Posts Tagged ‘ Lebron James ’

The King Returns & The Fallout

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Today, the everything in the sports world was put on the back burner. Four years after leaving Cleveland, LeBron James announced he would be returning back to his hometown Cavaliers. How crazy is this?!?! But more importanty, what does this really mean.

LeBron James becomes the first player to go to 4 straight NBA Finals, and leave in free agency. He returns home to his beloved Cleveland, to right the wrongs of what happened 4 years ago and play for his hometown Cavaliers. He also seems to want to right the wrongs for what happened 4 years before when he bolted for South Beach.

So what does this mean for the remainder of the artists formally known as the “Heatles.” Originally Chris Bosh was headed to Houston to sign a 4 year/$88 million dollar deal, but a few days later, it seems as if Bosh will return to Miami to be the man. As for Wade, his fate seemed to be the fame. He flirted with returning to his home state, and then ended up staying in Miami on a 2 year deal, similar to the one LeBron signed.

Carmelo Anthony however, made a completely different proclamation. He was presented with the most options. He could have chosen Chicago, which would have given him the best chance to win now. Headed to Houston to team up with Dwight Howard and James Harden in Houston to form a dynamic trio, only problem is that it would be in the loaded Western Conference. He spurned Los Angeles, after there had been reports that the Lakers were serious contenders in the Carmelo sweepstakes. But in the end, he decided to return to New York, to make it work in the town he forced a trade to just 3 short years ago. Carmelo gets a chance to be the man, in a fresh start with a new young coach (Derek Fisher) and a GM with a knack for making any situation a winning one (Phil Jackson).

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LeBron left 4 years ago ‘To take his talents to South Beach’ and it ripped the heart out of everyone in Cleveland. Even I was one of those people who was bashing him, calling him names and even saying I hate him. But 4 years later, I get it. Yes, I understand why Lebron left and so should everyone else.

LeBron has been Cleveland’s great hope since his days at St. Vincent- St. Mary High School. He was drafted number 1 overall in 2003 by his hometown Cavs, and he never had a chance to grow as an individual outside of Cleveland. Not just from an NBA standpoint but his global brand and his NBA resume. At the time, the Cavaliers could not give King James the ring he so desperately chased. So like any businessman, he ‘took his talents’ elsewhere to get what he wanted. After 4 years, and 4 straight NBA Finals appearances, LeBron returns to his roots, but this time, as a 2-Time Champion, Olympic Gold Medalist, and one of the biggest stars in the world.

But don’t get too excited. LeBron only signed a 2 year deal. He will get paid handsomely for those 2 years, but you have to wonder why he signed such a short deal. One word, Leverage. The NBA salary cap is set to increase in 2 years, and if the Cavs haven’t materialized into a contender by then, LeBron can take more money elsewhere to chase more rings. LeBron really wants to make this work in Cleveland, but you can tell he isn’t ready to forgive Dan Gilbert just yet.

But in the short term, the Cavaliers will be an exciting team to watch. We can see Kyrie Irving develop, playing alongside the best player in the world. Andrew Wiggins hasn’t even played a game in the NBA, and now it seems like this kids ceiling has risen even further. With what he is already doing in the summer league, it is safe to say I am excited to watch the Cavs play, or even play with them in this years NBA 2k15. Let’s just hope this team can develop, because if not, the summer of 2016 will be a very interesting one with the likes of Kevin Durant also being a free agent.

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Olympic Thoughts

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London 2012

After the first few weekend of the Olympics has wrapped, here are a few thoughts about what has happened in the first few days.

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Ryan Lochte sporting his Gold Medal and Grill after winning his first competition during the 2012 London Olympics

In probably the most anticipated rivalry between teammates, Ryan Lochte won the gold medal in the 400m Individual Medley in swimming and Michael Phelps finished 4th. It wasn’t a huge shock that Michael Phelps didn’t win this event, especially considering he had previously stated he never wanted to compete in that even again. After slipping into the final with the 8th position, Phelps didn’t seem to have a good swim and was beaten by his teammate by more than 4 seconds to finish 4th, his first finish without a medal since the Sydney games of 2000.

