Let’s Make A Musical: Thoughts On The NBA Finals And The Psychology Of Enjoying Failure

It says something that almost every person that despises LeBron came out with long proclamations that make no sense, seeing as how he is 26 years old. That’s correct. 26 years old. People are so forward with their claims that they proclaim he will not even achieve a single championship.

Did he shrink under the pressure? Sure. But to say that the pressure put on LeBron James and the pressure put on Michael Jordan are even in the same ballpark, would be insane. Is LeBron James Michael Jordan? No, he’s Lebron James.

With social media and the amount of press generated on a daily basis, Michael did not have to deal with articles about teammates having sex with his mother or girlfriend. He did not have 4,000 bloggers on his back because he was stuck with a horrible franchise, a horrible owner, and let’s face it, a rather small town mentality that looked like 4 year olds stuck in the bodies of 34 year olds. Remember, someone in Cleveland had to OK that witness poster.

Was Miami the answer? Probably not, but to leave Cleveland was a PROFESSIONAL decision. Because, let’s look at this, any other field of work would not even create one article of scorn, much less complete hatred. So to do something that was NOT illegal, and create a movement to burn and destroy pictures of someone, it makes fans look like religious fanatics and not sports fans. LeBron is not a religion, and it’s your fault as a fan for treating him as one.

Do I think the bracelet with King James on it is ridiculous? Hell yes. Do I think that over the top preseason stunt was too much? Hell yes. But guess what? Other people were involved in that besides LeBron James. Business people. The same people who decided to turn Miami upside down in creating LeBron burgers, hotel suites, and other sick twisted merchandising opportunities.

To all the people that got offended by him talking about his postgame comments, go check what he said today. He knew he isn’t better than other people. He plays basketball, he doesn’t cure cancer. And he didn’t steal your 401k. For anyone to think a basketball player is the highest form of humanity, they really need to get a grip on reality. As a sidenote, try getting told you suck for about 20 times and not getting at least a little upset. To be honest, I am shocked he didn’t reach across the table and choke Gregg Doyel.

So lets move on to Dallas, shall we? Dirk was a man amongst boys. There is absolutely no way to dispute that. He was a German romantic hero. He didn’t have the physique, the look, the speed. Yet he had one of the greatest shots of all time. A shot you can’t teach. His shooting coach could write a book, do a movie, and create an entire school, but he probably wont, which only adds more to the mystique.

Jason Terry was a New York Jet. He talked and walked. Actually he ran, right to the basket. It made Rex Ryan weep.

Dallas deserves everything they get, and Lebron deserves some of what he gets, but when your joy is in others failures, try for a moment to imagine being the close relative of someone like LeBron, when you have no public voice, no defense, just the continuous cackling of the deranged hate-mongers everywhere you go.

As a final note, to look at the childish mentality of all of Ohio, look at the governor, who after the Mavericks won, named them honorary Ohioans. Wow. You really showed LeBron. Don’t scorn us, or we will pass resolutions. Why don’t you just go Harry Potter and make it a fine to speak of LeBron James in public?

The Debate Continues: Best New York Jet To Have A Beer With?

Justin weighs in with his opinion to my original article…Best New York Jet To Have A Beer With —

This question depends on two things. The first, do I want to get into a fight? The second. do I want accompaniment by a female completely out of my league?

Let’s just say I want to get into a fight. Clearly, the guy I want helping me is Muhammad Wilkerson. Why? 7 foot wingspan. 315 lbs. 6’5. That’s all I have to say. He is clearly the most athletic and largest player the Jets have. True, he is just a rookie, but attributing fight skills and football skills is a messy and sometimes hazardous business. All I want is a bull rush. The crowd will disperse rather quickly.

Female accompaniment? I want two. I want Sanchez and Scotty McKnight. Bro paradise. How could you not at least get something worth a blackout as a third wheel with these two? You would have to be shaking violently and peeing yourself not to be able to get someone to at least talk to you after 10 tequila shots and who knows how many margaritas. Mission Viejo for life.

