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  1. Ugly Truth Behind Nixing of Chris Paul Trade

    January 10, 2012 by Editor

    Before NBA fans and the media decide to proceed with their demonization of NBA commissioner, David Stern, before they join in on the sort of mob mentality that unjustly vilified Lebron James throughout last season, consider that we might not be looking forward to an NBA season if it weren’t for Stern assuring the hard liners – the faction of small market franchise owners and one bitter, childish, antagonizing owner, Dan Gilbert, whose hell bent by his agenda to prevent future Cavaliers players from using free agency to escape that dismal wasteland of a city called Cleveland.  The truth is, if he would do a better job of running his franchise, he could build another championship contender after the reign of Lebron James.

     

    In essence, what commissioner Stern has done by nixing the Chris Paul trade to the Lakers, is succumbed to pressure by certain owners whose motives are not in the interest of competitive balance, as they are claiming, but more about preventing their competitors from becoming better than their teams.  Why do you think Mark Cuban is opposed to this deal?  It’s because his Western Conference rival might improve (and continue to improve with additional trades) and become an obstacle for his Mavericks in their quest to repeat.


  2. Week 1 of College Football unveils the next top NFL QB prospect

    September 4, 2011 by Editor

    The opening Saturday of the college football season just kicked off today and already we have identified the next top notch, NFL quarterback prospect – and no we’re not talking about Andrew Luck.

    In an impressive performance coming off the bench, this son of a famous former NFL quarterback displayed NFL caliber arm strength as he slung the ball down and across the field with laser-like zip. You may recognize the last name, Stoudt – as in Zack Stoudt.

    This Olle Miss freshman quarterback impressed not only members of the your daddy’s Sports Page, but ESPN commentators as well, as he demonstrated excellent field vision and an ability to recognize the coverage, find the one-on-one matchup and deliver the ball to the open receiver. The only hiccup Zack suffered in the game vs. BYU was a sack late in the fourth quarter that caused a fumble which BYU recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. The turnover resulted from an all-out blitz by the Cougars on a third down and long from inside the Olle Miss ten yard line. The score was critical as it gave BYU a one point lead (14-13) with only 5:03 left in the fourth quarter. The breakdown in pass protection by the Olle Miss offensive line was followed by another jail break on the following drive. Stoudt reacted well by scrambling and displaying Joe Montana-like (fill in your favorite QB comparison here: Drew Breeze, Mcgiver, etc.) ingenuity by under-handing a pass toward the sidelines which result in an incompletion, but also showed his understanding the importance of not taking a sack (or committing a turnover) – especially late in a game in which your team needs only a field goal to win. Stoudt’s debut ended by scrambling away from another heavy pass rush and extending a fourth down play (like Ben Rothlisberger) as he completed a screen pass to the tail back which fell short of the first down.

    It may not have been a heroic, story book ending, but for those with an astute eye for talent, the small sample size we got a glimpse of in week one was enough to prompt us to expect a much larger sample size – in the form of more playing time (perhaps the starting nod for next week’s game) as this 2011 football season progress.

     

    Highlights of Zack Stoudt

     

    Player Profile chart for Zack Stoudt


  3. A Touching Letter to Dwayne Wade

    July 11, 2011 by Editor

    A letter to Wade was recently published online.
    It was heartfelt and downright touching.

    Even though I am older than the letter’s author and was 34 years of age when I became a fan of D.Wade his rookie year, I have similar sentiments toward Dwayne.

    Dear Dwyane Tyrone Wade Jr.,

    I know you’ve done amazing things. You’re an NBA champion, an Olympic champion, a World champion. You were a champion to begin with, a survivor. But then again, you already know that, you knew that when you wore a T-shirt that read “Any more doubters?” for weeks after winning the NBA championship. I can see why you have so many fans. But see, Dwayne, you’re a different kind of champion to me- you’re my hero.

    I grew up watching cricket, the most popular sport in the country I was born in. You and I share nothing in common- I didn’t grow up idolizing you and copying your every mannerism like you did MJ’s. You’re my hero in a way that has everything and yet nothing to do with basketball. Basketball was just the beginning.

    I had just stumbled upon the NBA when the 2003 draft happened. There was something about you, something so easy, so comfortable, as you walked onto that podium. Your hopelessly large suit seemed to swallow you completely and you looked so happy to just be there, on the stage of your dreams. I was 12 years old and as you looked into that camera, you seemed so human, like we were friends.

    I started following your achievements on the Miami Heat, though I still hadn’t taken to following the NBA like I later would. You made the team yours almost immediately, and I could tell nobody had even realized. Suddenly, the Miami Heat were so much more fun to follow than the Lakers or the Spurs, to watch in the meager opportunities I would get and I knew it was all your doing, even if nobody else did.

    When I watched a video of you hitting the game-winner against the Charlotte Hornets in the Playoffs, I didn’t know enough about the NBA to know just how amazing a feat that was. All I remember is feeling your excitement, watching you jump up and down like a matchstick that refused to go out. I took to reading about you any chance I got over the next two years.

