Ian Mahinmi’s Comment is No Big Deal

Ian Mahinmi thinks Kobe Bryant is more arrogant than Lebron James. So what?

Again, the media wants to blow things out of proportion. The media thinks a backup centre shouldn’t be calling out a “once-in-a-generation superstar.”

Calling out?

Mahinmi probably speaks the truth. Mahinmi didn’t say that Dirk Nowitzki is better than Kobe Bryant. He didn’t call anyone out. He voiced an opinion and is drawing attention to something that he feels is true. It may very well be.

That’s not the point though.

Ian Mahinmi is another example of a player run down for giving a sound bite that isn’t as bland as a microwave dinner. Athletes learn that saying nothing is always smarter than saying something. Athletes learn from guys like Mahinmi.

No one wants to be ripped to shreds by the media. On certain occasions, players can’t help themselves and they pay for it dearly. The media complains that athletes aren’t interesting enough. However, when an athlete gives them something that is remotely controversial they pounce on it.

It’s like a flock of vultures waiting for the dying animal. It has become instinctual for them to immediately prey on those who give us something to talk about around the water cooler. The media can’t help themselves either.

“Kobe is super arrogant but everybody loves him. To me, Kobe is more arrogant (than LeBron James).”

Kobe Bryant is super arrogant. The dislikeability factor of Lebron may skew our view but it is very possible that James is less arrogant than Kobe. It’s a close race.

This is probably a statement that Kobe Bryant wouldn’t necessarily dismiss. Bryant switched his number from 8 to 24 because 24 is one higher than 23. A 1st grader can put 2 and 2 together.

Ian Mahinmi sees what we all see but he’s getting ridiculed for it. This doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have any respect for Kobe Bryant as a player. You don’t have to respect the person to respect the player.

Mahinmi’s stupidity alone might be grounds for criticism but it shouldn’t be. When we criticize these players we don’t let them voice their opinion. It means that we receive quote after quote from athletes who have gotten their degree from the Crash Davis School of interviewing.

Do any of us know the context of Mahinmi’s comments anyways? I have looked at multiple reports of the story and have found nothing that mention the context of Mahinimi’s comments.

In my poorly translated high school French, the question asked was whether Lebron James is arrogant. Mahinmi responded with a straightforward answer of how he felt and said that he prefers Michael Jordan’s style more. Then came the dreaded answer.

One sentence in a simple interview that will haunt Ian Mahinmi for the rest of his career. He’s coming off a world championship for heaven sakes. Give the guy a break.

Of course, that will never happen. The media will always victimize those who have a short lapse in concentration.

Sometimes people deserve it. Lebron James deserved it when he essentially said that all the people criticizing him would still have to go back to their terrible lives and he would still be living the good life. He took a shot at the general public that was uncalled for.

Maybe Kobe Bryant can tell the media that when Ian Mahinmi wakes up tomorrow morning he will still be a 3rd string center.

It’s hard to believe that Kobe Bryant doesn’t know he is arrogant. He knows he is the best player of his generation. He lets the world know it with the way he carries himself. He thrives off of his arrogance.

It might be a good idea for us to chill for a bit. Mahinmi didn’t accuse Kobe Bryant of using performance enhancing drugs or being a rapist.

Nothing happens if a sports writer speaks out about the supreme arrogance of Kobe Bryant. At least Ian Mahinmi is an NBA player. He has experience playing against Kobe Bryant. His team swept the Lakers a few months ago.

In a country that is proud of its constitution, freedom of speech for athletes is a joke. Athletes are free to say anything that isn’t controversial. They can’t say anything about anything without getting a hefty fine from their league.

The contradictory nature of the media is incredible. Be boring or be hated. It’s your choice.

The truth? The media can never handle the truth.

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Mark Cuban is Perfect for the Dodgers

It may have taken a while but Mark Cuban brought a championship to the Dallas Mavericks. He could do the same for the LA Dodgers.

Bud Selig is a stubborn man. A gentleman of his age, and I use that term lightly, has trouble adapting to new situations. Selig wants to stick with what he knows well. He wants to turn down that awful sounding auto-tune on MTV and keep that Bing Crosby record on the player.

The Dodgers are now in turmoil but Selig still isn’t going to do a damned thing about it. He doesn’t want Cuban rattling any cages. He likes things just the way they are. Bud Selig is once again ignoring a wonderful opportunity to improve his fading product.

The NFL and NBA are taking over the sport of baseball yet Selig doesn’t mind being a spectator. He has the ultimate power to make a difference but chooses otherwise. It’s as if Batman decided that he wasn’t going to protect Gotham.

Maybe Batman is a bit farfetched for the black-hearted nature of the Bud. However, the amount of power that he consistently fails to utilize isn’t.

Mark Cuban would give fans a reason to tune in to watch Major League Baseball.

In a league where the salary cap exists as much as the aliens at Area 51, Cuban’s spendthrift ways would bring the Dodgers to new heights. He would bring Steinbrenner money with a Hollywood personality. Mark Cuban is LA.

