Archive for May, 2010

My brother Tommy (@tsoliz602) and I argue about a lot of things. But mostly we like to argue about basketball. He is a San Antonio Spurs fan. I am a Lakers fan. (I think he may be adopted but my dad has never been willing to confirm this.)

We like to argue about which team dominated the 2000’s. I say it was the Lakers: six final appearances, four titles. He thinks it’s the Spurs: Three trips, three titles, perfect record. As you can see, he’s always wrong.

Lately, what we argue the most about is Pau Gasol. Tommy likes to call him “Chicken Man” a) because he looks like a chicken and b) because he’s “scared” to play down low with the big boys (aka Tim Duncan). Okay, he may resemble a chicken at times but one thing is for sure, Pau Gasol is certainly not soft!

Chris Dudley is soft. Kwame Brown is soft. Eric Dampier is soft. Pau is so far above these guys it not even funny.

Gasols’s game is more European than anything else. He can handle the ball better than any seven-footer in the game today. He passes the ball and facilitates plays better than most guards in the league. (Gilbert Arenas, I’m looking at you.)

The Lakers were better after Gasol’s arrival than they were before he showed up. Think about that. Gasol come to the Lakers midway through the 2007-2008 season and they rolled right into the NBA Finals. Unfortunately they lost to the Boston Celtics in six games. But they go right back to the Finals the next year and beat the Orlando Magic in five games. Currently the Lakers are three wins away from heading to the NBA Finals for the third straight year.

Tim Duncan may be the best power forward ever to play the game and Pau matches up with him in every category. In 12 seasons in the NBA, Tim Duncan’s stat line looks like this: 21.1 PPG, 3.2 APG, 11.6 RPG with 50% shooting. Gasol’s stats look like this after eight years in the league: 18.8 PPG, 3.2 APG, 9.0 RPG with 52% shooting.  As you can see, Gasol matches up nicely with Duncan. And Pau is only 29. By the time his career is over I’m sure he will match Duncan in every category, including NBA Championships.

So if you still think that Pau Gasol is soft, then, like my brother, you are wrong. And possibly adopted.

You could hear it starting slowly, “New York Knicks, New York Knicks!” LeBron James was at the free throw line near the end of Game 6 and the Boston Celtic fans were letting him have it. “New York Knicks! NEW YORK KNICKS!!”

Everyone seems to think that LeBron is going to the Knicks. Even the Cleveland fans think that. And after the Celtics defeated the Cavaliers 94-85 to end LeBron’s season and perhaps his career in Cleveland, everyone in world seems to think the same thing.

I don’t think so.

LeBron-to-the-Knicks talk seems to hinge on another superstar free agent coming along with him. Either Dwayne Wade or Chris Bosh. Or Both. There are too many moving parts that need to come together for this to happen.

Why would he leave a pretty good Cleveland team and go to a total rebuilding project? That doesn’t make sense.

The move that makes more sense and is infinitely more entertaining is LeBron to Los Angeles. No, not the Lakers. . .the CLIPPERS!!

That’s right, I said it.

Hear me out on this one.

The Clippers have all the cap room they need to sign LeBron. They have an opening at the head coach position to bring in any one of LeBron’s choosing. They can even make a run at Phil Jackson if that’s what LeBron wants.  And they already have a better team than the Knicks.

Think about this starting lineup; Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin, Chris Kaman and LeBron James. Go ahead, ponder that for a bit. Davis would actually be interested in playing basketball again. Griffin would have less pressure on him and probably stay healthy for the whole season, Kaman would continue to be an All-Star and Eric Gordon could continue to be Eric Gordon. You have to admit, on paper, that’s a pretty good team. It may not be a championship caliber team but neither are the Knicks.

And L.A. has better weather than New York.

Think about all the things LeBron could do in Hollywood; cameos on “Two and a Half Men,” stopping by the “Tonight Show” just to say hi or even remaking “Kazaam.” Hollywood makes more sense for LeBron, Inc. than Manhattan.

Clipper games would then become a place for Hollywood stars to be seen. And if they played it right the Clippers could get all of Young Hollywood to attend. Forget about Jack and Denzel. The Clips would get Leo and Toby, Paris and Lindsey, even that guy from the vampire movies. LeBron would be THE star in a town full of stars.

And now for the real drama. Think about LeBron AND Kobe in the same city. Hell, they would be in the same arena! They would play each other four times a year instead of two. Can you see LeBron pushing Kobe to be better, Kobe daring LeBron to take his Number 1 spot? It’s a season long soap opera. David Stern must make sure this happens.