    By 2006, I knew more about you than I later would about most of my girlfriends. You were Dwyane Wade, not Dwayne, and you had the biggest heart of anyone I’d come across. By then, basketball was my favorite sport and I was a rabid Miami fan. I was an aberration- nobody around me could fathom any interest in any sport apart from cricket and any idol apart from Sachin Tendulkar.

    I never had the same interest in playing basketball as I had in watching you and the Heat. By then I knew of your greatness on the basketball court. I had watched you develop a go-to fade-away jumper. When all your critics said you just couldn’t shoot, you hit that jumper off the dribble on Raja Bell to win a game, and I had read enough about Raja Bell to know he was as good a defender as they come. I watched you posterize player after player in the 2005 playoffs. By then, I also knew of the coldness in your eyes.

    It was against Detroit in the regular season. You were down eight points with a few minutes left in the game, and the Heat had lost to Detroit the previous year in the Eastern Conference Finals because you weren’t there to lead them. You knew that. In a snap second, you became Dwyane Wade and I suddenly felt we were strangers. Your eyes turned cold and you were hunting to kill. The rest is a statistic- Dwyane Wade scored 17 unanswered points to lead the Heat to an improbable 4th quarter comeback against the Detroit Pistons, hitting the game-winner with the clock running down to seal it. But it went beyond the statistic. Pat Riley had called the team out the day before and said the willingness to win wasn’t there. I could tell that you had taken it personally. People have always expected you to fail, and you had a reason somewhere deep down not to, a reason that always kicked in when you were on the ropes. What was it?

    2006 was the year that everything changed. What you did in those playoffs was incredible, and the fan in me exulted with every twisted lay-up, every monster game, but that wasn’t it. You became an NBA champion after the greatest individual Finals performance in NBA history, but that wasn’t it either. The way you threw that ball up, the joy, you holding that championship up brought tears to my eyes but those still weren’t it. I was a crazed Dwyane Wade fan, but that was all – you weren’t my hero yet.

    It was the story of Dwyane Tyrone Wade Jr., son of Jolinda Wade, brother of Tragil Wade, survivor. Sports Illustrated told me of the missing pieces of your life, the coldness I just couldn’t understand. I read of your growing up on the south side of Chicago, of growing up with a mother who was sometimes there but most times in a drug induced stupor. I cannot pretend to understand of growing up with your mother in jail throughout your adolescence, battling a drug addiction that even the strongest of people lose against.

    I began to understand how you’d got from hardly playing in your first of high school to somehow landing a college roster spot at Marquette. I began to understand how you’d got from not playing your freshman year to leading your team to the NCAA final four in your third. When I read of how your mother watched you play for just the third time in your life, the conference final at that, I began to understand then. When I read of how you’d told your mother that you would be an inspiration to her, show her that you could be extraordinary, I finally saw you as Dwyane Wade, the human being. When I read that you’d written to her telling her she was your hero, you became mine.

    Nobody has ever taught me more about love than you did, that day. You have to understand, I was just 16 and I didn’t face any of the trials you did. My problems at home seemed so small in comparison. But I’d be lying if I told you that there weren’t days then when I wasn’t terribly confused, days when there were few things to look forward to, to wake up for. You taught me a lesson that nobody else could, that winning comes with selflessness and love. You made yourself that example: the guy who didn’t drink, smoke or do drugs, the pitfalls his parents faced. The rare NBA player who didn’t have a tattoo because he learnt the value of discipline early and never forgot it.

    I knew when you went through those injuries that you would come back better than ever. I knew because people were writing you off again and you couldn’t take it. And you did come back, and how. People saw just the highlights; all those fifty point games, forty point games. They saw the statistic again, as we all tend to with NBA players; they saw that you were the first person in NBA history to put up 2000 points, 500 assists, 100 steals and 100 blocks in a single season. The Knicks learnt to never undermine who were, when you responded to Danilo Galinari’s bruising with the 24 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Heat to a win. The press plastered you across the news when you stole the ball and hit the game-winner in that classic, classic game against the Bulls. But few people saw your heart at work again, always a fighter. But I had learnt never to underestimate the heart of a champion long before that, long before you refused to cave in to the Celtics in game 4 of the 2010 playoffs, outscoring the entire Celtics team 17-15 in the fourth quarter to avoid a sweep in the first round.

    The world is back to questioning you now. It’s become fashionable to hate the Heat, but forgive those ignorant people. They don’t know who you are and it’s only time before you’ll show them, again. You tried as much as you could in the 2011 finals, I know. But you failed. You once told reporters that your father never congratulated you, even after 2006, because he knew you could do better. I know you can too. It’s time to bring out the coldness again.

    I have never bothered to explain to people why it is that I love you the way I do. I do it now, because I’m old enough to find my way, to not need a hero anymore. Thank you, Dwyane Tyrone Wade Jr. Because not matter what, I know I’ll always be able to turn on the TV and find my old friend, find him showing the world what exactly greatness means.

    Sometimes, when I’m down, I watch that Converse commercial. Do you remember that one? The one where you enter an empty American Airlines Arena and pretend to shoot in front of an imaginary crowd before you walk up to the announcer’s box and call out:

    From. Robbins, Illinois. Six foot four guard.

