Sunday, June 10, 2012


"That day in Chicago, why did you stand up?"
"Because I didn't want to see you fail."
Glenn Close to Robert Redford in The Natural

I dislike basketball, especially professional basketball, almost in its entirety.  But I am oddly drawn to the recent playoffs for one reason, Lebron James.  Much of the reason I root for James is because he's from my hometown (almost, Akron is close enough) and because he single handedly reinvigorated sports in Cleveland at a time when C-town was (and still is) in perpetual decline.  But there's something else.  Game 6 aside, I am continually amazed that we are confronted with an obvious situation of someone being clearly the best at something in the entire world without its recognition and even a disdain that we haven't seen for another in sports since Barry Sanders.

The measuring stick that haunts them both is team success.  Odd, considering their peers consider them without peer across the board.  But we are relegated to the opinions of beer-gutted, balding pseudo-ESPN personalities who deem themselves final arbiters of greatness.  So in the way the we ignored Sanders perpetually making a 3-win team a playoff contender, we ignore James making first a 30-win team a finals contender, and now, the Heat perpetual championship contenders.  Maybe that's why, as with Sanders' comparisons to Jim Brown, that Lebron's performance is compared to Wilt, because nothing in between has been as good.


H.Kraig said...

Seems as though the Big Big Bet is missing the one too many occasions when "King" James has come up small in important fourth quarter pressure situations. Any truly great athlete excels when the pressure is most intense and Mr. Decision has proven to do the opposite. He shrinks when the light is brightest. When you combine being a choke artist with perceived arrogance, you get a fine cocktail of criticism. The Big Big Bet feels its undeserved and I think he gets his commupance.

AX said...

I think it's hilarious that since the Heat have won the finals, both Jordan and Bird have come out and said they would never have wanted to play with other all-time greats, they wanted to "beat those guys." Really? According to Bill Simmons, Jordan and Bird did play with those guys most of their careers, with Pippen ranked #24 all-time and Rodman #69,(without ever shooting the ball), while Bird had the luxury of McHale #35 and Dennis Johnson #52 (I guess Robert Parrish's 19 and 10 every year didn't help). The egos are insane.

Just a little stat for those with selective memory. The year after Jordan retired the Bulls lost a whopping 2 more games (Phil Jackson does help it turns out), while the Cavs lost 42 more games the year Lebron left (not exactly championship "role" players). Have a great 4th!

AX said...

I'm sorry, Parrish was #59