Of course all this depends on Clippers owner Donald Sterling to stop being Donald Sterling.

Yes, Sterling the worst owner in all of professional sports. Sure, he would rather trade a star player rather than pay him what he’s worth. We all know he’s a cheapskate. However, I think he’s tired of playing second fiddle to Dr. Jerry Buss and the Lakers. This could be the one chance for him to be the Big Man on Campus. This is his one chance to garner all the headlines. This is the one time that he will release the vise grip on his checkbook and pay LeBron whatever he wants.

Sure, all this is a long shot, but L.A. is a city full of long shots. Hundreds of kids show up every day with hopes of becoming a superstar. Besides, you know what they say about Los Angeles: If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.

I was not planning on writing about Game 5 of the Cleveland Cavaliers-Boston Celtics series. But since the Western Conference Finals do not start for approximately 23 days, I was forced to write about something. So Game 5 was it.

LeBron James and the Cavs gift wrapped this column for me. Thank you.

The Celtics handed the Cavs their worst playoff defeat in team history.  It was a 120-88 beat down that was not as close as the score would make it seem. And LeBron reverted back to his “LeBrick” alter ego. He looked so uninterested during this game it was scary. The way he was just standing around watching the game was so odd. I’m not sure if it was the elbow that was bothering him or he had a cold or maybe he was drunk. I don’t know, but they better come up with a reason today. Because it looked like he just gave up.

The post game press conference didn’t help either. LeBron seemed less interested in that thane he did the game. He said how he has “spoiled” the fans with his play and has had only “three bad games in seven years.” I’m telling you, this guy just doesn’t get it.

First of all, three bad games in seven years is a ridiculous statement. He’s had three bad games in this series! So let’s get rid of that. Second, it’s one thing to have a bad game; everyone does. But it’s entirely different to have a horrible game at home, in the playoffs, after you just won the MVP, and your team has the best record in the NBA.

To be fair, the series is not over. The Cavs still have to lose another game. And a lot of credit has to be given to the Boston Celtics. They have turned out to be a better team than a lot of people thought they would be. Myself included. So now they head back to Boston for Game 6 and the Cavs are in a must win situation.

LeBron has another chance to step up and be the superstar that everyone wants him to be. And he’s going to have to have a great game to beat the Celtics at home. But I just don’t see it happening. The Celtics know how to close teams out. Here’s an interesting fact: The Cavaliers have never won a series when they have been down 3-2.

The best part of this game is all the speculation that this may have been LeBron’s last home game as a Cavalier. So of course I’m going to jump right on that bandwagon.

Every New York Knick fan must be celebrating like they just won the championship. But I can’t see LeBron going there. He’s got a better team in Cleveland right now. If he goes to New York you know he is not serious about winning a title. If he goes to New York it’s going to be all about LeBron, Inc., scoring titles, MVP awards and Jay Z videos. And that’s another thing; It doesn’t seem like LeBron has that killer instinct that Michael Jordan had or that Kobe Bryant has. And I’m not sure that is something he can learn to have.

He should stay in Cleveland, in my opinion. If there was ever a player who was born to play in Cleveland its LeBron James. Plus, there’s no way he can go out like THAT! He needs a chance at redemption.

Whether he stays or goes one thing is for certain; LeBron is going to have to do a lot to make everyone forget about his performance last night.

The Kimbo Slice era of the UFC is now, thankfully, over.

After an embarrassing loss Saturday night at UFC 113 to former NFL player Matt Mitrione, Kimbo Slice is no longer in the UFC. And hopefully his MMA career is over as well.

UFC president, Dana White, did the only thing he could do; he promptly fired Kimbo after the match. “That was probably his last fight in the UFC,” White said immediately after the fight.

While it was interesting to see this YouTube star parlay his internet fame to an actual fighting career, it was clear from the start the Slice was out of his league. After an embarrassing 14 second knockout in the now defunct Elite XC fight promotion to Seth Petruzelli, Kimbo got another chance when he was allowed to be in the Ultimate Fighter reality show.

It quickly became apparent that Kimbo did not belong there. After being defeated by eventual Ultimate Fighter winner Roy Nelson, Kimbo was given a slot on the live finale. While he won a decision over Houston Alexander, Kimbo did not look as if he made any major advances in his MMA skills.

While I’m sure we will see Kimbo on TV in the near future, I’m hoping it will not be in the octagon. I’m sure there will be an opening on “Dancing With the Stars” or “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.” Until then, there’s always YouTube.

