Indecision Does Not Compare to The Decision

Dwight Howard is not Lebron James. Not even close.

Has everyone already forgotten the magnitude of the decision? Dwight Howard’s cat and mouse game has baffled us all but it doesn’t come close to reaching the 9.0 on the Richter scale that Lebron’s decision did. Lebron James shook the entire world and changed the entire landscape of the NBA. Dwight Howard is mildly disrupting it.

What is almost as mind-boggling as Dwight Howard’s Mitt Romney-like flip-flopping, is the amount of analysts who are equating this indecision, and even putting it above, “The Decision.” Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated says D-12 will be “every bit the villain Lebron James was in Cleveland” if he stays with Orlando for remainder of the season and signs elsewhere as a free agent.

Absolute nonsense.

Lebron James gave a sexy tease to one of the hardest luck sports cities in North America, only to embarrass them on national TV to create a super team in Miami. Cleveland’s hopes and dreams for some sort of meaningful professional sports championship rested solely in the gigantic hands of Lebron James and he spurned them in the worst way imaginable. Cleveland may have taken it a bit hard but that was to be expected considering the manner in which Lebron handed down his remorseless verdict.

Lebron is still a villain. He can’t shake the label because he is not likeable. He never was. For some reason, it took “The Decision” for people to see it. Nevertheless, Lebron is now loved by fans about as much as a 1st grader loves Brussels sprouts. That won’t change anytime soon.

Dwight is a fan favourite. He is Superman. You can’t stay mad at Superman forever. Seriously though, Dwight is beloved. Lebron was a fan favourite but it was never the same as Dwight. Howard’s antics right now are rubbing people the wrong way but one of those patented Stan Van Gundy impressions will turn the fans back around. If not, his Hollywood smile will. The King sneers while Superman smiles.

Even though Dwight Howard seems to be getting damage control lessons from the Lebron James entourage school of public relations these days, he hasn’t done enough to soil his reputation the way LBJ did. Heck, Superman could hold his own TV special and he wouldn’t be half the villain Lebron is.

Orlando residents don’t long for a championship the way the Cleveland fans did and still do. The front office and fans might be doing just as much as Cleveland did (maybe more?) to keep Howard in a Magic uniform but the animosity towards him following their inevitable split could never be the same.

Dwight Howard will be booed when he comes back to Orlando in a *insert team name here*jersey but he won’t be booed around the league.

This doesn’t “rival Lebron James’ exodus from Cleveland” as Sam Amick tries to tell us. It would be foolish to think that Dwight Howard could ever be thought of in the same light as Lebron James. Dwight Howard has yet to give up on his team despite the trade demands. His quietness stopped playing in game 5 of the Eastern Finals when hopes for a championship and his return to the city of Cleveland were still sky-high.

“The Decision” was the O.J. trial for the sports world.

Dwight’s indecision hardly tops the ‘Melo drama we were witness to last year.

Superman should have known better than to anger the masses in a way more befitting Batman. I cannot tell you the reason why he was unable to learn from Lebron and Carmelo. Dwight Howard has screwed up big time. I get it.

Just don’t go around likening it to “The Decision.”

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 happily return the favour.

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Super Teams are Super Bad for NBA

Competitive balance. That might be a phrase NBA fans will want to keep in mind for the future.

The media, fans and probably even David Stern love the idea of more super teams. Big players in big markets on big teams means big ratings, right? I mean, how crazy would a Heat-Laker final be with Chris Paul and Dwight Howard playing for LA?

Miami, Boston, New York, Los Angeles. The latest, most likely false, rumours speculate a move of disgruntled stars Chris Paul and Dwight Howard suiting up alongside Kobe Bryant in the purple and gold. A dream team of the best center, best point guard and best(?) shooting guard in the league is more than a little intriguing for even the most casual of NBA fans.

The idea of another “dream” team is no doubt intriguing but it is quite possibly the worst thing that could happen for the NBA.

It’s one of those slippery slope situations. Boston started it all with their OG big 3 followed by LBJ’s chosen destination and New York’s almost predictable failure in their attempt to create a super team dynasty.

The problem is, where’s the talent for the rest of the league?

