I've got a confession to make. Time and time again I've argued that hating the Heat was a little ridiculous. That most athletes are arrogant and LeBron and the Heat aren't much worse than any other team. But on Sunday night I was happy the Heat lost.
I try to be an ultra-rational person and leave emotions out of the equation and just root for a great game with great plays from the best players but LeBron and the Heat make it so difficult to root for them. First there was LeBron and Wade mocking Dirk's illness. It was childish but I can look past things that have an element of humor to them. It was nice to know LeBron at least HAS a sense of humor. But then LeBron opened his mouth after the game. He was asked, "Does it bother you so many people are happy to see you fail?" Just off the top of my head the PR answer to that would be either, "That doesn't bother me. I don't concern myself with what everyone else is thinking. I just have to pay attention to my game and get better so this doesn't happen again." OR he could've said, "Yeah it does hurt. I've made some mistakes that I've apologized for and it would be nice if there wasn't all this negativity around me. But I can't control all of that and I hope going forward my play will speak for itself and maybe turn some of those critics into fans." The former would've been a safe answer to avoid controversy and the latter would've shown people that LeBron does care and that would humanize him.
Instead, here is what LeBron said, "At the end of the day all the people who want to see me fail, they gotta wake up tomorrow and have the same life they had when they woke up today. Same personal problems they had today. I am going to continue to live and do the things I want to do and be happy with that." So now he's belittling people that have regular jobs and lives? Why does he have to be so hate-able?? I want to root for greatness. I want to root for LeBron but he's not making it easy. In a Nike ad after "The Decision" he asked "What Should I Do?" I'm ready to answer that for him. You should speak about the heartbreak of losing this series. You should show some real emotions and then use those emotions to fuel yourself to work hard this offseason and come back better than ever. Maybe the best advice for LeBron though, would be to follow in George Costanza's footsteps and he should do the exact opposite of every instinct he has because it seems like following his natural instincts isn't really helping him right now. On to the awards!
Most Cynical View of College Football
The perception of college football is not very good right now. If a man in a sweater-vest can run a dirty program than anyone can. But Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated takes it to a whole new level: If Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith is smart and clings to any shred of hope for his continued employment in Columbus, he has quietly convinced boosters to buy Pryor's silence. That's perfectly legal now, and if we learned anything from Reggie Bush, it's that the cheapskate could have kept USC off the NCAA chopping block had he paid a measly $300,000 to a couple of wannabe agents to keep their mouths shut. Pryor doesn't have to play by the NCAA's rules anymore. Ohio State officials should do everything within their power to keep him happy. They should be good at that; it sounds as if that's how they got in this mess in the first place.
Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel thinks the Mavs' success brings optimism to the Magic: Dallas should be an inspiration to every Magic fan and motivation to every Magic player. The Mavericks have Dirk; the Magic have Dwight. The Mavericks have one superstar; the Magic not only have one superstar; they have one Superman. But when you go down the rest of the roster, are the Mavericks really any more talented than the Magic? Is Jason Kidd, at age 97, really any better than Jameer Nelson? Is a 33-year-old Shawn Marion any better or more athletic than Hedo Turkoglu? Is the Mavericks' Jason (Terry) any more of an offensive threat than the Magic's Jason (Richardson)?
Let me help answer some of those rhetorical questions. Jason Kidd, no matter his age, is better than Nelson. Marion is leaps and bounds better than Turkoglu now. Jason Terry? Soooo much better than Richardson. And who exactly is the equivalent of Gilbert Arenas on the Mavs' roster? They do both have one superstar but the comparison should just about end there.
No Such Thing as Free Education
Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star is the latest to argue that the tuition athletes receive is worth a lot: As the father of one college student, with another heading to college after this coming year, I am sick and tired of hearing how college athletes get nothing.
I'm tired of their sense of entitlement and I'm tired of the politics of victimization.
Every semester, I write out a check for $9,000 or more to send my oldest to Bloomington. Two falls from now, I'll be writing out checks for $20,000 a semester -- give or take -- so my little one can go to Marian, Butler, Dayton or Xavier (unless they give scholarships for sitting on the couch and watching "America's Next Top Model" marathons).
And Steve Slaton and Pat White got nothing in return? ... what we've got to stop doing is devaluing the importance of an education, especially a free education.
