Has LeBron James won your respect?

LeBron James

LeBron James has an impressive resume nine years into a career that was destined for greatness. He finally won that championship that eluded him once in Cleveland and once in his first season in Miami. When your uniform is 23 and you are nicknamed “The King” or “King James” you expect nothing less. For a moment take a look at the list of his accomplishments.

Going into year 10 of his career, you would think hands down, that Lebron would be considered the best player of his time and would have everyone’s undying respect. Still it is hard to get people to like Lebron like they like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, or Shaq. The big is why? Has LeBron earned your respect? If so why? If not, why not? If you feel he has earned your respect is it because he finally won a championship? If not, is it because it was the way in which he left the Cleveland Cavaliers? Was it the ill advised “Decision” that was televised that turned you off?

How would you define greatness?

Read more…

2012 Fantasy Basketball: Season starting sleepers

 

James Harden

Allen Einstein / Getty Images Contributor

NBA season has started.  My initial daily fantasy basketball reaction is that my games have gone about as good as the teething my young son is presently experiencing. I thought I could only imagine the pain he is feeling, but after the last two nights I think I am right there with him. I can’t seem to put together a consistent team. The stars are playing consistent, but due to salary leagues my sleepers are underperforming. I am one of those sports fanatics that expect Lebron James, Dwight Howard, and Chris Paul to put up 30 fantasy points a game. They are doing just that, but O.J. Mayo, Nicolas Batum, and David Lee aren’t putting up the high scoring performances I was expecting. I do, however, have three guys that can make an immediate impact on your daily fantasy team if you will add them to your roster.

Due to the changing style of NBA play, and less emphasis being placed on a true center (more guard oriented) these guys are destined to shine. I think that this three will continue to make an impact for their teams throughout the year.

Glen “Baby” Davis: The question was who will take the reins for Orlando after Dwight Howard moves on to the Lakers? Well I think that the question has been answered. I loved Glen’s performance when he played at LSU. At 6’9 he plays the post well, but he is also athletic enough to be a prolific scorer for the Magic. During his first outing Davis played 34 minutes and lit up the scoreboard with 29 pts. He also pulled down 10 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. If he can continue this production then we will be looking at a 30 point guy a night. He also comes at a good price point because of the team he plays on and his previous fantasy years.

Klay Thompson: Thompson my “sleeper” pick this year. I think that Golden State is going to have to use Klay this year to be a competitor. Klay is averaging 36 minutes a game and 13 pts a night (with a hot 3 pt shot.) He also is grabbing 5 rebounds a game and 3 assists. He can also get a steal or two a night which enhances his fantasy potential. Klay is a consistent guy, which tells me that I am looking at 20 fantasy points a night. I love playing guys that I feel like I can count on and Klay is one of those guys.  Read more…

NBA 2012: Story lines, predictions

Dwight Howard-Ray AllenJust think, a year ago we were all telling jokes about how LeBron James had no rings, no killer instinct, and couldn’t put the team on his back.  Now after he won the NBA Championship, MVP, NBA Finals MVP, and an Olympic Gold Medal in the past year we are now asking what’s next?  Can LeBron take himself to MJ levels?  Can he be the greatest of all-time?  And that has to be the main storyline for the upcoming 2012-13 season.

The Miami Heat:  The Heat come into 2013 as the defending champions and all the pressure is on them to take control of the NBA like they did last year.  The big storyline is can they repeat?  If so, can they go on a historic run like Jordan did with the Bulls and win multiple titles in a row?  Miami not only has the best player in the NBA, LeBron, but they now surrounded that man with shooters all around him signing the best 3-point shooter off all-time, Ray Allen.  Last year in the Playoffs, the Heat figured out who they are and it only took them two years to do it!  The Heat run an unprecedented offense with “no positions”, it will consist of LeBron doing whatever he wants and surrounding him with shooters.  The Miami Heat are clearly the team to beat in the NBA.

