Posts Tagged ‘Boston Celtics’

LeBron James: A Complex, Paradoxical Sports Oxymoron

June 9, 2012

Don’t let the title fool you. It’s all going to be okay. Yes, I do have a weird thirst for using the letter “x” in my descriptive verbage.

And yes, I’m about to reach farther for this comparison than Skip Bayless does for his own high school accolades: It’s only because LeBron is the X-Factor in tonight’s game! Hah!

Hey…laugh! I’m funny, okay?

Now that I’ve lost you, let me explain. There is a method to the madness of essentially titling my piece “LeBron James: Confusing.”

And it has nothing to do with his notorious disappearing acts at his teams’ most critical junctures in previous playoff appearances.

Instead, I’m going to talk a traditional mechanism employed by millions of housewives, girlfriends, fair weather and apathetic sports fans everywhere.

I’m talking about rooting for the “underdog,” also known as the team that isn’t favored by Vegas odds makers or “just seem like good guys” or are playing the Yankees.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m a sucker for a good underdog story. I have a hard time rooting against the small market Rays in baseball, and George Mason’s 2009 Final Four run nearly brought me to my knees.

And there  is a certain allure to being labeled an “underdog,” that may actually spark a swell of confidence and self-belief and ultimately lead to a better game performance, possibly even an upset victory. But fact is, most teams who are favored to lose, well…lose.

My question is for all you LeBron haters out there. He is the epitome of a Goliath in this little David versus Goliath dream world you conjure up in every way imaginable.

But when so many root against him, doesn’t that completely, paradoxically, oxymoronically (I like this word so much that I made it up, raised it as my own, and will use it freely. Thank you.) turn the tables?

Doesn’t this make LeBron the underdog?

If it’s cliché to root for Goliath, but fully acceptable to root for the opponent who has been beaten, battered and bruised by hardship, can’t it go both ways?

That is, if LeBron is Goliath but falls into the beaten (has yet to win a title), battered (has shouldered the largest responsibility for both teams he’s been on) and bruised (absolutely destroyed by fans for The Decision to move to Miami) categories, isn’t he essentially David?

Told ya it would be complex.

Normally the story would end with David slaying Goliath. Yay! Everyone lives happily ever after, the last page of the story book depicts a sunny, rainbow and dolphin-filled picture almost as vomit-worthy as this, and little Jimmy goes to bed with a smile on his face (Apologies to any readers named Jimmy. It was the first name that came to mind.).

But when Goliath has been slain every time, and fans of David turn nasty (somebody get this kid spell check!) and grow in number at every one of the top dog’s failings – when do we start to feel bad for the big guy? 

And when it seems like nobody outside of Miami and a random spattering of a few fans are actually pulling for the Heat to win and King James to finally earn his crown, that puts all odds against him to succeed.

Maybe not statistically. But I’ll bet you a majority of people in America who know what a basketball is and have heard of this LeBron fella are rooting for him to crumble again.

And while you’re sitting smugly thinking about the prospects of telling everyone how you’re pulling for the underdog again, the joke is actually on you.

You’ve been so busy gloating and reveling in LeBron’s failures, that your own pungent hatred of the guy has blinded you. It’s not cool to root against LeBron anymore. He is the underdog.

Nobody believes in LeBron. Nobody roots for LeBron. Nobody likes LeBron. Except for the few of us who are hoping the real underdog pulls this one off.

The underdog who happens to be the best, richest most talented player in the pack. What an exceptionally complex, paradoxical sports oxymoron that turns out to be.

Follow Jeremy on Twitter @Jamblinman. Comment below if you beg to differ!

So THAT’S Why Dwight Wants Out!

January 27, 2012

Holy guacamole we have a lot to talk about today. The last 24 hours in sports has gotten me buzzin’ on the good stuff. Winter X-Games is in full gear, the Magic have 99 problems but a swish ain’t one (actually it is), and hockey really is the best at something! Here we go (Oh, come ON. Totally fake, that house would not be livable)!

I’ll be honest. The reason I’m bringing up the Winter X-Games is because the guy who won gold in Snowmobile Freestyle laid down the first acceptable Tebow (short for Tebowing in this case) I’ve seen in months. First of all, I don’t know what a hippie-haired kid from Texas is doing winning a Winter X medal, but he killed it and then nailed the pose in front of Tebow’s Colorado faithful. Check it out.

On to the NBA, where Magic tricks are pulled on a daily basis. Or so it seems. I actually feel bad for Orlando (but I definitely don’t feel bad for this British broad…eat an apple, woman!). Not only does Dwight Howard want out, but they are giving him no reason to stay, and doing so in a losing-to-Boston fashion. And nobody likes Boston teams. Not even Boston likes Boston teams. Oh god, I can hear the mob of chowdah-slinging ruffians coming at me from here!