Free? Not quite. These athletes are basically working a full-time job training for their sport, watching film, going to practices and traveling to compete. It's far from free. And what type of education do you think they're getting when they're spending so much time on their sport? There are exceptions, but most college football players at major programs are taking joke majors. I've heard many stories of athletes being discouraged from certain majors because they are too tough and will distract them from their sport. So what exactly is this "free education" doing for them? It's not doing nearly as much as the sport they are playing is doing for the University.
Jonah Keri of GQ wrote about how everyone is against the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals: No one in Canada wants you to win, of course. Not when a Canadian team might bring the Cup back home for the first time in 18 years.
But U.S. hockey fans aren't behind you either. There's none of that (slightly weird) national pride here. Flyers fans hate Boston. Rangers fans hate Boston. Casual hockey fans in Boise or Mobile are, at best, indifferent about Boston.
Most Idiotic Reason Given for LeBron's "Shrinkage"
Mike DeCourcy of Sporting News believes LeBron wouldn't have struggled in the Finals if only he had gone to college: The look on LeBron James' face during these NBA Finals is so unfamiliar, at least wearing his particular features. But it's not at all uncommon. It's the look that struck so many of us back when we were in school upon turning over a test and recognizing we hadn't studied enough: part panic, part hope.
James' predicament will be probed from just every possible angle ...
Every possibly angle including this ridiculous one! LeBron would be able to handle the pressure better had he gone to college.
A common reaction from the agnostics: How could they be any better (referring to Garnett, Kobe, Dwight Howard and LeBron)?
You're seeing now how James could be better--have seen it in the fourth quarter of five consecutive NBA Finals games.
Yes - all those players that went to college have been perfect in the fourth quarter. LeBron and Tyson Chandler are the only two who have missed shots. Oh wait, and then there's Dirk Nowitzki. What college did he go to?
But through five decades the best of the best were forged in American college basketball. And since Garnett entered the draft directly out of high school and was followed by Bryant and Tracy McGrady--a whole decade of imitaties--the best young American talents have a fairly dismal championship record.
Again - and all those that went to college have had no issues. Carmelo hasn't won a title, nor has Chris Paul or Joe Johnson or Elton Brand - I could go on and on. It's not easy to win a title, just ask Jason Kidd and Jason Terry.
Bryant - and then from his experience as the key figure in USA Basketball's run to the 2008 Olympics gold medal. Playing for, that's right, a college coach.
Oooh. Look at that trick. Bryant played for Coach K and THAT'S what led to the Lakers back-to-back titles. The Lakers fell short this year though. Kobe probably ignored Coach K's calls right before the series against the Mavericks.
I'm sure playing in college helps out a lot of players but to argue that LeBron wouldn't have issues in the fourth quarter had he played one meaningless year in college where he dominated the game is crazy (and lazy).
Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel compares the Casey Anthony trial to the Ereck Plancher trial: Even though the Anthony trial is more salacious and sensational; it does not have the potentially far-reaching implications of the Ereck Plancher-UCF trial that begins Monday 11 floors down in Courtroom 12D.
Casey Anthony is charged with killing her own child while UCF is going to be put on trial for causing the death of one of its kids, too. The major difference is that there are no larger lessons to be learned or profound changes that will be made because of Casey Anthony. In contrast, the Plancher trial could be groundbreaking and have sweeping ramifications throughout college football.
Casey Anthony is on trial for first-degree murder and UCF is on trial for wrongful death. That's a pretty HUGE distinction between the two cases. It's almost as if the two have almost nothing in common and they should never be compared to each other...
Randy Galloway of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram is not Dwyane Wade's number one fan: ...then in Game 5 of this series, a few hours after his mocking of Dirk, Wade actually stooped to his old Hollywood-acting standby, attempting to grab attention by claiming a hip injury that the best HD cameras owned by ABC still haven't picked up.
I'm guessing, of course, but I'm also betting Wade faked that injury, because the record shows he's a serial drama queen actress, while also being one of the best players of our generation.
You really think he faked that injury? He took himself out of the game, went back to the locker room, got it checked out, missed a significant amount of time all to grab some attention? Interesting that Galloway derides Wade for making fun of Wade's injury when that he is basically making fun of Wade's injury in this column. Maybe a certain columnist is looking for attention too.
An Optimistic Paper
The Miami Herald just wanted the Heat to win so badly they ran this Macy's ad under the story of how the Heat lost: