Tag Archives: LeBron James

The NBA Conspiracy Minute: 6-15-14 Game 2

15 Jun

I knew that there was going to be another conspiracy right around the corner. This one isn’t a huge one, but it is worth pointing out because it adds a whole new layer of genius to the San Antonio Spurs and the basketball omnipresence of Greg Popovich. But before I dive in to the conspiracy, I just want to give a little backstory on my relationship with the Spurs. I never really liked them, even when uber-Christian David Robinson was being jammed down my throat by every Sunday school teacher who noticed that I liked basketball I wasn’t a fan. As a kid there was more than one moral lesson revolving around how Christians were better at basketball allowing them to defeat the vile worldliness of crass hooligans like Charles Barkley. All I knew was Barkley beat Godzilla and in my elementary mind there was no amount of Christian magazine features on David Robinson that could take that away from me. So, not a huge fan to begin with. The 1996 season when David Robinson and Sean Elliot were out the majority of the season, thus allowing them to win the Timothy Duncan lottery, my favorite team the Denver Nuggets only had 2 more wins than the Spurs. WE COULD’VE HAD THE GREATEST CENTER/FORWARD IN THE WORLD!! So, for the next decade I held a grudge against the Spurs, so much so that I actively booed Avery Johnson when the Nuggets picked him up. I rooted against them in every playoffs series they played in, which broke my heart because that meant I had to root for the Lakers some years. I grew up thinking they were boring and outright villainous when they regularly beat the Suns. In summation, I’ll say the Spurs had a long way to go to earn my respect. And this is an old story, the stories of people hating the Spurs and coming around to respect them were in vogue two or three years ago after they changed their style to be more seven-second-Suns instead of their former grind-it-out selves, and it happened for me then also. I appreciated them the same time everyone else did, but now this years version of the Spurs are possibly the best basketball team I have ever seen in my life. And they are crushing the Miami Heat. And doing it in the most joyful, entertaining way.

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Having said that, there is a conspiracy theory tied to these Spurs. As I said before, it’s not a very deep one, they don’t need a Deep Throat to uncover it. My theory is that the Spurs knew they were going to crush the Heat, just down right embarrass them, like they’ve done the last two games. And because they were so confident they would win the title they lost game two on purpose so they could win the close out game back on their home court in front their fans who would appreciate it much more than faux-fans of Miami. Well, it didn’t look like they actively tried to lose, but in contrast to their dominating performances in game 3 and 4, it is a wonder how they could have ever lost a game to this Heat team. What I think happened was that Popovich implicated a game plan that didn’t focus as much on ball movement or elements of the game they knew the Heat could react to. It was the playing-everyone version of letting Duncan and crew skip the game in Miami during the regular season. I think it is a very unlikely scenario that any team, especially the Spurs, would willingly lose a NBA Finals game, but after the last two games it makes me wonder how they lost game two. What likely happened was that Pop made the proper adjustments which allowed the Spurs to let their super-dominate colors shine. He is such an amazing basketball mind that he could for two consecutive games anticipate every thing that the Heat were going to do to try to stop their attack and not just design something that Erik Spolstra won’t be excepting, but something that will exploit every hole he didn’t even realize existed. Spolstra is a good coach, but he relies on having the horses. I get the sneaking suspicion that Popovich would still get a team like the Bobcats (RIP) to fifty-plus wins just because he is a master at understanding the game and utilizing his personnel. This is why I think that there is a good chance that Pop willingly allowed his team to lose game two. If that isn’t the case then maybe LeBron is really as good as people say he is because this Spurs team looks flawless. They look invincible and play together so well, I’m a little shocked that they even lost one game the whole year. 

-C.Charles 

The NBA Conspiracy Theory Minute 5-25-14

25 May

I do not believe in conspiracy theories. There are way too many factors, individuals, egos and money involved in all circumstances to say there is an overarching shadow agency running the show. Just the notion of such is a bigger leap of faith than any religion has ever asked of its followers. No, no, no, conspiracies are just a way for people to force connections which add meaning to the mundaneness of life. I don’t just actively ignore them, I go out of my way to shine a light on the stupidity required to believe any event has someone pulling the strings behind it. Conspiracy Theories are stupid and I don’t have time for a single one of them. Except when it comes to the NBA. NBA Conspiracy Theories are Faaaaaaantastic!

