddie” Franklin (Whoopi Goldberg) certainly deserves some consideration because she turned around a dismal New York Knicks team after being the female Spike Lee. However, she won’t coach my team simply because I despise the Knicks and rather see them stay in the basement. In fact, I could watch a two hour movie about how bad the Knicks are, but that movie would be called 2013-14 season. The man I want at the helm has a shaky past and an unprecedented way of handling his offense. He found the best ways to utilize each and everyone of his players, even if it was getting Ollie in there for a few under handed free throws. No one was better at motivational speeches and when the team needed a fire lit under it’s ass, he’d go off the deep end and get ejected. Norman Dale (Gene HackmanHoosiers) is my guy. He will lead this team to glory.

Did I get it right? Sound off and let me know if I gave the wrong players a start or if I left someone off entirely. Until then, check back in 7.5 million hours when we finally name the 2014 NBA Champion!

The Greatest Dynasty No One Gives a Crap About

What a great night for March Madness, huh, folks? As predicted right here on Wayniac Nation yesterday, the #7 seed UConn Huskies will face off against the #8 seed Kentucky Wildcats. Two legendary programs will be going for the National Championship and all of the glory of cutting down the nets in North Texas.

Speaking of legendary programs, I’m shifting gears to the NBA for this Sunday’s blog post. My brother text me a question that I have been pondering since he asked it of me a month ago. He still lives in Manhattan, pretty close to Madison Square Garden. He asked, “Why does no one give a crap about the San Antonio Spurs, yet MSG is overflowing every night that the Knicks and Rangers play who are beloved for pretty much never winning anything?” It’s a great question.

Gregg Popovich took over a San Antonio Spurs team a third of the way through the 1996 season that had pretty much been irrelevant since their heydays in the ABA. Sure, they had The Iceman crushing everybody in scoring in the late-70s and early 80s. Yes, they made some noise in the 1989-90 season when rookie David Robinson lead them to the then biggest turnaround in NBA history as they from 21-61 to 56-26 in a single season. They had never won anything significant though until they drafted Tim Duncan. That is when they became arguably one of the greatest franchises in the history of sports.

5 REASONS THAT THE SAN ANTONIO SPURS ARE THE MOST UNDERRATED DYNASTY OF ALL-TIME

You can NOT argue against assess chaps...ever
You can NOT argue against assless chaps…ever

5. The 50 Win Seasons: Earlier this season, the Spurs once again broke their own record with their 15th consecutive season with 50 or more wins. What people sometimes overlook is that they finished the strike-shortened 1998-99 season at 37-13. If that was a full season, the Spurs would have 17 consecutive seasons of winning 50 games or more.

That is simply remarkable. They have averaged 56 wins a year over those 17 seasons for a .683 winning percentage. That is the equivalent of a Major League Baseball team going 111-51 for 17 straight seasons or an NFL team going 11-5 for the same amount of time.

Here is what is even more remarkable. If a team’s greatness is judged by championships the only franchises more successful than the Spurs are the Celtics, the Lakers, and the Bulls. Over the same 17 year period, the Lakers have ten 50-plus-win seasons, the Celtics have four, and the Bulls have two. The New York Knicks, who are in the news all of the time and are still highly rated in both attendance and viewing audiences, have two.

4. Gregg Popovich is one of the three greatest coaches ever… end of story.

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Since the Spurs Dynasty began with their first 1998-99 World Championship, Gregg Popovich has gone 891-367. Excluding the 1996-97 season in which he took over during the season, he has never had a losing record. His 964 career wins rank him 9th all-time in only 17 and a half seasons (that is 1404 career games which ranks 15th all-time) while everyone above him has or had coached for 20 or more seasons. He owns a 4-1 career record in the NBA Championship series and is a two-time Coach of the Year. The Spurs have won at the highest level consistently under his reign with unselfish, team centered basketball with very little mega-stars along the way. The debate for greatest NBA Head Coach of all-time starts with Phil Jackson, mentions Red Auerbach, and ends with Gregg Popovich. No one else comes close.

They win a trophy about once every four years... and have no fans
They win a trophy about once every four years… and have no fans

3. The Longevity. You would think once, just ONCE, in 17 consecutive dominating seasons, the San Antonio Spurs would have accumulated a fair-weather fan base. You know, like those d-bags who have never been to Yankee Stadium and wear those pink or camouflage Yankee hats and claim that they are Yankee fans? Or those morons who are “die-hard” Red Sox Nation fans because they hate the Yankees and don’t even know who Bucky Dent or Aaron Boone are? It just doesn’t make sense.