Top tier talent comes at a premium but when that talent is concentrated in a few very select cities the premium becomes the non-existent. There won’t be any players left for the 25 or 26 other teams if this kind of ridiculousness persists.

It may be as much fun for you to keep up with super teams as it is for your girlfriend to keep up with the Kardashians but the obvious reality of the matter is that there is no NBA without the smaller market franchises. Competitive balance is already an issue in the NBA, especially in the Eastern Conference where a below .500 record can earn teams a lot more than a participant ribbon. Imagine what it would be like with a few more celebrity filled teams.

Amidst all the excitement, no one seems to be worrying about how the possibility of more super teams could severely affect the majority of NBA franchises. The league can’t work with 5, 6 or 7 teams carrying 3 or, dare I say, 4 superstars. The NBA is moving towards a league where glory driven superstars’ only hope of competing will be to put their egos aside and form a star-studded force of their own. It will become a classic case of ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.’

Oh yeah, the NBA will also feature 24 teams playing 82 meaningless games. 80% of fan bases won’t have anything more to cheer for than ‘fast to last!’ Sure, you can have your odd struggling franchises here and there, but a league full of them isn’t going to fly.

Chris Paul and Dwight Howard probably won’t end up in LA when it is all said and done but you can bet your bottom dollar that they will be offering their services to a contending team with other stars. Creating a legacy of your own is quickly becoming as popular as pogs have been in the last decade.

Too many fan bases without a star player to root for is a scary thought. The draft won’t be enough to compensate 20 plus teams’ inability to contend for a title. Hope is the one consolation for struggling teams but if the NBA continues to steer in this direction there won’t be enough hope to go around.

The occupy protestors should get where I’m coming from. The NBA will be the professional sports’ model of class stratification. Those franchises left out of the NBA’s super team exclusive country club won’t know what hit them. Soon enough they will be sleeping in tents outside David Stern’s office protesting the NBA’s 1% elite.

The NFL thrives on competitive balance and a constant influx of new playoff teams from year-to-year. Granted, football is much a much more team oriented sport than basketball and if you don’t believe me then you might want to look at the Philadelphia Eagles. Nevertheless, competitive balance, more than anything, ensures unwavering interest from fan bases from teams 1 to 30. Competitive balance is a big part of what increases the NFL’s already massive pool of money seasons after season.

NBA fans should stop supporting the prospect of more star-studded teams because in the long run it might just be the thing that kills the sport. A league of super team normality won’t spark the same interest that the Miami Heat have and still are generating. Individually the smaller market teams don’t mean much to the league but as a collective unit they are everything.

Competitive balance?

I wouldn’t mind a little more of that in the coming years.

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 happily return the favour.

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What Else Should We Expect?

Joe Paterno is 84. His brain doesn’t work the same way it used to. Too bad that’s not a worthy excuse for his, once again, selfish decision today. The previously beloved coach announced that at the end of the season he would step down as the head coach of Penn State.

What a joke.

If it wasn’t certain that Joe Paterno doesn’t have anyone else’s interest in mind but his own already, then this announcement surely did it. JoePa does what is best for JoePa. It’s always been this way, except before the world never really knew it.

At his press conference, Paterno said that he wanted to finish his final season with “dignity and determination.” In case he didn’t know, that ship has sailed. It left the moment we found out all JoePa did when he was informed of the accusations toward Sandusky was to report it to the proper authority.

It’s hard to believe that Paterno could even think about finishing a football season at this point in time. Clearly, he still doesn’t have any remorse or regret for what he has done, or rather what he didn’t do. Penn State is 8-1 this season. JoePa wants to go out on a high note. In the grand scheme of things, football has become insignificant in the context of this devastating story for most of us.

Not JoePa though.

JoePa can’t even pretend like he cares. His best teary eyed bluff could have been detected by my 6-year-old cousin. Paterno said that “With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.” Yet, with the benefit of hindsight and those thick, horn-rimmed glasses, Paterno doesn’t see what he has done wrong. If he understood the magnitude of his inaction in this issue then he wouldn’t wait until the end of the season to step down.

