Inspiration From the King(‘s struggles)

Hey everyone it’s Sam. Just want to introduce the debut blog of one of our new slamonline interns. We had a serious business lunch today and now it’s time to get down to serious business. Okay, stepping out of the way. This is Jon’s debut. ENJOY!!!

By Jon Wiener

So I got this dazzling idea yesterday to cast my “debut” SLAM column as a parallel with LeBron’s debut performance in the NBA Finals- “Youngster With Transcendent Talent Opens With Flourish On the Big Stage”- I had the metaphor so thoroughly conceived it was bordering on a revelation.

Naturally it took about two Cleveland possessions and one segment of San Antonio’s “Operation Assault LeBron” for me to scrap the idea entirely. How could I equate the obstacles of a first column with the obstacles of LeBron’s NBA Finals debut, a.k.a. the Spurs’ defense? Cut off my hands? Blow up my computer? Forget the English language?

No, inexperience and a broken ‘R’ key don’t quite stack up to multiple battles with the Bruce Bowen Brigades. And unless I want my column to read like the stat-line of 14 pts, 6 TO’S, and 4-16 shooting does (horribly), I’m gonna refrain from the parallels between myself and King James for now. Just remember that the kid can (and will) play ball.

But dammit LeBron was my subject! And whether it’s Madden play-action passing (do it) or Lil Wayne’s pedigree (yes, I agree with his repetitive proclamation- yes, that one), I rarely waver from an original philosophy. So in honor of James’ 4-16 bomb in Game One, I’ll introduce myself and my basketball wires with 12 (count ‘em, 12, one for each atrocious LeBron miss) “Points for Pontification” from the world of basketball.

The Finals. I’m sure that by now our man Lang (with all his excruciating free-time) has concocted 84 different ways to write “blow-out.”

My (rest of) The Finals prediction. Down 3-0, LeBron goes for 42 in Cleveland in Game 4, only to see the ball end up in Robert Horry’s hands with 4 seconds left and the score tied and…well, you know the rest.

MVP? How about a multiple choice: A) Tim Duncan B) Tony Parker or C) The Cavaliers’ front-office. We were blinded by LeBron’s magnificence against the Pistons and the Cavs muy facil road to the Finals and forgot that Lebron has a D-League team around him. The Spurs reminded us last night. I’m going with choice “C” in a close one.

Kobe Bryant. That’s who Bruce Bowen was thinking about when he scoffed at the question of whether or not LeBron was the “No. 1 assignment in the League.” Think Brucey boy’s glad he’s guarding the Human Manchild instead of Mr. Bryant? You better believe it.

Toughest defensive assignment in the League? Bet you thought I’d say Kobe. Nope. Can’t stand him. Call me biased…I’m going with Iverson (more on this later).

Oden v. Durant. It’s a moot issue. After Durant’s 185-spot on the bench, the Blazers ordered 12 more Corey Brewer tapes. (But seriously, the whole “weight-report” on Durant just made the basketball media look bad. I’m sure that the 150 defenders Durant made look like practice stand-ins last year all took extreme solace in the fact that they could bench press 190: “Like, what’s 32 and 11 worth anyway?”)

Draft sleeper pick. Trey Johnson, G, Jackson State. If I gave you the scoop he wouldn’t be a sleeper, now would he? But I’ll give you a hint: he scored 30+ points against Memphis, Illinois, Alabama, 25+ points against Florida and Georgia Tech, and 49 against UTEP. See? You’re not sleeping anymore, are you?

Most overrated draft prospect. Brandan Wright, UNC. Dude is soft. Think Drew Gooden minus 20 pounds but with the same game. Yea, see what I mean?

Drew Gooden. He can’t possibly still be with the Cavs. For three years Cleveland has been searching for a guy to take the open baseline shots when LeBron kicks it…and here we are in the NBA Finals and Drew Gooden is STILL TAKING THOSE SHOTS when LeBron kicks it. Is there another award we can give to the Cavs’ front office?

The NBA on ABC. Waay to corporate for my tastes. I miss Charles Barkley. Just give him a mike and step away from the booth.

SLAMonline? The sh-t.

Its newest intern and his debut column

Ahhem. Well, it’s a good thing LeBron didn’t drop 48 or go Delta over Timmy D. again. That would’ve been awful difficult to parallel. Instead his struggles gave me A) the idea for “12 Points of Pontification” (I know, you’re already holding your breath for the weekly installment) and B) a true point of reference for a blossoming (or fledgling, however you see the cup) sports journalism career.

That is that even the great and supremely talented LeBron will fall short sometimes. And not even fall short. Fail. Flop completely. Shoot 4-16 with 6 turnovers on the grandest stage of his career.

And even with no defense, tons of help, zero leadership responsibilities, immense vigor, and more-than-adequate rest, this pitiful excuse for a column was the best I could generate. Ouch. Looks like LeBron and I found a parallel after all.

Game Two, anyone?