Tag Archive: Larry Bird


When the 6’9″ small forward was bought out of his contract with the Sixers; the question around league circles was “where would be the best fit for Danny Granger?”   A guy with immense talent but with the durability of Mr. Glass (At least he doesn’t rock the haircut).

There was to much bad blood for it to be with the Heat (yet it would have stuck it to Indiana), to much depth to be with the Spurs, and OKC would’ve made sense.  However, now that we know Granger has chosen the Clippers, what can we expect from him?     First off a starting five of Paul, Griffin, Jordan, Granger and Dudley would be a tough match up for anyone in the West.  Doc Rivers is the right coach to make it all work.  He is used to having multiple superstars on one team and getting them to a common goal (as long as he doesn’t have a Rondo part 2 in the group).  The move also improves the depth of the Clippers bench with Crawford, Collison, and Reddick bringing the fire power.

The big question is how much does Granger have in the tank.  Also why would the Pacers trade him away in the first place?  I know about the terrible shooting percentage, how uncomfortable he seems coming off the bench, but you would think Larry “Legend” wouldn’t get rid of a former All-Star working his way back in unless there was a flaw.  So now we sit, wait, and see what will come of Mr. Gla…  I mean Danny Granger.  I’m not saying this move would make the Clippers the favorite to win the Western Conference, but it won’t hurt there chances either.  At least until Granger gets hurt again.

Written By:

Raymond "Big Play" Miller @bprunsportsmenm

Raymond “Big Play” Miller
@bprunsportsmenm

 

By: Jason “Big J” Allen, Follow Me @UnsportsmenBigJ

“Charges don’t stick to dude, he’s Teflon” Jay-Z “The Ruler’s Back” This is the NFL, John “Teflon Don” Gotti, nothing seems to effect the NFL image, EVER!  I have felt this way for a while but recently reading Joseph Haas (great follow too @JerseyHaas) Dings & Dents: The NFL Image Problem it made me think “Why can’t the NFL go the way of the MLB, and NBA image wise?”  What makes the NFL so untouchable?  At one time or another both the NBA, and MLB was considered untouchable, but boy how the mighty have fallen.  So what sets the NFL apart?  Why does the bad image never hurt the NFL?  One huge reason is the NFL is marketed as the “Ultimate TEAM SPORT!”

Let’s start with the NBA, during its heyday the talent was great and the technical part of the game was amazing.  Less athletes but you had more skill on the floor.  The first hurdle the NBA hit was a drug problem in the 60’s, 70’s, and early 80’s.   Say what you want about the David Stern, but he spent a whole career as a Commish cleaning up that image.  Luckily with emerge of Magic/Bird, and later MJ he had the great thought to promote “SuperStars”.  Yes, come one come all and see these extraordinary men play basketball.  The NBA is the most “Star studded” league out of the majors three, and that was by design.  Stern basically said look at how my league just produces stars you can follow from college up to the big leagues.  Well eventually that backfired with straight from high school jumps, which lowered the skill on the court, and the adding of more franchises (less is sometimes more).  Also the drug image got replaced eventually over time with the “Thug persona”.  Who could forgot players coming to the arena looking like rappers?  So you marketed a league around individual SuperStars and when the SuperStars were not as talented, or represented a certain aspect of the society that the masses couldn’t relate to, the league, got a bad rap (no pun).  Now the NBA is making every player go Justin Timberlake “Suit and Tie” and we are starting to see the NBA fashion atmosphere come straight from the runway to the Press Conference.  I’m not to keen on the 1 year rule the league has mandated I think it should be closer to the NFL with 3 years so we can see these players grow overseas, or in college.  Also with the Stars actually being talented, and LBJ taking the spotlight to lead the league we are seeing a revamped image similar to the dare I say MJ years.

