About two seconds after LeBron James made "The Decision" to pull a Hollywood Hogan on the city of Cleveland so he could team up with the Super Friends of South Beach -- hereafter referred to as "The Nazgul" -- the Internet almost crashed under the electronic weight of newspaper articles and blog posts proclaiming that: Michael Jordan never would have wimped out like that...he wanted to beat his opponents not join them.

Because of course nothing LeBron has ever done or apparently will ever do -- no 50-point performance, no triple-double, no buzzer beater, no playoff performance, and now no contract decision -- is complete until the Michael Jordan comparisons are made. It's like the huge glop of cheese on top of an order of cheese fries. If LeBron's tree falls in the woods, nobody will hear it unless it gets compared to how loud Jordan's tree was when it fell.

Anyway, all that "MJ wouldn't have done that" stuff was all idle speculation until now. The GOAT has spoken:
"There's no way, with hindsight, I would've ever called up Larry, called up Magic and said 'Hey, look, let's get together and play on one team. But...things are different. I can't say that's a bad thing. It's an opportunity these kids have today. In all honesty, I was trying to beat those guys."
So Jordan has officially confirmed what we were all already thinking. Thanks for that, MJ. Personally, I was tired of all that thinking. My brain is more paper weight than functioning organ. Mind you, this latest pronouncement comes on the heels of His Airness stating that (in his opinion) Kobe is better than LeBron.

So...how does it feel under that dogpile, LeBron? Do you have enough, ahem, air in there?

The funny thing is, this isn't the first time MJ has fired a few warning shots across LeBron's bow. This has been forgotten in the annals of NBA lore, but check out Jordan's comments about the soon-to-be-a-rookie version of King James:

"He may think he's great enough to be on this level now. But when he gets on this level and plays against guys who've been competitive and very good on this level, he's going to find it's a big difference from that 5-10 high school kid.

...

"I think he's talented for 18 years old. Once he gets to this level, I don't think he's in the upper echelon of two guards or small forwards. I think he's toward the bottom -- respectively so, because there's so much about his game that he's going to have to adapt to. He has unbelievable potential. I think that's what everybody is looking at, everybody is raving about. But he hasn't played against competition consistently, college or pros. He's played against high school kids ... You have to give that some credence.

"When you look at the skill level and his maturity at his age, he's definitely talented enough. Five years from now? If he takes on the dedication of being the best basketball player he can be, and continues to improve and accept challenges and not get comfortable with what's been given to him or what the expectations may be, he could definitely be a good pro."
Well, I guess MJ was right...LeBron is definately a good pro.

There was also this exchange between MJ and Charles Barkley:

With cigar in hand and sarcasm dripping from his words, Michael Jordan posed a question for Charles Barkley.

"Charles, what would you have done if Pip (Scottie Pippen) and I called you up and asked you to come join us in Chicago?" Jordan asked.

A look of disgust flashed on Barkley's face. Not in a million years, he scoffed, and his colorful language made Jordan smile with pleasure.

It was nothing more than a humorous exchange between close friends on the driving range of the American Century Championship. Yet it spoke volumes of how the NBA's old guard views LeBron James and his ignoble departure to Miami.

"Let me just tell you this," Barkley said. "Mike and I are in 100 percent agreement on this. If you're the two-time defending NBA MVP, you don't leave anywhere. They come to you. That's ridiculous.

"I like LeBron. He's a great player. But I don't think in the history of sports you can find a two-time defending MVP leaving to go play with other people."
Speaking of Sir Charles, The Round Mound had this to say to 790 the Ticket in Miami last week:

"He'll never be Jordan. This clearly takes him out of the conversation. He can win as much as he wants to.

"There would have been something honorable about staying in Cleveland and trying to win it as 'The Man' ... LeBron, if he would've in Cleveland, and if he could've got a championship there, it would have been over the top for his legacy, just one in Cleveland. No matter how many he wins in Miami, it clearly is Dwyane Wade's team."
Just like with MJ, Chuck is simply saying what we were all already thinking. But here's the thing: Maybe it doesn't matter. Maybe, in part, this was LeBron's way of saying, "I know I'm not Michael Jordan. And I don't want to try to be Michael Jordan."

Personally, I think LeBron wants to be "Mega Pippen." Back in the day, Scottie Pippen wanted to be considered equal to Michael Jordan without shouldering the responsibility of being Michael Jordan. I mean, he tried (when he wasn't getting a migraine or refusing to check into the game because the game-winning play was written up for somebody else), but Pippen simply wasn't that kind of player. And, frankly, he wasn't Jordan's equal.

However, LeBron is at least D-Wade's equal. And yet now he has a teammate who has killer instinct and championship pedigree. Now, King Crab can do his "a little bit to a lot of everything" act -- ala Pippen -- and potentially turn to Wade when things get ugly. And, as Barkley said, it's always going to be Dwyane's team, so the greatest burden of responsibility will always been on Wade.

At any rate, it all comes back to the same thing, and I've said it over and over on this site: All comparisons between LeBron and MJ should stop immediately (if they haven't already). If not because they were ridiculous to begin wtih, then because LeBron himself made has made "The Decision" not to be like Mike.

Labels: , ,

92 Comments:
Should we stop making the comparisons now, or do we have to wait until LeBron stops referring to himself as "The King"?

Blogger Cortez said...
LeBron James: Upscale Role Player

I was at the court talking to a guy actively supporting & defending the James/Wade/Bosh move. After he finished up his argument I asked him what does he think of the guy who comes into an open court and actively scouts out the best players in the gym (with no prior connection to said players) and assembles a team to run the court the entire day?

He said that he doesn't like that guy at all.

I walked away somewhat satisfied.

Blogger Vasco said...
Stealing the ball from the opposing team star, slowly dribbling upcourt, the class the flair to take out his defender and hit a perfect game winning shot to win a championship in the end of your career. That is out of a movie plot. That cannot be done again.

Michael Jordan was special in a way that no one will ever match. And that's just because times change, so even if there was a guy today with the exact same abilities as Jordan he still wouldn't be as special as him.

That being said Michael Jordan is also a pompous bitch (refer to his HOF acceptance speech for once) and this seems to me as his way argue in advance in his favor in the GOAT discussion that may come in some years if this Miami team delivers the multiple championships they talk about.

About Barkley, I love the man, he is a great entertainer and I really like to hear him speak but he must not be taken seriously at any time. You know, because he's dumb.

Kobe Bryant is as good as Michael Jordan. LeBron James may become better.

Blogger Vasco said...

Blogger chris said...
BleedingHeartPessimist: Maybe if King Crab "decides" to play minor league baseball, then we can start up those comparisons once more!!!!

Blogger Vasco said...
What if LeBron stops doing the chalk thing and then in the middle of the season does it, but in Cleveland?

Blogger b r christensen said...
I'm really no LeBron lover, but it's sort of ironic that he is being criticized for at once too much and not enough narcissism. I'm with you on "The Decision," I mean Jesus Christ, it doesn't get much more self-centered than that.

But I really don't understand this alpha dog argument. Why is a need to be "The Man" a desirable trait? I don't remember us all praising Kobe when he couldn't co-exist with Shaq. Personally I prefer a superstar who isn't a giant cock. (LeBron is, obviously still kind of a giant cock.) Playing well with others is, in my opinion, a good thing. Of course whether or not James can do it once the playing actually starts remains to be seen.

Blogger Barry said...
I don't buy all this crap that he suddenly can't be considered in the conversation for the GOAT crown. It's easy for Jordan to say this and that but if he were LeBron when he was in Cleveland last year (dire supporting cast, rubbish coach), there's no telling what Mike would've done.

Jordan is as dumb as Barkley is.

Didn't Jordan threaten to quit basketball when he wasn't winning?

Blogger Michael Hsu said...
I'll admit, i think MIA has surprised a lot of us with their roster so far. They dont have complete scrubs and have a decent 7 man rotation.

Blogger Michael Hsu said...
No Jordan didn't quit basketball he went balls out and got defensive player of the year the next season.

Blogger chris said...
Vasco: What if LeBron stops doing the chalk thing and then in the middle of the season does it, but in Cleveland?

If THAT happens...

Let's just say that the fan reaction - if the sentiment along the Cuyahoga River remains the same - will be as firey as said body of water once was!

Blogger Cortez said...
"I don't remember us all praising Kobe when he couldn't co-exist with Shaq."

