Jun 28, 2011

LebWrong and Yeswinski

NBA fever hit a refreshing high these past finals and though I didn’t watch most of the games because I’m superstitious like that, it doesn’t mean I wasn’t following the series. Far from being a diehard, I was one of the casual thousands that started watching when the drama was getting delicious, and boy, did this series deliver.

Now that things have finally cooled down, there’s still a few things that people will continue to talk about… mainly about Lebron James and how he’s to blame for the Heat getting KOd in 6 and Dirk Nowitzky biting the bullet and playing hard.

If you’d had to sum up the finals, you’d include the implosion of Lebron James, the close but no cigar effort of Dwayne Wayde, the annoying gnat-like brilliance of JJ Barea, Attack of the Jasons, Chris Bosh being the smallest of the Big 3 and the resurrection of Larry Bird, via a 7’ Power Forward.

What most people are still talking about is obviously Lebron James because after the series ended, he had some great lines to share to continue making himself easy to hate.

"At the end of the day, all the people that were rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today."


Then he backtracked, people defended him and he said he didn’t mean it like that. By that he obviously means most of the people in the United States who were rooting for the team that wasn’t supposed to win, but did.

There are so many reasons people throw in the Wilt Chamberlain comparison and say that he’s no Jordan.

Skill wise everyone agrees he’s one of the best players ever and when he’s on, he’s unstoppable. The same could be said for Jordan, but guess what, you could count how many bad games Michael had and he never stopped trying. He didn’t melt under pressure and if Lebron thinks he had pressure on him and spotlights, he should see taped reruns of NBA games in the 90’s. It was all Michael, all the time. So trust me, he could handle the pressure while Lebron has long been called mentally weak.

I’m not saying I could handle said pressure. I know I can’t. That's why I have a desk job. The constant scrutiny? Couldn't handle that either. But I do know one thing, if I were famous I’d be a little more grateful to the people who’ve gotten me there. Whereas other people stuck with their teams even if they never won a championship ring, Lebron did the smart business maneuver to switch to the Heat. Cleveland shall never forgive him and star haters will always use him as a punchline for that. But it’s his choice of profession plus his choice of words that have put him there and I’m sure his PR rep is also to blame.

Michael Jordan is known as the greatest, one of the best clutch players in the history of the sport, a legend and a likeable guy. This is one hell of a job PR wise because his disgruntled comments when he was accepted into the hall of fame and his asshole attitude was apparently par for the course… but no one knew, ever. Lebron for the most part has been constructed to be an emotionally fragile player. Someone who can’t clutch. Someone who does vanishing acts in fourth quarters. Someone who’s a little baby and runs off his mouth because he’s a sore loser. Someone who for one series was the Maverick’s 4th quarter bitch. That’s what the news made him out to be, because of actions and comments that have been deemed as beneath his greatness. That he openly refers to himself as the king or the chosen one doesn’t help either and being a cocky sumbitch all the time also shows he is lacking.

Then he says wonderful things like: "The Greater Man upstairs know when it's my time. Right now isn't the time".

I love it how it’s basically a given that he will win a title. Some people say he’s too good and others buy into the hype, wear his shoes, wear his jersey and chew his gum. Has anyone ever thought that this would be the single greatest motivator for top level athletes? Keeping a cocky great player down? Keeping him from his dream? Seriously, denying someone what they want because of their behavior is not below anyone. It’s spurred on actually and Lebron has done just about everything to put a target on his back making the road to a championship even harder.

Apart from the other storylines mentioned, there’s Dirk Nowitzki. Viking assassin. Heat killer. His run for the money was focused, sharp and tough. He singlehandedly pushed the Mavericks past most games. He was made to be a hero and he delivered falling short in only one game to not be the one man gang (game three where he missed what would have been a game tying two pointer). Torn ligament, playing with a high fever, clutch playing, making plays, scoring winning baskets and being the modern day Bird. I’ve heard Larry hates the comparisons mainly because he’s the type of guy that doesn’t want to take anything away from any player, but the fact is the closest comparison is Bird. Tough, hard working players who compensate others assets by practicing and nailing big shots. Dirk scored so many important shots that anyone else getting an MVP would have been an insult.

On the other team the only guy playing for keeps was Dwayne Wayde. He kept pushing but when you have deadweight the likes of Lebron on your back and you have a team who just won’t go away and give you the title you deserve, well crazy things happen… like losing to the team you were supposed to shut out. And people ate it up. People were happy the Heat lost, me included.

The funny thing is that people have said the hate for the Heat is based on race. Dirk’s white and the Big 3 are black, hence we have to go with the great white hope.

Such a comment is a dick, sore loser idiotic thought at best. I’m not saying no one was rooting for the Mavericks because of the race card… I’m saying that the Heat did most everything in their power to have people hate them short of throwing flagrant fouls as nasty as the Lakers.

I’ve heard people say people have gone against Lebron because he’s black, rich and talented… Last I checked there were a lot of black guys who have had a big fan base and didn’t get as much hate: Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Charles Barkley, Dennis Rodman, Isaiah Thomas, John Salley, Magic Johnson, Julius Erving, Kareem Abdul Jabar, Akeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutombo, and Shawn Kemp to say a few. As you can see, I also took the liberty of going through a couple of years, a couple of teams, a couple of levels of fame and a couple of nationalities. But all of these guys had fans and people at some time or another rooted for them.

As you can also see, I didn’t mention Alonzo Mourning, Shaq, Kobe, John Starks, or Karl Malone for a reason, I never liked them and I rooted for them to lose. They were the heels, the villains in many of the series I watched and even when he got a kidney transplant, Mourning was still very much unliked even if off the court he was a great guy.

What I guess I’m trying to get at is that apart from the on court drama and the exciting series we were able to watch, there was a subplot of personalities, real and fabricated, comments, real or taken out of context, and players both great and small. Lebwrong and Yeswinski was a storyline and we all fell in love with the series for giving even casual observers a reason to read articles and watch games... regardless of who won the series in the end, the reality is there was one really big winner… The House. And just like a casino, the house always wins.


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