Los Angeles Lakers: Arguably the next biggest storyline of the off-season was the Lakers making trades to give a three-year window to allow Kobe Bryant to at least (and hopefully surpass) Michael Jordan’s six NBA Titles.  The Lakers shocked the world by not only getting Steve Nash (the best point guard that Kobe will ever play with), they traded for the much maligned and best Center in the NBA, Dwight Howard.  The Lakers are now four-deep in their starting lineup with potential Hall-of-Famers, and the Artest formerly known as Ron, Metta World Peace will only have to be a spot up shooter and play defense.  The question is can this team gel and do they have enough in their legs to last a grueling 82 game season with a long playoff run?  Dwight Howard is the great equalizer and one of the best defenders in the NBA who can clog the middle.  The Lakers will be learning to play with each other on the run and are installing the new Princeton offense.  The Lakers will start slow but will hit their stride later in the season, don’t panic if the start off around .500.

James Harden Trade:  The Los Angeles Lakers main competition to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals to a big step when the Oklahoma City Thunder abruptly traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets.  As a small market team, the Thunder “said” they couldn’t have three max players and decided to low-ball James Harden after paying Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge  .  In the short-term, the Thunder are hurt by this trade in the Western Conference, they get a big-time scorer in Kevin Martin and a developmental two-guard with Jeremy Lamb, but that won’t replace the Sixth-Man of the Year.  In the long-term the Thunder might be better off.  Westbrook and Durant are still in their early 20′s and will eventually have to sign another contract, Sam Presti and the Thunder want to make sure that the talent they have will get better and they know in three years that the Lakers will potentially be without Nash and Bryant. Read more…

2012 Fantasy Basketball: Top 5 Forwards

LeBron James

Lebron James of the Miami Heat leads the list of the top 5 NBA Fantasy Basketball forwards.

One of my colleagues made a point to point out that Kobe Bryant wasn’t a point guard if you get my point. I apologize for the confusion, but I meant to say top 5 guards, which can be PG or SG. The same colleague also wanted to know my player name on Fantazzle, because he recently joined and claimed he wanted to make sure he knew who to beat. For all other players motivated by beating me (ha-ha I hope not many) the name is Tobinator44 and I look forward to all Fantazzle challengers. With NBA opening day looming closer I move on to my highest scoring fantasy basketball position, the Forwards. I love the fact that King James and the Durantula can potentially score me 50 a night, but I also have to realize how much they cost in salary games. They are excellent picks in limited lineup games. So here it goes, my top 5 forwards and this can be SF or PF.

Lebron James: I have to admit, this may be because of some personal bias. I am a huge King James fan. Lebron is the most prolific player in the NBA (take that Kobe fans.) His presence of the court reminds me of MJ’s presence (I know he doesn’t have all the rings, but he will.) For daily fantasy players he is a promise of 25 pts and 10/10 rebounds/assists, for me he is a promise of NBA greatness!

Kevin Durant: The Durantula is sick. The guy is crazy good and he rivals the fantasy power of the King himself.  The guy just recently put up 44 in a preseason game, along with points in each fantasy category. He will average exactly the same as Lebron, but will run you a pretty penny in all salary leagues. He will score, but will he be worth the price in anything but limited lineup leagues.

Blake Griffin: Griffin is the greatest dunker of all time. Big statement, but the guy dunked over a car and he makes the Sports Center Top 10 daily. Griffin is in the teens in points and rebounds every night. He solidifies the term double double. I have to take him just because of the alley’s he gets from Chris Paul. He will be a little less pricey and a better option in salary leagues. Read more…

Ménage à Trois: The NBA’s love triangle

Don’t worry, my loyal readers, this isn’t some kind of actual weird love triangle with NBA players, where Chic-Fil-A fans will burst into my house and ‘teach me a lesson’.  Instead, this ‘Love Triangle’ in the NBA is the top three teams trying to win my affection and eventual choice as the favorites going into the NBA season a couple of months away.

Those three teams are, of course, the defending NBA Champions the Miami LeBrons Heat, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and after stealing Dwight Howard away from the Orlando Magic, the Los Angeles Lakers.