#1, Kobe's main complaints centered around the FACT that Shaq had less then desirable conditioning habits and he was asked to carry that fat slob until mid-season when he used the first 41 or so game to get into "game shape"

#2 Why isn't it commonly phrased as "Shaq couldn't coexist with Kobe"? Probably because Shaq is a more personable goofball to some folks.

"Didn't Jordan threaten to quit basketball when he wasn't winning?"

No.

"It's easy for Jordan to say this and that but if he were LeBron when he was in Cleveland last year (dire supporting cast, rubbish coach), there's no telling what Mike would've done."

They were the #1 seed in the NBA (last year too). that supporting cast wasn't that lackluster. The real problem was that the Cleveland faithful thought they had a superstar when what they actually had was an UPSCALE ROLE PLAYER.

Jordan would have carried those bums to the championship, or died trying (sans the juvenile sideline antics and theatrics of course).

Anonymous SirGirthNasticus said...
I don't know if it totally takes him out of the GOAT, conversation. MJ also didn't play with the Y rec league team. He had great role-players, and in the case of Horace Grant/Scottie Pippen/Dennis Rodman he had guys that were elite players. There are no titles in Chicago without those guys either. So it's kind of bullshit when people make that argument.

Not that I'm a huge LeBron fan. I like watching him because he's kind of a genetic freak with a basketball, but I don't cheer for him any more than I cheer for whatever random teams are playing on TNT's Thursday double-header.

Blogger Dooj said...
Queue the Wade/Jordan comparisons!

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Queue the Wade/Jordan comparisons!

I would say that LeBron is the Mega Pippen to Wade's Zero Calorie Jordan Lite.

OpenID andythesaint said...
Didn't Barkley join Houston to play with Hakeem and Pippen?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Didn't Barkley join Houston to play with Hakeem and Pippen?

Well, he joined Houston to play with Hakeem and The Glide. Then, when the Glide retired, Pippen asked to be traded to the Rockets.

But your point is correct: Barkley tried to championship piggyback.

I guess Barkley considers it different since he and the other two guys were on the downside of their careers.

Barkley also conveniently forgot how he bitched his way out of Philly during his prime. But then, I guess that's why Chuck was no Jordan and, in fact, never won a title.

No offense to Barkley. I love the dude. But I'm not sure he deserves to criticize people for trying to put themselves into the best position they can to win.

Blogger chris said...

I would say that LeBron is the Mega Pippen to Wade's Zero Calorie Jordan Lite.


Now with more Splenda and a turrible bowtie!!!!!!

Blogger gordon gartrelle said...
As great as Jordan was, his legacy (in the hands of uncritical basketball fans) has actually done harm.

Accepted basketball "wisdom" is constrained by unimaginative positional thinking as well as BS nostalgia. The "next Jordan/not as good as Jordan" nonsense is the manifestation of both. Any athletic perimeter scorer will be compared to Jordan. There's no getting around it.

Forget this Jordan garbage. Forget "The Decision." How can you be a fan of basketball and not be even a little excited to see what kind of player Lebron can become now that he's freed from 1)the shackles of Mike Brown's offense, 2) the shrinking Cleveland role players, and 3) the flatulent stench of doom and failure lingering over Cleveland sports?

Isn't this opportunity--not some pointless devotion to the Jordan/alpha dog model--what we should want to see as basketball fans?

Blogger chris said...
gordon: Hard to be excited when Crab flat out said that he doesn't have the pressure now to score 30 a night all the time, which seems odd from someone who calls himself the "Chosen 1."

Blogger gordon gartrelle said...
Sorry, I don't see it.

This may come as a surprise, but scoring is only one part of basketball.

The "pressure to score 30 a night" does not = "the pressure to win."

You don't think he knows that the pressure on him to win has now increased 10-fold?

A guy looking to escape the pressure of winning goes to NY or NJ, where the crappiness of the team buys him a couple more years of excuses.

Blogger Barry said...
Cortez/ I remember reading on this very site that he once contemplated quitting, the details aren´t very clear to me. I think it had to do with Larry Bird, that article.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Forget this Jordan garbage. Forget "The Decision." How can you be a fan of basketball and not be even a little excited to see what kind of player Lebron can become now that he's freed from 1)the shackles of Mike Brown's offense, 2) the shrinking Cleveland role players, and 3) the flatulent stench of doom and failure lingering over Cleveland sports?

Isn't this opportunity--not some pointless devotion to the Jordan/alpha dog model--what we should want to see as basketball fans?


There are imagined constraints to greatness. There are things like number of All-Star appearances, number of All-NBA Teams, number of championships, number of championships as The Man, etc.

For somebody like Jordan, it's important to maintain these kind of old school notions because they keep him up and guys like LeBron down (in terms of historical legacy). And if his HoF speech taught us anything, it's that Jordan is still competing...just not on the court.

As a fan, I'm bummed none of The Nazgul came to Chicago. However, I am fascinated to see what happens in Miami. This is semi-unprecedented. The closest we've seen to this sitch is Wilt, Elgin and West in L.A., but even then, Baylor had lost his knees by that point.

So yeah, I think this will make great basketball theater.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
i just can't wait for the riles/wade's expression when lebron bricks his first "heat check" from 35 ft away.

Blogger b r christensen said...
chris:

the paradox of the new LeBron. how do we reconcile this and this with an ensemble role in Miami?

to me it seems like signing with Miami is, to some extent a rejection of all that. on some level maybe he wants more basketball less deification. then again, the whole decision debacle says otherwise.

personally i can sympathize with a guy wanting some of that burden off his shoulders. perhaps the real lesson here is to not get stupid fucking tattoos that you will most likely regret at some point in later life.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Guys, guys, guys.

You're ALL missing the REAL story: how does CHRIS FREAKIN' BOSH measure up to Jordan now? Does Bosh's legacy suffer now? Can he still be considered a super-mega-star now that he is with two other slightly-talented players? Does anyone else think of this whenever Bosh's name is mentioned? (Seriously- this is a guy who literally begged fans to make him an all-star. lol.)

I think Bosh will have to fight and scrap just to get 14ppg next year. With Big Z on the roster, he's not even your #1 post option anymore. The good news: With Wade and Mike Miller jacking up 3's all over the place, there will be lots of opportunities for Kobe Bryant Assists if Bosh can stay on the boards!

Blogger BadDave said...
I hope Varejao clotheslines the Witch-Crab of Angmar this season, McHale style.

Blogger Mr. Too Nice Guy said...
I guess Barkley considers it different since he and the other two guys were on the downside of their careers.

If you listen to the entire 790 interview, he does make this distinction and talks about how his goals changed later in his career. He clearly states that in his prime, he always wanted to beat the best.

It's actually a pretty good interview, especially the bit about his daughter and realization that MJ truly was the best during the Suns series.

Blogger Drake said...
Vasco:

"Kobe Bryant is as good as Michael Jordan."

Please tell me you're kidding. Kobe is a great player, but he's not as good as MJ.

"LeBron James may become better."

In the past few years even, the word "may" was the operating word. I mean, why the hell not? This was a guy who was bigger than Karl Malone and who moved faster than Bo Jackson. We saw this vast potential locked within this impressive young man, and we were wondering, just as we would with anyone who shows such potential: "what will happen once he puts it all together?"

The question is now not "once", but "if". He certainly has some of the qualities to become the GOAT.

Well, we can't claim he's not a winner, if by "winner", we mean someone who has led his team to 60+ regular season victories over the past two years. Then again, Dirk also once led his team to 60+ victories; we remember that right? So it has come to this: Lebron seemingly can't put his team and carry them to victory on his back once they face a worthy opponent. Yes, his teammates and coaching has been pretty crummy, but as Michael Jordan once said, "There may be no "I" in the word "team", but there is an "I" in the word "win"." See Rajon Rondo's man-type triple double in Game 4 against Cleveland as an example.

And we all know he can put up the numbers almost effortlessly. See Game 6 against Boston, when he put up a seemingly monstrous triple-double while looking like he was about to shit his pants at any moment.

But what we haven't seen is Lebron's game when he's in full balls-on intense mode. Perhaps the closest we've seen of Lebron in this mode was in the Orlando series in '09, when he tried to carry a flawed and badly coached Cavs team on his back. But we didn't see him thinking to himself, "I'm going to kill these motherfuckers next year". We know what happened in '10, right?

