New Rules: NBA Edition
Sports has gotten to the point where everyone has an opinion on everything now. Some of it is informed, rational, and filled with reason.
You never hear any of that.
A lot of it has actually made me, as well as other sports fans out there, pretty angry.
I'm not angry over people disagreeing with my opinions, I'm angry over some of the e-mail's I've received over my opinions.
Apparently for some people, freedom of speech only applies to people who agree with them.
Then you look at some of the comments on B/R, and while thoughtful discourse is used, some times its nothing more than people belittiling the author because they disagreed with that point of view. Meanwhile the only thing they can say to defend their point isn't stats, reason, rationale, or anything quoted from interviews that are easy to find online, only "this article was a waste of my time" or "its clear you know nothing about sports" or my favorite to any Heat fan (which I am, but they'll be covered here too) "you're a bandwagon fan!"
I know I'm about to get that too, because you won't agree with my rules, but in the spirit of Bill Maher, its time for New Sports Rules.
Seriously Utah, Give The Jazz Back to New Orleans
The NBA has its fair share of nicknames that do not make any sense. How many lakes are there in Los Angeles? When was Harry Potter elected to congress and why did we honor him by naming Washington's basketball team the Wizards? Who was the last King of Sacramento?
The worst offender though is the Utah Jazz. Now in the case of the Kings and Lakers, they got their names in other cities. The Lakers play in Los Angeles but started out in Minneapolis in Minnesota, land of 1000 lakes. The Kings came from Kansas City, which has a baseball team called the Royals and had a Negro League Baseball team called the Kansas City Monarchs. To add to the leadership theme of that city's sports name theme, their football team is the Chiefs, which you could say is the King of the tribe. But even before that they played in Cincinnati and were known as the "Royals", Cincinnati is known as the "Queen City" so that makes sense too. (The Kings actually changed their name from the Royals to the Kings because they moved to KC in 1972, three years after the baseball team took the field.)
But the worst offender is and always will be the Utah Jazz. So my new rule is this: The Jazz have to give that nickname back to the city of New Orleans. Let the Hornets, who have already re-designed their uniforms in the original Jazz colors, have the nickname. I'm sure Utah can come up with one to better describe their location.
Stop Comparing Kobe, or anyone to MJ
I remember Game Seven of the NBA Finals in 1998, Michael Jordan went 6-24, and was bailed out by Dennis Rodman hitting a clutch 3 he wasn't supposed to take and Scottie Pippen beating up Karl Malone down low, and the Bulls ended up defeating the Jazz in a disjointed terrible to watch game.
Oh wait, the 1998 NBA Finals didn't go to a Game Seven. Jordan hit the shot at the end while going 15-35 and scoring 45 points.
Kobe's performance in this year's game seven, Jordan doesn't let that happen. Hell, Jordan doesn't even let the finals get to a game seven.
This doesn't stop Kobe fans from comparing him to Michael Jordan. I just finished reading an article from Hadarii Jones, which makes some interesting points, but one of the comments from a reader was laughable:
I could assure you that if Kobe played in Jordan's era he would have even been way more dominant than what he is today.
Now, that comment jumped out at me, because I remember in Jordan's era defense was tougher, hand-checks were allowed, and moving screens weren't.
And how does Kobe deal with playing against the Bad Boy Detroit Pistons, or the Ewing-Starks-Riley lead New York Knicks, teams that attempted to neutralize Jordan by roughing him up?
Honestly, I could very well be wrong about this but we'll never know because there's no way of proving it, but I'd bet my money that Kobe couldn't handle playing those teams. Honestly no player from this era could.
So for the Kobe-MJ comparisons, just stop. You can't compare MJ to anyone, the game is different from back then, and Jordan was such a force of nature that it was hard to compare him to anyone from his day.
There's a reason why he's considered a unanimous pick for greatest of all time.
Heat Fans Can't Say Anything Until They Win
Confession: I'm a Heat fan that was at the "celebration". I'm not knocking it, it was a fun event, and sports are supposed to be fun.
But now here we are still a good two and a half months until the season tips off.
Yes, the Heat are the most hated team, and yes, Heat fans have a right to defend ourselves.
But fellow Heat fans, can we hold off until at least the start of the season to start bragging and boasting?
See, I didn't look at that "celebration" as celebrating that we won something, which we haven't, it was an "introduction".
When car companies release new cars to the market, sometimes they'll make a big deal like this. Remember, the Miami Heat are a business, they were introducing the new and improved Miami Heat, and did it in Miami style.
But back to my original point: as Heat fans, can we not brag or boast or call people who actually write intelligent and thoughtful articles stating possible reasons why the Heat won't win it all this season "haters?"
I know a hater when I see one, and while there are many articles giving reasons why the Heat won't win it all, there are actually some that I like because they use reason and logic.
If there's reason and logic behind those arguments, then argue back with reason and logic, don't call them haters.
And let's just let these guys decide it on the court as opposed to us fans getting into a "my team has a bigger dong than your team" debate.
Stop Criticizing LeBron Like He's a Criminal
With all of the hatred against LeBron, you would think that he killed a litter of puppies and sexually assaulted a young woman while at a party with Michael Vick and Ben Roethlisberger.