In what turned out to be a surprise, but not really the result we expected, the French upset both the defending gold medalists United States and the world favorite Australians. This was billed as the sequel to the epic race in 2008, in which Jason Lezak of the USA overcame a body length deficit to not only set a world record by 4 seconds but also shock the French who during the last leg held a commanding lead. Unfortunately the United States couldn’t bring back any of that magic and were beaten by the French. Even more surprising is the 4 swimmers who swam in the morning, including Lezak, were replaced with Cullen Jones, Nathan Adrian, Phelps, and Lochte.

Over to Soccer, in which the US men somehow didn’t qualify, the women are clear through the group stages after a great start. They beat France 4-2 in their opening game, and then had a 3-0 victory over Columbia. The US women are a soccer, football in this case, super power and are favored to make it all the way to the medal round. The American’s play DPR Korea in their final group game before they make their way towards the gold.

On the Men’s side, the super power that is La Roja aka Spain, was recently just eliminated from the Olympic competition after losing to Japan 1-0 in the opener and then 1-0 to Honduras in their second game. This comes as a shock considering Spain just won the Euro Cup just a month ago. While it’s not the same squad, this Spanish team does have some of the same stars the team that won the Euros does. Players like Juan Mata, Jordi Alba, and Javi Martinez. This Spanish team just never got going, failing to score in the first 2 games and now has one game left this tournament and somehow has to salvage some ounce of pride since they do not have much else left to play for.

Finally in Men’s Basketball, while they have been joking with each other and flooding instagram with hilarious photos (see below), have been all business on the court beating France 98-71 in their opening game. The real test will come once they get through their group stage, which will likely pit them against Spain at some point, who no doubtedly is their biggest competition.

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US Men’s Basketball on Segways #segwayswag

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Is Carmelo smiling because King James was caught sleeping or is it because he stole Lebron’s headband?

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Kevin Love is the winner of the #GotEm game. Anthony Davis cuddled up like a baby, Chris Paul drooling on his pillow, and even Coach K!

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Deron Williams and Lolo Jones acting silly during the Opening Ceremony

As of today, the US is still behind China in olympic medals, but with strong showings in sports such as swimming, volleyball, track & field and basketball, the United States should be able to overtake the Chinese in the standings and show us all why we are super powers at the Olympics.

The Prince finally earns his crown

So unless you live under a rock or have not payed attention to anything in the media as of late, you have heard LeBron James and the Miami Heat closed out their NBA Finals series with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The final result, a 121-106 thrashing of the Thunder, in which a series after Game 1, was all Miami Heat.

The Thunder proceeded to take Game 1 at home against the Miami Heat, and then as in every other series this playoffs, Lebron James turned it on and boy did he dominate. Nothing like his Conference Finals stats against Boston where he single handedly won that series for the Heat, but this was a player possessed. Fueled by what all the critics had been saying about him for years, about not having the “clutch” gene, for taking his talents to south beach and forming the Big 3, being arrogant, etc. But in a lockout shortened season, Lebron was able to get it done. He did everything asked of him, and even more to earn his first NBA title and NBA Finals MVP along with winning his 3rd MVP award this season.

By winning the title Lebron has escaped that fateful Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, and Steve Nash group as players to win multiple MVP awards but not a title. This postseason has changed the opinions and minds of everyone, a whole new attitude, demeanor, determination and even his play on the court. He put together one of the most dominating postseasons in recent memories, something Jordan-esque, averaging 30.3 ppg, 9.7 rpg, and 5.6 apg. I can certaintly tell you one thing, he has changed my mind along with the minds of the critics everywhere.

