Archive for the ‘LeBron James’ Category

Humpty Dunkty

July 24, 2009

LeBron James sat on a wall,
LeBron James had a great fall,
You admitted you smoked pot,
Stored the dunk tape to rot,
Can all The King’s advisers,
And all The King’s men,
Put LeBron’s reputation back together again?

P.S. – Don’t worry LeBron, its not like you got accused of rape or anything, you’ll bounce back (now concludes The Hoops Manifesto’s Daily Kobe Bryant Bashing Comment).


Staring At The Sun

July 23, 2009

I know this is my second video post of the day, but I couldn’t pass up the newly uncovered LEBRON GETTING DUNKED ON VIDEO!!!! Like I said previously, everyone gets dunked on and LeBron and Nike just made this a bigger deal than it should have been. So, without further ado.

The King Gets Crowned

July 8, 2009

You are truly blessed – two new posts from me in just over a couple of hours. Give thanks and praises.

I couldn’t pass up the chance to talk about the big news of the day. LeBron James and Nike are currently hosting a skills academy for high school players with NCAA guys as counsellors. The organizers claim it isn’t a meat market because skill development is emphasized and college coaches aren’t allowed to be there to scout. But then they go and invite NBA scouts to it. So, basically, it IS a meat market. Anyhow, as is common at these things, in the evenings the NBA players in attendance and the college guys scrimmage. And in the course of the scrimmage last night, Xavier’s Jordan Crawford threw down a nasty dunk on James. No big deal, right? Everyone gets dunked on, especially in pickup games. Hell, I even dunked on people back in my prime and I wasn’t exactly the second coming of Tom Chambers.

Well this has become a big deal because of the most recent news that leaked out about it. Apparently shortly after eating the ball, James called over one of his Nike reps and had a little tête-à-tête with him. Shortly after that this rep appeared before some cameramen at the event and confiscated all video of the scrimmage. If this is actually true (and by all current accounts it is), this is the BIGGEST PRIMA DONNA MOVE OF ALL-TIME!!!

Now we’d expect something like this from Kobe (sorry Kobe lovers, but I’m going to cheap shot the guy any chance I get – deal with it), but not from James. I’m sure LeBron and his people are feverishly working on an explanation right now, but the damage has been done already. Basically no one would have cared about him getting dunked on – it was just a little news blurb that would have gone away. Like I said before, everyone gets dunked on. Now this has become a major attack on LeBron’s character and manhood, more than getting dunked on by some college kid every would have caused.

I know I called for James to be more interesting, but I didn’t mean like this. And to think, this was the man who famously stated in a commercial that “dunk contests are bourgeois“. No, Lebron, thinking you are above getting dunked on is bourgeois. Say it aint‘ so, King.

Down With The King?

May 27, 2009

We should have seen this coming, all the warning signs were there. But winning can cover up a lot of a team’s flaws. And Cleveland has done a lot of winning – 66-16 in the regular season, undefeated through the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Cavs looked like a lock to at least come out as the champions of the East, if not the champions of the “world”.

So, what happened on the way to The King’s coronation? The true Cavs team has showed up, that’s what. It is true that this the best team that LeBron James has had since he can upon the scene, but that is more of a backhanded compliment than anything. The thought of Mo Williams as a solid second “star” on the team is laughable. Williams is apparently more concerned about listening to the sound of his own voice than the sound of the swish of the net after taking a shot. (As an angry aside, Williams and J.R. Smith need to SHUT THEIR MOUTHS. If your name is not LeBron, Kobe, Dwight, Chauncey or Carmelo, you have no business predicting victories. Since when do role players get to make such bold statements?).

So the fact that Cleveland is down 3-1 shouldn’t come as a very big surprise. Orlando simply has more talent than the Cavs do. Dwight Howard is one of the best players in the League, Rashard Lewis is a two-time all-star still in his prime and Hedo Turkoglu could be the least-decorated best player in the League. What does LeBron have on his side? A borderline all-star in Williams (he only made it this season because a bunch of players got boo-boos and skipped the game) who is shooting under 40% these playoffs. The rest of the roster is dotted with washed up stars and role players. Not a recipe for a championship team. Or for keeping LeBron from jumping zip codes in 2010.