MLB is the perfect example of duality in image.  The MLB loved its status of “America’s Pasttime”, it had stars, excitement, and history.  The thing that hurt the MLB saved it all at the same time.  It’s history and reliance on numbers.  The MLB is probably the slowest evolving sport, look at its stance on replay.  Look how it refuses to put a better product on TV.  You have officially divided your fans MLB, the younger generation looks at you like a dinosaur because of your lack of technology and advancements, while the older generation looks at your PED issue as the destruction of the beloved stats.  When you have a drug problem that enhances performance, which enhances stats, it hurts the history of a sport that is so numbers and history orientated to a mockery.  Right now as I write your Home Run King was a PED user, and the league lacks the guts to do anything about it, because that would be change and we know the MLB is slow to do that.  So for the foreseeable future whenever we see a player jump in stats we will ask questions of how legit it is (Please let Puig be the real thing).  The MLB is directly responsible for its image of cheaters and old geezers, because it turned its head during the early reports of PED use.  The MLB turns its nose up at tech that can make the game better, or at least help get the call right (Angel Hernandez anyone).  Now because of the image you have made part of your culture you have a generation of kids growing up in the “Steroid era/PED era” and we are starting to see an apathy when it comes to cheaters.  Now the MLB is cleaning house and trying to slowly introduce technology, but it maybe a little to late to reclaim the #1 spot in America’s heart.

Now I know the NFL has had 30 arrest since the end of the Super Bowl, and right now one of the NFL’s stars is going through a trial that is revealing more horrendous acts every day.  Yet the Shield takes a bump, and like a good blacksmith the league continues to smooth it out.  Because the NFL is promoted as a team sport, and a next man up mentality its hard to associate the league with the acts of individuals.  Yes, the NFL promotes stars, you have your Peyton Manning who had a million commercials and SNL appearances, but did we forget that just 2 years ago we had a league with no Peyton Manning in it, and we still watched.  Imagine if the NBA lost LBJ for a year, would YOU watch?  Probably not.  In the NFL numbers don’t matter only wins Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning have some of the worse regular season stats of QB’s but yet they sit with 2 rings each.  We don’t call them a bum, because they win.  MLB you can have nasty numbers but turn up in the postseason and all everyone will point to is your average regular season’s when it’s HOF time (Curt Schilling is still not in HOF yet he helped revive and lead two snake bitten franchises to a World Series Championship).  Hell the NFL touted out Replacement players in 1987 and even Replacement Refs in two separate occasions (Fail Mary, the Nation will never forget) and we still watched.  This is all because the NFL never rests its head on one gimmick to be marketable.  The NFL never forgets its past, but always tries to push the envelope into the future, all while reminding America this is a team sport and one player will never destroy that image, even if its been 30 so far.  The NFL has Stars, the NFL has Stats, and the NFL has a image that everyone can get behind “Teamwork”.  So when it comes to an image to quote Lebron James and Lil’ Wayne the NFL “Ain’t got no worries!”

Jason "Big J" Allen  @UnsportsmenBigJ

Jason “Big J” Allen
@UnsportsmenBigJ

After Game 6 we should be All Hail the King.  Except for 3 quarters LeBron refused to show up.  Lose the headband and enter the Cape.  Yes LeBron became a superhero all in one quarter.  We will excuse the 2 or 3 turnovers down the stretch, we will excuse the deferring to Wade when he reentered the game, hell I will just totally excuse majority of this series when it comes to King James.  Why you ask?  Because I had an epiphany last night while watching the game.  Maybe LeBron James is a Great player not an All-Time Great Player!

Now if your computer/phone/pad or whatever you are reading this on is still working because you spit out a beverage on it from shock, let me explain.  What if LeBron is just (and I use JUST very lightly when it comes to these people) Charles Barkley, Elgin Baylor, James Worthy, or Clyde Drexler Great?  These players are some of the 50 greatest to play the game, so there is no dishonor in that, but we have compared LBJ to the best to EVER to play the game.  We put him on the level of His Airness, Larry Legend, Magic, Wilt, Mr. Sky-Hook, The Logo, and Mr. Russell.  Maybe just maybe he is not in that caste.