Of course I would like to chat with Revis and Rex, but my time at the bar is extremely limited, and with free drinks, you should either end up in bed or in jail. Settle for nothing less.

Strange Days: How The NBA Finals Will Define The Lives Of Many

Justin weighs in with his thoughts on the NBA Finals before they tipped off last night…

This is it. The finals. It has been a long, strange road. We had the foolish notion to assume a 6’2 point guard could actually work over the greatest power forward on earth without a legitimate 2nd man. Boozer was a joke. We assumed you could live off of pure talent and athleticism without having second or third round playoff experience. Both thoughts have been struck out with a rather convincing display of wisdom and what I can only call “complete” basketball.

The Mavericks showed that a roster of players who have been to the Finals will always outdo the inexperienced Thunder, who had to rely on out of this world displays by 21 and 22 year old players who are still learning how to play team basketball.

I thought that the Heat would have to rely on Lebron and D-Wade. Then I realized Udonis Haslem, who has been gone for what seemed like the entire year, was what really made the Heat machine tick. Remember, he was there for the 2006 championship and knew that the Big 2 would need help. They got it in both the physical and emotional sense.

I tried to go about this objectively, but after considerable thought, trying to think of a Dallas championship seems to be rather far fetched to me. Let’s say Dirk does go for 50. The Heat would probably do better letting him score that many, because playing defense on the rest of the team would be a joke. Jason Terry against Dwayne Wade? That’s almost laughable. Watching Jason Kidd trying to keep up with Lebron would be even funnier. Mario Chalmers may not be an All Star, but he will be a wash with Kidd. 38 years old makes him the oldest point guard in Finals history. This is not the team you want to play against.

The Heat will make plays that throw SportsCenter into a complete frenzy. They have been waiting for this. They will make people who hate them throw televisions out the window. It will be like a Michael Bay movie. They are actually currently installing 43 pyrotechnic towers along the sidelines with tags in Heat players sneakers for fast breaks, and I am told they are preparing backboard flamethrowers for every LeBron dunk. It will make Transformers 3 look like Little House On The Prairie. Some even say the temperature in their building will be increased to 136 degrees before warmups. It will be like watching Ali in Africa. Complete and utter physicality.

The question remains. Do we want the Heat to win? I don’t know. Do I want Dallas to win? I don’t know. Perhaps I would like to see Dirk vindicated…

Do I want to see Lebron vindicated? Not really, but I do think there is a certain point that you reach when your entire life has been devoted to something, reaching a dramatic arc, and violently exploding like the eventual megastar status of the sun…maybe it will be a last second game 7 dunk. One can only hope.

A Trip To Yankee Stadium: A Brief Encounter With History

“Yankee Stadium is one of the few places in America that can feel alive on a Monday Night”
– Anonymous

I walked out of the grand concourse subway station. I was not supposed to get off there. I was supposed to get off at Yankee Stadium, but because I drank two small nips of Southern Comfort on the subway ride uptown, I forgot I was supposed to get off at Grand Central and transfer from the 4 to the 5. Someone was apparently trying to close what seemed like a very large post office right outside the subway stairs. People were protesting. They were not happy. When 25% of The Bronx is underemployed, people do not take that walk from some work to no work lightly. And why should they? The financial district should have been arrested and forced into manual labor after the mess they created.

I got past the crowd and started walking down River avenue, which had the hills of a San Francisco slum. I couldn’t quite tell the burnt red factor buildings apart, but I was supposed to go in one and walk up to the 5th floor.
On the 5th floor I couldn’t quite tell the small grey cars apart but I finally approached one that looked friendly. The trunk had a cooler full of bud light. This would most definitely be a Monday night to forget.