    Dwyane. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADE.

    Remember that?

    Always

    Siddharth


  4. KFC to Dwyane Wade: We Want You Back

    July 11, 2011 by Editor

    Published : Monday, 11 Jul 2011, 6:42 AM CDT

     

    The KFC logo

    (NewsCore) – The NBA lockout may have sidelined Dwyane Wade’s basketball career, but one of his former employers would welcome him back — as a fried chicken server, TMZ reported Monday.

    Kentucky Fried Chicken sent a letter to the Miami Heat guard — who used to serve chicken before his professional career took off — offering him a position at his local drive-thru.

    “We’ve always been proud to call you a former KFC employee, and it goes without saying we’d love to have you back on our team dishing out the World’s Best Chicken, like you dish out assists on the court,” the letter quipped.

    The fast-food chain told Wade they “couldn’t match [his] most recent salary” but would make a charity donation if the hoopster put in some hours at KFC as an “honorary captain.”

    “Our original coach, the legendary Colonel Sanders, knew a thing or two about buckets,” it added.

    Last week, Wade posted a series of Twitter messages about his impending unemployment. “Any1 hiring?” he asked, before adding, “I’m available for all bar and bat mitzvahs and weddings… but my specialty is balloon animals.”


  5. New Retail Chain Features Lebron James as Partner

    June 26, 2011 by Editor

    Lebron James was at club Liv on Friday night. Just one of many events that took place from June 23rd – 25th as part of the 7th annual Irie Weekend

    The club was full of heavyweights that night: Nick Cannon, Flo Rida, Reggie Bush and of course DJ Irie spinning on the one’s and twos.

    As reported in this article, James developed a friendship with hotel owner, Jeffrey Soffer, which led to his latest business venture.

     

    LeBron James’ focuses on building equity partnerships, not just endorsement deals as he seeks to expand his business empire. New retail project is run by his childhood friend.

    BY ELAINE WALKER

    While Miami Heat forward LeBron James is fighting for his first NBA championship, he’s lending his support to a new project in a different arena: Aventura Mall.

    The first in a chain of upscale stores, UNKNWN, is expected to open this fall, carrying a mix of apparel, sneakers, books, art and other lifestyle accessories. The store will feature brands such as OriginalFake, A.P.C., B.B.C. and Nike Tier Zero. You’ll find James’ Nike collection, as well as limited-edition Nike products.

    James is a minority investor because of his long-standing friendships with Frank Walker Jr., a childhood buddy, and Chris Julian, Walker’s business partner, said Keith Estabrook, a spokesman for James.

    The concept for UNKNWN was planned for James’ hometown of Akron, Ohio. But after James’ move to Miami the decision was made to launch the business here. The selection of Aventura Mall is a result of James’ friendship with mall owner Jeffrey Soffer, a relationship developed over the last year as James frequented another Soffer-owned destination, Miami Beach’s Fontainebleau Hotel.

    As one of the top-performing shopping malls in the country, Aventura Mall is not known for taking chances on unproven retail concepts. But given James’ popularity, the Soffer family sees a public-relations opportunity for the mall and is giving UNKNWN a prime first-floor location in the Bloomingdale’s wing.

    “LeBron James has become a world-renowned brand and we’re very excited to premier his new retail concept,” said Ted Siegal, vice president and director of leasing for Aventura Mall.

    Marc Ganis, a Chicago-based sports business consultant, predicts the retail chain will only be a “minor blip in the LeBron James’ universe.”

    “As LeBron James’ economic world evolves, this is likely something that’s far more about lifestyle than it’s going to be some huge financial windfall,” said Ganis of Sportscorp. “The magnitude of its success will depend to a large degree on LeBron’s personal commitment. For it to be very successful he needs to personally commit to it. Commit to wear the merchandise. Commit to be seen there at the store.”

    But ultimately any of James’ ventures come down to what he does on the court. “The thing that will help the LeBron brand the most is winning championships,” Ganis said.

    Even without a championship, James already is the world’s third-highest-paid athlete, earning $48 million last year, according to Forbes magazine. Tiger Woods ($75 million) and Kobe Bryant ($53 million) took the top spots.

    Yet James’ endorsement income outranks Bryant’s, according to Forbes. James earned $34million last year through endorsements and royalties, with his Nike deal worth more than $10 million. Bryant’s outside income was $28 million. James’ endorsement deals include a roster of blue-chip companies: Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, State Farm and Upper Deck. His jersey was the NBA’s best-seller this season and his latest Nike shoe is the No. 1 basketball sneaker on the market.

    In April, James signed on as a spokesman for Audemars Piguet watches and became a partner at Fenway Sports Group, the Boston-based investment company that owns the Red Sox. The move made Fenway’s marketing arm his exclusive representative, and made James a minority stakeholder in Liverpool FC, a 119-year-old British soccer franchise.

