It seems like nor Jer or I can throw together one coherent post lately about one topic. I tried today but had all of this running through my head so here's another random bunch of thoughts...
* Can't tell you how glad I was to see Dallas knock out San Antonio last night. We're now guaranteed an interesting NBA Finals. Thank you Dallas. Thank you Dirk. There's really not one guy on the Spurs I like, and I don't think I've ever seen a team that whines more than they do. Tim Duncan used to be Mr. Unemotional, but now there's not a possession that goes by where he's not bitching to the refs about them not calling fouls. SHUT UP TIMMY! NOBODY LIKES YOU AND NOBODY CARES!!! He's turned into Karl Malone, and I'm not even kidding. Malone's entire game was doing one of two things: 1) hitting the 12 foot baseline jumper or 2) jumping into somebody and drawing a foul. That's it. And after watching Duncan last night I realized that's what he's become. He'll hit the 12 foot bank shot, or jump into somebody, flail the legs, and then throw a shot at the rim hoping to draw a foul. Oh and whine and bitch incessantly if the refs have the audacity to not call a foul.
* As a matter of fact, Duncan has just grabbed the top spot on my Most Hated Current NBA Players list. Congratulations, Timmy. Although he still has a few more years to go before passing icons like Malone, Christian Laettner, and Jim McLvaine on my all-time list.
* And don't think the NBA isn't giddy about San Antonio getting knocked out either. I now firmly believe that every pro sport NEEDS a polarizing object (yes that includes the NFL), be it team or player. You NEED that Goliath to get casual fans to really watch. Although the Spurs have 3 Titles since 1998 (Jer and I are both NBA fans, and yet we both commented when watching last night's game that we completely forgot it was San Antonio, not Detroit, who were the defending champs. Why? Because nobody cares about the Spurs), they're not a Goliath. When you have a Goliath in a large market, there's enough fans to balance the hatred. I hate the Knicks, Lakers, Yankees, Cowboys etc, but there's a ton of souless people who love them to balance that out. Not so with San Antonio. Their town of about a million people love them, but anybody else who watches basketball would rather see Michael Moore in a bikini than watch the Spurs play. They're small-market, they're boring, and they're so incredibly annoying and whiny. Since we can no longer count on David Stern to take care of these things, thanks again to Dirk and Dallas for doing us basketball fans a huge favor.
* Speaking of the Commish, I've come to a sad conclusion about Mr. D. Stern: he's gotten fat and unmotivated. Not that I can blame him, but I think he's lost his competitive fire. The league's doing better than ever and he's filthy rich to show for it, so now he's flipped the cruise-control button, going from Conqueror to "Maintainer". Stern truly has been the most influential Commissioner in sports history. Yes he got a Perfect Storm in Bird and Magic (I'm not trying to be racist here, just honest: a blue-collar white guy and a charismatic black guy in two of the league's biggest and best basketball markets was the perfect scenario for saving the NBA) but he made some pretty bold moves to take advantage of it. It's sad because there's been some opportunities here to further the league and yet he's content to let it ride because it won't hurt his bottom line all that much. 20 years ago there's no way in hell a Detroit-San Antonio series would have happened. Never. If it would have taken calling offensive fouls on Tim Duncan on his every shot, or a JFK-like assassin in the upper balcony, he would have made sure the most marketable teams and players made the Finals. Now? He's content to let an gawd-awful game 7 unfold between the Pistons and Cavs, and to let the Suns WIN THREE GAMES IN A ROW TO CRUSH THE DREAMS OF A HALLWAY SERIES!!! Honestly, in the old days Lebron springs for 50 because the refs are blowing the whistle on Detwah if they breath near him, and the Suns start getting called for traveling and moving picks that are otherwise never called, Steve Nash gets the little used "too much hair" technical, and we get treated to a Lakers/Clippers series. Hey, Stern has earned the right to live on his reputation, but it's sad because I never thought I'd see the day.
* The only real piece of evidence you need that Stern has quit trying is the New York Knicks. If he was still in "The Don" mode, he would have never let Isiah and owner James Dolan destroy the Knicks like they have. I believe that Stern rigged the '85 draft lottery so the Knicks could take Patrick Ewing. Stern knows how important it is to have a good team in New York, and Ewing was a franchise-changer (although I don't think he ever lived up to expectations). But Stern knew enough to do something to save the Knicks when he had the chance. Now? They're in horrible shape for at least another 3 seasons, and they're not even getting rewarded for it because Isiah keeps shipping out draft picks. As bad as the Knicks have been, what makes it worse is what could have been: if Isiah would have left the roster alone, let all of their awful contracts run out by next summer, the Knicks could be looking at a high lottery pick this year, Greg Oden next year, and then Lebron James in free agency the year after that. It could have happened. And Timberwolves fans thought THEY had something to complain about!!
* It's obvious Stern is bored and needs a new challenge: President of the United States. He'd be the best ever. It's the only way I'd vote Republican, but I'd definitely vote for Stern. Unless David Palmer was running against him, then it'd be tougher.
* I knew the NHL was struggling for ratings, but I didn't know it had gotten this bad: more people are watching the WNBA on tv than hockey! I have a long and involved theory on why this is and how to change it, but let's be honest: you don't care.
* NBA draft lottery is tonight, and the Wolves will find out if they'll be picking better or worse than their 6th-worst record. Well that's IF McHale doesn't deal the pick before the pick for an overpriced-underachieving Euro.
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