We see the smiling young man, miming taking pictures of his teammates, dancing with them and creating elaborate handshakes. Perhaps the closest champion in this regard was Magic Johnson, who also had that million-watt smile. But what Magic also had was this intensity and desire to win that belied his joyful demeanor. He always had the ability to play however he wanted to - one famous story back in his Mich State days states that he was able to mimic Larry Bird, shooting and all, during a practice when the team was figuring out how to defend Bird in the championship game. However, his actual confidence in his abilities wasn't quite up to par with his talent, especially in the '84 Finals. That is, he couldn't carry the Lakers with his shooting because he thought it wasn't that good. So he worked on it, especially his low-post ability (namely the skyhook). And that's how we got the "junior junior skyhook" in our collective NBA memories.

And Lebron? Well, we see him working on his shooting because he knows that's his weakness - the numbers don't lie. But his low post game has been well-publicized as iffy at best, and I'm not sure Lebron knows and understands that. He sees that he can just drive to the basket whenever he wants, but he's rarely in a position to play in the low post from a standstill. In short, he sees what his advantages are and takes them, but he mostly shirks from confronting his disadvantages. This makes him a glorified role player in this respect.

Blogger Drake said...
cont'd


Theoretically...Lebron can work on the flaws on his game, and he certainly has the ability to improve on them (like he has on his shooting). But does he have the desire to improve? By the indications, if he was quoted correctly recently ("winning is going to be so easy"), I continue to have my reservations. Winning is never supposed to be easy - just ask all of the past NBA champions how easy their roads to the ring were. It becomes easier when you improve your game and learn your role on the team. And by all accounts, his role now is to do those Lebron-type things on the court until it comes time for Wade to take over the game.

If that's the case, there's no way I can even consider Lebron to possible become "better" than MJ, or even simply on par.

Anonymous kazam92 said...
Funny Jordan is forgetting he called Barkley to come out of retirement to play on the Wizards, so rule of thumb: be old and shitty then do it

Anonymous Mladen said...
I'm with Gordon on this one. How come, all of a sudden, "scoring 30 every night" turns into the single, most important superstar trait? Hello? All-around game, anyone?

So, let me guess, LeBron will be a pussy for passing out of a double team to an open Wade/Bosh, or for simply not yanking the ball out of Wade's hands for the game-winning shot?

Look, I agree that by teaming up with Wade, he has officially closed a chapter. We will never know, if LeBron, in his prime, could have won on his own. D-Wade is a guy approximately at the same level of basketball greatness as him, and he already has a championship ring (which he, in all fairness, won with a lot of help...). But, what's so fucking wrong about three awesome basketball players saying: "We don't want to wait 'till we're at the dusk of our careers, just so we can maybe serve as veteran role-players on a championship team. We want to win now, by playing good basketball, as opposed to watching the Finals from the sidelines, and occasionally hitting a shot, while the superstars are having a rest." And, I mean, even that shit doesn't work most of the time. Barkley, Malone and a few others tried to piggyback, and got nothing out of it. In fact, leaving their franchises in pursuit of a title in their "old age", made them look a bit sad. Do you guys seriously think every NBA superstar has to take that route?

Anonymous UpA said...
As BB fans I think most of us are thrilled, either to see an Uber team blasting through America's hardwoods, lashing and bashing opponents up to the pinnacle of Basketball and winning the Trophy or waiting to see how the modern day Basketball Titanic drags to the very bottom by not fulfilling everyones expectations.

But this is pre season garbage time, matched with the fact that the most notorious player in the past 6-7 years, made a show of himself and of the league, he looked for this and that is what he's getting, naming him as "The Chosen 1" and accepting the "King James" apelative is beyond decency, and common sense, if he wants that level of attention, he gets it, both in the form of sublime ass licking and the form of ass kicking, and we, the fans, the costumers are entitled to kick his ass as much as we want, should we already move over it? Yes, but, as long as LBJ keeps bringing crap as "no more pressure on 30 pt nights" or MJ smashing this guys asses around, we should discuss it, this very blog is not a tipical sports blog, this is about the very WORST of pro Basketball, and this IS, the worst, old Superstars reclaiming their spots on history, new Superstars teaming up to get a ring two of them couldn't get on their own, you know, this is BS!

BTW, no, MJ never call it quits on the 7 plus years of not winning rings, having lousy team mates and a coach as bad as sin.

I think that the worst thing that could have happened to Lebron was missing College, there, he would have faced the pain of losing a championship and the hard tmes with lousy team mates, good thing the NBA shut down that non sense of allowing High schoolers into the league, even the 2 most succesful high schoolers, Kobe and KG got their schooling years in the NBA prior to getting to prime.

So bad for LeBron and for the league.

Anonymous Fundefined said...
If they don't win this year, the backlash is going to be quite tasty. Even though I'm a cardcarrying Lebron hater(Wizards fan), I actually like this decision. He's doing the smart move for a goal towards winning instead of building his brand like usual. However even if they win multiple years in a row, Wade will always have one more.

From a pure basketball standpoint, this is going to be Redeem Team lite. Lebron is going to be a ridiculous all rounder while Wade tears it up offensively. It's going to be fun to watch even if I'm rooting against them.

Blogger BadDave said...
Mladen - not true. Karl got a mistreated ACL injury that ended a career that looked like it would have rivaled the Chief's or Alcindor's. That's what he gets for going to the Lakers.

Blogger Sid said...
You can't call them the Nazgul yet. The Nazgul had rings.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
You can't call them the Nazgul yet. The Nazgul had rings.

If I remember my Tolkien correctly, Sauron took back the rings once the Nazgul were fully enslaved. They did not retain possession of the rings themselves, but they were enslaved by the lust for them.

Anonymous gebwel said...
people (or specifically, ESPN) need to stop making ridiculous comparisons. for starter, it's totally baseless comparing lebron's jump to miami as "jordan would never join the pistons just to win a ring". detroit WAS the better team during jordan's early years (in fact, they won 2 championships) whereas cleveland WAS the better team than miami in the last 3-4 years. how many playoffs series has miami won since 2006? probably one. it's not like lebron decided to join them right after the championship season. and it's not like wade could win it all without shaq.
second (and this is to jordan), comparing lebron’s joining wade and bosh in miami to him recruiting bird and magic was even more ridiculous. bird and magic were arguably the league's best players at that time (along with MJ). wade? he's probably only the no.3 or no.4 best player right now. bosh? is he even in the all-nba team last season?
so, in essence, lebron left the best team in the league (from regular season standpoint) to join a mediocre team (miami) with one very good player (wade) and a good complementary player (bosh) to pursue a championship. they still have a lot to do before people can start calling them “the dream team”.

Anonymous UpA said...
@Mladen

"We will never know, if LeBron, in his prime, could have won on his own."

WRONG... we KNOW he couldn't. He had a trip to the Finals and lost two consecutive years in the playoffs playing the LEastern Conference... with the best record team in the season, having rested the last 5 games, any more proof needed? Game, Set, Match.

"approximately at the same level of basketball greatness as him"

DWade at least has a ring, with a worst team than the one LBJ had last season, he IS on a higher level no matter what.

And all of this is caused by LBJ, who claims to be The Chosen 1, is caused by Nike, who proclaimed him as "King", caused by ESPN who worships him as the best in years and years to come, and is caused by the mainstream media who made the Basketball world become LeBronLand.

People wouldn't be that surprised if, say, DWade should have gone to Chicago along with Bosh, but bringing LBJ changes everything, such a douche needs to be pounded.

Blogger M said...
Bawful: true
http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/ringfaq.htm#Q79-SauronHeld

any reference Miami vs Mordor, I am happy to provide (Tolkien-wise that is, not BB-wise) :)

Blogger LotharBot said...
> "this is going to be Redeem Team lite."

IMO that's one big positive of this situation: the Olympic / Worlds team has 3 core players who will be developing chemistry for upwards of 80 games per season.

Now if we could only arrange for CP3 and D12 to be traded to Denver...

Blogger BadDave said...
I'll see you nerds and raise you:

The corrupting effect of the rings extended the bearers' earthly lives far beyond their normal lifespans. Some passages in the novel suggest that the Nazgûl wore their rings, while others suggest that Sauron actually held them.

When Gandalf first taught Frodo Baggins about the Rings of Power, he says "The Nine he had gathered to himself; the Seven also, or else they are destroyed. The Three are hidden still." [1] Also, Galadriel tells Frodo, "You saw the Eye of him that holds the Seven and the Nine." However, at the Council of Elrond, Gandalf says "The Nine the Nazgûl keep."

