Archive for May, 2011

Scottie Pippen sent shock waves throughout the sports world today when he suggested that LeBron James “may be” the greatest player to ever lace up a pair of sneakers. Even better than Michael Jordan.

Most people could not believe their ears and some even questioned Pippen’s sanity. Michael Jordan is a Sacred Cow as far as most sports writers and fans are concerned. “He is the greatest ever”, goes the mantra. “No one will ever be better than him. Not Kobe Bryant, not LeBron.” The only fact that anyone has to bring up to end all comparisons is, “Jordan has six rings. LeBron has none.”

So for a former teammate of Jordan’s to come out and say that LeBron may be better player, it sounds like blasphemy to most.

To be fair, Pippen did preface his comment by stating, “Michael Jordan is probably the greatest scorer to play the game.”  Even though Kareem Abdul Jabbar is the All Time Leading Scorer in NBA history, I see where Pippen is coming from. He has to try to differentiate between Jordan and LeBron. It’s like when so many sports casters didn’t want to say Kobe was better than LeBron they started saying Kobe was the best “closer” in the game. But LeBron was still the best “player.” He was just trying to soften what was coming next.

And then he dropped the hammer when he said, “But I may go as far as to say LeBron James may be the greatest player to ever play the game because he is so potent offensively that not only can he score at will but he keeps everybody involved.” This is what got everybody up in arms.

And the reactions were swift and harsh. Many fans said Pippen was just bitter and jealous of Jordan’s fame and skill. Some said he was just downright stupid. Some even took the time to make fun of his recent financial troubles. But they all seem to forget that the man is entitled to his own opinion.

Pippen shot back to all his critics via Twitter, saying, “For all of you that don’t know, I played the game. You keep watching and cheering.”  Touché, Scottie, touché.

And all this brings up to one important question: Will there ever be a time when a player comes along who is better than Jordan? It seems like an inevitability. I’m sure people never thought they would see a better player than Julius “Dr. J” Irving until Jordan came along.

There will always be a debate as to who was the greatest in every sport. Is Mike Tyson better then Muhammad Ali? Is Tiger Woods better than Jack Nicklaus? Is Barry Bonds better than Hank Aaron? And so on. It’s never going to end. But that’s what makes sports so great.

Maybe LeBron James will wind up having a better career than Michael Jordan. Who knows? Let’s all just enjoy watching this great group of talented players that we have in the NBA right now. There may even come a time when we get to tell our children, “I got to see LeBron play.”

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The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly have signed Mike Brown as their new Head Coach.

I first heard rumblings of this late last night and at first I was not too happy with the news. And neither were Laker Fans. The Twitterverse was filled with shock and angst.  And I supplied my fair share of both.

But after a good night’s sleep (and several drinks) I have a new perspective on the hire. This could very well work out to be a good hire for the Lakers. Brown is a very good defense-minded coach and the Lakers need a serious overhaul on their defense. They had a hard time defending Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets and were completely exposed by the Dallas Mavericks.

So this may be exactly what the Lakers need. As long as he gets a little help on the offensive side. The Lakers have enough talent on offense that not even Mike Brown can screw it up. It’s like he has been handed the keys to a Maybach, all he has to do is not crash it.

And I don’t think he will crash it.

A quick look at his career will tell you that he is a capable coach. He may not be Phil Jackson, but who is? And to be honest, ANY coach is going to look like a step compared to Jackson.

Brown went 272-138 in five seasons with the Cavaliers, taking the team to the Eastern Conference finals twice and one trip to the NBA Finals in 2007. He was also named Coach of the Year in 2009. So the guy can coach. And he certainly has a better group of players in the Lakers than he did with the Cavs.

Of course we all know he was fired after LeBron James left Cleveland for Miami as a free agent last summer despite going 127-37 in his final two regular seasons with the Cavs.

So I say, let’s give Mike Brown a chance. It will be interesting to see if Brown can bring some intensity back to the Lakers’ defense.

The only question that remains is; What does Kobe think?

In a recent interview with ESPN, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis stated that if there is no NFL season this year it will surely lead to an increase in “evil” in America.

“Do this research,” he said, “if we don’t have a season — watch how much evil, which we call crime, watch how much crime picks up, if you take away our game.”

While Lewis may know something about crime, (he was famously indicted on murder charges in 2000 but the charges were dropped when he decided to testify against his friends) but he may not know much about the cause of crime. To think that fans are going to go on a crime spree if their favorite team is not playing is ridiculous. It may happen out in Oakland, but I submit to you that Raider fans were probably going to commit those crimes anyway.

“There’s too many people that live through us, people live through us,” he told ESPN. “Yeah, walk in the streets, the way I walk the streets, and I’m not talking about the people you see all the time.”

I think Ray Lewis is vastly overestimating his, and every other professional athletes, importance in people’s lives.

I understand that NFL players have to make a case for ending the lockout and getting the 2011 season started, but this argument doesn’t pass the Laugh Test.  Of course, maybe he is talking about the NFL players going on a crime spree if there is no football to occupy their time. That may actually make some sense considering some of the high profile arrests of pro athletes that have been made in recent history.

But I doubt that is what he was talking about. His argument seems to be, “Let us play and nobody will get hurt.”  Which sounds more like a threat than anything else.

Fear mongering to get your way will most assuredly backfire for the players. America will not descend into a Mad Max post apocalyptic terrorscape just because there is no football on Sunday. I want football back as much as the next guy, but I’m certainly not going to go out and wreak havoc on society if there isn’t.

Now, if there is no NBA season, that’s a different story.