The walk to the stadium was something unlike I had ever been a part of. You walk under the subway for a while, passing dump after dump until there it is, this gleaming tan colossus, lit up like Vegas on a Friday night. You get so caught up in staring at it that you forget you have two very busy streets to cross. Once across you see the entrance, and luckily, because we were doing our best impression of Miami Heat fans, we got to the stadium about 40 minutes after first pitch.

Perhaps here was the point that I should have had the good sense to stop drinking. There was no need to consume any more, especially because I was under the influence of a prescription medication for my rather weak night vision. But no, I was going to gleefully pay $12 for a beer, yes, in fact, give me two. I would be the king of the bleacher creatures, no price too high!

Now, I am of course a gentleman, so instead of waiting for a female acquaintance to buy her own beer, I decided to buy one for her. Except I soon found out that at $22 for two bud lights, chivalry can send you to the poor house rather quickly.

At a certain point, like all fans of baseball games, you are asked kindly to leave once the game is over. Apparently I did leave under my own power, smiling and tipping my cap to NYPD on our exit. I then proceeded to prance down the street until we reached the parking garage. Everything past that is fuzzy, right until 8:45 the next morning when I woke up and realized something was very much wrong.

What i was supposed to do, was get up at 6:45, wake my sister up, and get to the train station to take the 7:10 to Manhattan, which would get me into Penn about 8:30 with enough time to get to work by 9am. This did not go as planned. As soon as I turned my head, I felt everything sloshing around like someone hit me up side the head with a bat and poured vodka down my unconscious throat. Which may have happened. I have hired a private investigator to look into it.

I did in fact make it to work that day, and felt like dying at various points throughout the day. It was wonderful, that feeling like at any point you could throw up sausage, peppers, red bull, bud light, bud light, jolly ranchers?

Postscript: Baseball

Considering there are 81 home games to 8, you can understand the chance of seeing something at a football game that you have 9 more games to wait for in baseball. Which is why most people show up in the 3rd inning. To be honest, I have had a love/hate relationship with baseball my whole life. I played little league, but as I found the intricacies in sports like football and basketball, baseball seemed like a relic. It’s boxing and slow dances. Sunday drives and dinner with the family. We move faster now, we think faster, (for good or ill) and for all our advancement it remains the same as it’s always been. Chess for old men. But there is beautiful music made that people play chess to.

Beat The Drum: The Warrior Is Here

“Pressure can burst a pipe or pressure can make a diamond”
– Robert Horry

As drama critics are looking for work, NBA writers are writing odes to Dirk and Derrick. How could you not become poetic after each game 1? With a Western Conference Finals pitting two 22 year old superstars against a bunch of rapidly aging veterans with a 7 foot shooter who all of the sudden realized somebody had to be Playoff Kobe when Kobe isn’t around, who wouldn’t watch with a box of tissues and a bottle of Jameson next to them? I personally prefer a glass of red for every home team basket and a glass of white for every away team basket, but details at this point are trivial.

So why do I keep looking at Miami and Oklahoma City like they’re not ready for the stage? The Heat will not win a championship with two guys that aren’t playing to absolute perfection. Apparently there are three other guys that are supposed to do something on the court as well, but in Miami the other three, save for Bosh occasionally showing up when there is no hope, do not seem to share the same desire to win.

Remember the Lakers? Didn’t have the desire to win. Got comfortable. The Heat are going through the same thing, except they have rested on the fact that almost all NBA writers watched the 2nd round series against the Celtics and pretty much wrote off the Bulls. The Celtics were running on pure fumes, there would have been nothing left against the Bulls, it would have been an all out thrashing. The whole team would have broken down, resulting in Delonte West and Jeff Green becoming starters by game 4.

The Thunder however, seem to be on the verge of becoming a great team, but due to mid season trades, things have become a little strange. Yes, they had enough to finally put away the Grizzlies, but the pressure only gets higher, and every missed basket is like a last second shot attempt. Athleticism will not win championships. Ask Lebron. They have to get smarter, they have to be more efficient, and can’t turn over the ball on these insane, free for all fast breaks that seem like a last ditch effort to simply outrun the opposing team. Speed kills indiscriminately. Westbrook getting stuffed results in one less man on the defensive end when the Mavs start that insane shooting parade.