The Popovich/Duncan Era of Spurs basketball is one of the greatest eras in all of sports history. In the 16 years that Popovich and Duncan have been united, the Spurs have gone from having zero NBA Championships to having the 4th most all-time. The Boston Celtics, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Chicago Bulls are the only three teams to surpass them. And yet if they aren’t playing the Knicks or King James in the Finals, no one watches. How has the NBA not figured out a way to market one of the top ten franchises in all of sports history to a larger fan base? 

2. The Real Big Three

Courtesy of Sports Illustrated
Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

Before The Three Amigos in Boston and way before the Big Three in Miami, the Spurs quietly put together the biggest three of them all. They have no ESPN commercials together, they have no national endorsements, and a lot of average fans probably don’t know who that Argentinian guy is. The one thing Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Tim Duncan do have together is two more championships than The Three Amigos (Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce) or The Big Three (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh) have won in their overhyped tenures together.

I get that the New York media is a maelstrom of overhype and chatty Cathys wanting to make any story a headline, but think about how much attention the Core Four has gotten over the years for the New York Yankees. Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, and of course, Derek Jeter, won 5 championships over 17 years together. Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili have won 3 championships throughout their 12 year reign. For all of the hype and women that Derek Jeter has snagged, Tony Parker was married to this:

Nice work, Ton
Nice work, Ton

If that didn’t put the Spurs on the map, then it truly is a helpless cause.

1. Tim Duncan is one of the best players to ever suit up.

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This is the truly amazing aspect that I can’t figure out. The NBA, more than any other sport, is a star-driven sport. When LeBron finally leaves Miami, the Heat will lose a huge chunk of their fan base. My friend Benny Smalls is a die-hard Bulls fan to this day simply because he loved Michael Jordan at North Carolina and followed him up through his career. The San Antonio Spurs have one of the best players IN THE HISTORY OF THE GAME and no one watches.

I’m well aware why. The Big Fundamental simply does everything you are supposed to do and he does it better than almost everybody else. What he doesn’t do is flashy dunks. He doesn’t make ESPN’s top ten lists and he doesn’t tweet about nonsense or other players that he is jealous about. All he does do is win trophies. Yet more people idolized that punk Allen Iverson than ever tuned into one of the 3 NBA Finals MVP performances Duncan has thrown together.

Let’s just look at the resume, shall we?

  • The 1998 Rookie of the Year
  • The NBA MVP in both 2002 and 2003
  • The NBA Finals MVP in 1999, 2003, and 2005
  • The All-Star Game MVP in 2000
  • 14 All-Star appearances (he missed one in 1999 because there was no All Star game and the other in 2012 because of injuries)
  • 10 All-NBA First Team appearances including 8 in a row
  • 8 Defensive All-NBA First Team appearances
  • 5th all time in defensive rebounds (10,344)
  • 12th all time in total rebounds (13,905)
  • 24th all time in total points (24,849)

Yet no one is walking around the streets in the black and silver 21 jerseys. More people own Derrick Rose jerseys than Duncan jerseys and Rose hasn’t played in a century. Jason Collins’ Brooklyn Nets’ jersey is a bigger seller than the 4-time champ’s. Paul George and Kyrie Irving both have higher selling jerseys than Tim Duncan and they haven’t even been to an NBA Finals. While the Spurs just rattled off 19 consecutive wins, Michael Carter-Williams’ jersey outsold Tim Duncan’s amid his 76ers’ 26-game losing streak.  If that isn’t the definition of absurd, I’m not really sure what is.

2014 is no different. Once again, the Spurs are currently not just the best team in the West, but the entire NBA, standing at 59-17. The only thing anyone can talk about is if Kevin Durant will finally win an MVP over LeBron James. What the heck do these guys have to do to get some notoriety? Even if there is a rematch in the 2014 NBA Finals and even if the Spurs sweep the Miami Heat to win their fifth NBA Championship in less than 20 years, more people will talk about how LeBron failed to win a title more than about how dominating a season the Spurs put forth. And quite frankly, it’s sickening.