Think of it like the Bachelorette finale (shameless way of getting girls attention to keep reading), I went on three different dates and met the players and the families a.k.a. the Front Office’s of the three teams, but who did I give my final rose to?

Seeing as I’m getting older, I wanted to feel young again so my first encounter was with the Oklahoma City Thunder.  They took me out to the only bar in Oklahoma City and tried liquoring me up to get me to give it up. (It being the rose, get your mind out of the gutter!). I enjoyed my time with them, they have a young nucleus with Kevin Durant, turns 24 next month, Russell Westbrook, turns 24 a month into the season, and James Harden, turns 23 this month.  Durant is the biggest mismatch in the NBA standing at 6’11 as small forward, or the 3, and has in the gym range.  The Thunder were the favorites after defeating the Spurs in the Western Conference Championship, but got caught up by their lack of experience and LeBron realizing he’s the best player since Michael Jordan, and evolving like he’s a Pokemon character.  But with this team getting older, more mature, and simply getting better they made a strong argument for the final rose.

Next up, I took my talents to South Beach..(I had to.)  LeBron, a limping DWade and a still dapper and great-haired Pat Riley picked me up from the airport in LeBron’s Mom’s Hummer, I didn’t appreciate their lack of love for the ecosystem, but I was impressed.  After wining and dining me all night, the master negotiator, Riley, made his pitch on why they deserved my final rose.  The aforementioned greatest player since Jordan, LeBron James, figured out how to play as their point forward, Wade is now his Scottie Pippen, and they signed the greatest three-point shooter ever, Ray Allen, while also signing Rashard Lewis, one of the most overpaid athletes of all-time, but he has one job – hit threes.  The Heat will keep playing the Oregon offense in the fast-break, while posting up LeBron and putting 4 shooters around him, not to mention they are the best defensive team in the league.  Nice job Pat. Read more…

London 2012 Olympics have started, I think I’m supposed to be excited?

london-olympics-opening-ceremony
london-olympics-opening-ceremony

Photo : AP/JAE C. HONG)

The opening ceremonies are over and the 2012 Olympics are upon us as the eyes of the world turn to London.

Featuring 300 different events, 204 countries have sent their best to compete for a chance at a medal and Olympic stardom.

Here in the United States, we aren’t left with many options as July and August are two of the most boring months in sports, but at least the NFL season is on the horizon.

NBC would hate for me to ask but, how many of us would rather watch Eli Manning and the New York Giants take on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots rather than primetime coverage of Rowing? I thought so…

30 sports are featured in the Olympics including these compelling must-watch events: Archery, Badminton, Cycling, Fencing, Trampoline, Table Tennis, and even Weightlifting just to name a few.

Please, don’t all run to your television at once.

Answer me one question, how many times in the last four years have you found yourself watching Table Tennis, Synchronized Swimming, or Handball?

There is a reason for that.

The evolution of the Olympic Games has resulted in several changes over the years, but more is needed. Sports such as Basketball, Gymnastics, and Swimming gain the most coverage while Archery, Sailing and Judo are great times to take a nap.

Why are these sports popular in comparison to others? Star power – Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lotche are names you know or will know by the end of the Olympics. Sorry, but you will not remember who won Gold for Archery.

In no way am I trying to take away from the athletes that give all they can for the U.S.A., yes even in Hand Ball, but the Olympic Games need an overhaul.

If Friday’s opening ceremony was any indication of how well NBC’s coverage will do of the Olympics, well then I am a buffoon. The opening ceremony was the most-watched for any Summer Olympics, with an average of 40.7 million viewers tuning in, according to Nielsen.

Although I can argue, it might have been the most impressive thing we see as it was directed by Danny Boyle who has directed a number of movies.

 

Why the Heat will win next year’s NBA Finals

LeBron JamesLebron James is that player, love him, hate, or not care about him at all. You take one peek at the man’s game and you see things that other NBA players simply can’t do.