In other works, however, Tolkien says explicitly that Sauron held the rings:

They would have obeyed . . . any minor command of his that did not interfere with their errand - laid upon them by Sauron, who still through their nine rings (which he held) had primary control of their wills . . . — The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 246

They were by far the most powerful of his servants, and the most suitable for such a mission, since they were entirely enslaved to their Nine Rings, which he now himself held . . . — Unfinished Tales, p. 338

Blogger Sid said...
Yeah, but still, their lust for rings was created by them having possession of rings at one point. Unlike some of the Heat *cough*LeBron*cough*.

Wiki says that it's debatable if they had the rings on them or Sauron took them. On a side note, I just realized I'm officially a nerd now.

Blogger Dan B. said...
BadDave -- Okay, I read the first LOTR book back in high school (it was required summer reading), and I still don't have the slightest clue as to what the fuck you just said. (Man, I hated LOTR... I remember having a deep desire to bash myself in the head with that book hard enough to render me unconscious, since that surely had to be a better alternative to actually reading that confusing, boring shlock.)

Blogger David said...
Why is it that people are ok with superteams being formed when it's through the draft or trades but not via free agency?

You never see people bashing on Bird or Magic for playing on stacked teams with multiple hall of famers.

The reality is that almost every NBA title team in history has had two or three players who'd be considered top 50 of all time.

LeBron never played with anyone who came close to fitting that description and, given Cleveland's lack of draft picks, trade assets, and cap space, there was a very real chance that that sort of help may have never arrived.

It's easy for Jordan to sit there on his high horse and say he would have never joined other greats, but he had a top 50 player in Pippen on his team. As for Barkley, I find it kind of funny that he says he would have never joined another great player considering that he has no rings himself, having done it his way. If I were LeBron I wouldn't want to follow Chuck's example.

Lebron made the right choice. He's finally going to get help from other hall of famers that other all-time great players have received.

Blogger Caleb Smith said...
"Why is it that people are ok with superteams being formed when it's through the draft or trades but not via free agency?"

EXACTLY David. People are basically saying that its fine to have great teammates if they were acquired through the draft, through trading, or through the team you are already on signing them in free agency... but if a player decides to join other great players on a *different* team, suddenly he's a sidekick whose legacy is tarnished forever? Give me a freaking break. That makes NO sense.

As for everyone saying it will still be "Wade's team," that's probably right in some sense... but its a rather ambiguous statement. Certainly the fans in Miami will always love Wade more than anyone else... but Lebron will be the best player on that team, by a little bit at least. I can't stand Lebron, and I hate the way he handled all this... but the reaction to his decision has been full of irrational overreactions and blatant hypocrisy.

Anonymous TransINSANO said...
There are imagined constraints to greatness... number of championships, number of championships as The Man, etc.

For somebody like Jordan, it's important to maintain these kind of old school notions because they keep him up and guys like LeBron down (in terms of historical legacy).


If LeBron wins he wins, I don't care if it's with D. Wade (all the more if LeBron is clearly the team's MVP). But, is winning championships really an imaginary measure or old school notion of greatness? What's the new objective standard exactly?

You're seriously speaking in terms of MJ being "held up" like his championships are just some prop. As if his accomplishments are just hype at LeBron's expense instead of the other way around. The only thing keeping LeBron down is the fact that he's put on a higher pedestal than he's achieved. I know people get too caught up simply counting rings, but it's just as stupid to disregard them. What's LeBron achieved to earn the benefit of the doubt as far as MJ is concerned? Or Russell, Bird, Magic, and even Kobe? They actually already had to earn their championship stripes, one way or another. So, what's worse, taking LeBron's abilities for granted, or taking for granted the actual accomplishments of the all-time greats? Cause that's kind of what we're doing every time we unfairly compare LeBron's place to their place. Unfair to them.

Anonymous Bateman's Legal Counsel said...
Y'all got fake poo?

Blogger Dooj said...
This would make Pat Riley => Sauron. I like calling them Nazgul, but now who it gonna be Frodo? The up-start Thunder?

I feel like I've tried to take this analogy waaay too far.

Blogger David said...
RE - "Wade's team."

I think I could speak for most heat fans when I say that, emotionally, Wade will always be #1 in our hearts.

However, I think most Heat fans would acknowledge that LeBron is the better overall player.

I feel like Wade will end up becoming the lockerroom leader, but any one of the big three could end up doing the crucial scoring down the stretch.

You really can't go wrong by just going to whoever has the best matchup.

Blogger gordon gartrelle said...
The weird thing is, had all three of them somehow managed to land in NJ, NY, LA, CHI (or CLE), this "sidekick" stuff would have no legs.

Why is the fact that Wade has been the best player in MIA and that he won a ring there so important? I don't get it.

Anonymous Bibz said...
Did anyone read Woj's article on yahoo this weekend about the events that lead up to the free agent coup? It was pretty eye opening. Not sure if its all true but if it is its really telling.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=Ar0GGEI0gC.kBS2cBWZe6EO8vLYF?slug=aw-heatfreeagency071610

Blogger BadDave said...
Shenanigans. Wade is a better player. Only because of the drive to win, and perform in the clutch.

When the game's on the line, the Heat should put the ball in LeBron's hands. To pass to Wade.

Anonymous Geert said...
I have no problem with them teaming up, taking less money, the whole 'playing with your buddies' thing et cetera. I also couldn't care less about legacies and how they compare with players from another era.

HOWEVER

The whole hoopla surrounding The Decision, Lebrons 'brand', ego and whatever I really really really don't like.

I think a lot of people see it this way, only they get swept up in the 'his legacy is tarnished and he is weak' and 'Lebron is awesome even if he eats babies' camps. I guess they don't kow the right, levelheaded blogs ;)

So I'm not sure yet weather to root for Miami. I like Wade and Bosh, James, explained above, not so.

The Lord of the Rings stuff? Keep it coming.

Blogger M said...
Always thought Redick looked a bit like a movie Frodo :D

Redick - Frodo
Stan van Gundy - Gandalf? ("You cannot pass!")
Howard - Aragorn?!
Vince Carter - Boromir! (repay your wrongs, son of ... Gondor)

Blogger Dan B. said...
I hate to sound like a broken record and keep linking to Straight Cash Homey bad jerseys, but they just keep bringing the heat, so to speak.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I don't know - the Hollywood Hogan reference is a good one, but I prefer the Rockers break up between Marty Jannetti and Shawn Michaels.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCljiGVZ5fE

The slow build up of ego, the tension, and then a televised special ending in blood. Sounds about right to me.

Anonymous Mladen said...
@UpA, or uPa, or whatever...:

First of all, man, I think it's quite dubious that you're calling Kobe and KG the most successful high-schoolers in the NBA. I'm assuming you'll use the rings as an argument? The rings that Kobe won as a sidekick on a team with the Most Dominant Ever (while he was still dominant, and not a fat tub of lard), or the ones he won with another star player (who's at least Bosh's equal)? Or the one ring KG managed to win, when he basically did what LeBron did, except it was at the down-hill phase of his career (and it was via trade, so it's totally acceptable)?

Look, I'm not trying to pick a fight here, but I think your hatred for LeBron (a.k.a. the guy who probably prevented your precious Lakers from three-peating) is blinding you.