My reasoning is that, sure, large-scale conspiracies are nearly impossible to pull off, but inside one association? That could go down. There are too many things that don’t add up, breaks that seem too convenient, and luck never felt like Lady Luck and always had the hint of the smug condescending ways of David Stern. And the added bonus of conspiracy theories just being fun to ponder. Now, I love the NBA and I have no doubt that it will become the most popular sport in the world within the next 20 years, but to get to that level of popularity there’s got to be some bodies buried somewhere. And spring and the early summer are the P-R-I-M-E time for conspiracies, so this is going to be the first post exploring NBA Conspiracy Theories, both recent and up coming (there will undoubtedly be some shady officiating in the Eastern Conference Finals). So, get out your foil hats, pour yourself some florid-free water and feast your eyes on this NBA Draft conspiracy:

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Cleveland won the NBA lottery for the third time in three years, well, let’s be fair, they won the number one pick three out of four years, but they also moved up a spot in they year they didn’t get the number one pick. So, they’ve had a lot of lottery luck since LeBron James left Cleveland. Which is the sole reason for their luck. When Cleveland lost the greatest player in the league, who will one day be considered the greatest in the history of the league it was more than just another a tragic day in Cleveland sports history, it could have been the day the killed Cleveland, not just the franchise, but the whole city. The NBA didn’t want the blood of an American city on their hands so they rigged and continue to rig the NBA Draft until Cleveland gets back to championship contention. The Decision was the worst possible outcome for the NBA and Cleveland. As much as they placed prodigy in the loving arms of his hometown team in 2003 by fixing that draft, the NBA did just as much to drive him out in 2010. If the NBA didn’t allow its players to play in the Olympics, Lebron, Bosh and Wade would have never realized that they could play together, coexist, have fun and win while maintaining their elite identities. Allowing NBA players to participate in the Olympics is great for the NBA brand as a whole, but actually hurts the individual teams in the league, if they’re not in a large market and don’t have the draw of weather, celebrities or no state tax. So once they joined forces in Miami the NBA knew it had to offer retribution for this tragic displacement of talent to overly tan, ungrateful hands of Miami “fans.”

It was a no brainer that the Cavs got the first pick in 2011. That was obvious retribution. They lost their star unfairly and were embarrassed along the way. Sure, we collectively agreed they deserved the first pick. Here’s the thing, they were never supposed to be this inept at running a basketball team. I believed that the NBA agreed to do whatever it could to get the team back to something that wasn’t a laughing stock, but with the combination of poor drafting and even more poorly running the team the NBA is stuck. They can’t admit they played no part in allowing James to jump ship in such a scandalous fashion, so they have to keep giving the Cavs number one lottery picks until it is no longer a place players flee after their rookie scale contract. Which probably means that Cleveland will keep getting lottery picks until the team is moved Austin and renamed The Strange.

-C.Charles

Thoughts about NBA Free Agency Written Poorly

1 Jul

The banks have gotten a horrible wrap recently for showing the worst side of capitalism, but I think they get a free pass when we really get down to it. Yeah, banks exploit people, but at least they’re exploiting a vice. They make money hand over fist from playing on people’s greed, but all sports exploit hope. I love the NBA, I don’t love basketball in way that would warrant even touching a basketball in the last five years, but I love the NBA. There are people who love the NBA for the basketball, but I am not one of them. I fully admit that watching the games is not nearly as interesting as following the NBA, and nothing is more interesting to me than the last week of June and the first week of July, which respectively hold the NBA Draft and the beginning of NBA free agency. To enjoy both of these events you can have zero knowledge of the terms “traveling,” “box and one” or “post-up-iso” mean. They are the moments where the fan bonds with their team, and the NBA gets a foothold to separate suckers like me from our money and mountains of personal time.

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These three weeks of summer are the equivalent of the money shot used in tent-pole trailers right before the credit screen flashes up.  Joseph Gordon Levitt defying gravity while fighting his way across the walls of hallway is the same thing as LeBron taking his talents to South Beach.  This year Dwight Howard’s endless odyssey is going to be the same thing as giant robot using an oil tanker as a baseball bat. Over the years I had a hundred and one stupid opinions about why I enjoy the NBA offseason so much, and why I think it is so entertaining. None of them hold water, but in my mind players moving teams or being drafted and becoming instant millionaires overnight is enthralling. I follow all the guys breaking the news on the twitter and play out each rumored trade to all possible ends. And if my time was worth anything the NBA would make a shit-ton of money when they aren’t even playing games. There is the least amount of resistance between  dreaming your team could win it all in the early part of summer and actually playing for the championship trophy, which conveniently just ended a few weeks ago. So, with the memories of celebration still fresh on in the mind, I tell myself that name that David Stern is going to call for my team is going to be the one that will finally help us (cause of course, I am part of the team’s family and we’re gaining a new brother) hoist the trophy and lead the victory parade next summer.

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Fans line up to openly pay to show their devotion, and I am surely one. This winter I laughed when I saw Silver Linings Playbook at the family’s devotion to the Eagles, but if there was a GoPro camera set up on my work computer over the last two weeks it would be a textbook example compulsion and obsession. At least that dysfunctional family cared about the games. The thing is sports are not entertaining. Let me say it again: Sports are not entertaining. It’s mild escapism at best, and a strong proof being caught in arrested development at worst. The interesting drama rarely takes place on the court since the athletes’ abilities are so far beyond what people interact with every day, and the defensive schemes and plays are so advanced that even breaking down one play would take the same amount of time it would take to play a pick-up game and run it back a few times. The children’s games all professional sports are based on have smarted themselves right out children’s realm of appreciation.  Now the only way to enjoy basketball is the same way women love reading tabloids. I follow the NBA, but only for the stories, and it is rare that the stories I’m interested in actually sync up with the what’s happening on the court.  I hope my team gets better and I hope teams I hate makes stupid moves. I know the fate of the team is determined on the court, but what is so fascinating about these three weeks is that every move could potentially cause the team to go 82-0.

