-On the LeBron/Jordan hype and hysteria: look world, I’m sorry. I wish as much as you do that LeBron had a ring or two so his accomplishments could be seen as “legitimate.” That hasn’t happened for him yet. That doesn’t mean the fact that LeBron has been producing at the highest possible level for the past two seasons (including last year’s playoffs, despite the fact the Cavs lost) should be ignored. In fact, ignoring LeBron’s production would be irresponsible. It would be wonderful if LeBron was The League’s Best Player instead of The League’s Best Player*, as silly as the reasons behind that asterisk may be.
LeBron shouldn’t have to pay penance for the Cavs losing in the playoffs last season by having what he’s done over the course of this season ignored. Sportswriters have taught us for years that winners win because they are winners and winners win because they are winners. Saying LeBron is the best player in basketball requires you to reject that line of thinking, which in turn requires going against taking the path of least resistance.
I don’t like doing that. I really and truly just want to talk about basketball. I’d love to put away the notion of “the games really just show who was born a winner and who was born to lose” and let things play out naturally. Unfortunately, LeBron has been so good and so dominant by any possible individual measurement that calling him anything other than the best player in basketball would set back the discussion. I wish the answer to the “who’s the best player?” question didn’t make things so complicated. Honestly, I do.
-One completely random note: the “gooseneck” and “3-3-0″ gestures LeBron does have been called satanist gestures. I don’t think there’s anything malicious going on when LeBron and the rest of the Cavs make those hand signals. However, when Lady Gaga makes those same gestures in her music videos (full disclosure: I kind of think Lady Gaga is awesome. Again, I’m sorry), I’m fairly sure she is trying to make references to satanic culture, if only to mess with people. This makes embracing the “gooseneck” thing that much more complicated for me.
-Putting up 20/10 lines for an imploding Clipper team always was Drew Gooden’s destiny.
-This applies to the men’s tournament as well, but I’ll use a women’s tournament example here: one reason I can never get all that into the March Madness thing is that I always feel much worse for the losers of close games than the winners. That poor Xavier girl who missed two wide-open layups right before Stanford made a buzzer-beater to go to the final four? She’ll remember that every day for the rest of her life. I can never quite get over that. Same thing with the Olympics. At least pro athletes in the major sports get paid millions of dollars regardless of whether or not they screw up, and will probably play for a different team at some point. The “pure” joy that amateur/semi-amateur athletes feel comes at the expense of some very pure misery.
-I think “LeBron vs. X” arguments are a big reason why I’m such a big MMA fan; it’s a sport where two guys get into a cage and one ends up victorious. In theory. I used to think “Fedor would kill X” stuff is the best example of why MMA proves that all sports fans are essentially the same, but the anti-GSP stuff may have taken the lead. He tried to finish the fight. The best chance he had of finishing the fight was taking it to the ground. He almost did it, but couldn’t quite get the sub.
The knee-jerk reaction has been that GSP isn’t truly a great fighter because he didn’t stand and trade with Hardy, even though Hardy landed one leg kick when the fight was standing and GSP probably wouldn’t have been able to finish him on the feet. Sports fans will always fall in love with the knee-jerk contrarian angle. Realizing this is probably for the best. GSP is a great fighter. That much is obvious. Agreeing with the obvious doesn’t make you dumb. Occam’s Razor can be your friend sometimes.
-I’ll elaborate on this when it becomes a legitimate possibility, but I really like Nazr Mohammed as the center of the future for the Cavs. He does have an ETO that would make him a free agent this summer. Something to think about, perhaps.
-Alright, that’s all I have for tonight. I’m a bit burned out, and more than ready for the playoffs. I have a few posts on tap, but it’s not the right time to bring them out yet. Until then, campers.