Look, all he did was exercise his right as a free agent. He went to a place where he could not only win but have fun.
Did he tarnish his legacy? Well, here's the other thing, we don't know. Last I checked, your legacy isn't decided until you're finished. Who knows what we'll think 10, 20, or 50 years from now.
And why does everyone analyze every tweet and take his "I'm taking mental notes" thing on twitter as if he was out to get them?
Hey Sir Charles, news flash, LeBron wasn't talking about you.
He was referring to players, coaches, and owners, not the media.
LeBron was taking mental notes about what Joakim Noah said about Miami being "real Hollywood down there" about Orlando GM's Otis Smith's comments, about Magic Johnson's comments (part owner of the Lakers, could be the new Pistons owner), Michael Jordan's comments (owner of the Bobcats, and if there was a twitter in the late 80's-early 90's, Jordan would've done the same thing, just look at his hall of fame speech), the comments of various Celtics players, and a letter by someone who I'll mention when you click on that orange and white arrow.
You hated "The Decision" TV Special? Well I'm a Heat fan and I did that too, and I've criticized it in the past as well.
But I also hate the fact that LeBron is treated like he actually did something immoral and wrong. Distasteful? That it is. Egotistical? Most Certainly.
But from a basketball standpoint, the actual decision to go where he went, was smart.
Dan Gilbert Should Be Held Accountable Too
All the blame with what happened with LeBron and the Cavs has fallen on LeBron. In all honesty, its pretty unfair, and someone was overlooked.
Dan Gilbert simply didn't put the right pieces around LeBron.
Now, I know the typical Cavs fan will say that LeBron didn't let him, that Gilbert cow-towed to him because he was scared LeBron would leave.
What does that tell you about Gilbert then? That's where he failed.
Maybe if he put his foot down on LeBron, something you know a Pat Riley would do by the way, then LeBron would've had more respect for him and at least called him before he made his "decision."
I think Gilbert knew he screwed up the whole matter too, which is why he wrote the letter. By doing that he became a hero to the people, an owner connected with the fans.
And also covered up the fact that he didn't pull the trigger on dealing for Amare last season and instead went for Antwan Jamison, and also held on to Wally Szczerbiak's expiring contract in 2009 when they could've gotten Shaq.
It also hid pretty well that he didn't have a contingency plan for the possibility that LeBron would leave.
Every team in fact except for the Cavs had a contingency plan for if LeBron didn't go there, hell the Heat had a contingency plan for if Wade would've left.
This never gets talked about, instead its "they made some of the decisions they did to make sure that they could keep LeBron."
Obviously, they didn't even do a good job of that.
By the way, they had since the end of 2006 to come up with a plan just in case it would happen, but instead, Gilbert lived in La-La land and thought LeBron would stay.
This is as much Gilbert's mistake for a myriad of reasons, but he doesn't get the level of abuse as LeBron does, save for Howard Stern's comments on him.
In fact, Gilbert hasn't gotten any of the blame at all.
Will The Media and Former Players Please Shut Up!
Of the many criticisms of "The Decision" the most comes from the media themselves and former players interviewed about it by the media.
Charles Barkley and Magic Johnson have been the most critical of the decision.
Magic has five rings, but has no place to talk here because of the simple fact that, his own words, he wouldn't have come out in the 1979 NBA Draft had the Bulls, the team with the worst record in the Western Conference that year, won the coin toss for the #1 pick, because he wanted to play for the Lakers, who went 47-35 and had Kareem. (This was the pre-lottery days, worst record in the East and worst record in the West flipped a coin to see who got the #1 pick. The Lakers had the rights to that pick because the New Orleans Jazz had the worst record in the Eastern Conference that year and the Lakers owned the Jazz' pick..by the way, yes in 1979, the Bulls were in the West, the Jazz were in the East, I did the research on the 1979 NBA draft and the 1978-79 season that preceded it.)
Barkley however has zero rings, and said if he was in that position, he wouldn't have done what LeBron did. Sir Charles, first off, you did do something like that by forcing a trade to the Rockets to play with Hakeem and Drexler. Secondly, you also didn't win any rings anyways.
Thirdly Charles, why did you feel so offended by LeBron's "Taking Notes Tweet" that you had to respond to it the way you did? Like I said before, and like anyone with half a brain could see, he meant on the court. Is this your way of telling us that you're going to come out of retirement and sign with Boston? I mean they could really use you, their front court is a bit long in the tooth and could use a younger player to give them a spark.
As for the media, they forget as they criticize everything LeBron-related that they created this monster. But they just do what they do best, build something up just to tear it down. Would they have done this had this happened with the Knicks instead of the Heat? Of course not. You know in sports media, the Sports world only consists of Boston and New York. I mean why else do you think we're subjected to these four hour long Yankees-Red Sox games that no one in the rest of the country really cares about and have to hear these talking head gasbags that its the greatest rivalry in all of sports when it really hasn't been in a good four or five years?
