It’s just Khalid being Khalid.
by Khalid Salaam
It’s Not His Fault But Damn
It’s not LeBron’s fault his success is tied into ratings and newsstand sales. Nor do I slander his forays into other things (hosting SNL, etc.) and his ubiquitous profile because of those things. But sportswriters have got to stop being such Stan’s of this guy. It’s making me not like LeBron, making me root against the Cavs just so these clowns can stop deifying him. It annoys me.
It’s not like he’s the first athlete that media people sweat. (I was at a game a few weeks ago where a fairly well-known national writer walked up to one of the Nuggets point guards and did everything but ask him out for dinner. The player after a while simply walked out of the locker room. I mean, it was really disturbing.) It’s gotten out of hand. At the start of the season they gave him the Lindsay Lohan treatment with writers and message boards flooded with conversations about how much he weighed and then guys started giving him the MVP award around Thanksgiving. Then it was conversations about why his shoe isn’t selling like they thought it would. And I’m like because we’re in a recession douchebag! Are you that thick-headed?
I tried to stay silent about this, but I just don’t want to anymore. It’s one thing for the fans to get carried away (I hate that too, by the way, but I understand it at least) but when professionals are gushing, it’s just weird. My last straw was about two weeks ago when during one of the Sunday afternoon ABC telecasts they mentioned that during halftime there was a Bron interview. Which would have been fine except the Cavs weren’t even playing! I can’t recall which teams were out there, but I recall for sure that Mike Brown wasn’t patrolling the sidelines. There was no reason for him to be profiled, I mean, who in the hell cares? I know media organizations are on nervous mode and writers and TV analysts are just trying to do their jobs, but you do our profession and the fans a disservice by constantly grabbing your ankles.
I was never a big math guy in school, but I liked and did well in economics. Money makes sense to me, but integers and the like were never my thing. So maybe that’s why this +/- ratio era we’re in means absolutely nothing to me. And when I see people numerically explain why some half-ass rotation guys is just as important as a star player it only validates what I already assumed: That this stuff is just another hustle, nothing more. People act like this is the best ideas since the wheel was invented when it’s more like a justification for people who don’t know much about the game to get up and gain some notoriety because they can make numbers look cool. Except that it isn’t cool. It’s boring and at times nonsensical. And I’m sure they know it, but if they can fool some of the people, some of the time that might be enough for them. Sad part is that a lot of people act like what they’ve done is awesome and helps quantify player’s contributions in a way that makes gauging their talent level easier. But anything that eliminates emotion or has Shane Battier as The Man cannot ever be trusted. It’s just fools gold. Sh*t it ain’t even gold.
24 is that dude, and I’m not talking about the TV show.
I’m not gonna say much about this, but here’s something to think about. Kobe is still the best player in the League. And it’s not as close as you think.
Dwayne Wayne used to be the man. Now it’s Dwyane Wade.
He’s not underrated so that’s not it. Everybody knows he’s good, but there’s this sense that he’s a notch or two below the other two… it isn’t true though. Here’s the real truth—right now he’s a better defensive player than Kobe and LeBron. And his stats of 29 points (on 49 percent from the field), 7 assists, 5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game have to be especially respected when you consider that the Heat roster is not exactly glistening with greatness. He’s getting more from far less than both Kobe and LeBron—how can anyone argue that?
You already know what I’m thinking… if the Heat grab the 4th spot in the East and, with it, home-court advantage in the 1st Round, he’s the MVP. I don’t want to hear nothing else about nobody else. Now will he win? Nope. As mentioned before, sportswriters these days are so conditioned with group think that he probably has no chance to unseat LeBron. And that’s fine, it’s not like James’ numbers aren’t worthy, it’s just that, to me, he has a lot more help than Wade does. One more thing, aesthetically speaking, Wade blows him away. More creativity and less redundancy is the difference. Wade isn’t the passer that Bron is, but overall he’s the more exciting player. But you already knew that didn’t you? You were just waiting to see if someone said it first right?
Just add Salt
Half the reason why nobody likes the Jazz is because they play in Utah, and who among us has ever met anybody from Utah? Can they even leave the state? I’m being facetious slightly but for real I’ve never ever met a Jazz fan. Because we’re not inundated with comments from Jazz Nation we forget about them. But we shouldn’t. They have a lot of guys who can shoot, and they have the athletes, intelligence and bench to beat everyone in the West except the Lakers and Spurs. But those teams have injury concerns. Will we get to see the real difference-making Manu in the Playoffs? And if Bynum is out for the rest of the season again, do they have enough physicality?
The Jazz four guys shooting 50 percent or better in their main rotation, six guys who average double figures in scoring, five guys who average at least 1 steal per game and have a coach in Jerry Sloan who’s gonna have dudes ready to play defensively every night. And they got Deron Williams, who is healthy and playing great right now and I bet he’s ready to close the gap with Chris Paul in the argument for best PG (it’s still Paul and sometimes it’s not close, but DW is really good too). They are a scary team but only if Williams takes his game up to the next level. His size and skill set can dominate opposing guards; it’s a question of when not if in regards to his rise.