In fact, if Cleveland did win the title this season it would be the least talented team to take home the crown since Hakeem’s 1995 Houston Rockets squad. Every other championship team since that time has had at least two stars to carry the load. Michael & Scottie. Tim & David. Tim & Tony & Manu. Shaq & Kobe. Shaq & Wade. Every team left in these playoffs, outside of Cleveland, has at least a couple of star players in place to diversify their attack. Cleveland has Mo Williams. And Delonte West. And Anderson Varejao. And it became quite apparent at the end of Game 4 that LeBron realizes that he has to try to do it all on his own. But it is a futile task, even for a talent like James – look no further than his turnovers and missed shots in overtime. So while James is a singular talent, that is exactly the problem – he’s singular – he’s only one man(child).

And with each Cleveland (and L.A.) loss, a little piece of David Stern dies.

I Love This Game

May 23, 2009
I did the deed for SLAM tonight, so for my recap of the Orlando/Cleveland tilt go here. The only other thing I have to say about that game that I didn’t mention over at SLAM was how refreshing it was to see some critical fourth quarter calls go against LeBron. Nothing personal against the King – its just that it is (rightfully) assumed that the superstars of the League have all the calls go their way. So when James got called for back-to-back charges early in the fourth, along with a travelling call with less than a minute left, it was refreshing.

Now if you haven’t enjoyed the playoffs thus far you probably aren’t a basketball fan – so get the hell off of my site! Just kidding – I welcome all the traffic I can get. But, seriously, this round of the playoffs has just been remarkable. Free Darko was just talking about historic moments in NBA playoff history. Well tonight LeBron had his. His game-winning three probably is being edited into a commercial as I type these words.

But this is just one remarkable moment of these playoffs. We’ve had close games, highlight reel plays, and probably most importantly to the “powers-that-be” (aka The Man), some of the League’s brightest stars twinkling in the night sky. LeBron, Kobe, Dwight, Pau, Chauncey and Carmelo were all named on the All-NBA teams this year, and all are still slugging it out on the big stage. And if Kobe and LeBron end up meeting in the Finals, David Stern might spontaneously combust due to his excitement.

Perhaps most telling of how good the playoffs have been, I’ve been willing to stay up past my bedtime to watch the games. Now that’s saying something. This really is where amazing happens.

Game Recognize Game

May 12, 2009

I’ve been accused of being sacrilegious for stating this, and I admit that it is premature, but here it goes anyway: “LeBron James has a good chance at ending up better than Michael Jordan”.

A ridiculous statement, right? Typical sportswriter hyperbole, just trying to shock people and get attention. I would have thought the same thing not so long ago until I put more thought into it. Now I truly believe the above statement.
Now, before you call me the devil incarnate, a few important caveats. Notice I said LeBron has a “good chance” at being better than Jordan. In no way has the King accomplished enough to be considered Jordan’s superior, or even equal. And, like most other thirtysomething hoops junkies, I grew up a MJ fan, so there is no LeBron based bias here. (Plus this story of mine should have cleared that up anyway). And, no, I’m not comparing the two on an aesthetic basis. Both guys are different types of players. What I’m attempting to prove is that while most consider Jordan the G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All-Time for those of you not hip), at this point in his career young LeBron isn’t too far behind Air.

Like all good manifestos, I have facts and data to back up my bold proclamation. Since I can’t predict the future (at least 100% accurately), I compared both superstars throughout their first six seasons in the League (MJ from 1985-1990, LeBron from 2004-2009). And when you look at all the data, LeBron holds his own, and arguably even is ahead of Jordan at this point.

First, with the math:

Player’s averages over first six seasons in the NBA:

Michael Jordan
32.8ppg, 6.3rpg, 6.0apg, 2.8spg, 1.1bpg, 3.3tov

27.5ppg, 7.0rpg, 6.7apg, 1.8spg, 0.9bpg, 3.3tov
LeBron James

Bet those numbers are a lot closer than you’d have expected. And this isn’t just a small sample of data – both guys had played over 400 regular season games in their careers up to this point.

While numbers are helpful, they don’t tell the whole story. How about comparing how they did in the hardware department.