    The equity model is one that James is trying to advance in various ventures. He’s a part owner in Purebrands, which in May launched Sheets, a caffeinated energy strip that dissolves on the tongue. James also has an ownership deal for furniture by American Signature; he gets royalties on Power Beats headphones; and FSM is trying to negotiate a deal for gyms in China.

    Even Heat owner Micky Arison has been surprised by the depth of James’ business contacts.

    When James joined the team, Arison offered to steer him in a good direction for investment advice. The answer: LeBron was already friendly with Warren Buffett and calls him for advice. In February, James introduced Arison to a contact he had never met: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

    Miami Herald staffer Jane Wooldridge contributed to this report.

    http://tinyurl.com/Aventr


  6. Forbes Article: Demonization of Lebron James Receives Rave Reviews

    June 17, 2011 by Editor

    The article by Roger Groves posted in the Sports Business section of Forbes.com is receiving rave reviews. It’s also long overdue.

     

    What critics are saying about “The Demonization of Lebron James”

    “At last, a writer exorcises the Demon of hypocrisy within the media”

     

    “Refreshing self-criticism in a self regulated industry”

     

    “The truth about media, fans and their secret agenda of envy”

     

    “What the media didn’t want you to hear”

     

    “Wide spread hypocrisy in the media exposed”

     

    “Not since Jesus Christ chastised the pharisees and scribes of his day as venomous vipers has someone exposed such hypocrisy”

     

    Excerpts from the article:

    “that kind of hate-speak from so-called journalists operating under the guise of objectivity is more disappointing to me than LeBron’s final three games of the season”

     

    “I am confused because the most glory has gone to someone who is known only for scoring [Derrick Rose]“

     

    “LeBron is more worthy of respect for answering questions head on than politicians who have made a play book and culture of ducking hard questions”

     

    “LeBron’s comments articulate, honest, humble, insightful, and without the profane outbursts that coaches twice his age have succumbed to committing”

     

    “haters and nay-saying ESPN commentators do not have youth as an excuse…Mav players Jason Terry and DeShawn Stevenson displayed far more showboating, trash talking, strutting, braggadocio and arrogance on and off the court”

     

    “I wonder whether there is another dynamic from this demonization that is taboo to discuss in mainstream America. I suspect there are some hate-speakers with social baggage”

     

    We’ve spared you the effort of having to scour the net for the article. Here it is in its entirety.

     

    “If LeBron were an IPO, I’d buy it … At 21, I wasn’t remotely as mature as LeBron.” — Warren Buffett

    Now that the NBA season is over, I have taken a moment to reflect. The lasting memory is not of the glorious success of the Mavs. It is of LeBron James and the season-long media/fan obsession with seeing him and the Heat fail. As one weary sportscaster put it, “We discuss LeBron as if he was our media Facebook status.”

    It occurred to me that if all I knew about someone is that he announced a job move and staged it so that $2 million in cash would be donated to the Boys and Girls Club of America, my first reaction would probably be, “Now there’s a person with media savvy who is also a good person at heart.”  Add the fact that the donated cash was virtually all the advertising revenue from that single event and I would feel reassured it was not just a ploy for disguised greed.  If I further discovered that another $1 million in computers and Nike equipment was spread among eight Boys and Girls clubs – most notably Akron, and Cleveland, I would feel even better about the donor who gave back something significant – not just empty words and a wave – to the cities he was raised and was employed.

    But if I knew nothing more, I would probably scratch my head about why the network that aired the announcement only made a minor footnote of the $3 million chartable aspect of the event.  And I would scratch my head again if the donor is primarily blamed for the event, when the worst part about it was the publicity, controlled by the network. If I took a moment to reflect, I would say, “Wait a minute. ESPN controlled the sickening number of promotional ploys leading up to the decision. Only ESPN could create the hype because only ESPN controls the airspace.” Then I would say, “For all I know ‘The Decision’ was ESPN’s title.”  Clearly, ESPN made the decision to announce the upcoming decision over and over again, day and night as if it was the second coming of Jesus Christ, instead of the second team for King James. Yet, the demon as crowned by the media was James, not the media itself.  This was the beginning of the demonization of LeBron James.

    So let’s add a few other facts. The City of Cleveland and the donor’s prior employer had the benefit of his services for seven years.  During that time the employer’s product (a team) went from mediocre-at-best with a half empty arena to a team on the verge of being the best in the world with a frenzied sold-out arena.  The owner made millions. The local economy grew by millions per year. Yet the employee who is leaving didn’t say anything bad about the City before he left. In fact, he said he loved them and he understood their frustration. His kind words came despite knowing they were burning his uniform in effigy and creating as much venom as their imagination could muster.

    In response to the employee’s resignation, the employer’s principal owner called him a “coward”, who was “selfish” and one who committed an act of “betrayal” for exercising his lawful right to pick a new employer. Objectively, on those facts, I hope we would all conclude that if the employee gave up millions of dollars in pursuit of a championship, that kind of selfishness is not so bad.  The reprehensible selfishness would have been demanding all the money he could get even if it hurt the teams salary cap – financial stability.