First of all: While I would like to agree with you that James would have never won a title with that Cleveland team, even with the awesome roster, consisting of such colossal players as Mo Williams, Delonte "Bi-polar disorder" West, and Anderson Varejao, I just can't say that. The dude took his team to the playoffs in his third season. They were eliminated by the Detroit Pistons, who were not only the reigning Eastern Conference champions, but also sported one of the toughest defenses in the league. He still took them to seven games, with a team, which could only be classified as "shitty". For comparison, in his third season, Kobe was finally considered one of the better SG's of the league, and started getting significant minutes. Yet, his Lakers got swept by the Spurs in the semis. Also, while not attempting to belittle Jordan's first three seasons (the Bulls made it to the playoffs each of those years, and M.J. had that 63-point explosion against the Celtics...which, coincidentally, didn't help him to avoid being swept...so much about scoring a lot being the most important trait of a champion), but...in his third season, his Bulls were the 8th seed, and got swept in the first round by the Celtics. James went on to take his shitty team to the playoffs for the rest of his tenure in Cleveland, taking them to the Finals the very next year, where he *gasp* failed to single-handedly take down this little team called the San Antonio Spurs. In 2008, he took the fuckin' Big Three to 7 games, while trusting guys like Sasha Pavlovic to take crucial shots. Yeah, in 2009, they were embarrassed by the Magic, but that Orlando team had three very important things that allowed them to beat the Cavs (and subsequently get their assess whooped by the Lakers): 1. A dominant big man (at least until he met two guys named Pau and Andy) 2. Lots, and I mean lots of three-point shooters 3. An actual coach, who had actual offensive plays (and also looked like Ron Jeremy, which probably freaked Bron out). The Cavaliers had nobody who could stand up to Howard in the paint, and Mo Williams, who was supposed to be the second most potent scorer on that team, disappeared under the pressure. This year, LeBron had "reinforcements", in the form of that big fat dude I mentioned earlier, and Antawn Jamison, who disappointed me beyond belief. I'm not taking anything away from the Celtics, though: they kicked ass. They knew this was probably their last title run with that roster, and they made it count. It took a pretty impressive Lakers team, with Kobe, Pau, Ron Ron, Odom, Fish, and Bynum to beat them...But yeah...LeBron is just a loser.

Anonymous Mladen said...
@UpA, or uPa, or whatever...:

First of all, man, I think it's quite dubious that you're calling Kobe and KG the most successful high-schoolers in the NBA. I'm assuming you'll use the rings as an argument? The rings that Kobe won as a sidekick on a team with the Most Dominant Ever (while he was still dominant, and not a fat tub of lard), or the ones he won with another star player (who's at least Bosh's equal)? Or the one ring KG managed to win, when he basically did what LeBron did, except it was at the down-hill phase of his career (and it was via trade, so it's totally acceptable)?

Look, I'm not trying to pick a fight here, but I think your hatred for LeBron (a.k.a. the guy who probably prevented your precious Lakers from three-peating) is blinding you.

First of all: While I would like to agree with you that James would have never won a title with that Cleveland team, even with the awesome roster, consisting of such colossal players as Mo Williams, Delonte "Bi-polar disorder" West, and Anderson Varejao, I just can't say that. The dude took his team to the playoffs in his third season. They were eliminated by the Detroit Pistons, who were not only the reigning Eastern Conference champions, but also sported one of the toughest defenses in the league. He still took them to seven games, with a team, which could only be classified as "shitty". For comparison, in his third season, Kobe was finally considered one of the better SG's of the league, and started getting significant minutes. Yet, his Lakers got swept by the Spurs in the semis. Also, while not attempting to belittle Jordan's first three seasons (the Bulls made it to the playoffs each of those years, and M.J. had that 63-point explosion against the Celtics...which, coincidentally, didn't help him to avoid being swept...so much about scoring a lot being the most important trait of a champion), but...in his third season, his Bulls were the 8th seed, and got swept in the first round by the Celtics. James went on to take his shitty team to the playoffs for the rest of his tenure in Cleveland, taking them to the Finals the very next year, where he *gasp* failed to single-handedly take down this little team called the San Antonio Spurs. In 2008, he took the fuckin' Big Three to 7 games, while trusting guys like Sasha Pavlovic to take crucial shots. Yeah, in 2009, they were embarrassed by the Magic, but that Orlando team had three very important things that allowed them to beat the Cavs (and subsequently get their assess whooped by the Lakers): 1. A dominant big man (at least until he met two guys named Pau and Andy) 2. Lots, and I mean lots of three-point shooters 3. An actual coach, who had actual offensive plays (and also looked like Ron Jeremy, which probably freaked Bron out). The Cavaliers had nobody who could stand up to Howard in the paint, and Mo Williams, who was supposed to be the second most potent scorer on that team, disappeared under the pressure. This year, LeBron had "reinforcements", in the form of that big fat dude I mentioned earlier, and Antawn Jamison, who disappointed me beyond belief. I'm not taking anything away from the Celtics, though: they kicked ass. They knew this was probably their last title run with that roster, and they made it count. It took a pretty impressive Lakers team, with Kobe, Pau, Ron Ron, Odom, Fish, and Bynum to beat them...But yeah...LeBron is just a loser.

Anonymous Mladen said...
Continued:

This year, LeBron had "reinforcements", in the form of that big fat dude I mentioned earlier, and Antawn Jamison, who disappointed me beyond belief. I'm not taking anything away from the Celtics, though: they kicked ass. They knew this was probably their last title run with that roster, and they made it count. It took a pretty impressive Lakers team, with Kobe, Pau, Ron Ron, Odom, Fish, and Bynum to beat them...But yeah...LeBron is just a loser.

Secondly: Your "DWade at least has a ring, with a worst team than the one LBJ had last season, he IS on a higher level no matter what." argument is, at the very least, ridiculous. I'm wasting time writing this, but, what the hell: That 2006 Heat team was built for winning a championship. Yeah, sure, only one, or maaaybe two, but it was still a championship team. Shaq was still useful, and in reasonable shape. They had James Posey hounding their opponent's best scorers, and Gary Payton popping in to make a crucial shot, or two. Jason Williams wasn't too shabby, either, and even Antoine "Shimmy" Walker played well. They were an older, lousier version of the 2008 Celtics. Not to mention that they had Alonzo Mourning. That's hardly a worse team than this season's Cavs.

I don't get you Americans. You get worked up about the stupidest things. "Ooh, he just dumped his team on National TV! Oh, the humanity!" I say, stop being such drama queens, and just look forward to a season of good basketball.

Anonymous Bill Foster said...
I see that Henry Abbott over at Truehoop can't help but gag a little bit more on Lebron's schlong pointing out that: "hey idon't worry about not being The Man Lebron because you're the better GM".

What the fuck, Henry Abbott? What the fuck Truehoop? What the fuck ESPN? I appreciate that ESPN is trying to protect their financial investment in the NBA, but to paint The Decision as anything other than a narcisstic, classless, distasteless cop-out is not only wrong, it's plain disingenous.

Kahnwatch: He's only gone and signed yet another fucking point guard (Ridnour). Basketbawful, I hate to write this, but I think Kahn's ruined any chance you had on manipulating the journalists route into an NBA front office. Bastard.

Blogger lordhenry said...
"I hope Varejao clotheslines the Witch-Crab of Angmar this season, McHale style."

It would be even better if varejao somehow flopped during it and got the offensive foul to boot.

Though I will always think of Lebron as the "Lebitch-king of Angmar."

Does this make Pat Riley Sauron?

Worse, if Pat Riley is Sauron, does this make Phil Jackson Feanor, the legendary craftsman of the rings of power, since in LOTR Sauron stole the secrets of the rings so he could make his own?

As in, folks always say "Phil only won cuz he had Jordan and Pippen."

"Then Phil had Kobe and Shaq"

"Now PHil has Kobe and Giftsol"

So Riley, in his jealousy, saw the formula and has decided to make his own ring of power? (The Super Friends/Nazgul/Hate Trifecta)

Just a thought.

Blogger Vasco said...
Drake:
Please tell me you're kidding. Kobe is a great player, but he's not as good as MJ.
I am not. I try to imagine the two playing at their best against each other and I can't see Jordan's edge.
LeBron on the other hand... the guy is just superior. But I need to see him win those championships.

if he was quoted correctly recently ("winning is going to be so easy")
He envisions a day where he will shoot 4-15 or 6-24 and still win the game. He was exausted of having his back against the wall at all times. Now he's just excited.

b r christensen:
perhaps the real lesson here is to not get stupid fucking tattoos that you will most likely regret at some point in later life. -laughed hard at this

At the whole "Wade's team", "Wade's will to win", "Wade's whatever"-
You people are all out of your mind. Fantastic player, one of the best and most exciting in the NBA but LeBron is just better.
Sure Wade has a championship with J.Williams, U.Haslem, A.Walker, S.O'Neal, J.Posey, G.Payton and A. Mourning but LeBron took D.Gibson, S.Pavlovic, D.Gooden, Z.Ilgauskas, A.Varejao, D.Jones and D.Marshall to the finals. Wade did play 50 games in that Heat team that finished 15-67, last in the NBA in 07-08. And if you want to talk about individual performances LeBron has a few that Wade will probably never match.