But really, the Magic got absolutely blown out by the Celts a couple of days ago. Then, yesterday, they built up a HUGE halftime lead. As in insurmountable. As in the only team who could blow that type of lead would be the 2004 Yankees (ZING! And Boston loves me again). Yet the Magic vanished, and they did blow that lead and any hope they had of retaining their big man. I no longer blame Dwight for wanting to bounce. That was simply embarrassing.

They were up 21 at halftime, had a big lead of 27 in the second half…and lost by eight. Twenty five points in the second half for Orlando, including being outscored 27-8 in the fourth quarter. Yikes. Sayonara, D12. I’m not even mad. That’s amazing! It must have been more difficult to screw up so royally than to actually win the game.

In other NBA news, I learned I’m very much in the minority. Not only because I hardly care about or follow professional basketball, but because I thought the ABA uniforms in the Grizzlies vs. Clippers game yesterday were freakin’ SWEET! Seriously, the NFL is going to let Nike’s blind fashionistas design next year’s uni’s when they could go with awesome throwbacks like that? I hope they wear those every night!

Before I move away from basketball altogether, I’ve got a little surprise for you! Remember the big posterization I mentioned from the college game a couple of days ago? Happy learned how to Google! Sit back, relax and enjoy this face mashing. That’s the most offensive thing I’ve seen since war and famine. Okay, I’ll stop stealing movie lines.

Moving on. Let’s talk a little football. First, the boring stuff. The Bucs hired former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano to take over the head coaching gig. Hey, if you think his college record that’s one game over .500 is that impressive, good on ya. Turning around the Rutgers football program is no small task, but an underachieving team full of rich, thuggish prima donnas is a helluva lot bigger problem. If Schiano can get QB Josh Freeman to regain confidence, leadership and the decision-making ability he showed in 2010, there’s a chance. Otherwise it’s going to be early curtains for the coach.

According to ESPN’s Cold Hard Facts segment, they think Rex Ryan is on the hot seat for next season. I’m a bigger fan of Rebecca Black than Rex Ryan, so after seeing that on the tube, this was me in my living room: Wahoo! I’ll bet you 50 pesos that you can’t watch that commercial without cracking a smile. And I’m so, so sorry if you clicked on the Rebecca Black link. I really am. But at least we know what day it is now…ugh.

Before I move on to some tear-jerking football news, can we just settle something? I respect Yahoo! Sports, I really do. I get a lot of breaking news through them and generally enjoy the blogs and articles I find on there. But my God, if they aren’t the worst at mis-titling their stuff. At least once a day I find something like this that was originally titled “Harbaugh Disses Californians.” Um. What?

And most recently the media has been getting its collective rocks off to a Peyton Manning vs. Colts’ owner Jim Irsay spat that isn’t a spat at all. In fact, the media made it news in the first place. It’s extremely frustrating to see a sports media outlet putting misleading titles on stories that aren’t controversial, just so they will get more reads. It’s cheating. It’s like drinking Four Lokos at a party – obviously you’re going to get drunk first and at the cheapest price. Be a man and drink a beer! “Firing back,” my ass.

Now, I don’t have much to say about these next two. Except they make my tummy feel funny in a good way. Not like the first time I saw Hayden Panettiere all grown up. More like that choking-back-tears feeling I get at the end of The Green Mile (spoiler alert). Check out Kyle Williams’ biggest little fan, and why Jason Pierre-Paul’s biggest supporter has never seen him play.

Lastly, for football, JoePa’s service took place yesterday. ESPN covered a bit of it, but a couple of things really struck me. First of all, 12,000 people showed up to support Paterno. Twelve. Thousand. That’s incredible. If I have a quarter of that many people who care about me when I’m gone, I’ll consider my life a fantastic success.

That being said, and I’m sure I’ll take flak for this one, Nike chairman Phil Knight had absolutely no reason to bring up the scandal when he was speaking. It was nice of him to whip the crowd into a frenzy for pro-Joe sentiment, but blaming what happened during the Jerry Sandusky investigation solely on the investigators is pure ignorance. I understand it’s not the time or place to acknowledge that Paterno played a role in everything, but that’s when you just keep your mouth shut.

Alright, we have one more bit of business today. I promised you that hockey actually does something better than every other sport. And now I’m here to deliver. The NHL All-Star Game is perfection. The MLB game is insanely flawed, the NBA version is over-the-top, and the Pro Bowl in the NFL is irrelevant. But in hockey, two captains get to choose teams in a draft format out of the pool of All-Stars. It’s fun for the players and the fans, and actually keeps the viewer interested.

And how awesome is this? Every year, the last guy picked in the “draft,” wins a new car. It’s like Mr. Irrelevant in the NFL draft, except they actually get to play…and then drive away in a sick new ride. Well done, hockey. Well done.

Whew. That was a lot. Hope you enjoyed it. And since it’s Friday, everyone’s getting ready to party this weekend, and I definitely need to redeem myself for linking to Rebecca Black earlier in the blog, here is the Friday Song of the Week. Because who doesn’t like a little fun? See what I did there? Seriously though, this band rocks.

Peace!


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