I'd like the former NBA players to just shut up and think about their own careers and what they did before jumping on their high horse and saying "I wouldn't have done that" when evidence shows that they did. Two guys I didn't mention that criticized it, Michael Jordan and Larry Bird. Why? They not only say that they wouldn't have done that, they didn't. Keep in mind, the Celtics were terrible the year before Bird got there (29-53, second worst record in the East), and the Bulls built the team around Michael Jordan and wrapped him up in an extension before he had the chance to leave. Those guys I didn't mind so much, but Magic and Barkley? Shut up.
The media, get off your high horse.
Enough With TV Shows About People Yelling At Each Other
PTI is one of the best shows on television.
Seriously, it is, even when LeBatard is filling in for Wilbon or Kornheiser.
It was a great idea because you got the sense that with Mike Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser you were a fly on the wall while the two Washington Post sportswriters were having a debate about a topic at work. When it debuted in 2001, it was a fresh, original idea, not only sports were discussed, but also pop culture. The show still holds up today and will most likely go down as one of the best and most revolutionary shows in television history, and most of this comes from the natural chemistry between Wilbon and Kornheiser. (Dan LeBatard also holds up well on the show with his schtick, and Bob Ryan never disappoints either.)
But as with all good things, when its a success, there are imitators. A year later, ESPN realized that PTI was not only a run away success, but that it was outdoing the 6pm SportsCenter. In fact because of that, in 2005, they actually added a PTI segment to the 6pm SportsCenter, usually about 25 past the hour. But we're going back to 2002, when ESPN a year later debuted Around The Horn.
This was PTI on steroids. What's better than two highly respected sportswriters? Four! Add Max Kellerman as the host and voila, a great compliment.
Well, Max left in 2004, and Tony "Statboy" Reali replaced him.
Honestly, this show is loud, obnoxious, and just filled with hot air, unless Jay Mariotti isn't on that day, then its half-way decent.
But ESPN couldn't stop there. Looking to invigorate new life into Cold Pizza/First Take, they debuted First and 10. But realizing that no one watched Cold Pizza/First Take, the made First and 10 a separate show. Trust me ESPN, no one wants to start their mornings with Jay Crawford and Skip Bayless, and no one wants them greeting you in the afternoon either.
But they couldn't leave well enough alone, so now every segment on SportsCenter, NFL Live, Baseball Tonight, and any other show they do has some sort of segment inspired by PTI: people yelling at one another over a sports story that has been covered and beaten to death the whole day!
Enough with shows about sports pundits yelling at one another. What made PTI so successful was the fact that Tony was the one doing the yelling, its his shtick, he's Tony Kornheiser, the lovable old curmudgeon who disagrees with Wilbon, watches American Idol, and admits to not watching a lot of sporting events anymore because they're on "past his bedtime." We wouldn't have Tone, as Wilbon calls him, any other way.
But what made PTI work is the natural chemistry and friendship between Tony and Wilbon. On these other shows it just comes off as forced conflict for conflict's sake, contrived banter that never seems to be interesting. Really its a bunch of middle aged men arguing over 20-somethings and comparing them to stuff that happened 20 years ago. And with the exception of few (Woody Paige, Bob Ryan, Jackie MacMullan are some of the few decent ones to hear an opinion from) the shtick comes off extremely forced.
Let's get rid of these shows and segments once and for all. We can keep Around The Horn, and PTI should go on until Kornheiser and Wilbon don't feel like doing it anymore (after that, just end it, even LeBatard would tell you it can't be replicated). But other than that, no more sports shows with pundits yelling at each other about news, just give us the news. (Note to Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, and the abomidible HLN, this goes for you guys too.)
Knicks Fans, Stop Thinking That You're Getting Paul and Melo
Look Knicks fans: I want your team to be good again, I really do. I want the Heat-Knicks rivalry to be a real rivalry. I want MSG in the playoffs. I want Chris Paul and Carmelo to join up with Amare in New York as much as you guys do.
But, it won't happen, sorry. Denver isn't going to make the same mistake Cleveland made and get blindsided by Melo. If they can't sign Melo to an extension, they will trade him for picks and expiring contracts. You have Eddy Curry and what else to offer?
Same with Chris Paul in New Orleans, who won't be a Free Agent until after the 2012 season.
You might get one, you might get none, but you won't get both. And by the way, players don't want to sign with the Knicks just to play in New York.
I hope I'm not being too mean, just stating the facts. Remember, at this time last year, all of you swore that you were getting LeBron. How did that work out? I just don't want to see you guys get hurt again.
All B/R Slideshows Must Have A Photo of A Beautiful Woman
I mean, this is a sports website. The target demographic is men 18-35.
Sometimes after looking at slide shows with a bunch of guys in tight pants, or wearing tank tops and shorts, you might want to look at something more aesthetically pleasing.
And hey, she's an athlete too. Its 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist and 2008 Olympic Silver Medalist Softball legend Jennie Finch.
She's retiring this year to focus on her family, so I thought I'd honor her storied career this way.
Are you even reading this?
Follow Thomas Galicia on twitter: @thomasgalicia. You can also look him up on facebook. Have an opinion on his new rules? Leave a Comment.