Blogger Brandon said...
This whole thing is such crap. Sure, MJ, if you'd been stuck in Cleveland for 7 years with zero All-Star teammates and little to no hope of ever getting one, you would have stayed there forever.

Easy to say that now.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
STOP THE PRESS

Darnell "Laction" Jackson goes to Sac-Town!!

That sound you hear is chris throwing a block party to celebrate!

WV- "herped" as in: don't get herped when you go to Vegas. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas- except for herpes. That shit comes back.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
I don't get you Americans. You get worked up about the stupidest things.

1) Um... you just wrote about 1000 words (tl;dr) in a heated comment that needed to be divided into two posts.

Sooooo... who's getting worked up about stupid things now?

2) America has nothing to do with it, but nice troll anyway. Are you sure you didn't mean to post this on "Ball Don't Lie" right after you exclaimed "FIRST!!!11!!1!!"

Anonymous UpA said...
@Mladen

I never take internet arguments personal, so no worries about the fighting thing.

First of all, yes, I'm a Lakers fan, (which automatically makes me a bad basketball analyst/fan by some prejudices, I take it), eventhough, the facts are clear as water.

And for the sake of this conversation, I never brought any Kobe vs LeBron comparison to the table, you did it.

And, by naming KB & KG the best high schoolers in recent years, you may not like rings, ok, what about awards? do you like MVP for KB and Finals MVP x2 (which we know is the one that really counts) and All star game MVP?, and MVP and Def Player of the year and All star MVP fot KG? Do you like those? Add those awards, which, in the long run will be just "quick facts" about those guys, to their rings and kabum, you got the 2 best high-school to NBA best players around.

As any other guy who's been out of a cave in the last 7 years, I DO know LeBron is a force of nature, a naturally gifted player and a very very complete athlete, BUT... with all of this background, he couldn't win a ring, and let me tell you, history is written by the winners, (ha, didn't know that right?), and the fact that you so easily discard the role players LeBron had in each of his 7 teams reflects the fact that LeBron could never raise the potential of those guys as it happened when he could not get a Gold Medal twice, with the best teammates around, until guess who came to rescue him...

It really amazes me how people deminish players of the NBA based on their argumental points, the 2006 Miami Heat roster was full with B+ talent, and had a B+ Shaq and a A++ Wade whom made his teammates work their asses all the way to the top. Please, look at this: http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/MIA/2006.html

And tell me if you would build a Championship calliber team with those players (even then).

And the fact that you think that a team that can win 60+ games on a season is not talented enough to get a ring is shocking, man by man, the Cavs were younger/better than those Heat and even better than this year's Celtics. But now that those guys are losers we can call them Bipolars and dissapeared right? Guess what, MJ, KB, The Big Three, Magic, Kareem, West, Russell, Hakeem, Bird, Robinson, Duncan and the rest of the Alpha dogs in the history were able to, either by slapping their asses or by truly inspiration, raise their teammates performance, but I'll let you think that Odom, Fisher, Farmar or Bynum are All Stars as well as Brown, Walton or DJ MBenga, just for the rest of the world knows that Kobe is a slacker and only piggybacks on championships... as well as (I do hate this) the best ball hoager in the recent years.

Chill down dude

Anonymous TransINSANO said...
Still not understanding why people feel the need to so vehemently attack or defend this guy's legacy when he doesn't even have one yet? It's obviously too soon to write LeBron off like some are (if he wins a ton in Miami, nobody will care who with, and as Kobe proved, to the winners go the good press), but all these convoluted projections to compare him to Jordan and Magic right now because he puts up crazy numbers are ridiculous. Those guys are who they are because they won, LeBron's going to be judged by the same standard. So, everyone can stop crunching the numbers and quantifying the teammates, good or bad. If he wins some rings and finals MVPs, whatever the circumstances, he'll find a place among the all-time greats, and deservedly. If not, forget the Mega-Pippen, he'll be the Mega-Barkley, which sounds like some awesome city-destroying monster, but is actually fueled by sadness and regret.

Blogger Drake said...
Vasco:

I am not. I try to imagine the two playing at their best against each other and I can't see Jordan's edge.
LeBron on the other hand... the guy is just superior. But I need to see him win those championships.


Then try harder. MJ has many, many advantages:
(1) His enormous hands compared with Kobe's relatively girlish hands. That allowed him to take contact and finish just about better than anybody close to his size. Kobe does well with his hands, but his smaller hands size still hurts him when it comes to finishing (and ball handling).
(2) Strength. Jordan was just one strong motherfucker. Kobe is very strong as well, just not as strong as MJ was.
(3) Overall balance in pulling off his moves. Just watching MJ in his latter, less athletic stage is a joy to behold - pulling up and shooting his midrange J at so many different angles, as well as his post-up repertoire. Of course, it's not like his midrange J was chopped liver during the Bulls' first three-peat - he kept improving it every year since he came into the league, only that it became totally automatic in his later years.

In many ways, MJ's superior balance comes from his ability to control the ball with his huge hands. Kobe's balance is great, but not at MJ's level.

The only true advantage I can see from Kobe is in his three-point shooting ability. Otherwise, MJ has almost all of the advantages. And remember - MJ played during a time when handchecking was allowed and encouraged. Kobe has had it relatively easy ever since the defensive rules have reduced defensive players could actually do.

Don't get me wrong - these are both great one-on-one players. But MJ is still superior.


LeBron on the other hand... the guy is just superior. But I need to see him win those championships.

Lebron, again, has the potential to be superior. But in the present, he isn't on the Kobe/MJ level when it comes to one-on-one play. He has no post game, his defense may be iffier (due to his large mass), and his jump shot is suspect. His only real weapon is when he bowls straight towards the hoop at full speed, and that only counts if you don't call an offensive foul on him for lowering his shoulders into his defenders (which he does frequently).

But we're probably not talking about one-on-one play. His true superiority, besides his tantalizing size, speed, and athleticism, comes from his court vision and passing ability. Unfortunately, this ability was largely suppressed because the Cavs' offense consisted of the "Lebron getting the ball at the top of the key and isolating his defender" special. His true value, IMO, will come when he's allowed to play a Magic Johnson role in a flowing offense, since it will allow him to use his gifts to a maximum.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure if it may ever happen because:
(a) the Cavs' putrid offensive schemes may have hurt his game development permanently
(b) he hasn't shown the ability to add new elements to his game like Kobe or , heck, David Lee have. Either that, or he hasn't shown the desire to improve.

He envisions a day where he will shoot 4-15 or 6-24 and still win the game. He was exausted of having his back against the wall at all times. Now he's just excited.

Okay...go ahead and ask MJ or Kobe whether it was easy to win even those games. Geez...you make it sound like they were relaxing in a fucking sauna while their teammates battled on to win those games.

Does having good teammates make your ability to win easier? Absolutely. But it doesn't make it "so easy". You need to work your motherfucking ass even harder because your team now has a target on its back, and every team with a chip on its shoulder is looking to kick your asses. And this goes for Miami nowadays for many reasons, although having won a championship isn't one of them (Wade's doesn't count, just because).

Blogger Drake said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger 80's NBA said...
Drake said:
"But what Magic also had was this intensity and desire to win that belied his joyful demeanor."

-------------------

One of my all-time favorite clips of Magic Johnson is from the intro to Game 7 of the 1988 Finals. Players were talking about the emotional aspects of playing a Game 7 for the championship.

Go to the 4:56 mark of this video...
1988 NBA Finals, Game 7 Intro

Magic said, "The intesity level is unbelievable, but..." Pay attention to the second part of what he says. The essence of Magic Johnson is summed up not only in what he says next, but how he says it. Lebron might one day say the same words, but he'll never believe it. Nor will we, if he ever says it.

Blogger chris said...
DARNELL "LACKTION" JACKSON! YES!

He will guide the Purple Paupers to victory!

His mere presence will make DMC play defense, Tyreke the Freak lay down the Chaos Dunk, and allow Paul Westphal to outcoach championship coaching minds such as Kevin Garnett!

CAPTCHA: "cities," i.e. "The cities of Akron and Cleveland will never be welcoming to King Crab again."

Anonymous Mladen said...
Damn, now I have to waste some more time...fuck me for getting baited into on-line discussions.