All-Star selections – Jordan 6, LeBron 5
All-NBA selections – Jordan 5 (4 first teams), LeBron 4 (2 first teams)
Rookie of the Year and MVP – Both won each once
All-Defensive selections – Jordan 3 (including Defensive Player of the Year award), LeBron 1

Jordan has him beat, but it is real close.

Since it is a team game, and the purpose of playing is to win championships, and true superstars step it up in the playoffs, lets compare their playoff careers.

Jordan – 24 playoff victories, 5 series won, 0 appearances in the NBA Finals
LeBron – 34 playoff victories, 7 series, 1 appearance in the NBA Finals

To the surprise of many, LeBron has him beat in this category, plus he’ll be adding to his totals once the next round of this year’s playoffs begin. And before you argue that the Eastern Conference was stronger in Jordan’s day, an Eastern Conference team has won the NBA title three out of the past five years, and an Eastern team won the title three out of Jordan’s first six seasons.
So it is not so ridiculous stating that LeBron could be better than Jordan in the end. The man has kept up to the original 23 in most categories and has enjoyed more success than Jordan in the playoffs so far. And if he can win a title this year he will be one year ahead of Jordan, who didn’t win a title until his seventh season in the L (and had one of the NBA’s 50 greatest players of all-time riding shotgun with him – LeBron has Mo Williams).

Now comes the hard part for LeBron – trying to keep up with Jordan throughout the rest of his career. That would involve winning six championships, six Finals MVPs and four regular season MVPs. Heady stuff indeed. But if anyone can do it, it would be the 24-year-old James. Ever since Michael hung up his Air Jordans, people have been looking for Air’s heir. The search could be over.

Deja Vu All Over Again

May 4, 2009

So LeBron James was named the 2009 NBA MVP today. Be still my beating heart. My apologies for going against the grain here, but there is nothing about LeBron James that interests me. That’s right – I find LeBron boring.

Now, before you all go and get your knickerbockers in a knot let me clarify myself here. I firmly believe that James is the best player on the planet and was pretty much a no-brain selection as the MVP this year. He no doubt will go down in history as one of the best to play Dr. Naismith’s creation. His combination of size, athleticism and skill are dreamlike. Its almost as if a mad scientist with a serious case of the basketball jones concocted him one dark and stormy night in his lab.

With all that said, I still find him boring. I’ve been spending time soul searching as to why this is the case. It could be that the man is as plain as vanilla ice cream off the court. No controversy. No interesting quotes. No serious trash talking. To think, the biggest scandal he’s been involved in is the choice of baseball hat that he wears.

Not that I really want the man to be out there raping and pillaging and acting like a NFL player. Just anything more interesting that the standard “Republicans buy sneakers too” shtick that Jordan made popular decades ago. Jordan is one of the main problems here. With all players after him following his script – on and off the court – there is not much room for originality. So whenever a player like Lebron or Kobe does something – once again, on or off the court – its a case of “been there, done that” for basketball fans. So while Jordan was brilliant and helped make the NBA the global brand that it is, he also helped ruin the game.

But I believe the main reason that LeBron doesn’t intrigue me is that everything he does seems to be pre-ordained (now I can’t remember if I can up with this theory myself or if it is something that I read on FreeDarko, so unless I get a strongly worded e-mail from their lawyer I’ll claim it as my own). Of course LeBron won the MVP award. Of course he is going to win a championship, if not this year then in the near future. Of course he is going to be one of the greatest of all-time. There was and is no struggle or mystery involved. With LeBron it was never a case of “if” but “when”.

Ever since he appeared materialized on the basketball scene as a youngster, this was all expected of him. He was a fully formed player practically out of the womb, with the game, muscles and tattoos all in place already. Where is the intrigue there, when all that was predicted about him years ago now is coming to pass? He had 25 points, 9 assists, 6 boards and 4 steals in his first NBA game. He averaged 21/6/6 his rookie year. No struggle – just consistent brilliancy. Even Jordan was a bit of a surprise when he hit the scene – hell, he wasn’t even the first or second pick in the draft. With LeBron, it is like reading a book that you already know the ending to. There is no ad libbing from the script.

While consistent brilliance is brilliant, it can also be boring.