Moving forward where does this leave LeBron? Will we see him fufill his promises of multiple rings in Miami? One year has definitely changed his mentality as a player. The heartbreaking loss of last season has seemed to mature in a way we thought we thought we would never see. A humble attitude off the court along with an intensity on the court that I have only seen out of players like Garnett, Kobe and Jordan. It should be interesting to see how things play out in the future. Lebron has the talent to win multiple rings and the scariest thought is that now that the pressure is off of him, how will he perform in the future. He will have to worry about a full 82 game season next year, but honestly will that matter? Once the playoffs get here it is a whole different ballgame. You can argue he wont be as fresh as he was this postseason when he averaged just short of 43 minutes a game. Only time will tell in the future, and it will be exciting to see it play out!

The NBA Finals impressing, but at the same time disappointing all of our expectations.

Watching the Miami Heat take a 3-1 series lead in last nights pivotal game 4 was a very in between feeling for me. I have more and more became a “fan of the game”, more than stick with my allegiances and not really enjoy the amazing game for what it is worth. While I am a Lakers fan and they have enjoyed their success recently (5 titles in 12 years, playoffs in every season but one) I have learned, due to other teams winning which I have in the past proclaimed to hate. Well hate is such a strong word so I think in this case I will stick to dislike. But last night took me to another place.

The Oklahoma City Thunder are a very exciting team to watch, as noted as the way they bounced the defending champs in Dallas, my Kobe led Los Angeles Lakers, and the seemingly unbeatable San Antonio Spurs (who had won 20 in a row, including the first 2 of the series before losing 4 straight to bow out of the Western Conference Finals). The Thunder have impressed. While they may not boast the huge salaried or highly hyped Big 3 that many other teams may have such as Boston, Miami, or LA, they have an exciting core of players who are all home grown and have gelled together very very quickly. You can’t help but root for these guys. They are young, hungry, haven’t hit that egotistical age in the NBA, and day by day and round by round they are impressing. Before the playoffs, many stated that if the Thunder can get through the prospective uphill battle of Dallas, Los Angeles, & San Antonio (which if you were counting at home, were the Western Conference Champs the last 12 years) they would be a legitimate title contender and would have, so to speak, arrived. Well now that it has happened, we have seen another Thunder team. After going up 1-0 in the Finals, Kevin Durant who led the league in scoring this season has somewhat taken a backseat to Russell Westbrook on the court (and in fashion). But haven’t we seen this before? Countless times I have turned on Sportscenter or ESPN First Take and have heard commentators talking about how Westbrook, the POINT GUARD, taking too many shots which in turn takes shots away from Durant, who by the way averaged 28.0 ppg this season and an equally impressive 28.3 this postseason. What I don’t mind is when Westbrook drives to the hole and takes layups. He has demonstrated all playoffs and especially last night, that he can get to the rim at will due to the fact he is a mismatch with anyone who tries to guard him. But when he sits back and takes jump shots, it kills the team. He averages about 23 ppg this postseason, yet he takes about 20 shots per game. Now Durant averages 28 on 19 shots and averages 28.3, is there a problem here? Maybe that’s not the main issue. While Durant and Westbrook had 70 of their teams 98 points last night we have to ask the question, where was James Harden, Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins and the rest of the team. With their backs against the wall what kind of performance can we expect out of them. They shot right out of the gates last night and after the first quarter was over I fully expected them to even up the series at 2 apiece, but after shooting 60% in the first quarter they stumbled and despite Lebron’s cramps (more on that later) they couldn’t get a defensive stop in the fourth quarter and could not hit the key shots. The mental toughness of this team will definitely be tested come tomorrow night, not only is this an elimination game, but this is a statement game for the Thunder moving forward. Do they have the will to win?