The Phoenix Suns (forever to be referred to as Los Suns) have, not so quietly become the hottest team in the NBA Playoffs. With all the talk about the Lakers repeating, LeBron’s elbow and the Orlando Magic’s blowouts against the Atlanta Hawks, the Suns haven’t been given much press outside of the Phoenix metropolitan area. However, this is a team that deserves attention.

They have finally dispatched their arch-nemesis the San Antonio Spurs and they did it in very decisive fashion; an exciting four-game sweep. The Suns have lost to the Spurs the last four times they have made the playoffs. Getting that monkey off their back should be a very big relief for the Suns.

Looming on the horizon are, presumably, the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers are currently leading the Utah Jazz 3-0 in their playoff series. This would be a great Western Conference Finals. It would pit the Lakers’ big men against the pick and roll of the Suns. It would be interesting to see which team will get the advantage.

The Phoenix Suns have really stepped up in my book. Tonight in their Game 2 against the San Antonio Spurs, they will wear their “Los Suns” jerseys to protest Arizona’s ridiculous new immigration law.

Having lived in Phoenix for three years I know firsthand what the racial climate is like there. And it aint pretty. I was stopped for speeding and only after the officer saw my Spanish last name on my license did he ask me for my social security card to prove I was a citizen. They do NOT ask white people for that.

Sure, the game is being played on Cinco de Mayo but the Suns have made it clear that this gesture is a protest against the Arizona law.

Steve Kerr, the Suns general manager, told the Arizona Republic that he felt it was the team’s “duty” to come out against the new law. “It’s important that everyone in our state and nation understands that this is an issue that needs to be explored.” He said. “So, we’re trying to expose it.”

“I think the law is very misguided,” Phoenix guard Steve Nash said. “I think it’s, unfortunately, to the detriment to our society and our civil liberties. I think it’s very important to stand up for things we believe in.”

So tonight, when the rest of the nation is watching the game I do hope that the announcers mention why the Suns are wearing those jerseys. And I hope it goes beyond Cinco de Mayo.

A lot of attention has been given to LeBron’s Elbow lately. If you google “LeBron’s Elbow” you will get over a million results. He has his own Facebook page and Twitter account. He is the topic of conversation on every sports talk show.

I was fortunate enough to sit down with LeBron’s Elbow for an in-depth interview. For someone suddenly thrust into the spotlight, he seems to be dealing with it well.

Here is the interview:

SportsBros: So you have been receiving a lot of attention lately. How have you been dealing with that?

LeBron’s Elbow: It’s been kinda tough. But I’ve been talking to Kobe’s Finger and he’s given me some pointers on how to deal with the attention.

SB: Such as?

LBE: Just to stay wrapped up and focus on the mechanics of the game.

SB: What’s it like when you hear people blaming you for the Game 2 loss against the Celtics?

LBE: Well losing always hurts. LeBron taught me that. But I’ll tell you what doesn’t hurt; Running up behind some chump who thinks he’s got an easy lay up and swatting that ball into the fifth row! But after a loss I do hurt. A lot.

SB: You’ve had three MRI’s this week. What’s up with that?

LBE: Yeah, LeBron really, really want to be sure I’m as hurt as he thinks I am. But I’ll tell you this; any more radiation and my kids are gonna come out with three heads.

SB: You’ve already got you own Facebook page and Twitter account, what’s next?

LBE: Right now I’m working on a song with Diddy. It’s basically me on the hook and Diddy talking over the rest but the beat is tight. I’m also talking to Ashton Kutcher about a reality show.

SB: You’ve also been romantically linked to Kat Stacks. Is this true?

LBE: (Laughs) Nah, we’re just friends. She’s actually a really sweet girl. A lot smarter than people give her credit for. I’ve seen her do a whole soduku by herself.

SB: That sounds great. What about the NBA playoffs? Do you think that the Cavs have a chance to finally win a Championship?

LBE: I think so. If we win it will be despite me and if we lose it will be because of me. So we’re all good.

SB: Win or lose, are you going to be back in Cleveland next year?

LBE: That’s a tough one. I think we’ll be back. But every time I’m at the mall with LebBron and he’s buying 10 or 12 Yankee hats, I wonder.

SB: Would you like to go to New York?

LBE: I don’t know. New York’s pretty crowded. Not a lot of “elbow room” if you know what I mean.

SB: Strangely I do. Well, I know you have a busy schedule, what with the MRI’s and all. So I want to thank you for sitting down with me.

LBE: Yeah, I gotta go get dunked in some ice water right now. I’m gonna have some major shrinkage. But sometimes you gotta sacrifice for the team, you know?

SB: Yeah I do.

LBE: Peace.