Pass, he can do that.Score, he can do that.Rebound, he can do that.

Defend, yes he can do that too.

All at an elite level. Durant, Kobe and Wade may have ice Water, but James gives your team a chance to win every night. See Cleveland before and after King James.

II) They have tasted blood.

Now that Heat has seen what it takes to win along with the fact that they are still young enough to do something about it, it’s just a matter of them staying healthy to win a finals next year.

Simply put, they have a distinct advantage of other teams looking either to get back to the finals like the Lakers and Spurs because as good as those teams are they still have to fight with father time as well as a full 82 game season after an Olympic year. That will see Nash,Ginibali,Parker, and Kobe all play this summer adding mileage onto already seasoned knees and cartilage.  Read More…

Will Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert make the same mistakes?

Dan Gilbert

As we hit the two year anniversary of “The Decision”, I sit here and wonder to myself, will Dan Gilbert make the same mistake? Did he learn his lesson the first time around? Will this time be different?

Dan Gilbert took over a Cleveland Cavaliers team in 2005 that had come off its first winning season since the 1997-98 season. A Cleveland Cavalier team that had just drafted LeBron James just two years prior. With the addition of just LeBron James, Cleveland went from winning 17 games a season to going 66-16 in just five short years. The only losing season the Cavaliers experienced with LeBron James was his rookie season.From 2005 to “The Decision” all Dan Gilbert had to do was move some talent into Cleveland. Give the self-proclaimed “chosen one” some support. Instead of doing that, he brought in the likes of Mo Williams, Delonte West (who slept with LeBron’s mom), Shaquille O’Neal (who was years past his prime), Antawn Jamison (give me a break), and other no talent players. After years and years of LeBron James asking for a supporting cast, he finally got fed up and took his talents to South Beach. Miami jumped on the opportunity, got him a supporting cast, got a championship and a happy LeBron James.

After two horrible seasons and many great draft picks later, the Cleveland Cavaliers have found themselves in the same fork in the road.

The Cavaliers drafted Kyrie Irving, Dion Waters, and Tristan Thompson over the last two drafts. These players will be key pieces of the present and future in Cleveland. For some reason they are still paying and playing the biggest flopper and actor in the NBA, Anderson Varejao. Then the Cleveland Cavaliers traded away some draft picks to get a back up center at best, Tyler Zeller.

With all this talent, youth, and potential, it is time for Dan Gilbert to step up, grow a pair and be aggressive. The Cleveland Cavaliers have a chance to be a part of a three team trade that would land Andrew Bynum in Cleveland. Now granted he isn’t the best center presently in the NBA, but he could be ranked in the top five, EASILY. I am not a big Bynum fan, but I could learn to like him.  Read More….

Narratives in sports

Everyone has their pet peeves. Whether it be that you hate nails on a chalkboard, a fork on a plate, or just that annoying noise your significant other makes when  they sleep, we all have them. For me, one of the most annoying things in sports are the narratives that come along with it, mostly because they’re wrong.

Now, the word narrative is defined as a story or account of events, experiences, or the like, whether true or fictitious. (Emphasis added)

So technically speaking, narratives in sports don’t even have to be true to be a narrative, but the issue I have with them is that people begin to accept the narrative as fact. “Kobe Bryant is so clutch!” is a common narrative, because every basketball fan remembers multiple games that Kobe hit the game winning jump shot as time expired. Now, what people don’t remember as frequently, regardless of what they’ll tell you, is how often he missed those shots. Conversely, people love to talk about how poor LeBron James is in clutch situations, and that’s entirely based on his final playoff series in Cleveland in 2010 and his poor finals performance in 2011. Based on the narrative, at the end of a close game you would undoubtedly choose Kobe taking the final shot over LeBron, right? Well, the facts don’t exactly match up to that belief. Here’s a thorough study that was done by Chasing23.com, and has been updated through May of 2012. The study only covers game-tying/game-winning shots, and while Kobe has taken considerably more shots, LeBron has been successful at a far higher rate. Read more here…

Is Kobe’s legacy threatened by LeBron James?

LeBron James hopped up and down on the sideline with a giant, child’s grin minutes before the Miami Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games to secure the 2012 NBA championship. It appeared as if about three Shaq’s and a Rosie O’Donnell had been lifted off the 27-year-old’s shoulders; it’s no secret that LeBron’s been steadily losing his hair over the last few years, but in that instant he went from looking weathered, worn out and rapidly aging to looking like an exuberant 27 year old who enjoyed basketball again. A couple more years of losing and I was afraid Lebron might have started looking more and more like Greg Oden (who was actually born in 1932).

And when it was all over, after LeBron James finally got his ring, he echoed the sentiment shared by all of us who call ourselves King James fans, and for that matter, NBA fans: “It’s about damn time.” My hope, however naïve, is that the incredible playoff performance, a championship, and a well deserved finals MVP award will quiet the rabid, irrational Lebron haters at least a bit. Over the last few years the tiresome anti-Lebron chatter of the sports media, Lakers’ fans, and Skip ‘Water-Pistol Pete’ Bayless have made me question the sanity of a great number of people who claim to be basketball fans (although I wouldn’t expect much more than irrational arguments and one-sided whining from the majority of the Lakers’ “faithful”, in quotations for a reason).

Going into the finals, many people thought the Thunder had the better team as a whole, and going into the series they were favored as such. After a game one victory OKC was favored by more than 2 to 1 odds. Before game a good friend of mine (I’m looking at you Neal Patel) asserted that Kevin Durant was a better player than Lebron James. The outcome of the series speaks for itself, with Lebron winning in just five games, playing on what many considered an inferior team. But there are a million other things that also make Neal’s statement so outlandish.

Durant is a better shooter, and right now in his career, that’s about it. The only other category the two can be even be compared in is scoring. Lebron is a much better rebounder, a hundred times better passer (one of the best in the league), and an élite defender. Nobody else in the league can effectively guard EVERY SINGLE POSITION, point guard through center. During the finals it seemed as if nearly all of Miami’s offensive possessions ran through James (seriously, watching that series, you’d have to say AT LEAST 75% of the Heat’s offense relied on James to make something happen.) Not to mention the incredible pressure that’s on him to perform night in and night out: if there are 100 sets of eyes on Kevin Durant every game, there are about 500 thousand sets of eyes – all of which have some form of high-powered microscope – honed in on Lebron.

I understand why “The Decision” and some of the things that James said after last years finals debacle rubbed many people the wrong way. But honestly, as a fan-base we’re relatively quick to forgive athlete’s for things like animal cruelty, physical assault, alcohol and drug abuse, and even manslaughter. Hell, I’ll admit right now that I’m no exception: I like Michael Vick. Randy Moss and Pacman Jones are two of my favorite players, and I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Chris “Birdman” Anderson.  That being said, I wouldn’t want any of those people to be role models for my children (which thankfully, as a 21 year old, I have none of). So why is James hated so vehemently?

Going to school in Santa Barbara, I have the unfortunate pleasure of coming into contact with a large number of Laker fans, nearly all of whom hate Lebron. It’s as if they fear that Kobe’s legacy is threatened by Lebron James’ greatness. Which it isn’t. I have no qualms expressing my respect for the passion Kobe Bryant brings every game, every season, and I am constantly in awe of what he continues to do on the court. But there’s a reason Jordan fans can point to statistics (I recommend checking this out) to demonstrate Jordan’s superiority over Kobe, while Kobe fans resort to subjective jabs at Lebron during any Black Mamba, King James debate: “Lebron chokes down the stretch” and “Lebron shies away from big games” are sometimes true statements, just like they are sometimes true statements about Kobe and probably every other athlete that is human. The thing about Lebron is that he’s the closest thing to non-human we have ever seen on the basketball court, so people expect him to be perfect.