    Perhaps, as many in the media suggested, what really pushed him over the edge was the failure of LeBron to tell him in advance of his decision. Would that really have made everything alright? Now I ask you, “Would you have told your former employer exactly what you were going to do if you suspected he would lambaste you for your decision. I suspect LeBron already scooped Gilbert’s lack of goodwill and apparently James was right. Gilbert’s comments were a display of immaturity, spoiled brutishness and brat-ish-ness. It is not a crime for the employee to keep a decision to himself prior to the announcement but Gilbert treated it as one.  It was LeBron’s announcement to make, his playing future, his right within the rules of the industry within which he worked. The owner should have been more Cavalier but instead he fueled the hate-speak, and the demonization was on.

    So what was the real sin that takes the same facts to such a high level of scrutiny? The media says it was the arrogance to stage the decision, instead of just making the decision. ESPN is one of their own so they selectively skewed the emphasis that screwed LeBron.  This is the same media that chose to keep reporting about that upcoming decision. If they were so incensed they could have reported it once. But the controversy is what sells, and pays their salaries. If their salaries come at James’ expense so be it. I would have hoped most of us would have seen through their ploy for profitability at the donor’s expense. But we bought it, hook, line, and sink-him.

    Before “The Decision” LeBron was various things positive.  Add them up and the term “role model” is more appropriate than arrogant. I asked myself if I would want my son to have no financial worries for himself and his family, and still have the mind to give back to children, and be extremely profitable off the court without as much as a suspended license or internet wiener pic.  I would not only love it, but take partial credit. I might say his upbringing is what kept him from being like others in the neighborhood that didn’t finish high school, and lacking gainful employment legally, gained by taking advantage of others illegally. Except in reality James didn’t have the strong father figure and family structure many of his haters enjoy. Instead of his demonization, the lead story should be about how James rose above his circumstances to have more success on and off the court in his first 28 years of life than anyone of similar circumstances in the history of the sport – including the revered Michael Jordan (who was less profitable and did not receive his first Championship ring until he was months older than LeBron is now).  That sounds more like a real role model to others from under-resourced communities. Yet there is a media fascination with the single so-called error of public relations – not substance. And the errors were in June, 2010. Yet he was not forgiven for his extra exuberance in trying to win a championship.

    As with every story, the media had a choice. They could elect the character assassination or accentuate the far-more prevalent positives.  An example of the character assassinations is the technique of adding words LeBron did not say to reach a conclusion of what they want to be his words, attempts to show an intent he did not express. Repeated false attributions are a disgrace to the profession of journalism. When James said, “For those who want me to fail, they will have to go back to their lives with the same problems they had” is to say nothing more than what he said. Not that he was claiming himself superior. If anything is to be gleaned from that statement it is that no matter how they feel about me, they have to go back to real day to day living. He didn’t say “Get a life”. It was more like, “you already have a life, and hating me doesn’t help.” The haters still have to get up and go to work, and LeBron has nothing to do with it.

    LeBron then said he will go back to his family. I think that is a laudable and mature thing to do.  And he said this in a matter-of fact professional tone, without a hint of verbal or body-language brashness. There should be no LeBron-bashing about saying and doing just that. Instead, I heard a sports announcer on a Portland Oregon TV station interpret that same quote to mean LeBron is pitting himself as a rich guy against the little guys who pay for his lifestyle. News Flash: The haters aren’t paying his salary. The team that hired him and the fans that want to see him win pay his salary. LeBron, by the way, has 2 million Twitter followers and the highest selling jersey this season. But that kind of hate-speak from so-called journalists operating under the guise of objectivity is more disappointing to me than LeBron’s final three games of the season.

    So this reflection leaves me a bit confused. During my decades of following sports, I usually hear the media extol of the virtues of hard work, unselfishness, sacrificing his game for the benefit of the team, being a good all-around player (defense, assists, rebounds), not just being an offensive machine. I usually hear compassion even when the player does not quite reach the goal. Here we have a consummate team player who rather than just score a lot of points, does everything he can to try to win a championship. He has been a tireless worker during the season, and improves his game from working hard off season. I am confused because the most glory has gone to someone who is known only for scoring.  LeBron tried to get teammates more involved – a selfless act. Yet he takes a hit for not being more selfish and shooting more. After game 5 he admitted he had to be more aggressive offensively.  In Game 6 he did what he said he would do, and produced. He was his team’s leading scorer. But because that was not enough to win, the vast majority of comments were that it was still his fault. Only a few observed as an afterthought that Miami’s coach was outcoached, and that D. Wade had a worse overall performance than James.

    Yes, we can say James brought the criticism on himself for making such bold predictions. After the last game, LeBron was contrite and admitted that not winning the championship was a personal failure. At 27 years old he got too giddy. Expecting too much too soon is a malady shared by many youth.  But they should not be vilified for it even if they are among the best in the world at their craft. Yet throughout all of the negatively during press conferences, I found LeBron’s comments articulate, honest, humble, insightful, and without the profane outbursts that coaches twice his age have succumbed to committing and who received far less vilification. LeBron is more worthy of respect for answering questions head on than politicians who have made a play book and culture of ducking hard questions.