@AK Dave:
See, that's another typically American thing - anytime somebody posts something you don't like, call him a troll. What I said, I meant. You guys live in a fucked up society as it is. You watch reality shows, your kids eat up the Twilight and Justin Bieber crap, and your celebrities these days, are people who became famous for having mediocre, lack-luster sex on camera, and later distributing it (and those are the ones that actually did something - there's a ton of them, whose celebrity status puzzles me). What I'm trying to say is, that in this superficial society, it comes as no surprise that you would crucify an athlete, simply because he "seems like a douchebag", which you base, of course, on what you see on TV. So, of course, nothing he did prior to that one-hour special matters. Further more, you'll suddenly all realize that there have been a ton of things bothering you about him, that you didn't mention before (when he was stuck on a crappy team, with very little chance of winning a title). It seems that what a player does/says off-court, even if he's just being stupid/egotistical, without, you know, actually hurting anyone (and don't mention the people of Cleveland, please, I'm sick of them) is more important than his skills, his stats, and his on-court presence.
That's why I'm also pissed that D-Wade now has to apologize for the 9/11 reference. Fuck that! Why shouldn't he be able to mention the WTC? What kind of democracy do you live in? I'm guessing, if he hadn't issued an official apology, he'd suddenly also become known around here as a "solid player, who never had what it takes to carry a team on his own, who' also kind of a dick".

You're right, I do tend to write too much. But I didn't get worked up over "The Decision", which I didn't even watch (I just logged on to NBA.com the next day to see the guy's decision). I got worked up (which was, I admit a mistake) by stupidity and hypocrisy.

Anonymous Mladen said...
(Sorry if this is a double-post.)
@AK Dave:
See, that's another typically American thing - anytime somebody posts something you don't like, call him a troll. What I said, I meant. You guys live in a fucked up society as it is. You watch reality shows, your kids eat up the Twilight and Justin Bieber crap, and your celebrities these days, are people who became famous for having mediocre, lack-luster sex on camera, and later distributing it (and those are the ones that actually did something - there's a ton of them, whose celebrity status puzzles me). What I'm trying to say is, that in this superficial society, it comes as no surprise that you would crucify an athlete, simply because he "seems like a douchebag", which you base, of course, on what you see on TV. So, of course, nothing he did prior to that one-hour special matters. Further more, you'll suddenly all realize that there have been a ton of things bothering you about him, that you didn't mention before (when he was stuck on a crappy team, with very little chance of winning a title). It seems that what a player does/says off-court, even if he's just being stupid/egotistical, without, you know, actually hurting anyone (and don't mention the people of Cleveland, please, I'm sick of them) is more important than his skills, his stats, and his on-court presence.
That's why I'm also pissed that D-Wade now has to apologize for the 9/11 reference. Fuck that! Why shouldn't he be able to mention the WTC? What kind of democracy do you live in? I'm guessing, if he hadn't issued an official apology, he'd suddenly also become known around here as a "solid player, who never had what it takes to carry a team on his own, who' also kind of a dick".

You're right, I do tend to write too much. But I didn't get worked up over "The Decision", which I didn't even watch (I just logged on to NBA.com the next day to see the guy's decision). I got worked up (which was, I admit a mistake) by stupidity and hypocrisy.

Anonymous greggrant said...
Criticizing this LeBron guy and hating Miami for what is a well-known and widely adored team setup is ridiculous. Surely in the past decade there were no megateams like this in the league, but consider this: in the 80s there were the Celtics and Lakers loaded with multiple all-star caliber players. Then in the 90s we had the Bulls where people only mention Jordan and Pippen while Horace Grant and Dennis Rodman were also essential and very-very good players (just like Bosh in Miami's trio).
Also, many tend to forget the fact that Jordan didn't win anything until a certain sidekick grew into his role perfectly and had that Jackson guy on the sidelines, which coincided with the end of the abovementioned Lakers and Celtics dynasties (the Pistons started to falter as well). Until then he alone wasn't enough to beat the Celtics and Pistons of the 80s. For 6 years. How old was he when he won the first championship? Some 28? And how old LeBron is now? Whatever. I don't really like either guy's personality, but pleeease, give this self-proclaimed King some leeway here.

Anonymous Mladen said...
@UpA:

Well, I'm not a big fan of that preconception. I was just hinting (not so subtly) that your judgment might be clouded (as it seems to be) by your love of a team most people hate. (I personally just don't like to see them win titles, but when they do, they usually earn them, so I'm able to deal with it.)

Still, you have no arguments, dude. You must have known, while writing your comment, that listing awards was a pretty stupid tactic in trying to prove these guys are better than James. All Star MVP's? Yeah, LBJ has two, one of which he won as the youngest player yet to do so. Season MVP's? Do you want to go there? Also, I would hardly say that the NBA Finals MVP "is the one that really counts". Take a look at the past. Championship teams win the title with team effort, not thanks to one guy going supernova and destroying the other team in 4 games. Hell, if it was only up to Kobe, the Celtics might have actually won the title this year.Yet, the dude won Finals MVP, because they have to give it to someone, and Pau is just way too ugly (that was the official NBA statement, I looked it up). Let's not start listing those "All-NBA Team" references, 'cause all three guys have plenty of them.

As for the American teams that failed to win gold medals: they failed because they all took the international competition too lightly. They just figured they were a bunch of superstars, who would walk trough the tournament and take home the medals. Oh, and it's so sweet of you to suddenly pin everything on James, even though this team, as you admitted yourself, had actual, top-level talent. Not to mention, that at the previous Olympics, he was coming off the bench, and was considered more of a role-player, like Wade and Anthony. (The most minutes he got was 27 against freaking Angola. Otherwise, his minutes went more along the lines of: 12, 11, 18, 6...) This was also the team that featured Stephon Marbury, who got twice as many minutes.

Also, providing that 2006 Miami roster is a cheap shot. Of course it doesn't look intimidating today, 4 years later, with some of these guys out of the league, and the others deteriorated. Back then, it was a move that caused a stirrup similar to this summer's "free agent coup".

There's only so much a superstar can do to inspire his team. You can say what you want, but prior to Gasol's arrival, Kobe had the chance to do the same thing you're criticizing LBJ of not doing, and he failed. Don't even get me started on KG. Oh, and I bet it was really hard for MJ to motivate Pippen, Rodman, Kukoc, Harper and the rest of the guys to win. Poor dude...

Anonymous Shiv said...
This has once again turned into a Kobe vs Lebron debate, but while we're on the topic...

LOL @ not being able to see how MJ was better than Kobe. Drake covered the topic pretty thoroughly but percentage-wise MJ wasn't even all that worse than Kobe. He shot 3's just as well, he just didn't shoot them as often.

And you forget athleticism. Jordan was a physical freak even towards the end of his career. Kobe, not so much. He's a great athlete yes, maybe even in the top 10% in his prime, but he's never been in the absolute top echelon. Jordan on the hand was a physical marvel. I remember watching the 92 ASG and noticing how much Jordan stood out athletically compared to everyone else. He moved quicker, jumped higher and didn't even seem to be exerting himself. I know this has nothing to do with being a good basketball player, but it has a lot to do with being a better basketball player. Even if you believe that Kobe is skill-wise Jordan's equal, Jordan was a better athlete.

Anonymous Barry said...
Darnell! The true highlight of this Free Agent period.

Regarding Jordan and quitting, I found the quote regarding to that (by Bawful himself):

"Part of the reason I said Jordan's '88 MVP was dubious, well, you would have had to have lived through it, like I did. There was a lot of sentiment around the league for Jordan that season. He was great -- there was no questioning that -- but it was felt by many (belive it or not) that he would never win an NBA title, either because of the deficiencies of his teammates or because he simply didn't know how to win. And Jordan himself was getting increasingly unhappy with the situation. He was openly hostile toward Magic Johnson and dismissive toward other greats like Bird and Isiah. He even suggested he might retire prematurely if things didn't turn around. Then it was like the league went on a "Save Mike" campaign. This culminated in him getting every conceivable aware: All-Star MVP, the Slam Dunk title, Defensive Player of the Year, MVP. The Slam Dunk title...well, look, Dominque was robbed, but the All-Star game took place in Chicago"

Anonymous Mladen said...
@Barry:
This just proves how some parts of sports history are quickly forgotten, and how easily people forget what pro-athletes say and do, as long as the final overall impression is good, especially title-wise. =)

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Guys, just a question..

Who would you want your children to learn basketball from? Kobe or LeBron?..

Hope you just answer in pure basketball sense.. not as a fan..