There will be enough swing between games one and seven to bring back the 70s. Ordinary sports writers will become schizophrenic and watch every game with split personalities. Old vs young. Good vs. Evil. All sides will reign at some point.

They Fell Towards The Night…How The Lakers And Celtics Went Away In Outrage & Silence

Watching the end of the Lakers game made me sit back in disbelief, it was all too easy. There was nothing left to examine. I watched a dynasty crumble. The fouls that outraged the old guard of the franchise were almost on cue, it had been written but what scared me the most is that after two complete beat downs Kobe Bryant didn’t completely lose it in any of the press conferences and give that strange scowl of utter disgust towards everyone in the room.

Phil Jackson checked out early. The brain can’t try and compute after so many mistakes. There was nothing to do except try and remember that the voices behind him would soon be gone for good. Find the golden silence and drift away, occasionally whisper to Brian Shaw…

Where does the loss of the Celtics and the Lakers leave us? Where are we going? Is Miami really something we want? I try and look at Miami like postmodern art, I understand the spectacle but there’s no soul there. There is no mystery. It is a pure efficient athletic monster. It is the NBA combine but will it survive the pressure? At this point there have been 353,948 articles available on the internet about the Heat, with the current rate at 27 per hour.

Are we going somewhere too fast? Is there a reality being faced? A strange hyper-trading, big money moves all over the place league of no teammates that aren’t preconceived and no real hometown heroes? What are the Miami Heat? What exactly is Modern Miami for that matter? Are they evil for being so over the top and plastic? Remember that parade? It is impossible not to factor South Beach in to what they represent: it is a funhouse of sex, fast money and drugs and you, America, want a condo on Ocean Drive.

The Lakers were old Hollywood. The Bulls were hallowed ground after Jordan. The Heat are the rap stars of today, they’re richer than you, they’re more popular than you and you’re jealous. You hate the fact that basketball can be the most over the top and entertaining sport known to man, you hate the strong preying on the weak.

You hate it, yet it is like watching cars roar down the Bonneville Salt Flats. You know at least one will explode, it is just a matter of when and explosions are fun from a distance.

Beat Writing Is Going To Die…And Is Already Dead, Respectively

I sit in bed watching ESPN on my Ipad, which is amazing, first because I am lazy and like to spend my first waking hour contemplating what sort of insane trouble college football is in, and second because I am one of three people in America without HDTV. I am giddy, giddy at the fact that beat writers in LA are going to be freaking out over Andrew Bynum’s trust comments. And freak out they do. One writer actually threatened to go down to Staples Center and give the team an inspirational speech a la The King’s Speech…”We will overcome this hurdle, we will move forward, with grace..with determination and with the heart of a champion still beating inside us”

My advice to freakout beater? Get a drink. It is around cinco de mayo and you shouldn’t be dwelling on things like the Lakers getting knocked out of the playoffs, even though it is your job, a soon to be over job. Shoot out an article about the sunset in Los Angeles and let the chaos ensue. Dirk reigns, even though I called them the laughing stock of the NBA due to Mark Cuban but old Mark has finally shut it and I wear will wear leeches and flog myself while typing a formal letter of apology.

Beat writers. My advice to aspiring beat writers is that you should, for the most part, strike journalistically while the iron is hot. Imagine being a beat writer for the Cavaliers after Lebron? The Mets? The Panthers? Well, the Panthers will be interesting until Cam Newton finds his way out but for the most part, beat writing seems to be a slog after the first few years. Very few franchises are continually intriguing, or continually great. If you live long enough, you may see something great, or you may have a heart attack after a preseason game and drive off a bridge.
My generation has ADD, there will be no more beat writers by the time we are through. No one wants to get up everyday, look at the same millionaires or soon to be millionaires while you contemplate refinancing your three bedroom house, and write about them in a scowling, jealous rage or the stale praise of a book reviewer.