Bringing a major market franchise back to relevancy is no doubt high on Selig’s priority list. Without Mark Cuban, the task becomes significantly more difficult.

Love him (which you should) or hate him, a Mark Cuban led team would draw interest. For fans, half the fun of professional sports is finding teams to root for and against. With Mark Cuban, the casual fan will tune in to see how his team fares.

Creating a buzz around a sport that is dominated by Lebron James TV specials and Tom Brady hair talk is exactly what baseball needs. It’s about time someone ruffled a few feathers. Opinionated, arrogant and brash. What more could the sport ask for?

Related: Something’s Gotta Give

This would be the New York Yankees acquiring Ozzie Guillen to be their head coach.

Bud Selig has finally found some steadiness in baseball with steroids becoming a thing of the past.

Admitting that he was wrong for not allowing Mark Cuban to buy the Cubs two years back would take away from the steady path that Selig covets but it would give him plenty of street cred around North America. People would start putting Bud Selig and the game of baseball a bit higher in their books. Hard to believe that this can all happen because of one man.

The amount of excitement that merely talk of Mark Cuban possibly landing an MLB franchise is astounding. The amount of hope a software geek can bring to America’s pastime is evidence in itself. The LA Dodgers going bankrupt is the best thing for baseball if it means that Mark Cuban could be part of the exclusive club.

People get the message. Fans want Cuban in. The only person that doesn’t want to listen is Bud Selig.

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Dirk Nowitzki Hasn’t Been Good Enough

The Mavericks might as well surrender if Dirk Nowitzki can't get it going

Dirk Nowitzki is cementing his legacy in the 2011 playoffs. There’s no denying that. I wrote about it last week. He brought his Mavericks back with 9 straight points in the final 2:43 of the 4th quarter to cap off a stunning 22-5 run, which included the game-winning lay-up with 3.6 seconds left on the clock.

It’s the kind of stuff that happens to legends. No big deal.

Related: NBA Playoffs – Where Legends Are Made

Still, the run that saved Dallas’ championship hopes is overshadowing the fact that Dirk Nowitzki has to play better. Dallas is awful lucky to be going home tied 1-1. Other than the final 2:43 of game 2, Dirk Nowitzki has been rather ordinary. The Miami defence has done more than its part to shut him down.

Nowitzki has averaged 25.5 points a game in the finals but has done it shooting well below the 50% plateau.

Bosh was terrible, Lebron missed clutch shots, and the bench went back to being invisible. Almost everything fell into place for the Mavericks in game 2 yet they were only able to squeak out an unthinkable comeback victory.

The Dallas Mavericks don’t have a roster to make-up for a less than outstanding Dirk Nowitzki. Jason Terry played about as well as he can with Lebron guarding him and they are squeezing virtually every ounce of juice left out of 33-year-old Shawn Marion’s size mismatches.

Dirk Nowitzki needs to play as well as Michael Jordan did in the second half against the Monstars. There is no other alternative. Miami will not give up another lead like that. If Dirk continues to score at this pace the series will be over before you can say “Nowringski.”

It’s surprising that the Mavericks have been able to keep pace at all with Nowitzki playing in this manner. That 4th quarter extra gear that the Heat possess but forgot about in the last 7 minutes of game 2 is a major difference between these two teams. Although the gave the illusion that they have a similar gear, game 2 should not cloud our judgement. The reality is that only one man on the Mavericks who can reach the clutch to shift into that extra special gear.

That man shifted into overdrive late in the 4th quarter when it was just about too late. That can’t happen again. Nowitzki has to be in that gear for 40 minutes, not 2:43.

The Mavericks by themselves don’t have the ability to pull away from the Heat. It will only come from Dirk Nowitzki. The heat have been toying with them, holding out for their opportunity to thrown the hammer down. It’s a cat and mouse game but the Mavericks don’t get to be the cat. On Thursday night, the cat took a 7 minute nap.

A brief mental let down from an inexperienced and immature team has kept the Mavericks in this series. From here on in though, an out of this world Dirk Nowitzki will be the only thing keeping the Mavericks from another disappointing summer.

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NBA Playoffs – Where Legends Are Made

Muhammad Ali once said “Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them — a desire, a dream, a vision.”

Dirk Nowitzki and, as hard as it is for me to say it, Lebron James are proving themselves to be champions.

Dirk Nowitzki though has carried the weight of the world on his own shoulders year in and year out trying to get his Dallas Mavericks a championship. That weight will stay with him until he gets that ring to put on his finger but no matter what happens Dirk is finally receiving the accolades that he deserves.

This isn’t your everyday run-of-the-mill NBA star. Not to say that guys like Jordan, Magic, Bird and Kobe are. However, Dirk Nowitzki is a once in a lifetime player. Not once in an era or generation but lifetime.