    The haters and nay-saying ESPN commentators do not have youth as an excuse. LeBron’s mistakes were intentionally blown out of proportion. Others have guaranteed wins and championships – just without the ESPN hype. Mav players Jason Terry and DeShawn Stevenson displayed far more showboating, trash talking, strutting, braggadocio and arrogance on and off the court than James and Wade combined, but the media saw it and ignored it without chastisement. It was not enough for James to say, “I apologize for the way [The Decision] happened.” It was not enough for him to say the team’s failure to win a championship is “motivation to help myself become a better player next year.” What more should we expect prior to forgiveness or at least compassion?

    And I wonder whether there is another dynamic from this demonization that is taboo to discuss in mainstream America. I suspect there are some hate-speakers with social baggage. There is overwhelming support for LeBron from African Americans not living in Miami from my unscientific polling. They expressed a cultural compassion not shared by the national media. That media of reporters and sportscasters is over 97% white as are the majority of fans in America. They apparently see the same events quite differently in emphasis and expectation.

    It bears repeating that the media has a choice as to what to emphasize. In this instance, they chose poorly. They appealed to the worst among us, undeserved cheap shots that are myopic in scope. The best in us is the part that says, “Let’s reflect prior to demonization. Let me look at the body of work before I impugn his intent, his character.”  We, as fans, would want the court of public opinion to do the same for us. To do otherwise, we would loudly cry, is a flagrant foul.

    As I view the 2010-2011 NBA season the biggest foul created was not on the court. And it was not committed by players. It was committed by haters and media moguls of controversy against LeBron James.

     

    http://tinyurl.com/LBJdemon


  7. How to Celebrate a Championship Parade

    June 16, 2011 by Editor

    How many times are Maverick players (@dallasmavs) and their owner/wrangler, Mark Cuban (@mcuban), going to murder the classic song, ‘We Are The Champions’.  Yall ready overdid it at the Fontainebleau hotel’s club Liv the night of NBA finals game 6 on Sunday.  I reckon to tell yall overstayed your welcome, ya hear?  Not that you were ever welcome in our decadent internationally flavored paradise – unless it was in the role of a sacrificial lamb for the coronation of King James and Flash’s second finals MVP.

    The folks at club Liv thank Mark, as they’ve thanked many Cubans for their patronage, but I’m sure no clubbing Cuban ever spent as much as Mark did when he rented the place for one night (or did he rent it for two days just in case it went to 7 games) for his team, their loyal (and paid) fans, along with a few band wagon fans with an ax to grind (see news & photos of LiL Weezy & Byrd man) and of course, that gigantic bottle of champagne delivered on a King’s sarcophagus.

     

    What ever happened to what Jim Rome (@jimrome) said in his first burn on Wednesday (June 16, 2011)?

    He spoke about how Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban (@mcuban), would splurge on an epic championship
    Parade.  He didn’t even rent a DJ for the event, unless of course you enjoy hearing Dirk Nowitski horrendously murdering a Queen classic with his solo rendition of We Are The Champions..It was epic alright – as in all-time LAME.

    Kudos to Mark Cuban for spending his own money for a parade, but he should have taken a lesson on how to party at a parade by watching the Miami HEAT 2006 championship parade.  That was an epic celebration South Beach style.

    If you missed it or want to relive that parade, watch highlights from the 2006 Miami HEAT championship parade 2DVD set.  It contains 5 hours of exclusive local news coverage from NBC 6, ABC local 10 and CBS 4. This is footage you can’t find on any Sports Illustrated DVD.

     

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    http://tinyurl.com/06parade


  8. Top 5 Theories explain Lebron’s game 4 performance

    June 8, 2011 by Editor

    After his lackluster performance in game 4 of the NBA Finals, many people are left baffled and searching for an answer that would explain, not only his lack of offense throughout the game, but also his lack of defense down the stretch.  After responding to a reporter who accused him of shrinking in 4th quarters, Lebron said he is a two way player and that he should be evaluated for his contributions on defense as well as offense. But in game 4, he did neither. In fact, he barely facilitated and looked disengaged.

    His passive and perhaps derisive demeanor has baffled and intrigued many people. Here are the top 5 possibilities, from conspiracy theories to more conventional notions.

     

    #1  Lebron is acting like a spoiled child over the MVP award

    Could this have been Lebron’s way of pouting in order to demonstrate just how much his team needs him? Was this a juvenile way of responding to all of the chatter about how Dwayne Wade is on his way to winning a second NBA Finals MVP award?

     

    #2  Lebron is trying to steal the MVP award?

    Is he setting the stage for a redeeming comeback by first showing the world how the HEAT fare without his contributions so that he can take over the remaining 2 games (or 3 if necessary) and lead Miami to victory and position himself as savior and the series MVP?

    Is he capable of such duplicity and arrogance?

     

    #3  Lebron is tired

    Is coach Spoelstra playing James too many minutes (he’s been playing the entire 2nd half of every game with virtually no rest) and did Lebron hit a wall with fatigue in game 4?