Blogger Vasco said...
@Shiv, @Drake
You guys provided some good arguments and you convinced me. OK so Jordan was better than Kobe.

This may not surprise you but I only started to follow closely the NBA around 2005. So maybe now its easier for you to understand my love for LeBron. He is the most dominant guy I've seen.

I've watched Jordan games and O'Neal games in their primes and well I guess that these kind of opinions can never be completely rational but LeBron seems to me more dominant than any other guy that has played. Wilt, Russell, Robertson, well I don't count those guys because they lived in the middle ages.

Anonymous CloudNINE said...
So, my brother's GF is from the area right around Akron, OH. Also happens that this girl was one of those student "athletic trainers" while in HS(taping up ankles and the like). She told me about a time where Lebron was at her HS playing a little ball when he tweaked his ankle, so she was the one who had to take care of it, and she said that he was the biggest douche she ever met in person. Sure, I'm just taking it for what it's worth via word of mouth, but at least it gives me some reason, besides what I see watching TV, to see him as a douche.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Simmons or someone retweeted something about Generation X not understanding Generation Y in this Heat scenario. Even in Jordan's answer it seems he can atleast see the change in times, as I can see how those growing up with Bird and Magic would keep playing the "Jordan never would have done this" argument.

tl;dr fuck y'all old people this is gonna be awesome.

Anonymous The Other Chris said...
@Mladen

You have an axe to grind with the United States that has nothing to do with basketball. Good for you. Europeans have plenty of their own trash to go around - Big Brother, Eurovision, obsession with footballer's wives, Sarkozy and Burlesconi's shenanigans, etc., etc., etc. Maybe he's calling you a troll because you write like a troll. If you want to have a basketball discussion, then stick to that and don't start calling people morons because people they happen to live next too like crappy television shows. Who cares?

I don't care that LeBron went to Miami, I agree that it makes for interesting basketball next season. "The Decision" itself was unbelievably douchey, egomaniacal and ill-advised. End of story.

In more important news I'm hoping my Craptors can find a way to sign Matt Barnes. But only if is contractually obligated to rock a mohawk for playoff games.

There is a difference between building a team through draft/trade and through free agency. GMs draft (with a fair amount of luck on their side, from the lottery), and they make trades (sometimes players force them, but the GMs are the ones who make it work). Front office guys have no loyalty to legacy, their job is to build a winning team. That's all anyone remembers them for.

Free agency is a player's decision. Sure, it's limited to who can afford them, but they're the ones who decide who can afford them. As much as we like to say that we want players to be all about winning, it's a load of crap. We want them to win excitingly, we want them to win with a good narrative. Why else did the Spurs, who were such a good team for so long, draw such crappy ratings for the NBA finals? Unless you're from San Antonio, why do you care whether they win or lose?

The 800lb gorilla in the sports media room is that sports, inherently, don't mean shit. Any cultural importance they have is defined by the audience, and what they want to see. It's the media's job to set up the narrative that makes sports interesting. Jordan had a narrative. That's why no NBA game has beaten the ratings for his last Bulls finals game.

For the last 8 years or so, there has been a huge setup of LeBron's narrative, The King, The Chosen 1, the Next Big Thing, led by ESPN and LeBron himself. The thing that's pissing people off (well, me, at least) has nothing to do with whether this team will play solid, entertaining basketball. It has to do with the last few months, as LeBron took a crap all over his narrative. "Kings" are not "one of the guys". Now, why should I give a shit whether he wins or not? Why should I watch any of the Heat games, when I can just catch the highlights on SportsCenter? Maybe something else will develop, but right now, I've got nothing.

Anonymous Mladen said...
@The Other Chris:

And what does "The Decision", a.k.a. the reason most of you seem to be citing as the reason you hate LeBron, have to do with actual basketball? It was a TV special, nothing better than most of the trash on TV, yet it's all you guys are talking about ever since it happened. How does discussing his "douchness", and what kind of shirt he wore, and what he said, qualify as a basketball discussion.

If I hurt somebody's feelings, tough luck. Newsflash for you: most of the world dislikes the States now (and has been doing so, for a long period of time now), and for a lot of good reasons. It's interesting, though, how, when you guys throw around insulting generalizations about other nations, then it's okay, because you're cool and all... Boo freaking hoo...

P.S.: You're a Raptors fan? My sincere condolences.

Anonymous UpA said...
Hey Mladen, calm down bro, we are just a bunch of guys making fun of guys who make millions and millions of dollars and never give a shit about what we think about them.

This is no the UN and we are not planning on invading a country or planning a terrorist attack on Miami, as far as I know nobody has ever insulted any nation here and any politic stance is something we surely don't care of.

This is my personal view on why LeBron, despite his numbers is a douche and more importantly may never be considered GOAT.

1. Claims to be The King, although he is only King of Marketing, not Basketball.

2. Even being the most complete athlete of the era he has not lived up to the expectations and failed to win an NBA Championship & 2 Gold Medals (bench or not, he was there)

3. Media overexposure.

4. He can get all of the rings he can with the Heat, but Jordan never gave up on the Bulls, and the GM suppported him to get those championships. (as well as Cleveland supported his guy, though, they made bad decissions)

5. The Decision, something you apparently think that we are mad about (which we clearly are over), is not about the show itself, it's about how he has turned himself into an egomaniac and he is so focused on getting the spotlight over him that he is getting what he asked for, he wanted exposure over him, he's got it, we are going to get him pounded over such an idiotic way to handle his transfer.

Anonymous AK Dave said...

Blogger geremy said...
can we officially call lebron "number two" from now on??? it would make me feel better. simply by doing so it makes comparisons pointless. for example "who is better, lebron or kobe"? "you mean kobe or number two?" see! argument solves itself!

fantastic post, bawful. here's to watching the remainder of Number 2's career.

Anonymous Mladen said...
@UpA:
It's cool - I just made some comments about the society in the States, which you guys somehow felt was an attack on you, based on your nationality. What I'm trying to say, and I'll say it in a nutshell (and nobody will probably read it, because Bawful posted a gargantuan update, and everybody's already commenting over there):
You guys are busting his chops because it's the cool thing to do right now. I respect your opinions (as flawed as I think they are), but to me, you come off as those elementary school kids, who gain up on some kid, because he sticks out, and that makes him an easy target. Your reasoning is selective, as you only choose to see and hear what you want, and discard any counter-arguments. My personal opinion is that, although the titles he wins with Miami won't be as respect-worthy as the ones he hypothetically could have won with Cleveland, it still won't diminish his legacy. He is, in fact, the only one who can screw this up, but not by acting like a douche off-court (I don't care about that), but by playing lousy basketball, which he is yet to do.

@AK Dave:
Fucks to you! I'm big like Pepsi can, and I have sexy time with your wife!

Anonymous Matt said...
@Mladen

Hey, I'm still reading here!

The reason some people probably felt like your comments were an attack was becuase they were derogatory generalizations, but you intertwined them with comments about what people here (on this site) have been doing/saying. It was a very short jump for the readers to imply (and, honestly, it didn't even seem like you were implying as much as you were flat out sayin') that the generalizations applied to the commenters on this thread/site.

As a good example, check out your response to AK Dave where you start off by saying "See that's another typically American thing". (It doesn't take a reading comprehension master to figure out that you're about to say something unflattering about what AK Dave just said).

I think the problem is that you're not checking your bias at the door (notice your comments about how the rest of the world doesn't like the US - it certainly seems like you share that view) and you're making an assumption that the negative behavior of society at large has a much larger impact than it actually does.

And let's face it: EVERYONE's celebrities are, on the whole, a bunch of vapid, self-absorbed, out-of-touch idiots. That's true no matter where you go, so implying that the inexplicable fame of Paris Hilton (as opposed to the celebrity of Amy Winehouse) somehow makes me incapable of forming a coherent thought about LeBron is an argument without any legs. Frankly, the implication that, because far too many people in my country consider Ashton Kutcher worth following, I am somehow personally dumber for it, IS insulting. You shouldn't be surprised when someone considers it a personal attack when, in a roundabout way, you call them an idiot or a sheep.

Anonymous Scott said...
It's all about egos. Hey, Magic had one, didn't he pretty much getting rid of Paul Westhead (AFTER A FIVE GAME WINNING STREAK, NO LESS!)? And didn't Jordan can Doug Collins despite two winning seasons an a final four appearance in '89?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tC6H-lazfrY

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