I love certain sports for certain reasons. A multitude for each sport, some of the more peculiar but dear to my heart stand out. I love the smell of the fresh cut grass mixed with pretzels and a dash of mildew at Yankee Stadium. I love the tingle I get every single time I walk through the corridor and see the field for the first time – the lights, the infield dirt meeting the outfield grass, the organ undertone dancing in the background during batting practice or between innings. I love watching a football stadium erupt after the first broken tackle, the reaction of the crowd in a comeback victory and the linebackers pumping fist to chest after a perfectly executed wrap up tackle behind the line of scrimmage.
I love the NBA even more than both, but I’m not sure why. There’s no hitting, smaller crowds, less television exposure, and no fresh cut grass. Maybe it’s the squeaking sneakers that echo throughout the arena – I’m not sure.
All of this being said though, it’s the NBA that offers up the most head scratching opinions. The opinions of the media reek with favoritism and drive me freaking nuts.
How does anyone in their right mind put Dwayne Wade or Kobe Bryant in the same class as LeBron James? LeBron is so good, so promising, and so complete. LeBron is Michael all over again. James fills up the box score like no one else in the NBA. That’s a fact. There is no one who puts up his numbers.
LeBron averaged approximately two more rebounds and two more assists per game than Kobe, while only averaging four less points. He equaled the assists per game of Wade, had more points per contest, more rebounds, blocks and 114 more three pointers. LeBron didn’t have Shaq to help free him up, nor did he have Lamar Odom. As a matter of fact, LeBron didn’t even have Larry Hughes as a second option most of last year. LeBron had nobody.
He’s putting up better numbers than both, has less help than both and he is younger than both. He’s got more triple doubles than both, more charisma than both, and better court vision than both.
Here’s a great moment in LeBron’s career – a defining moment - that I’ll never forget. It sticks out because it happened a few days after Kobe proved 81 times in one night why he’s the most selfish player in the league. I forget who the Cavs were playing, but there was less than ten seconds on the clock. Obviously the Cavs inbounded to LeBron, who obviously drove the lane. Kobe and Wade would have done the same thing, right? That’s where the similarities end. LeBron drew all defenders towards him and then he passed the ball to a wide open Ronald “Flip” Murray in the corner. Murray hit the wide open three and the Cavs won by one point. Bryant or Wade would have NEVER passed that ball.
I’m not questioning future greatness for Wade or Bryant. I’m saying that neither has the tools of LeBron James. Hands down, LeBron is nicknamed correctly – The King. Oh, and by the way, don’t hit me with the “Count the rings” defense. To that feeble comment, I'd simply reply, “Count the birthday cakes.”
Next on a very long agenda:
Since when does Tim Duncan stink? I’ve been in so many drafts in which he's dropped to the beginning of the 2nd round. For those of you bored by his traditional low cut afro, solemn facial expressions and smooth approach - look again. Tim Duncan battled injury last year; he’s back to superstar status. Getting him in the late first or early second round in most of my drafts is ridiculous.
Dwight Howard and Elton Brand might be the two most under rated players in the league. Two behemoths on the backboards and two scoring weapons, I think they lose out due to marketing. Elton Brand was, in my humble opinion, the proper choice for MVP last year yet I got him in the ninth spot in two different drafts. Dwight Howard was available in the late second round to early third in every twelve team draft I was in. Not only is Howard younger than even LeBron, he also may be the most capable of dominating a contest in the NBA at any given moment. Howard has had nights where he’s absolutely unstoppable.
That’s all for now, but I could go one forever… Kirk Hinrich is under-rated, Boris Diaw is totally under-rated, Mike James is under-rated, etc…
Oh, and by the way, one thing that did not bother me: Ernie Johnson going bald on the show, doing his job like a man, and showing professionalism throughout his battle with cancer. Good job, Ernie. Thanks. It wouldn’t have been Opening Night without you.
Posted by Roger Olivieri at 10/31/2006 11:20:00 PM