How can you gauge style if you don’t have variety? I’ve seen more than one beat writer drop dead at their desk because their wife accidentally texted them when they meant to text their boss about their after work rendezvous while a story comes over the AP wire about some new rookie just got signed for $5 million, the brain can’t handle such karmic madness.

ESPN will become a socialist enterprise. No one wants to hear about fast break points from a 300 pound fat guy, like that guy on the couch who predicts football games for ESPN, you will be first chubs. They will allow only the physically fit to report on sports and beautiful girl next door types like Michelle Beadle, who could tell me I have terminal cancer and I would still look for a way to ask her out for a drink. Has anyone noticed the sort of serfdom most radio hosts at that network are subject to? Working 20 hours straight, 1pm radio show, 11pm sportscenter, 6am radio show, 6 PM Sportscenter…

Athletes are strange creatures. Study them like you would a fetal pig. At a safe distance. Remember that if they are forced to write an open letter about the state of their team going forward, most people would be embarrassed to read it. You are the writer. You are the one who writes the story. Get a little crazy. Own history. And stop reading other beat writers and copy and paste from the Surrealist Manifesto at any chance you get, give construction workers a little arts and culture at 5am on the Long Island Rail Road. They might just look out the window and wonder if they are dreaming…

Screaming On The Radio: Let Forth The Rage Of The Playoffs

The NBA playoffs are in full on Wagner-high drama mode. The Spurs got knocked off with a whimper, again the “Tim Duncan is old” monster rears its head. The Pacers gave the Bulls everything a team without a real star can give. The Knicks went down in a tangled pile of tragedy. Dwight Howard is spending his afternoons looking at houses in Los Angeles. Kobe Bryant is thinking of the deal already. Gasol is contemplating going home in relative glory/shame. If Phil doesn’t get Dwight the whole Staples Center will collapse under its own expectations.

Portland is doomed, Gred Oden will have a child and he too will be drafted by the Blazers. Lord knows if the Hornets will exist by August, with the way they’re blowing up levees in this country half the midwest won’t exist by next year.

The East and The West each have a truly once in a lifetime series, the East having the pure hubris of youth and athleticism against basketball IQ and veteran leadership, it’s like watching the future beat down the past in the present, yet there is something sad about it…oh wait…the Celtics swept the Knicks…not sad.

The West has the Lakers falling apart from all corners: passing, defense, scoring. Kobe Bryant looks like he’s the only one that needs to win, not wants to win, needs to win. I may despise the sunshine of Kobe and the Lakers, but I respect the drive he has, which when it is all said and done may have outdone Jordan in terms of pure effort, it is hard to play 1 on 5.

The Thunder look like there is going to be a serious showdown in a game 7. Memphis has two great players. The Thunder have two great players. Things are looking up for fans in Chicago, you will have a chance to prove that a small point guard can beat three cyborgs.

If the Lakers and the Celtics get knocked out before the conference finals, it will say something, something about the way the NBA is shifting towards a two or three all star minimum for any sort of success in the playoffs, it’s happening, think about who is already a part of it: Miami…New York..Oklahoma City…

Basketball may finally put baseball to death amongst the youth, try watching an NBA playoff game and then switch over to baseball, actually don’t you might miss Derrick Rose going off or Lebron making Rondo look like a yoga instructor, god bless those who write about baseball without the aid of drink.

It’s Like Christmas Came Thrice…1st Round Of The NFL Draft

I would like to give extend my condolences to fans of the Saints, the Buccaneers and the Panthers. You will all be sorely missed. The Falcons traded up to get Julio Jones. Which means, you will have Julio Jones and Roddy White catching balls from Matt Ryan. AKA…prepare for 5,000 yards Mr Ryan. And Michael Turner at running back? Damn. Good luck contending with that Cam. I can now guarantee at least 2 losses by the Panthers this year, and probably one to the Buccaneers. The Saints will eek one out…but maybe not.