It really doesn’t matter if Paterno steps down now but it’s the principle of the matter. To retire after a few more inconsequential football games instead of immediately stepping down, tells the rest of the world that JoePa probably hasn’t lost much sleep over the scandal.

JoePa only lost sleep because he was thinking about his tarnished legacy. JoePa only wishes he could have done more to make sure that this whole story never came out to ruin his beloved reputation. The only thing that’s a tragedy in this matter to JoePa is the fact that he can never go out on top of the College Football world.

409 meaningless freaking wins.

It’s like the old adage for criminals. They’re sorry, but sorry simply because they were caught.

Joe Paterno was caught for who he really is. He’s another iconic sports figure who is not made in the beautiful image that the fans and media have created. Brett Favre sexted and whined, Tiger Woods cheated several times, Lebron James is not the Chosen1 and Walter Payton wasn’t quite so sweet.

Joe Paterno had and still has no interest in the children he could have saved. This is the person that he is and, at 84, I guess there’s no reason we should expect him to give in to what everyone else not only thinks but knows he should do.

Joe Paterno isn’t retiring immediately and that’s just JoePa being JoePa.

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Adam Scott Deserves More Credit

Adam Scott has shown resilience that some of the best athletes in the world could be learning from. Lebron James, here’s looking at you.

He isn’t getting enough credit for it.

Caught in a teenage love triangle straight out of Dawson’s Creek, Adam Scott blew the field away last weekend as he won the Bridgestone Invitational by 4 strokes.

Adam Scott has found himself in the middle of a messy break up. Tiger Woods thought his caddy cheated on him but Steve Williams doesn’t understand. He thought they were on a break. In a previous relationship where it is now obvious that neither partner is emotionally stable, Scott has remained even keel. It’s not often that a player, who is performing at such a high level, is overshadowed by a relationship between a caddy and his ex.

If TV dramas have taught us anything, it’s hard enough keeping your cool in the midst of a complicated love triangle. Imagine trying to professional golf on top of that.

Adam Scott, a career underachiever, has had enough trouble throughout his time on the tour dealing with the expectations placed on him. Typically, another Tiger Woods era “next one” has not lived up to the hype. You would have never guessed that from the way he has played his last 6 rounds.

Playing with the burden of a big-headed caddy, whose dreams of revenge on his ex-partner were placed squarely on his shoulders, Adam Scott has stepped up his game in a manner expected from only the greatest athletes in the world.

For a player who had only had 7 career PGA tour wins prior to last week’s victory at Bridgestone, it was unbelievable to see him come up with a win at a tournament where his caddy must have brought some lofty expectations along with him.

Scott was and is still playing for two people. That can’t be easy.

In a sport where choking is as common as the cold, Adam Scott has handled the intense pressure and media scrutiny like a young Tiger Woods.

As I sit here and write this, Adam Scott is tied for 3rd place at the 2011 PGA championship. He sits at 4 under par through 11 holes, only 2 shots behind Steve Stricker. To compete and win his caddy’s tournament of redemption is one thing but to continue to compete and stay in contention the following week at a major championship is something else.

Clearly, Adam Scott hasn’t had enough pressure placed on him during his career because as of this moment he is thriving with all the added weight on his shoulders. For most players, the benefit of the world’s most famous caddy by his side would have no doubt been outweighed by the stress brought on by all the extra pieces of luggage Steve Williams brought to the relationship.

Obviously, that has not been the case for Adam Scott.

Adam Scott’s play should have been the headline story last week but the fact that he has been able to handle the oddity of his situation throughout the week with the ease that he has is just making his play at the PGA Championship all the more impressive.

A lesser man would have collapsed.

The public should have a new found respect for Adam Scott after this whole ordeal. You may not like what his caddy has done but it is going to be hard not to cheer for him this weekend. It doesn’t matter if you think that Steve Williams doesn’t have the right to rub it into Tiger’s face because golf should never be about the caddies.

Adam Scott took the high road when he asked about his caddies comments. He might as well be on cloud nine right about now.

He may not win the PGA Championship but make no mistake, barring a meltdown of epic proportions, these last two weeks will go down as the most impressive stretch in the disappointing career of Adam Scott.

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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.

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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