Archive for June, 2012

NBA players have STILL not learned that they can’t call refs or fans “fags.” And I’m not sure they ever will. (And yes, I’m actually using the word fag. I don’t censor. I think it’s important to use the words we’re talking about. I’ve done it before and I will continue to do it.)

This latest incident came to light when deadspin.com published tweets allegedly from Amare Stoudemire to a fan where he drops an F-Bomb on the fan.

Reportedly, the NBA is looking into this matter and I fully expect Amare to be fined just like Kobe Bryant and Jokim Noah were when they used the same slur.

I know a lot of people out there don’t think it’s a big deal for someone to use the word fag in a derogatory fashion. But it is a big deal. The NBA has a whole campaign that is against using homophobic slurs. And if it’s a big deal to the NBA you better believe David Stern is going to make sure it’s a big deal to the players.

So how did all this start?

Apparently the Knicks fan was trolling Amare and sent him this tweet; “you better come back a lot stronger and quicker to make up for this past season mannnnnn deadasss!!!” Now when it comes to nasty tweets sent to pro athletes, that’s pretty tame. Los Angeles Lakers’ Steve Blake and his family got death threats after he missed a game winning shot against the Oklahoma City Thunder in this year’s playoffs. Now that’s harsh.

So, it’s surprising to me that Amare would respond the way he did. I’m sure he received worse tweets when he put his hand through a piece of glass and sliced his hand open during the series versus the Miami Heat.

Maybe he was just having a bad day. Who knows? But he, and all other players, have to know that the NBA will not tolerate this kind of language.

To his credit, Amare did apologize. But it may be too little, too late. It’s going to be interesting to see how the league responds.

People hate LeBron James. I mean really hate LeBron James.

They hate the fact that he left Cleveland. They hate “The Decision.” They hate that he went to Miami and teamed up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in order to win a title. And they sure are going to hate it when he wins his first championship.

He’s going to win a championship. The Miami Heat are one win away from winning the NBA Finals.

It’s going to happen.

But the people that hate him are in a shrinking group. Mostly located in Northeast Ohio. LeBron has won a lot of people over with his play this season. Myself included. I’m certainly not going to become one of the slobbering LeBron Apologists that can see no wrong in what he does, even when he does wrong. And I’m not a bandwagon fan who sees that he is about to win a championship and wants get a bit of his shine.

I’m a sports fan and there is no better storyline than that of redemption. And that is what LeBron James has done this season. He’s redeemed himself.

He has had an incredible regular season and a spectacular post-season. He was the league MVP and he will be the Finals MVP. And he has pretty much kept his mouth shut and not said anything stupid and egotistical like last season. There have been no lame routines with his team mates like in seasons past. He’s playing like a professional. He’s playing with purpose.

America loves a comeback, and LeBron has made a great comeback this season. It’s going to be interesting to see how the rest of the media will portray LeBron after the Finals. I’m sure ESPN will continue to slobber all over him as usual. They will probably even take a victory lap. But will the rest see the changed person that I and others have seen? I hope so.

Will the fans that hated him finally give him some credit? I’m sure some will. Winning has a tendency make people like you.

LeBron James has been through one hell of a journey. He went from most loved to most hated faster than any celebrity ever has.

I hope this season hasn’t only changed the perception of LeBron but I hope it has also changed him as well.

The annual NBA passion play is about to start. I’m talking, of course, about the NBA Finals. This years version has the Miami Heat reprising their role as villain and the OKC Thunder will step in as the basketball savior.

The story goes something like this: the Heat are the basketball equivalent of the Death Star, wreaking havoc throughout the NBA Universe. If they are allowed to win an NBA title all hell will break loose and their reign of terror will last forever. Everything that is good and holy is at stake.

The Miami Heat has assembled a team of mercenaries with a singular focus: bring a title home to the Evil Empire…I mean South Beach. They have stockpiled a team of supreme talent fragile egos that has been the scourge of the NBA. The OKC Thunder, on the other hand, has quietly built a championship-caliber the old fashioned way, through the draft and nurturing young talent.

Its a classic tale of good and evil, right and wrong.

Kevin Durant has to step in as hero and destroy the Heat. Sure, he is young and this is his first Finals and its not fair to put the fate of the entire basketball universe on his shoulders but that’s what makes for great drama. Luckily, he has help. Russell Westbrook and James Harden (along with the bench) will put their stamp on this series but it will be Durant who will lead the Thunder to the championship.

Make no mistake, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the rest of the Dark Side will not go down easily. They will fight till the end. Unless LeBron has another 4th quarter disappearing act like last year this series could easily go seven games. And that would be some great drama.

I just hope that one game we can see the Thunder in their white uniforms and the Heat in their all black ones. That would let even the most casual fan know who is who.

I am looking forward to watching this drama unfold before me and I’m pulling for the good guys to win. That’s why I’m picking the Rebel Alliance…err…the OKC Thunder to win in 6 games.

May the Force be with us.

The Miami Heat are in big trouble. Not only are they on the verge of being eliminated from the NBA playoffs by the Boston Celtics but they are on the verge of being dismantled.

After losing Game 5 at home last night, the Heat have been subject to even more scrutiny than usual. And no one is safe.

Most of the criticism has been aimed at head coach Erik Spoelstra. There is no doubt that he has made mistakes and has been out coached. Not playing Chris Bosh down the stretch in the fourth quarter might have sealed his fate. Even if Bosh wasn’t 100% you still have to put him out there to give yourself a chance to win. Like most of his team, he seems to fold under pressure. I can’t tell if he is infecting the team or they are infecting him. No matter what happens, Coach Spo will probably not be back next season. But you can’t blame everything on him.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade deserve some blame, too. Both of them will disappear for stretches at a time. LeBron has always had a weak psyche. When the team is winning he is the first one out there posing and preening for the cameras but when they are losing he sulks and seemingly gives up. He’s like the bully who finally gets punched in the mouth and runs off crying. The whole team is like that.

Charles Barkley was right when he called them a “whiny bunch.” They are. The fact that LeBron and Wade didn’t show up for the post-game press conference last night proves it. They were sulking in the locker room instead of facing the press. If Kobe Bryant had done that he would have been savaged in the press. When the Heat win they can’t wait to tell everyone about it. When the lose they pout like petulant little children.

And that is what the Heat are missing. They lack the maturity to deal with the ups and downs of professional sports and the mental toughness to needed to compete for a championship. The head coach can’t instill it in the team. LeBron James never had it. And Dwyane Wade is losing it with each passing game.

If the Heat lose Game 6 in Boston (and they probably will) you can expect to see some major changes in the Heat organization. You will also see the end to the failed experiment of stacking a team full of superstars in an attempt to win a championship.

The Heat Era is about to end and the Team Era will return to the NBA. And that’s what we’ve all been missing.