Rob Ryan is clearly taking a backseat to Romo’s shoulder. No corner in the first round? Weak. But now Tony has no excuses. Look for defense to dominate in ensuing rounds, they need it. Hell, this guy put a beat down on Tom Brady, with the BROWNS.

Why the hell is Washington not taking Nick Fairley? Laughter from Eagles fans ensues, Redskin fans hang the long rope.

Party boy Mallett beat out by Christian Ponder? WOW. People really don’t like weed in the NFL…Santonio.

SWEET JESUS, Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh? Looks like the Lions will have a shot this year. Healthy Stafford? maybe…Calvin Johnson…that pass rush will make Jay Cutler wish he didn’t have to go under center.

KEEP NOTE THE JETS DO NOT PLAY EITHER THE FALCONS OR THE LIONS THIS YEAR.

The Dolphins will regret not taking Mark Ingram, especially when you play the Jets and the Patriots. Please god do not let the Patriots take Ingram. Yes. Nate Solder. He’ll probably make the Pro Bowl in two years. But he’s not Mark Ingram.

The Giants will have a legit corner. Probably gonna cost them a few plays though. Look at some of those pass interference plays. But they too will regret not taking Mark Ingram. Sorry, everyone is going to get the “you are going to regret not taking Mark Ingram” speech from here on out.

The Buccaneers will have a great D line again. and a good quarterback, let’s see if they nab a running back and a wide receiver in the next few rounds. The Browns will have a good combo with Phil Taylor and Shaun Rogers.

Still no Mark Ingram…kind of thinking the Jets might grab him…no…someone will do it before 30…although only 5 more picks…4 more picks…

I swear to god those 943,968 mock drafts could only be like 35% correct at this point. Any of them.

Let the Jets take Mark Ingram. Somebody take Andy Dalton……4 more picks…..ah the Ravens

Weird trades…..deadlines……strange orders.

Now perhaps the Saints have a chance……….MARK INGRAM

Oh lord, Mel Kiper just said the Jets may have just had the best pick in the draft, what kind of sick cosmic torture will we succumb to this year?

Muhammad Wilkerson, welcome home.

New York Jets: Killing Two Birds With One Stone

Joe has already done a great job recapping last night but I want to give my thoughts as well.  The Jets picked up a scotch double by selecting a versatile player who is able to play the end and nose in the 3-4, which are two obvious needs for the Jets as we have gone over.  I really like Wilkerson, and we should expect to see him in the starting line up when the Jets open up against the Cowboys.  This could be a potentially bitter sweet pick as fan favorite Shaun Ellis’ future with the Jets is very much up in the air now.

Everyone is talking about how Wilkerson can be Haloti Ngata 2.0, and I agree, I am excited to see what Rex has in store for Wilkerson.  Muhammad is very athletic and is able to shed blocks and get to the QB, he will instantly improve our pass rush and now the Jets can look on to what they are going to do today.

The Jets were able to wait and get their guy in the first round but I am not so sure they will be able to do that again.  Look for the Jets to trade into the 2nd round and pick up a player like Akeem Ayers, Brooks Reed, Aaron Williams, Rahim Moore, Brandon Harris, or maybe even Marvin Austin or Stephen Paea.

Two miscellaneous thoughts about the draft: Da’Quan Bowers knee must be SCREWED UP.  I mean there is so much talent there, he was in serious contention for the number one pick; he might be the unhappiest man in America after not cracking the first round.  Can you imagine how much money he just lost? Also, the Patriots trading out of the first round was maybe the most unsurprising thing that has ever happened.  I mean I saw that from a mile away, and I really hope they don’t take Brooks Reed with the first pick of the second round like  idiot Mel Kiper has them doing.