Tunes for the day: Smith Westerns – “Weekend”
Like most people I was appalled at Lebron James’ arrogance last summer. Not only does he leave his hometown team, a perennial playoff contender, to join two all-stars but he makes his decision in a one hour ESPN block only to do what so many people feared he would do -> single handedly ruin the NBA.
I’m not going to sit here and say that Lebron is evil, or the devil. Nor am I going to compare him to Michael Jordan or say that he wants to be Michael [that label unfairly gets placed on all the best players in the league.] What I will say, is that this arrogant prick has done what he set out to do…and as a result the NBA has potentially lost me as a fan.
Let’s look at the facts here. I’m a Sacramento Kings fan. I live and bleed purple and black. I loved the early part of this millennium. It featured one of the greatest rivalries I’ve ever been a part of. Better than Yankees-Red Sox, better than Jets- Patriots. I’m talking about Sacramento-Los Angeles, one of the most under appreciated rivalries in all of sports. Not only was I fan of the underdog, but I learned to loathe Laker gold and purple. I hated Robert Horry, and Derek Fisher for their clutch three pointers. I hated Kobe’s arrogance. I hated Shaq degrading my team. Looking back, outside of Kobe, I don’t have a generally loathe any of these players; they were great. They made it interesting and they were the catalysts in crushing my boyhood dreams of watching the Sacramento Kings win a championship. They killed my hopes, but they made me a Kings fan, and for that I was grateful.
I still love Shaq, and have nothing but respect for Phil, and the role players. Kobe I’m a hater of, but that hatred aligns more with him throwing his team, GM, and coach under the bus after HE blew up the Lakers to get rid of Shaquille O’Neal.
I still dislike the Lakers, but if nothing else I respect their cause. I didn’t care for their last run of back-to-back championships [that Pau Gasol trade is still bullshit to me] but at least there was enough parity in the league to believe that someone (Boston, Orlando, Cleveland, San Antonio, etc.) could take them down.
But a new evil has dawned, and they’re in the east coast.
With Lebron’s “decision” the potential lack of parity in the league could spawn for at least the next five years. Not that there’s much parity in the NBA as it is, but considering the chemistry the Heat have displayed in these playoffs I can only imagine that they’ll get better. If they win a championship, role players will sign with them for cheap. A deeper bench will only benefit them, and as the big three play together longer they will only gain more chemistry. Remember the C’s had high profile role players like Nate Robinson, Shaquille O’Neal, Marquis Daniels, Rasheed Wallace, Michael Finley, etc. etc. The Heat have already begun to bring in these type of players [Illgauskus, Bibby, etc.], and if all goes according to plan, more will come of it.
These aren’t your Celtics of yesteryear. Those guys were old, in the twilights of their career. You could root for those guys, mainly because you knew they would only be on top for 2-3 years or so, and eventually fall back to obscurity.
But these guys won’t fall so quickly, and it pains me to admit it. They’ll be good…great even. While my Kings struggle to get back into the playoffs, the Heat will string together three, or four championships. Other teams will try, but their attempts will be futile. Oklahoma City, Denver and Atlanta are young, and up and coming but still a while away in maturity to match Miami. The Lakers are deep, but the last thing I want to see is Los Angeles vs. Miami in the finals. The Celtics couldn’t beat them this year, and won’t next year…they’re old and tired. Chicago is at least a legitimate offensive slasher or two away from even competing with the Heat. Orlando made moves this year and couldn’t make it out of the first round. It’s not farfetched to say they’re in complete and utter disarray. San Antonio couldn’t make it out of the first round. Dallas has a shot, but who’s picking them to win it all? God, I hope they do. I hope Dirk puts up 50 every night, and I hope J-Kidd and Peja get the rings they deserve. But I said similar things about my hopes for Chicago and Boston. Those teams lasted five games.
And for all that, I hate you Lebron. I hate what you’ve done to the league, and I’m pinning all of this on you. Your one hour TV special, your arrogant season shenanigans [the Heatles? really?] and your constant complaining. I hope you don’t win one game in the finals. I hope you twist your ankle in Game 1, and the Heat win without you. I hope you play the whole series, and the Heat lose with you. I wish nothing but the best for D-Wade and Chris Bosh. Heck, if they could win titles without LBJ color me excited. Is this bitter? Sure. But you did this to yourself Lebron. I’ll be watching though…for at least the first three games. If Dallas can’t win one of those the NBA can take their Heatles back. I won’t support such nonsense.