After this year, Lebron James’ averages in 10 playoff elimination games are as follows:

31.44 ppg on 46.35% shooting, 10.22 rpg and 6.62 apg with a record of 4 wins and 6 losses.

Meanwhile, here are Kobe Bryant’s averages in 19 playoff elimination games:

21.47 ppg on 41.42% shooting, 5.79 rpg and3.47 apg with a record of 9 wins and 10 losses.

Those numbers are slightly better (23 ppg on 41.7%, 6.29 rebounds, and 3.76 assists) if you leave out Kobe’s first two seasons, which is fair because he received less playing time in those two elimination games.

We all know Lebron came up short in last year’s finals, but I would hope even the most ardent Kobe lover might have a hard time making the “big game choker” argument when looking at those numbers, especially in light of how they compare to Kobe’s. Of course it’s inevitable that the James haters will continue to hate. They’ll come back with the argument that “Kobe has four more rings”  (I’m very interested to see how many James ends up with) and say things like “Lebron still doesn’t have the ‘clutch gene” (would you please just shut up Skip Bayless.) All I have to say is if this year was any indication, Lebron James has finally found out what he needs to do to win, and from the look of that grin on the sideline he enjoys it quite a bit. Let’s revisit all the stats in seven to ten years, and then we’ll see how all the criticism lines up with the numbers. I think there’s going to be a lot of people who will look back and feel foolish.

Eli Pearlman is a writer for The Sports Blitz Network and can be contacted at EPearlman@TheSportsBlitz.com

NBA age rule: Change for the best?

LeBron JamesThe NBA is six years removed from the rule change in which the age limit in the league was raised from eighteen to nineteen and required athletes to attend college before entering the draft. Has there been a tangible difference, increase or decrease in NBA play? The eye test says no, but can the numbers support my hypothesis that the NBA has actually been hurt by the rule change, while universities are gaining from it.

With the successes of prominent high school to pro athletes, it is only logical for there to have been many candidates to try and follow. For every Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett, there are three more Jonathan Bender’s (you must be asking who is he – 5.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg).

Read more here…

LeBron has his championship ring, now what?

LeBron James Wins ChampionshipI personally guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA championship before the self-titled former ‘King’ wins one. Said Dan Gilbert, Cleveland Cavaliers owner, December 13, 2010

What are we to do now? It’s over, all of it.

All that energy, all that wasted time and all that hate.  The what-if-he-doesn’t talk, the he’d-be-the-greatest ever-not-to conversations, all the meaningless, hypothetical jibber-jabber we’ve exchanged with friends and strangers over the years, every ounce of resentment we’ve ever uttered… gone, just like that.

And personally, I’m all the happier for it.

Let me be among the first to say Congratulations, LeBron.  May you finally get a decent night’s sleep.  Enjoy raising that figurative, now ring-bearing, middle finger to all those who gave you crap along the way.  That has to feel as justifying as winning the ring itself.

Look through my record books.  Not once have I ever wished LeBron ill will.  Questioned his decision-making, perhaps?   Been guilty of accusing him of not living up to expectations, also possible?  But Michael-high expectations are tough to meet.

So what now?  Read more here…

LeBron wins first championship, refs to get rings too?

NBA Finals RefsThe NBA is full of conspiracy theories and David Stern and the referees of the NBA finals have done thing to help that as of late.

Regardless, LeBron James can breathe easy because the Miami Heat have finally won at least one NBA Championship, after you told us they would win multiple when joining them during “The Decision.”

While the Heat celebrate, critics have blamed the officiating for the turnout of the series and it’s hard to argue they are at least partially right.

There is no doubting LeBron upped his game from his last appearance in the NBA Finals. Even more important, the Heat role players appeared when they needed them most.  Mario Chalmers and Mike Miller were two names not many expected to step up the way they did and they were invaluable to the success of the Heat.

The definitive stat still lies with the referees.

A judgment call by an official late in Game 2 of the NBA Finals went in favor of LeBron James, and that judgment call allowed the Heat to escape with a victory against the Thunder. Three days later, on Sunday night, a judgment call by an official again went in favor of LeBron James — and that call allowed the Heat to hit the clinching free throw and escape Game 3 with a 91-85 victory.