We have almost taken Dirk for granted throughout his career. This is in large part because of his inability to win the big one. No one is taking him for granted anymore. What the big German is showing the world right now in these NBA playoffs is something to tell the grandchildren. He is moving towards legendary status.

The ridiculous shots are one thing. The ridiculous shots under the immense pressure that Nowitzki carries is quite another.

When the Mavericks needed him most, Nowitzki has done what all legends do. Against Oklahoma City he shot an incredible 56% from the field while missing only 2 free throws in 61 attempts. Oh yeah, 2 of those free throw makes came in game 4 to tie the game with 6.4 seconds left in regulation. Did I mention that he swished them both?

Regular season dominance means greatness but post-season dominance creates a legend.

I can say with an immense amount of confidence that there won’t be another player that can do the special things that Dirk Nowitzki does 7 feet off of the ground. He’s not considered one of the top 10 best players of all-time but his truly unique abilities are 1 in 7 billion special. Those 1 legged rainbow jumpers may get all the attention but it is just a microscopic sample of the extraordinary things Dirk does.

This is not coming from the euphoric passion of riding the Dirk Nowitzki 2011 playoff MVP bandwagon. This is popping the cork of that bottle of champagne that has been shaking for the last decade.

If anyone deserves a ring it’s Dirk Nowitzki. He doesn’t need it though and there is a good chance that he won’t get one against his likely opponents, the Miami Heat.

If the Mavericks come up short it won’t be Dirk’s fault and I think he has established that. Like many big market sports, basketball is a team one and playoff underachieving has been a theme among Dirk Nowitzki led Maverick teams.

Should that mean anything for a guy who has averaged 3.0 points a game better in his entire playoff career than his regular season career? Should playoff underachieving mean anything for someone who hasn’t had a legitimate center to clog the lane until his 13th season in the NBA?

For one reason, Dan Marino’s achievements are still belittled to this day. It’s unfair that Marino is punished for something that was out of his control to such a large extent.

Championship or not, Dirk Nowitzki should be considered a legend in his own right. It is wrong that people have considered him a failure, to a certain degree, simply because he lacks the infamous ring.

Lebron James is showing signs that he is clutch like a champion. However, unlike Dirk, his legendary status will have an extended stay in purgatory while the basketball Gods attempt to figure out what could have been for the self-proclaimed King.

Unlike Lebron, Dirk Nowitzki didn’t have to sell his soul for a championship and in the end that will make all the difference.

Related: Miami Heat Get the Easy Route

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Spoiled Laker Brat

The enjoyment of watching big market teams with a spoiled fan base lose the way the Lakers did Sunday afternoon is precious. It may have been pathetic to have seen Laker fans booing their 2-time defending champions at the Staples Center but it made the defeat that much more pleasurable.

Related: New York Yankee Fans Don’t Deserve a Winner

It almost makes you feel sorry for the players when they have done so much for a city but the city continues to act like a classroom of toddlers.

Almost.

Seeing Andrew Bynum give a vicious forearm shiver to a vulnerable J.J. Barea showed us that it’s not just the fans that are spoiled. If the city of L.A. has been acting like toddlers then I guess Andrew Bynum’s behavior resembled that of a newborn baby.

The chance at a 3-peat, for most players, is a once in a career opportunity. The frustration had built up in Andrew Bynum. He had seen his veteran, reality star teammate Lamar Odom give a good shove to Dirk Nowitzki.

No big deal.

However, the volcano erupted in the form of one of the most classless acts you will ever see in the NBA. The victim was J.J. Barea.

A helpless, airborne, 6 foot 175 pound J.J. Barea.

Andrew Bynum took his anger of getting swept and embarrassed out on the first opportunity that presented itself to him. It could have been an 8-year-old child driving to the hoop for the layup and Bynum wouldn’t have cared. His chance at a 3rd straight championship, where he could have played an even bigger part than in each of the 2 previous ones was gone.

Andrew Bynum didn’t get his way so he acted like any spoiled brat would.

Andrew Bynum should be taught a lesson. He deserves at least a double-digit suspension. It shouldn’t matter that J.J. Barea was able to come back on the floor, not that Rick Carlisle had any reason to put him back out there anyways.

But you wonder what goes through the mind of him. Where is the grace in losing to a team that has deserved the victory? Accept it and move on.

Where does this sense of entitlement that Bynum displayed in that 2 second span come from? Show some respect for your fellow player.

Maybe if the fans handled the circumstances a little bit better, Bynum doesn’t feel the same frustration and sense of entitlement that he demonstrated. He has lost a great deal of respect for one foolish act.

It sure isn’t Phil Jackson pampering Andrew Bynum and the Lakers.

Kobe Bryant went out the way a true champion should. He went out fighting. Andrew Bynum threw a tantrum.

You can argue that it was merely a lapse in judgement but after seeing Odom get thrown out for much milder “hit,” he should have taken it upon himself to be the bigger man.

I guess for a spoiled brat that just wasn’t possible.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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