It’s a busy time in the sports world. Here are three things that were just too juicy to cut down to 140 characters.
1. Jordan, Ruth, Gretzky, and Federer.
With his recording-tying seventh Wimbledon Championship and record-extending 17th Grand Slam title, Roger has reached the “Unquestionably Greatest Ever” tier—one that doesn’t even exist in many sports.
Not that the argument still lingered on anyway, but Maestro’s latest accomplishment is maybe his most impressive. Many all-time great athletes who have been fortunate enough to find themselves in the position in which Federer stood at the end of last season decide to quit—and they’re right to do so. When there’s nothing left to prove and no title to defend, one could be tempted to stop while they’re on top.
Nobody wants to linger.
Yet, Federer chose to find new ways to win. He improved his serve. He increased his fitness. And when you are as cerebral a player as is Federer, everything seems to come a little more naturally at the age of 30.
“It’s a magical moment of my career,” Federer told ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi. May the magic keep coming.
2. The US Olympic team reflects the “new” NBA, but let’s not be so quick to dismiss the “old fashioned way.”
Coach K and company created some controversy when they excluded bigs like Roy Hibbert and Anthony Davis from the team in favor of Andre Iguodala and James Harden, but make no mistake, it was the correct decision.
Some wanted to can Harden on the basis of his weak Finals. That’s absurd. He proved himself all season. His contributions were limited because of what Miami did defensively. They were physical against the Bearded Wonder and made sure he couldn’t split off the pick and roll. Instead of focusing their attention and effort on stopping Durant—which is an impossible task—Miami took on the more feasible endeavor of limiting Harden. If OKC’s big three could become a big two, victory was within reach.
Nobody’s going to game plan against Harden now. He will return to his Sixth Man of the Year status.
Meanwhile, the bigs that were invited—Love and Chandler—will fit perfectly within the framework of the team. Krzyzewski and assistant coaches Jim Boeheim and Mike D’Antoni are all about movement. The guards and forwards will flow in and out and do a majority of the scoring. America should win every game in which Love and Chandler can combine for 12 points, 17 rebounds, and three blocks. They should also win every game regardless of the contributions from Love and Chandler.
But let’s not dismiss the importance of big men too quickly, or at least not as it pertains to Dwight Howard.
I honestly don’t know how to feel about Dwight Howard. One part of me says that Brooklyn is slowly building. Williams and Johnson are a nice two-some to lead a team. Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, and Brook Lopez are even better supporting players. Deron Williams is going to have one of the best years of his career with Johnson absorbing a bulk of the attention.
Let it ride. Build in the draft. Develop the young talent. Save money and rein in the egos. You don’t need superstars; just look at Indiana and San Antonio.
Then again, its been a while since Avery Johnson got the acclaim we threw onto Frank Vogel last season and he’s certainly no Greg Popovich.
Let’s at least consider the alternative. Suppose Brooklyn says, “To Hell with it” and ship of Wallace, Humphries, Lopez, a slew of draft picks, and, just for the fun of it, Blue Ivy.
They certainly won’t win next year, but two years from now? Three years from now? How is this team not elite four years from now?
Unlike the Miami free-agency orgasm, this one seems a bit more natural. D-Will, J.J., and Dwight are totally different types of players. But what about at the end of the game, who get’s the last shot?
Who cares? Why must there be one “game-closer?”
Some people have been down on the big men. I just said the nearly center-less team USA was good-to-go. But that certainly doesn’t mean a team can’t return to a traditional setup.
The NFL is a passing league, yet defensive, run-oriented teams have made the conference finals in each of the last three seasons (Jets and 49ers).
Just because it’s not trendy to have established positions and feed the big man down low doesn’t mean it isn’t still effective.
3. NFL attendance is down, so let’s make the tickets more expensive?
NFL attendance has been on a steady decline since 2007 and in the 2011 season, it reached an all-time low since the league expanded to 32 teams.
Oh no? What could possibly be the cause?
“It’s high definition televisions!”
“No, wait, it’s fantasy football!”
“Er, well, it’s probably the iPhone or Twitter.”
“I blame John Madden.”
“The stadium experience needs to be enhanced to match.”
People actually say these things.
Sports fans tend to be single-minded. Maybe we aren’t on top of our world history as best as we should be. But who doesn’t know about this thing called a recession? There are 150 reasons for me to stay home on Sunday. If I want to actually eat something, I can give you 175. God forbid I drink a beer.
I want to go to the stadium and I don’t need Wi-Fi, house-sized HD screens, or a Wolfgang Pucking Puck to draw me in, especially when these novelties just mean the price is going to be jacked up even further. On the contrary, strip away those heated seats. Force the guy next to me to sit in my lap. I’ll even sacrifice getting my Bud like this.
I go to the stadium because I want to feel like I am part of the team. I just wish I didn’t need to be on the team to afford it.