Russell Westbrook accounted for 43 points in Game 4. He attempted 32 shots and only ended up on the line three times the entire game.

During the series, the Heat made more free throws than the Oklahoma City Thunder even attempted and something definitely seems afoul.

These are only a few of the calls that have made many believe the officiating throughout the post-season was awful and during the Finals it has been even worse.

It almost seems as though the NBA wants Miami to win, and they are helping them out via the officiating.

Kevin Durant was subject to many debatable calls. He spent much of the series on the bench early in games due to foul trouble.

Sure it is common perception in the NBA after the Tim Donaghy scandal that there are some legitimate questions about officiating but some of these calls could have affected the outcome of the games.

Most calls in the NBA are judgment calls but it seems that judgement always went against Oklahoma City.

The redemption of LeBron James

People hate LeBron James. I mean really hate LeBron James.

They hate the fact that he left Cleveland. They hate “The Decision.” They hate that he went to Miami and teamed up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in order to win a title. And they sure are going to hate it when he wins his first championship.

He’s going to win a championship. The Miami Heat are one win away from winning the NBA Finals.

It’s going to happen.

But the people that hate him are in a shrinking group. Mostly located in Northeast Ohio. LeBron has won a lot of people over with his play this season. Myself included. I’m certainly not going to become one of the slobbering LeBron Apologists that can see no wrong in what he does, even when he does wrong. And I’m not a bandwagon fan who sees that he is about to win a championship and wants get a bit of his shine.

Read more here…

Odd similarities between LeBron James and Tiger Woods

December 30th  is a day that has given us two of the greatest athletes of our generation. Not just one, but two, of the biggest superstars on planet Earth. One Eldrick Tiger Woods in 1975, and LeBron James nine years later in 1984. In previous years these two were not only the best in their respective sports, but the most loved. Now in today’s sports world, things have taken a 180. Scrutinized, hated, and laughed at, are more current ways to describe both in relation to the general public.  So similar, yet so different are the careers they have had, and the situations they live in today.

2009, the year we found out that Tiger was only human in many ways. He was defeated heads up in the year’s final major championship by Y.E. Yang, capping off one of those rare 0 major seasons. It was the first time Tiger had lost when leading in the final round of a major. Just a chink in the armour, we thought. Then, the infamous Thanksgiving wreck, that proved to be much more. 2009, the year Tiger went from role model, to apologist.

2010, the year it all changed for LeBron. The Decision, to leave his home town and take his talents to South Beach. “Not five, not six, not seven,” we heard from the pre championship rally. While the season lead to a finals birth, LeBron faltered, to say the least, when he got there. 2010, the year LeBron went from the hero, into the villain.

2012, I can’t help but to think of the number three. Tiger Woods with three world-wide wins up to this point, at his tournament, at Arnold Palmer’s and at Jack Nicklaus’. LeBron James making history as one of eight players in league history with three MVP’s. After what each has gone through, whether it be self-inflicted or not, these wins are quite a bounce back. But with the microscope on full blast on both of these men, those are really just footnotes. No amount of regular season trophies will change the goal of winning championships of either men.

Sunday, June 17, 2012. This is the day that could turn the tide for both forever. Tiger wanting desperately to get back to the top of the mountain. LeBron James trying to will himself to finally reach the top. Nineteen majors, and an NBA championship. The things that keep these two fighting and fighting. No matter what anyone says, the competitive fire, and will to win keep them coming back. Win after win. Failure after failure. Now, Tiger is within striking distance at the U.S. Open, and LeBron has a oppurtunity to take a pivotal 2-1 lead in the finals. While neither can finish the job on this day, each can take a step in the direction of their ultimate goals. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but both have their obstacles. The biggest to overcome, is themselves.

Zach Leiken is a writer for The Sports Blitz Network and can be contacted at ZLeiken@TheSportsBlitz.com