LeBron James / Derrick Rose
Enough is enough!
A virus has infiltrated the world of sports, and it is destroying the heart of athletics. There is a lack of perspective in sports media that threatens to taint the record books.
I have never written an article as if speaking to a single person rather than a group, but that's what I'm gonna do right now.
You! Yeah, reading my article right now—I'm talking to you. I want you to pretend I'm talking to you face to face, man to...whoever you are.
If you know who I am already, or at least what I look like, this will be easier for you (if you don't, check me out at Dan Condie). I'll be waiting here.
OK, you're back. Great, listen up: There's a lack of perspective in major sports media. Every single fan of any team on Earth knows exactly what I'm talking about, and so do you.
I'll give you an example: This entire idea to talk to you about this epidemic came from my buddy Tyler. He, like myself, is an avid sports fan. Specifically, a Kansas University Jayhawks basketball fan.
One day, Tyler was listening to a very popular sports radio host blast the KU men's basketball program and head coach Bill Self during the early rounds of the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
The host criticized Self for his "poor" preparation of the team for the tournament, referencing several early exits against higher-seeded (11-15) teams in past tournaments and conveniently omitting the record, championship, etc.
If you are said radio host, I hope this gets to your screen, and I know you know who you are because Tyler called in and tore into ya a little with stat after stat showing HIS perspective. You hung up on him.
So, what's your favorite team, fella/lady? OK, you can relate to this at least to a small degree, because it happens every day. This case, however, is a big, BIG, deal.
I'm gonna spin you a little tale and I want you to follow closely and picture yourself in the scenario with me, OK?
You're at home. You're watching SportsCenter, enjoying yourself. NBA Commissioner David Stern comes to your door and rings your doorbell. When you open the door he greets you, "Hi there! My name is David Stern and I have the chance of a lifetime to give to you today."
(If you know David Stern, you know he would never stoop to my vocabulary level, but go with it).
"As you may know, the NBA is facing a lockout and we have been forced to start all over. All the owners have been cut off this season from contact with the players and we're giving the average Joe a shot at taking the reins for the 2011-12 season."
"For every regular-season win, we will pay you $25,000, and $50,000 for each postseason win. All you need to do is draft your team and, hey, more great news, you have the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Every single active player during the 2010-11 season is available. So think about it and get back to me with your pick."
How long would you honestly need to think about your choice? You only get one season, and obviously you should pick the best overall player available from the 2010-11 season.
Was the very first name that crossed your mind Derrick Rose?
He sure isn't my first pick, and if the ESPN analysts picking Rose for Most Valuable Player this year were placed in that same situation, and are being 100 percent honest with themselves, Rose wasn't their first choice either.
Do you know how I know? They have to explain away their logic for taking Rose over LeBron James by bending the MVP's meaning. They try to find any different way they can to define "valuable."
Derrick Rose is, however, almost overwhelmingly favored to win the 2010-11 NBA MVP. If he wins, it will be a day when the media's lack of perspective goes too far in influencing the outcome of the record books.
To be clear: this is in no way, shape or form a slight on Derrick Rose, because he is among the elite talents currently in the league.
Derrick Rose is the most valuable player...to his team's success, when compared against other great NBA players' value to their team's success.
I'm sorry, but you can't interpret the qualifications of the award in a way that best suits your agenda. If it's easier, put the "P" in MVP first. "Player of Most Value"—PMV. Head-to-head comparisons seem fair in determining which player has a higher total value (AKA, Most Valuable Player).
If you were starting a brand new NBA team and you had your choice of all current NBA players, who would you take #1 overall?
Consider James and Rose in a gym facing off in a little one-on-one.
Taking the other off the dribble to drive to the hoop? Advantage: Rose.
Ability to get above opponent for uncontested shot from range? Posting the other up in the paint? Defending in the paint? Defending the breakaway? Executing the breakaway?
Now, let's look at the season stats, according to NBA.com.
Scoring? Advantage: James (26.7 PPG to 25 PPG, 6.8 percent better).
Field goal percentage? Advantage: James (51 percent to 44.5 percent, 14.6 percent better).
Drawing the foul? Advantage: James (663 FTA to 555 FTA, 19.45 percent better).
Rebounding? Advantage: James (7.5 RPG to 4.1 RPG, 82.9 percent better).
Steals? Advantage: James (1.6 SPG to 1 SPG, 60 percent better).
Free Throw Percentage? Advantage: Rose (85.8 percent to 75.9 percent, 13 percent better).
Assists? Advantage: Rose (7.7 APG to 7.0 APG, 10 percent better).
Turnovers? Advantage: Rose (3.43 turnovers to 3.59 turnovers, 4.5 percent better)
Shot-blocking? A tie at 0.6 blocks per game.
Bottom line: In no world is Derrick Rose more valuable than LeBron James this season.
The one major statistic where Rose clearly excels over LeBron (free throw percentage) is really a moot point anyway, considering LeBron got to the line 19.45 percent more often than Rose, which is enough to outscore him by 27 in free-throw points on the year.
Obviously, there are examples for days of how the national sports media fails to look at the whole picture and focuses, rather, on the appeal of the new, fresh and uncovered stories that lack foundation.
I need your help in stopping this epidemic, brother/sister. I know I'm not alone on this, and, whether or not you like LeBron personally should have no effect on your ability to see that he is the NBA's "Player of Most Value."
I pictured saying most of this to the average Joe with the hopes that this article would spread like wildfire. The national media has swayed our opinion on many different athletes and many different situations.
Maybe it's time we returned the favor.
MVP voting is done by a panel of sports journalists and broadcasters in the U.S. and Canada. These are the same people saying Derrick Rose is a shoo-in for the MVP award. Join the cause to widen their eyes.
Thank you for letting me talk at you for a minute. I'd love to keep it going. Comment like crazy!
If you have a friend, cousin or sibling who loves the NBA or sports, post this article to their Facebook wall and bring 'em in so I can talk to them, too. Tweet this out with @mentions of sports analysts and see if we can return common sense to the greatest industry on Earth: athletics.