Category Archives: 04A | NBA

Heckling His Own

Apparently Donald Sterling has been overheard heckling his Clippers players, Baron Davis in particular.  What does this mean for a team that is currently rocking a 5-20 record, good for last place in the league? (on the morning of 12/14)

Where do they go from here?
No one, outside of the Clippers organization, expects anything from LA.  San Antonio isn’t circling their Staples Center visit on the calendar or looking at that date as a litmus test… while they are but mostly because of the other Staples Center team.

If the Clippers finished the season 5-77 the biggest story would be the 72-73 Sixers losing their only record.  No one would be particularly surprised.

With no expectations and no support from management the Clippers have nothing to fight for.

So do they come together or fall apart?
It would be interesting to see an NBA version of Major League happen here, complete with a naked cardboard cutout of Sterling in the LA locker room.

How heart warming would it be, and what a great story for ESPN, if this band of nobodies and washouts turned inward and found the strength needed to make the playoffs… and really that’s all they’d need to do to shock the NBA, just make the playoffs.

But it’s just as likely, and probably more so considering Baron Davis’s resume, that this team comes completely undone.  TheLongTalk doesn’t expect this team to actually take the title of Worst Team Ever from the 72-73 Sixers, but it might be a squeakier.  Can this team win more then 10 games?, probably.  More then 20?, that’s tougher to say.  Is Blake Griffin enough insurance against total disaster?

So worst case scenario, is it OK for Sterling to taunt his team?
If the worst were to happen, if Davis checks out even more then he already has, if he starts launching 3’s mindlessly?  If Blake’s knees give out and Kaman goes spaceman?  If Butler and Cook clock out?  What then?

If his team totally quits on him, if they decide their done and just lay down?  Would it be all right for Sterling to heckle them then?

He’s started to soon for sure, the season isn’t even half way over yet, but he’s got to pay them whether they win or not, shouldn’t he get some catharsis, shouldn’t he have some outlet for his anger?  Shouldn’t he be free to say what everyone else is thinking?

TheLongTalk’s take, when you’re the worst team in the league you deserve whatever scorn you get, when you’re out of shape and unconditioned as a player you should expect complaints from ownership… but it’s insane to heckle your own team on your own sidelines.

Keep the team management issues between the team and management and save your heckling for the other guys.  LeBron is just starting to get used to it and Kobe is an old hand, plus he’s right down the hall.

Contraction can’t come soon enough,
TheLongTalk

Lebron Returns Home

Last night Lebron James returned home to play the Cavaliers in Cleveland for the first time since “The Decision.” As you can expect, the welcome was not exactly warm – more like frigid.

Did James crumble under the pressure, scrutiny and sheer hatred Cleveland fans heaped on him? Hardly. He only dropped 38 points en route to a 118-90 whipping of the Cavs. What’s incredibly impressive, to me, is that he scored 24 of the 38 in the third quarter alone, and he didn’t even play in the 4th. The total could have been 50 or higher.

Often times athletes use adversity as fuel for their stellar performances. Michael Jordan was even known to makeup a chip on his shoulder as extra fuel to go out and dominate an opponent.

I don’t agree at all with the way Lebron left Cleveland. Making a spectacle out of the decision was just plain wrong. There are many people who share blame there, but ultimately the blame rests on Lebron’s shoulders.

My wife always says she can’t stand Lebron because he’s arrogant. Yes, he might not be the most humble person in the world, but I can think of a lot of athletes who are more arrogant or who are terrible teammates (a certain Mr. Bryant comes to mind there). I’ve never heard anyone complaining that Lebron is a bad teammate. Look at his stats. for the season so far. Sure, he’s leading the team in scoring, but he also leads the team in assists, and he’s not even the Point Guard!

I think we all have to remember that the guy is 25 years old. I’ve been there. I did some dumb things when I was 25, but I was fortunate to not have the National/World spotlight shone all over them.

As a Lebron fan, it felt good to see him go home and perform like a star.

Identifying with Lebron

TheLongTalk and # 12 will jump all over me for this post, but, lately, I find myself identifying with Lebron James.

I never thought there would be a point in my life where I would utter those words, however, after watching his most recent Nike commercial (which I’m sure my coauthors aren’t wild about), I can feel for him.

You see, I’ve had some life issues take place over the past month or so and have had people accuse me of things that are flat out not true. We won’t get into all my personal stuff here, but suffice it to say, I can somewhat (and I stress somewhat) identify with Lebron.

I love, love, love the commercial. It tackles most of the big gripes people have had about James over his career, in an interesting “what do you want me to do?” sort of way.

Does the guy have a big ego? Of course he does. I would wager most professional athletes do, but that’s not the point.

Pictures are worth more than words, so video must be priceless.