Wow. I haven’t gotten that worked up in awhile, folks. I need to go cool off. Until next time, enjoy your first full Sunday of MLB action!

Don’t forget, loyal readers: Wayniac Nation is growing faster each day in the Twitterverse as well. Join along for my daily rants and Saved By the Bell memories at @UofDWayne. 

 

 

 

Space Jammin’ on The King

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Take that, Russia!

USA! USA! USA! What a way to wake up yesterday, America! Another episode in one of the classic rivalries in the history of the world. Starting with the 1972 Olympics when the Russians cheated us, to The Miracle at Lake Placid, all the way to Rocky and Ivan Drago, yesterday was yet another opportunity to show the world we are the Yankees to their Red Sox. Segue to this evenings NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans, where the biggest All-Star of them all takes the stage for the East against his Western Conference counterpart Kevin Durant and his gang of high-flying hoopsters.

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See you in April again, right?

LeBron James and Kevin Durant are the Wilt vs. Russell or the Bird vs. Magic of the new millennium. They are the best in the business and they are the clear cut leaders of the two best teams currently in the NBA. So, on this NBA All-Star weekend, it is time to reflect on one of the current great debates: The King or His Airness?

With each season that passes, many feel King James makes a bigger case for himself as the greatest the game has ever seen. I don’t think it is even close. In fact, I would argue Kobe Bryant is closer to Jordan 2.0 than the King. A lot of the debate circles around a wait and see approach, wondering how LeBron James will end his career. I don’t think it will matter. If Lebron were to win 4 more championships and tie Jordan, Jordan is still the greatest of all-time.

5 REASONS HIS AIRNESS REIGNS SUPREME

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So, seriously, are you a super hero or something?

5. The Stats:
The easy and lazy way to approach the topic is to merely whip out the numbers and whoever has better stats is clearly the best. That being said, I’m still going to do it. Not counting LeBron’s 2013-14 stats at the halfway point, let’s examine Jordan versus James through year 10 of their careers:

Michael Jordan: 21,998 points, 4,219 rebounds, 4,025 assists, and 2,445 steals.
LeBron James: 21,081 points, 5,553 rebounds, 5,302 assists, and 1,323 steals.

Well this just doesn’t help much at all. Jordan is tops in two stats and James ousts MJ in the other 2. Here’s something that may help separate the two. Jordan’s official tenth season was his first retirement which means to get stats for 10 seasons we need to jump to his ’94-’95 return, when played in 17 whole games. Nine seasons earlier, Jordan’s second, he broke his foot in the third game and wound up playing in just 18 games that season. James has never played in less than 62 games in a season. You give Jordan those missed games back or have him not retire and these numbers are ALL Jordan. To appease to the bling is the thing mentality, Jordan has three rings by year 10 and LeBron has two.

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C’mon MJ, we are the two greatest actors of our generation. Stick with us, kid.

4. Do you know, do you know, do you know?:
Sure, LeBron has his own line of sneakers, but that’s because Jordan paved the way. I was in middle school when Air Jordan’s hit the market and for those of you who weren’t alive, it was total pandemonium. People were getting killed for their shoes. Mars Blackman, aka Spike Lee, became Jordan’s sidekick in one of the more memorable ad campaigns of the 80s. (Incidentally, a few months back I found an It’s Gotta Be the Shoes Nike shirt at Rag-O-Rama in Atlanta and I snatched that baby right up!)

Yes, LeBron is Mr. Gatorade and even had his own gum flavor for a minute but EVERYBODY knew Michael Jordan. By the mid-1990s he had to be one of the most recognizable faces in the world. He was an actor, he was on the Dream Team, he was an adman, he sold out minor league baseball games, he IS one of the most famous logos ever which in turn made Nike into what we know it, and he made an awesome guest host appearance on SNL. Like Magic before him, Jordan knew he WAS the NBA and he stepped up to bat, put the NBA on his shoulders and carried the league to new heights. Sure he was smug and arrogant, but he was Michael Freakin’ Jordan. LeBron? We can’t even get this guy to dunk on All-Star Weekend. Which brings me to…

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3. The Slam Dunk Contest:
Imagine if you would, that the year is 1988. NBA All-Star Weekend is in Chicago. Bill Lambier, Mugsy Bogues, Kevin Johnson, and Terry Porter take the stage for the 1988 Slam Dunk Contest. A sold-out arena heads for the doors.

The Slam Dunk Contest is the Slam Dunk Contest because back in MJ’s day the best dunkers in the NBA participated. Jordan, Dr.J, Drexler, Nance, Spud Webb, and Dominque Wilkins all participated in dunk contests leading up to the greatest of them all, the 1988 ‘Nique versus Jordan showdown (which Dominque should have won). Last night was a bunch of bench or role players dunking. I grew up walking the streets of New York City where I could watch dunk contests with guys I never heard of quite often. I want to see the big guns go at it. If you are too good to be in the Dunk Contest then you are too good to play in the meaningless showboat game that the NBA All-Star Game is. Stay home and let someone else shine.

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2. The Hardware:
It’s not just what MJ has on LeBron in the rings and trophies, it is how he accomplished it all. King James beat up on 15 and 16-year-olds half his size to win some state championships and jumped right to the NBA. Jordan decided to go to college first but not because he couldn’t have made the jump. Want proof? In his first year at UNC, he won the 1982 Freshman of the Year en route to the National Title in which he hit the game-winning shot over Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown Hoyas. 2 years later in 1984, he was the  NCAA Player of the Year winning the Wooden, Rupp, and Naismith Awards which of course earned him the honor of being drafted AFTER Sam Bowie. Imagine if Jordan had those three years in the NBA?

Both James and Jordan won the Rookie of the Year award in their NBA debuts. Jordan has 5 MVPs and LeBron has 4, so he may very well surpass him. LeBron has 2 NBA Championships while Jordan finished with 6. Make no mistakes, folks, the Rockets weren’t the ’93-94 and ’94-’95 NBA Champs because they were the best team in the league. They won because MJ “retired”. The Bulls would have won 8 Championships in a row if Jordan stayed. If that were the case this wouldn’t even be a debate.

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The Greatest Team Ever

1. The Joran Era:
I’m probably biased but I feel that I grew up in the greatest era of NBA basketball which is why I find it so hard to watch today’s NBA. The early 80s to the mid-90s was an amazing time for the NBA. They had characters like Sir Charles and Magic, they had classic player rivalries like Bird and Magic and Ewing and Olajuwon, and they had The Bad Boys. That era also had the greatest players to ever suit up.

This is what makes MJ’s 2 “three-peats” so amazing. His Bulls won 6 championships defeating the likes of Magic Johnson and James Worthy, Drexler, Sir Charles, Gary Payton, and John Stockton and Karl Malone. These aren’t just Hall of Famers, these are Top 50 NBA all-time players. Jordan and Pippen routinely beat up Ewing and Isiah Thomas in the East to get to the Finals. LeBron and the Heat lost to Dirk and the Mavericks their first go at the title. Jordan’s Bulls didn’t lose, and he made sure of it.

Jordan never had to leave and go join another team to win. People came to him. Dennis Rodman could have gone anywhere and probably had a bigger role but instead he decided to go to Chicago and form possibly the deadliest Big Three combo in history. If Pippen, Jordan, and Rodman had stayed together a few more years who knows what would have happened. On the other side of the debate, many experts already see James, Wade, and Bosh’s window quickly closing with more discussions weekly on where LeBron will sign next.

Dissecting it even further, look at the MVP awards we discussed earlier. Here are the second place finishers in Jordan’s MVP seasons: Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Clyde Drexler, David Robinson, and Karl Malone. That’s some pretty hefty competition. They were all members of The 1992 Dream Team and they are all Hall of Famers. LeBron has beaten out Kevin Durant three times and Kobe once. There just hasn’t been much competition for the MVP trophy  and it seems like lately it’s a two man contest. When it comes down to comparing the greatest ever, Jordan beat the greats to prove it, LeBron never will. He won’t get to play a Magic, a Bird, Mailman, or a Sir Charles. Yes, he ousted the Tim Duncan led Spurs, but what would have been if that Spurs team was in their prime like the Heat. Even Kobe had a few years to go at Jordan to prove his greatness. LeBron never will.

All in all, LeBron is no slouch. He will finish amongst the greatest to ever suit up. Maybe one day, Sega will make us a Jordan Vs. James throwback game to try and help the discussion. Until then, King James rules the current NBA but His Airness still rules the world.

I need to cool off. Until next time, remember, lucky wins are good wins. Refuse to lose Cuse! UNDEFEATACUSE!!!