Miami is Wade Country

He almost fooled us. The constant Tiger Woods-like flirting with triple-doubles and talk of another MVP season from the self-anointed King James was leading us to believe that he had dethroned the proclaimed King of Miami. It was the Jeter and A-Rod question all over again.

On Wednesday night, Dwyane Wade officially solidified his rightful status in the series clinching game 5 against the Boston Celtics.

I wrote in July,
shortly after Lebron’s decision, that Wade was still the man in Miami. There were times during the season where it was hard to believe that. I mean, Lebron James is the best player in the world.

Then the 4th quarter happened. Lebron James couldn’t close out a game to save his life. He admitted after another disappointing loss that he wouldn’t let his team down again. Too bad for King James that it wasn’t the last time. Charles Barkley said on national TV that Dwyane Wade needed to have the ball in his hands at the end of games.

Lebron tried to step in as a leader but the damage was already done. The sentiment in Miami was D-Wade all the way and no matter what Lebron does in these playoffs that is not changing anytime soon.

Dwyane Wade has already brought a championship to the Miami Heat organization behind a Finals MVP performance. No one can take that away from him.

Both guys can tell you that there is no competition between them but every time Lebron has a great game, Wade is ready to come out with a brilliant performance the next time out. Wade might not be doing it for the fans but he isn’t going to let them forget who the sheriff in town really is.

In the first half game 5 versus the Celtics, Wade carried the Heat on his back. Lebron struggled to start the game, going 0-4 as Boston jumped out to an early 10 point lead. Wade on the other hand went into the locker room at half time with 23 points on 9 of 12 shooting, making baskets from all angles possible. Fade-aways, no lookers, you name it. In the series clincher, Wade was the one who came out firing on all cylinders.

Sure, Lebron took over in the second half with 23 points of his own while nailing a couple of 3’s in the final minutes of the game to virtually seal the deal for the Heat. He finally closed a game.

Lebron finished what Dwyane Wade started. It’s the beauty of the big 3. It’s also the reason why Lebron will always be second fiddle to Wade in the hearts of Heat fans everywhere. When the moment called for someone to step up, Dwyane Wade rose to the challenge on Wednesday.

Lebron can rack up all the MVP’s, triple-doubles and highlight reel dunks that he wants. However, all those things combined will still be overshadowed by the questions of his true character. Like a needy girlfriend, he had to have Wade. Wade never needed him.

Throughout the year, whenever the Heat were in trouble the media looked to Lebron James for a sound bite but it was Dwyane Wade who was looked to for guidance. The guidance wasn’t expected to come from a reclusive GM, an inexperienced coach, a timid thing 3 or an immature Lebron James.

It’s all different now. Times have changed, kids have grown up and there is harmony among the Heat organization. I don’t think anyone could have imagined in February that the road to an NBA championship could look so easy for the Miami Heat. In spite of everything that has happened though, Dwyane Wade has remained the constant.

On the court he may not always be the go-to-guy but I said it before and I’ll say it again. Miami will always be King Wade’s town.

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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Plea to Raptor Fans, Don’t Boo Chris Bosh!

Chris Bosh released his inner cave man more than a few times as a member of the Raptors

In a quiet, undramatic divorce, not like those ones you see on Divorce Court, Chris Bosh and the Toronto Raptors parted ways after a 7 year long-term relationship. The break up wasn’t messy but it was by no means mutual as the breaker certainly offended the breakee.

GM Bryan Colangelo went as far to say that Bosh didn’t care down the stretch run of the 2009-10 season. “Whether he was mentally checked out or just wasn’t quite into it down the stretch, he wasn’t the same guy,” Colangelo said. “I think everybody saw that, but no one wanted to acknowledge it.” Head Coach Jay Triano further stated that “When you talk about Chris being a leader in the locker room, I think it’s the one thing he wasn’t for us.” Hard feelings much?

Today, Chris Bosh returns to Toronto for the first time since his decision to join Dwyane Wade and Lebron James in Miami. Yes, Lebron James too.