     

    #5  Personal problems are affecting Lebron’s focus

    Reporter, Chris Brousard reported that he made phone callus during game 4 to find out if there were mitigating circumstances like personal problems or an agenda that might explain his lack of aggression and production, but he found none.  Stephen A. Smith reported that he has heard about personal problems that may have affected Lebron’s focus, but such reports have not been corroborated.

     

    #5  The Revenue Conspiracy

    Does Micky Arison want more money? Every year at this time, radical minds reach for the possibility that the mandate gets decreed from the top – the NBA League office – to extend the ‘championship series’ (NBA used used that long name until the mid 80′s when they coined it the finals) and maximize revenues.  One opinion goes as far as to implicate Miami HEAT ownership by suggesting, Micky Arison wants to maximize revenue before the impeding lockout and made a deal under the table with HEAT players to pay them bonuses from part of the revenue which would be generated from the series extending to games 6 and 7 at the American Airlines Arena in downtown Miami, with the bulk of those bonuses going to Lebron James.

     

    Perhaps the answer is that there is no single answer.  Several factors may have contributed to his lack-luster performance and the Mavericks’ second victory which now has this Finals series tied at 2-2, setting up a best of three finale with the HEAT maintaining home court advantage.

    Whatever the outcome, this series has transformed into an epic contest and an instant classic.

    http://tinyurl.com/lbj-shrink


  9. LeBron James can’t win, even after win

    June 7, 2011 by Editor

    By J.A. Adande
    ESPN.com

     

    DALLAS — There are two contests being waged here: the NBA Finals that’s being decided by tissue-thin margins and the yawning chasm between what LeBron James wants and what we want him to be.

    The LeBron gap appears irreconcilable. Only LeBron could win an NBA Finals game and still lose ground in the public eye. Two themes emerged from Miami’s 88-86 victory in Game 3, the second consecutive game in this series decided by a single shot. One was that Dwyane Wade is taking control for the Miami Heat, at the expense of LeBron. The other, written on website after website, was that Dirk needs help.

    You know what sentence wasn’t written anywhere? The indisputable fact that LeBron had a better final minute than Dirk Nowitzki. In their last two possessions, LeBron had an assist and a missed shot, and Dirk had a turnover and a missed shot. As a result, LeBron’s team won.

    If the Heat didn’t win, LeBron would have received the blame, not his supporting cast. We’re making Larry Bird comparisons for Nowitzki even though he’s ringless, yet are withholding judgment on LeBron until we see how many he wins. There’s an even greater status Dirk has achieved: He’s allowed to miss. He became sanctified after making that 3-pointer and lefty layup late in Game 2. That’s what happens when you have the made shots in the Finals on your résumé.

    If winning an NBA Finals game won’t be enough for LeBron, then winning the Finals won’t be either if this series continue in this manner and Wade plays the starring role in two more victories. LeBron wants to win. That’s not enough for us. We want him to go out and win it and in a specific manner. You can already hear the keyboards clicking now, saying LeBron’s first championship didn’t count because he wasn’t the Finals MVP.

    Did you know that in Kobe Bryant’s first NBA Finals he shot 37 percent and averaged 15.6 points per game against the Pacers in 2000? But when it’s time for comparisons, you only hear that Kobe has five rings, not 4.5.

    When Michael Jordan repeatedly passed to John Paxson in the final quarter of the 1991 NBA Finals, it was viewed as a breakthrough, the superstar yielding to the system for the sake of the team. LeBron does it and its treated as an act of cowardice.

    With the score tied in the final minute, James had the vision and the skills to fire the ball sideways past a double-team to an open Chris Bosh. James has always shown a willingness to go back to his teammates no matter how poorly they’re playing. With the game on the line, he went to a guy who was 6-for-17 at the time, with a scratched eye that left him squinting like The Boondocks’ Uncle Ruckus.

    “I don’t care if he missed 15 in a row, he’s wide open and that’s his sweet spot, that baseline jumper, and he was able to knock it down,” James said. “It’s just the trust we have in each other’s ability, no matter what point of the game it’s at.”

    Erik Spoelstra called it “fundamental basketball at its best. When you see an open man, you hit an open man.”

    Here’s the paradox of LeBron: He regularly makes the sensible play when it comes to passing, but he doesn’t always make the sensible play when it comes to going to the hoop. After making only two trips to the free throw line in Game 2, he vowed to attack the basket more in Game 3 and did exactly that in the first half. Five of his six shots in the first two quarters came from inside the paint, including a memorable initiation to the Finals for Ian Mahinmi. LeBron James going to the hoop is one of the most unstoppable plays in basketball, and yet we rarely see it, and every time he plays a stretch like he did in the first half Sunday, it makes you wonder why.

    We also saw the equivalent of two lunar eclipses in the same week: James posted up to start the first and third quarters; both resulted in a double-team and a pass to an open teammate for a made jump shot. Again, why don’t we see more of it?

    LeBron just isn’t as comfortable playing with his back to the basket. He never had to in order to make it this far. He won the MVP award twice without a low-post game, part of a long line in which he’s always rewarded for doing things his way.

