Remember The King

Jeff RobbinsContributor IJune 6, 2011

I saw Larry King this morning on The View. The appearance kind of made me feel sorry for him. First of all, the guy’s 77 and looks every bit of it. Second of all, he admitted very honestly that CNN basically threw him out after 25 years of service. (And, adding insult to injury, for the terminally awful Piers Morgan.) Lastly, he had to mention his kids’ prowess at baseball, which of course reminded everyone of his wife’s alleged affair with their kids’ baseball coach. You know, the one where the coach boasted that they had sex in Larry’s bed. (Gross on so many levels.)

Anyway, seeing King reminded me of his old USA Today column where he would fill up valuable (it was back in those days, kids) newspaper space by simply stringing a bunch of arbitrary, random thoughts together (wonderfully parodied in both The Larry Sanders Show and “The Onion”) along the lines of “Don’t you miss Carol Burnett?” and “There is the strangest smell coming out of my refrigerator” and “That Derek Jeter is really a complete ballplayer.”  (Thankfully, King has wisely revived and updated his old format for his absolutely-has-to-be-followed Twitter account.)

So, in honor of the King, here are my hopefully not as random or arbitrary thoughts on what’s going on in sports:

NBA Finals: I don’t care how close Dallas makes the games, how impressive their game 2 comeback was (and it was), or how much Miami goes to sleep at times in their half-court offense, the Heat will undoubtedly win this series. As entertaining as the last two games have been, it’s all a red herring leading up to the inevitable party at South Beach. Having said that, the fact that the clearly-outmanned Dallas Mavericks are even keeping this thing close has to be an indictment against Erik Spoelstra’s ability to motivate his players. Spoelstra doesn’t really look anything like him, but for some reason when I see Spoelstra courtside, I always think of the lovably goofy Zach Morris, who you wouldn’t trust with your girlfriend, much less with one of the most scruntized teams in professional sports.

If you were, say, Rick Astley’s career and you died in 1993 but were cryogenically frozen and then revived 50 years later and forced to watch the 2011 NBA Finals with no color commentary, first you would have to be considered very lucky, not for being brought back to life but for being spared the painfully forced banter between ESPN’s Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy, second you would have no idea that LeBron James is a big deal or is even that special. You would rightly assume that when people spoke of the “best player on the planet,” that it was Dwyane Wade they were talking about. Wade has been simply jaw-droppingly good so far and the best, and maybe only, reason to keep watching.

You know how in classic teenage sex comedies like The Last American Virgin or Hamburger . . .The Motion Picture or Joy Sticks, there is usually a couple of cool guys, and one homely, nerdy, awkward looking guy. James and Wade are the cool guys, and Bosh is the, well, you can see where I’m going with this, and he got even homelier after he got poked in the eye Sunday night. Oh, and Jason Kidd is Mr. Hand.

I would never have thought I’d miss the Lakers, but the star power at these Finals is pitiful. Troy Aikman? George Lopez? Ugh. There’s more star power on Celebrity Rehab.

Before these finals, I had only heard of Mavericks point guard JJ Barea from the hit he took from Lakers moron Andrew Bynum. Now, fair or unfair (and I’m sure unfair), I know him as the worst NBA player I’ve ever seen. But check out these Finals numbers. In the three games, he’s shot a pitiful 5-of-23, and last night he personally had four of the Mavericks’ 14 turnovers. As I am, like the rest of the planet outside of south Florida, rooting for the Mavericks, I’m hoping that Tuesday he proves me wrong and has a monster game. But I doubt it.

Kevin James: I was a big backer of King of Queens, much to my wife’s constant mockery. But seriously, dude. Zookeeper looks like a movie that Joe Piscopo would turn down. And I say that only because I wanted to work in a Joe Piscopo reference.

NFL Lockout: It’s June. Did you know that until the new milleninum came and the start of football was routinely pushed back to after Labor Day, the Hall of Fame game was routinely played in July? That would be next month. So I for one am getting a little nervous about seeing football this season, particulalry since we’ve already reached the point where this is the longest work stoppage in NFL history and there has been frankly little to get optimstic about, unless you consider CBS signing Marv Albert a harbinger of good things to come. I’m beginning to think that fans should hope for at best a shortened season this year. 

The reason to hope for this lockout to wipe out the entire 2011-2012 season is the very real irreparable harm it has already done to teams in varying stages of rebuilding. Even if the lockout were to end tomorrow (and it won’t), there are a ton of bad teams that are simply going to be playing some godawful, Wildcats-starring-Goldie-Hawn-type football because their new coaches, coordiators, and players haven’t had time to prepare. In short, the rich will get richer, and the poor — those teams playing in those 12 noon CBS and FOX games called by the likes of Spero Dedes and Ross Tucker — will be poorer. It might be better not to have that type of football. But still, bad football is better than no football. Or tennis. And I need to start scratching my Fantasy Football itch. Or is that irritation just a reaction from the Sesame Street Fizzy Tub Colors I insist on using in my bath?

5 Teams Hurt Most By Lockout: Minnesota, Carolina, Denver, Cincinnati, Arizona

5 Teams Relatively Unharmed By Lockout: Green Bay, New England, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, New Orleans (see what I mean about the rich getting richer)?

If the start of the 2011 NFL season is (increasingly likely) delayed or shortened, what the networks that carry football will choose to do is interesting to ponder. Some safe alternatives for CBS, FOX, NBC, or ESPN would be Sunday college football games (CBS) or more baseball (FOX) or perhaps a last-minute broadcast deal with the United Football League or even the Canadian Football League. What would be potentially more interesting would be running enhanced versions (with already-existing post-game interviews, player/coach commentary, and local broadcast commentary) of notable games of the past, which would be especially terrific if these “classic” games could be regionalized just like live games are. Sure, it might be tough to sell a Packers/Vikings repeat in Green Bay or Minnesota in September, but on a cold dark afternoon in November, you don’t think the faithful would curiously tune in and then get sucked in for the whole broadcast? You bet they would.

Well, I wanted to touch on the good (Albert Pujols), the bad (Dan Uggla), and the ugly (Chicago Cubs) in this year’s baseball season, but I’ve got to go set up my Big Brother fantasy league. Only a month to go until the premiere!

See ya and keep the baby, faith!