With Bosh essentially leaving fans and most importantly the Raptor organization hanging, it is no wonder why many people expressed their resentment towards Chris Bosh. It wasn’t the first time that their franchise player bailed on them. 3 high draft picks in Damon Stoudamire, Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter that had the possibility to carry the franchise all stated their desire to leave the city at some point in their tenure with the Raptors. Not to mention Hedo Turkoglu who requested a trade after one tumultuous season.

It was all too familiar to Raptor fans. Except in this case, like a good stripper, Chris Bosh teased Canadian basketball junkies into thinking he might just come back. However, like a good stripper, the hope dangling in front of them never materialized.

Even though Bosh gave us Raptor fans a good long tease that only ended in disappointment, I am asking you not to boo the man who gave you seven hard-fought seasons.

I understand your pain, but this time the circumstances are entirely different. Chris Bosh didn’t quit like Vince Carter or cry to his General Manager like Damon Stoudamire. He played out the entire length of his contract like a real man should, and wasn’t making any excuses for his team’s lack of success. Almost every night Bosh put his heart and soul on the floor for the Raptors.

It was also the behind the scenes work that makes Bosh different from previous Raptor defectors. His mid-range jumper is as reliable as anyone’s in the NBA and while his size may still be a problem Bosh he worked his tail off in order to add muscle to his 6”10 frame. The growth of Chris Bosh is a product of his effort as Raptor colour man Jack Armstrong likes to say, “Input equals output.”

It became apparent that Chris Bosh was not a franchise player and building the team around him as your cornerstone was not going to work. Nevertheless, you can hardly blame Bosh for that. It isn’t his fault that he can’t carry an entire team on his back like his new teammates Lebron and Wade. His rebounding may not be that of a top NBA rebounder, but he was still a legitimate 20-10 guy. On a nightly basis you could count on his consistency. He didn’t get his shiny new contract for no reason now did he?

Chris Bosh might not have handled his situation as well as Toronto’s other former franchise player Roy Halladay, but he also isn’t a robot like Roy Halladay. Bosh doesn’t just exhibit human emotions either, he exhibits human emotions that are likeable and entertaining. His passion on the court at times was like none other. He was genuine in his attempt to make the Raptors a true contender.

I think after this divorce Raptor fans have forgotten what a great guy Bosh is off the court, which is part of what made us to fall for the guy. Remember this all-star advertisement?

The situation at hand isn’t about forgiving and forgetting because Chris Bosh has nothing to be sorry for. Bosh doesn’t deserve to get what seems to be the inevitable, a hate filled homecoming. He doesn’t deserve to get booed from the fans that he worked so hard to please for seven seasons. He didn’t Lebron James his city or Carmelo Anthony his teammates. Chris Bosh deserves a cheer and I ask you Raptor fans to give him one.

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. I’m on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favor.

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Suck it up Cleveland

Cavalier fans are a little bit more than upset over the departure of Lebron James

The Dream team, 3 musketeers, the Lone Wolf finally getting a wolf pack. It doesn’t matter to Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh what you call them, but what does matter is that it is now official that the big 3 will be joining forces down in South Beach after James announced his decision last night live on ESPN.

Cleveland sports fans, who have endured so much heartbreak, were devastated to hear that Lebron James would not be re-signing with his home town team. In an open letter to Cavs fans, owner Dan Gilbert referred to Lebron James’ decision as a “cowardly betrayal,” which I’m sure is a statement that many Cleveland fans would agree with right now. However, I’m wondering why anyone would expect anything less from the man who features a tattoo that reads ‘CHOSEN1?’ Lebron James is a jerk. Always has been, always will be, and that is something that NBA fans are going to have to accept.

It’s amazing how many Cleveland fans were so delusional to so strongly believe that Lebron James was going to re-sign with the Cavaliers. There was obviously a chance of it happening, but it should not have been such a shock when he chose to play elsewhere. The city of Cleveland is whining like little babies but the whining is hardly justified.

I hear it over and over and over again that if Lebron had any loyalty he would have chosen to stay in the only city that he has ever known and lived in. That Lebron should finish what he started in Cleveland, and bring the city a championship.