    Now he’s two victories away from seeing the payoff on his unprecedented free agent move in the prime of his career to join an established star. Are we ready to give it to him on his terms? Or will we diminish it because it doesn’t suit the route we once planned for him, the story of a Cleveland-area kid bringing a championship to the city’s long-suffering sports fans?

    He already was put in the unusual position on Sunday night of being accused of shrinking from the moment in a game he had just won, when he had fired up his team’s final shot with a two-point lead and five seconds remaining.

    “I think you’re concentrating on one side of the floor,” James said. “All you’re looking at is the stat sheet. Honestly, I’m a two-way player. Tonight, in instance, D-Wade had it going offensively, so we allowed him to handle the ball, we allowed him to bring us home offensively. You should watch the film again and see what I did defensively. You’ll ask me a better question tomorrow.”

    It was a strange news conference, one in which James’ and Wade’s insistence on conducting joint interviews created some awkward moments.

    Wade repeatedly talked about his role as a leader and referred to “my guys,” as we kept waiting for LeBron to add, “You mean, our guys.” Instead LeBron blinked, rubbed his face, adjusted his position in his seat, then looked at Wade.

    Wade also barked at James on the court, when LeBron had the audacity to give the ball to Mario Chalmers.

    Even with Wade’s surge in the Finals, James remains the Heat’s playoff leader in points, assists and steals, and is virtually tied with Bosh for top rebounder. None of that seems to matter at the moment. It’s as if LeBron’s big shots in closing out the Celtics and Bulls didn’t get forwarded to his new address at the Finals. He’s having to start from scratch, and in this series he has only two fourth-quarter field goals. His numbers from the fourth Sunday night: two points on 1-for-3 shooting, two turnovers, four assists.

    People don’t step back and view the larger numbers, such as the fact LeBron has logged more minutes — 790 of ‘em — than anyone in the playoffs. He played 45 minutes on Sunday, his stamina allowing Spoelstra to feel secure enough to sit Wade out three more minutes than he did in Game 2, and Wade was fresh enough to hit a go-ahead jumper with two minutes left.

    With LeBron it’s never just about the what, it’s been about how. It all goes back to The Decision, a topic that even seemed relevant at Shaquille O’Neal’s retirement party last week, when I wondered why O’Neal’s departure from Orlando, bitter though it may have been, didn’t create the same lasting animosity as LeBron’s leaving Cleveland.

    “On a business level, if he would have been straight up with the guy [Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert] and let the guy make moves to try to build his team, everything would have been all right,” O’Neal said. “But you can’t keep messing around with people [saying], ‘I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.’

    “Then this guy [says], ‘All right, Mike [Brown], you’re gone. [Danny Ferry], you’re gone. You’re gone, we’re going to do this.’ The guy was trying to make it better for LeBron, but LeBron and his group of guys didn’t tell him what was going on. And then at the last minute it was too late. The guy couldn’t go out and get no free agents, you know what I’m saying?

    “I just think if LeBron would have did it better, different tactically, things would have been all right. Because guys have left, guys have left franchises for the past 40, 60 years. The way he did it just kind of caught people off guard.”

    LeBron did it the way he did it. He continues to do things his way. The player with the talent to make the NBA look like a video game never lets anyone else have the controller.

     

    ESPN senior writer J.A. Adande
    • On Twitter @jadande | On ESPN.com | On TrueHoop | On e-mail
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  10. Is It Lebron’s Team? Is It Wade’s Team?

    June 7, 2011 by Editor

    If this question is not juvenile, it’s downright meaningless. At best, this debate serves only as a topic for fans to argue when there’s a dearth of intriguing stories in sports news.

    photo of the Miami HEAT's Big 3

    Whose team is it?

     

    If you were to ask the HEAT’s big 3, they’d probably remind you that it’s a team effort.  And it’s the versatility of this HEAT team that should be appreciated; They can each share the load in different games according to the match ups and pickup the slack to provide what their team needs during various stretches of each game.

     

     

     

    Examples of versatility

    • Lebron James can guard almost any position and thus, focus on defending the opponent’s best scorer while Wade picks up the bulk of the scoring load.

     

    When HEAT need points in the paint:

    • Wade & Lebron can both attack the rim

     

    • Either James or Wade can post up and take advantage of any size mismatches

     

    • They can feed the ball to Bosh in the post and isolate him or let him pass it to perimeter shooters when a hard double team comes

     

    • Chris Bosh’s own versatility enables him to play with his back to the basket or use an array of moves & footwork to attack the rim or even shoot perimeter jumpers

     

    • They can also go to a pick & roll game with Wade & Lebron or Lebron & Bosh or Wade & Bosh

     

    You could get creative and go on devising other possibilities.  That’s just one of several luxuries Erik Spoelstra has enjoyed for the first time in his tenure as Miami’s head coach.  This only illustrates the versatile dynamic of this HEAT team.  But if this alone doesn’t make non-HEAT fans shutter, imagine the added options the HEAT teams of the next few seasons will have once they add a center that can score in the paint (see list of free agents for next season).