Now on to the Heat, who surprisingly have awaken in these playoffs. I have to admit I fully expected them to lose each of the last 2 series before the Finals. They were down 2-1 on the road to a talented Indiana team, came back to win. Then against a tough veteran Boston team, lost 3 in a row after winning the opening 2 games, only to come back and steal the series and send Boston home. Despite Rajon Rondo playing out of his mind during the series including a game where he dropped 43 points and almost having a triple double in a losing effort. Currently in the Finals, we have seen it all. First the Heat lose game 1 to the Thunder blowing a big lead in the process, and then since have been rock solid, winning each of the last 3 games. Game 4 was probably the most impressive. The Thunder, who were in a must win situation, stormed out the gates and held a 17 point lead in the first quarter, only for the Heat to come back and make it a game by half time. Call it exhaustion or over-exertion this playoffs, but Lebron finally showed he was human in the fourth quarter by going down with what was called a leg cramp. He then came back onto the court, hit a huge 3 and then limped back down the court. Was this Lebron’s defining moment a la Jordan’s flu game? Not even close, while it did show some of the hunger and resiliency we have been lacking from Lebron in the playoffs, it was almost a little too dramatic. It’s good to finally see him not act like some entitled punk and prove to everyone why he is the chosen one and the best player on the planet.

What was even more suprising was the fact he sat on the bench the last minute of the game. Maybe for precautions, maybe because the game was out of reach at that point or whatever, but it was suprising to see him out during crunch time. Something I thought I would never see until later in his career.

Well here it is coming up, the MOST important game of his career coming up. Game 5, his first NBA Finals closeout game. Will he come up big or fizzle out like in the past? We have all seen the mouthpiece with the XVI, maybe this should have been seen as the first sign that he is hungry for the title.

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But if they end up closing out the Thunder in game 5, I can’t help but think, what kind of ridiculous press conference or statement will Lebron make after winning the title. Will he pull a Pat Riley?

Or will he pull out some statement about the haters and detractors and once again, alienate himself like last year. We will find out within the week! Stay tuned!

 

 

Oh, props to ABC on their 7 second delay fail, not once but twice. First with Lebron’s injury and second when Wade was giving Chalmers his new nickname.

First the Decision, Now the Collapse!

What a game last night! The Orlando Magic went into American Airlines to face the Miami Heat and stole a win last night. Down 24 points in the 3rd Quarter on the road, the Magic went on a late 40-9 run over the span of 15 minutes and the aftermath was the 2nd largest comeback in franchise history and the 2nd time this season the Heat have failed to close out a game with a 20+ point lead. During this run, many of the Heat’s stars went into witness protection, Lebron James and Dwayne Wade being the main culprits. After scoring 47 points in the first half, 2 more than the Orland Magic as a team, Wade and James went 3 for 13 from the field in the second half including 0 for 4 and 0 for 2 by Wade and James respectively in the second half. Lebron James, who is soon to lose his moniker of King James if he doesn’t step it up son, failed to score a point, record an assist, or even grab a rebound in the 4th quarter. Dwight Howard, who finished with 14 points and 18 rebound, out rebounded the Heat himself in the fourth quarter 10-9.

What’s more interesting about this game is that Lebron James this week, sent out a tweet saying he was re-focused and was taking no prisoners and that he has no friends in war but his soldiers. Now I know Lebron wants to be the so-called villain these days, but using twitter to hype up the media about how he is ready for the second half is baloney. On top of that, the Heat’s performance in the second half makes me along with many other sports fans and realize that he can’t be the villain. Michael Jordan was a villain, he would go into Madison Square Garden to prove a point and would do everything in his power to make sure the Bulls came out with a victory. Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce are guys who are the same way, ice water running through their veins and that killer instinct. In his 7 plus years in the NBA, I can only find once instance where Lebron had that killer instinct and that was in the playoffs against the Pistons. If Lebron wants to be a true villain, he needs to quit messing around and make a statement on the court, not trough the media or any other outlet, but on the court, whether in the Regular Season or the Playoffs. If not soon, he is just going to be another one of those overrated, overhyped superstars who couldn’t get it done.