Are Cleveland Cavalier fans trying to say that they are 100% loyal fans and support their team and players under any circumstance? It sure seems that way.

My question is what happens in the future when Lebron James loses a step in his game and is no longer the same dominant player that he is currently is. Can you say to yourself that you would give him your unwavering support?

Loyalty goes both way folks, and it is seen so often in sports where home fans turn on their previously beloved players. Donovan Mcnabb was pretty much shown the door in Philadelphia after he has given so much to that Eagles franchise. Where is the loyalty? Green Bay fans now despise Brett Favre after he “left” their team to continue his career even when it was the Packers who wanted him to step aside for Aaron Rodgers. Vancouver Canuck fans were quick to throw Markus Naslund under the bus for his many flaws once his game started to decline a bit.

Furthermore, where is the loyalty when fans are booing their team just because they are not playing their fans’ standards? Don’t give me the garbage that fans deserve to boo their own team because that’s their job, they paid to be at the game and that players make millions of dollars. Unless your team is not putting any effort in I cannot fathom why any fan believes that booing their own team will do any good towards helping their team win games. As a person how would you feel if your so called loyal fans were booing you when you are putting forth your best effort?

Cavs fans are not happy that their latest toy is being taken away

Sports fans treat their players like little kids do with toys. You love ‘em when they’re new, exciting and the best thing out there, but you want to get rid of them when they’re old and no good to you anymore.

I also wonder if people are naive or just too stupid to realize that sports is a business just like anything else. It seems obvious…right?

No player owes anything to any city or team. Lebron James had 7 outstanding years for the Cleveland Cavaliers while he was under contract. He brought them to the NBA finals once and had 2 MVP seasons. Yes it is about time he won a championship, but obviously he feels that he has a better chance to win one in Miami.

Here’s a news flash for everyone. You don’t own your players.

Vince Carter was once the talk of the town in Toronto

Let me pitch out two scenarios and you tell me which one you would rather have. What is a worse feeling for a team? Having your franchise player demand a trade while he is still under contract or have him leave as a FREE agent. As a Raptor and a Canuck fan I have felt the pain of having your franchise player demand a trade prematurely. Vince Carter just stopped trying in his effort to be traded and Pavel Bure flat out refused to play. Once they moved teams they both decided it was time to play again and of course play at an extremely high level. Vince Carter averaged 27.5 points a game in his first half-season with the Nets and Pavel Bure had 58 and 59 goals with the Florida Panthers in two consecutive years.

This was never the case with Lebron James as he had two MVP awards in his final two seasons with the Cavaliers. Lebron James left as a free agent, which means that he has no obligation to his former team for those of you who don’t understand.

I think another fact that is overlooked by people is that this is a once in a forever opportunity for Lebron, Bosh and Wade. When does anyone have the opportunity to play with two of his good friends who also happen to be a couple of the NBA’s elite? This is something that is unprecedented and may never be done again. It seems to me that it would be pretty difficult to pass up on an opportunity like this.

It also should be said that the criticism that Lebron James is getting is not fair at all. It is not the amount of criticism that is unfair but it is the way it is being presented. No matter what choice that Lebron made he would have been ridiculed by some. This was a no win situation for James.

Michael Rosenberg wrote an article for Sports Illustrated yesterday that focused on Lebron taking the easy route by choosing Miami. However, he also says in the article that he thought Lebron was going to stay in Cleveland because he thought that all he cared about was the adoration. So basically he is implying that if Lebron had chosen Cleveland he would have written an article about why Lebron James only cares about being the ‘man’ and wants people to worship him and only him. However, because Lebron chose Miami, Rosenberg decided to write about Lebron finding the easiest route to an NBA championship.

Way to contradict yourself.

I don’t see anything wrong with putting on an hour-long special to announce his decision. Sure it’s selfish and egotistical, but unlike other fans, this is what I expect from LBJ. The NBA loved this special, it created a different kind of hype that the sport probably won’t see again for a long time.

