Tag Archives: LeBron James

The NBA and the Miami Heat double-standard: the Stern Crime Family strikes again

Let’s review.

This was an automatic, on the spot flagrant 2 and ejection.

But this – a blindside cheap shot, a two-handed shove and some subsequent manhandling of the ref – earned only a flagrant 1.

Note that LeBron flopped like a Portuguese midfielder while Hansbrough remained upright.

And this flying WWE-style flying elbow from Dwyane Wade was assessed a flagrant 1, but only after the league office reviewed it the next day.

Flagrant 1s earn the opposition a free throw and the ball. Flagrant 2s get the offender ejected. And if you’re the sort of conspiracy theorist who thinks the NBA is protecting its cash cow, the star-studded Miami Heat, well, there’s not much in this sequence to prove you wrong, is there?

(I guess the league might still take some extra action against Anderson, seeing as how he’s a role player and not a superstar. Of course, he’s an important role player and the Miami/Indiana series is still tight, so maybe not. We’ll see.)

[UPDATE: The league has apparently been embarrassed into suspending Anderson for a game.]

Some advice to the NBA league office. If you want your fans to stop seeing the hand of the Illuminati in every controversial call, if you want smart-asses like me to stop using phrases like “RICO investigation” and “Stern Crime Family,” you should stop, you know, acting like an organized crime family.

Just saying.

It’s true. I’m now pulling for LeBron.

I used to be a LeBron fan. Then came The Decision, which annoyed me mightily. It wasn’t that he left Cleveland – he should have left Cleveland – it was the whole spectacle of how he did it. As I explained when it happened, that ESPN special was the moral equivalent of buying time on national TV to break up with your girlfriend. It was as self-absorbed and cruel as it was unnecessary.

So I’ve enjoyed his life on the griddle. Flaming out in the Finals last year. Enduring relentless pressure about his tendency to disappear in crunch time. And on and on. It’s been a stress-packed couple of years for King James. In other words, karma. Read more

LeBron James: welcome to the Punk Hall of Fame

Let’s say you’re a guy and you’ve been involved with a woman. Long-term, committed, exclusive relationship. Several years together. You loved her dearly through the years and she’s simply gaga over you, for reasons none of your friends fully understand. But now, now you’ve realized that it isn’t going to work any longer. Maybe you have different priorities. Maybe you want kids and she doesn’t. Maybe the fire has died in the bedroom. Maybe you’ve grown apart and your life together just doesn’t satisfy you anymore.

Whatever the reason, you realize that the relationship has to end. For better or worse you have a right to be happy and she shouldn’t have to live with a guy who sees her as something he’s settling for. You have all kinds of misgivings, but you’ve thought about it long and hard and, while it’s going to hurt like hell, it’s the right thing to do.

Now you have to figure out the best way to break up. You know that face-to-face is what she deserves. But a telephone call would be easier on you, providing you with some distance from the pain. An e-mail would be easier still. And you know that sometimes kids even break up with a text message.

Finally, you figure out what to do. “Honey, flip on Lifetime at 9pm Eastern. I have something I want to tell you.” Read more

The NBA: where will “fixed” happen this year?

We watch sports for a variety of reasons. To revel in the thrill of head-to-head competition. To marvel at the athleticism. To root for the home team, in which we have somehow invested a piece of our own identities. To mark our place in the timeless ritual. To learn, even.

With the NBA, there’s one more reason: to see which narrative the league has decided is the most compelling.

Now, I’m not generally a conspiracy theorist. I don’t think the world is biased against me personally and I don’t believe that the refs are out to get my team. In most cases, my attempts to explain bad officiating, whatever the sport, need go no further than “basic incompetence.” Read more