-C. Charles

If the NBA was on TV

18 Feb

NBA All-Star weekend just wrapped up, and while everyone was busy claiming that despite it’s flaws the weekend is some of the best TV has to offer. Well, I spent this last month catching up on some quality produced television, and I can say that the All-Star game has nothing on the current golden age of television. However, the claim did put the stupid opinion engine in motion and generated plenty of stupid opinions. The stupidest of them all is this post. Right here, in the very post you are reading now.  Here’s the gimmick: What NBA All-Star embodies what TV show.

 Diptic

LeBron James has to be Game of Thrones. LeBron is playing the best basketball of his career right now, and the last year he erased all doubts about his legitimacy as the best player alive. Nobody can even question it right now, in the same way everyone is watching Game of Thrones. Even people living in homeless shelters without premium cable have found ways to illegally download the show at the city library. Everyone watches it cause it has it all. Game of Thrones is the Pearl Harbor of spoiled latchkey kids, everyone can rally around that show. In both cases, the fans know how both will end, GoT because of the books and LeBron because he’s four steps ahead on the evolutionary timeline and has already crushed every implausible ceiling artificially created for him. It doesn’t matter that people know what is going to happen, everyone is happy to tune in to enjoy the ride.

Tim Duncan and Mad Men. . . He started playing in the 60’s, right?

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MVP Chris Paul is like Lena Dunham’s GIRLS. Both are do-everything-fucking-awesome team players that just make whatever they touch turn to gold.  And both owe a tremendous amount to their location and circumstances: CP3 for forcing a trade out of NOLA only to get lucky enough to miss the sinking ship known as the Lakers and end up as a seaworthy Clipper, and as brilliant as Dunham is I really wonder if Tiny Furniture would have been such an indie darling if Aura’s mother was an artist working in the Santa Fe art scene. Would middle America rise up against the girls of GIRLS if it was set in middle America, or is there something sort of cathartic about watching these flawed characters stumble through life in NYC?

Speaking of NYC, the Most Selfish Player in the NBA is Kourtney and Kim Take New York. It’s a shitty show about selfish people who want attention, he’s a shitty, selfish person that wanted to be in a bigger market.

Kevin Durant is like Louie. Where Kevin Durant may have originally looked just like your average run of the mill super scorer, he’s become, to the chagrin of everyone in Seattle, the special once in a lifetime player that defines a team, a city, an era, someone who will change the way the game is played. Louie CK seemed to be on the same career path as one of the non-Amy Poehler members of The Upright Citizens Brigade when he directed Pooty-Tang, but now he’s in his own world. Louie is the do-it-all great television show that transcends the label sitcom and is elevated to, as corny and dopey as this sounds, art. I can totally see a world where high school seniors will be required to watch season two of Louie in there new media class. Durant and Louie are generational treasures.

KG and The Walking Dead. Well, Kevin Garnett just isn’t as good as he used to be and really shouldn’t have been starting in the All-Star game, but massively popular things have a way of riding that popularity wave, just like John McClane surfed on that dump truck in Die Hard: With a Vengeance. The same goes for the extremely popular The Walking Dead, but instead of riding the same quality wave that KG built up over 18 years in the L, The Walking Dead is just riding the current pop obsession with zombies.  The show is proving pop cultures favorite hobby is over-saturating and killing anything with cult appeal, while KG spent the weekend honoring the game and humbly enjoying the last All-Star game of his career. You should have never spent 15 weeks on that farm, Walking Dead, you’ve lost me forever.

James Harden and Justified, I just feel that there has to be someone on that show that has a similar beard.

Dwight Howard and Breaking Bad. If there has ever been a real life equivalent to Walter White, other than that meth dealer named Walter White in Florida, it has to be Dwight Howard. He’s completely broke bad. In one year, Walter White went from beloved husband, father and chemistry teacher to Heisenberg. Now Dwight may have taken longer break bad, but he went from being on the cover a Xian magazine to knocking up and walking out on then Magic dancer and future Basketball Wife, to getting his coach fired, burning his legacy as he whined his way out of town and is now the anchor that is dragging the once proud Lakers franchise to the ocean floor. I have the feeling that Kobe is Pinkman, Nash is Mike, and Bill Simmons is Hank. We won’t know how Breaking Bad turns out for another few months, but no matter what happens in the last 8 episodes; Dwight Howard is a dick.

C.Charles