What I didn’t like though about the entire free agent ordeal was the way Lebron gave so many fans a false hope and kept them dangling for so long. Whose to say that those 3 hadn’t decided long ago that they were going to team up and that this whole process was just a big charade? If that is the case then I do see a lot of things wrong with the hour-long special, but until that story comes out I am completely fine with it.

In the end though, the fact of the matter is that only one team was going to happy, and the other teams would be snubbed. That was never going to change.

There is a big distinction between life and sports and we have to be able to differentiate the two from each other. Although, I do know that Lebron James is dead in some of the eyes Cleveland fans. Lebron leaving Cleveland for Miami is not on the same level as losing your job or having a close family member die.

Stop crying and just suck it up Cleveland.

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

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Bosh to the Big Apple?

Chris Bosh has been a treat to watch throughout his time in Toronto and it very much looks as though he will be leaving sometime this summer. Yesterday, Chris Bosh gave the Raptors his list of 4…err 5 teams that he would like to play for next year, which includes Chicago, New York, Miami, LA Lakers and of course he has to say Toronto although we all know that this is not going to be the case. Sources have said the Raptors as well as Bosh prefer the sign and trade, and obviously the Raptors would want some sort of replacement for Chris Bosh but what is the best option for Bosh as well as the Raptors?

Chicago seems like the least viable option for Bosh as the fit just wouldn’t be right there. It would be ridiculous to give up Joakim Noah after his breakout season this year, and the rookie power forward Taj Gibson has also showed some nice promise. Moreover, a sign and trade involving Bosh with either of these two players is not probably not a good idea for Chicago if they want to get Lebron, and are either Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, or the veteran Brad Miller fair compensation for Chris Bosh. I would think not.

In terms of fit Miami looks as though it could be a very possible destination for Bosh. There has been much talk of Wade and Bosh teaming up, especially after they have become quite good friends from the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Despite the fact that Miami has very few players under contract next year, a Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade tandem is scary to think about. Now the player under contract currently filling the 4 spot in Miami is the always consistently inconsistent former #2 pick Michael Beasley. The question is whether Miami is ready to give up on their former lottery pick for proven talent and whether Toronto believes Beasley is a viable replacement for their supposed franchise player. Personally I feel that Bosh would be a great fit with Wade as I don’t think he can ever do it on his own anywhere even with a great supporting cast. However, the Raptors need a strong inside presence and someone who is willing to commit themselves to the defensive cause and Michael Beasley does not fit either of those criteria. His scoring does not compensate enough to call him a solid starter.  All in all a Bosh, Wade team would be great for Miami but not for Toronto leaving this option, in my eyes, null and void.

That leaves two options: The Lakers and the Knicks. There were rumours during the season that a straight up trade of Bosh for Bynum was in the works. This just does not make any sense for the Lakers. The Lakers already have a Bosh essentially with Pau Gasol. Bosh does not provide the inside presence that Bynum gives, and although Bosh’s offence is very good you cannot have 3 guys who need the ball in their hands a lot. The Raptors could defenitely use Bynum, but at a young age Bynum has already had some injury issues which I think spells trouble for a big man making him not a very good option even for the Toronto “no defence” Raptors.

Now that just gives Bosh one spot to go and that’s the lowly New York Knicks. The sign and trade possibility of David Lee for Chris Bosh is not ideal for the Raptors but is not out of the question. Although David Lee is only 6″9 he would serve as a good replacement for Chris Bosh as he is a legit 20 and 10 guy despite what some people may lead you to believe. With Chris Bosh moving to New York he would finally get the national exposure that he never received playing in Canada. This possibility becomes even greater if Lebron James does indeed decide to sign with the Knicks, as they have spent the last 2 years basically tanking for a shot at Lebron James and another max contract (Wade or Bosh). I believe that they only have two players under contract right now with Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler.

If you go through the teams on Bosh’s list it is evident that New York is the only viable destination right now, as Bosh does not want to come back to Toronto to play on a perennially mediocre team. Chris Bosh has a tough decision to make but I think that he is going to the Big Apple.

If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com

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