I question this notion not because of the talent, physical ability, stats, and accomplishment, but I question this because of what he sometimes lacks from the shoulders up.  The Mentality is what I question.  Can you imagine MJ disappearing for quarters on end in the Finals?  Bird and Johnson have lost Finals but yet they were still an impact in each and every quarter and game.  That is the mentality they have/had they refused to ever be eliminated from a game and if they were taken out of  their game they went down swinging.  Even Kobe Bryant has that will to win at any cost, sometimes to the detriment of his team and teammates.

 I have just seen to many times with LeBron his impact on the game being nullified.  A huge bulk of his problems deal with his limited offensive repertoire.  Teams that play team defense give LeBron fits, because LeBron basically has 3-4 offensive moves.  The dribble pull up for 3, the drive to the lane layup, and the short jumper in the paint.  He has no real shake or bake, no comfortable spot or shot he can go to when the chips are down.  This lends itself to LeBron being unsure of himself and killing his psyche in stretches of games.  These David Cooperfield like disappearances in games is what separates All-Time to just Great.

Would there ever be a question of who is the leader of the team with an All-Time great on it?  No, but when Barry Allen (or Wally West) decides to be Flash again, it becomes D. Wade’s team, Period!   We have seen clips of LeBron being vocal and trying to lead, but how much of that do we really believe or buy into?  There should never be a question of who is Batman and who is Robin.  When West joined the Lakers it became his team over Baylor.  Clyde joined the Rockets it was The Dream team no questions asked.  We knew it was Dr. J team when he was on the Sixers with Moses Malone.  When an All-Time Great is on your team they are the leaders, even when there is a Great player on the team too.  Yet in LeBron’s case we still have questions to who is the real leader of the Heatles.  Sounds more like Great not All-Time.

We have touted LeBron as the Greatest Player on the Planet.  I just think the mental toughness, and over all passion to lead and win is something LeBron wants, but doesn’t know how to manifest.  So maybe we should stall all the G.O.A.T. talk and focus on what he is, a Great player chasing Greatness, and right now the jury is still out if LeBron will land in the top 5 or top 50 of Greatest Basketball players.  Remember every King wasn’t the greatest some Kings are just…  Good.

Jason “Big J” Allen

@UnsportsmenBigJ

Durant the Bad Guy

Say Hello to the Bad Guy!  This should be the motto of Kevin Durant, not jokingly blaming recent techs on a Kendrick Perkins influence.  I think Kevin Durant is denying himself the key factor in his mental make up to make him a Champion, “Competitive Anger”.  So Kevin please give into your Dark Passenger and give the nickname the Durantula a whole new meaning.

I can go on and on with reasons everyone will disagree with my aforementioned statement.  And all those statements and reasons would be valid.  Just that when Durant plays with a chip on his shoulder his game in my opinion seems to rise.  I looked up incidents of The BAD DURANT coming out and saw what he accomplished.  So here goes:

  • 12/29/2011 Thunder vs Grizzles: Westbrook and Durant get into it on the sideline of the Memphis Grizzles game.  Durant goes off for 32pts, 8reb, shoots 58% from the field and 40% from 3.
  • 1/30/2012 Heat vs Thunder: Durant gets a tech will jawing with Chris Bosh, and Durant drops 33pts, 10reb, and 60% from 3.  After the game Durant gives Bosh a bite of Venom by calling him a fake “tough guy” in the league.  (Damn Bosh, Shaq called you the RuPaul of big men and now Durant chops you up).
  • 5/11/2012 Mavericks vs Thunder:  Durant receives a tech for jawing with Brandon Hayward after he dunks on him.  Durant goes for 31pts (his highest amount in the series), 6 assist (his highest in the series), shoots 66% from 3 (again highest), and 73% from the floor (and yup the highest in the series).
  • 1/2/2013 Nets vs Thunder:  Durant gets ejected but before he left he put up 27pts, 5ass, 64% from the field, and 40% from 3.
  • 1/6/2013 Raptors vs Thunder: Durant picked up a tech and scored 22pt, and only shot 54% from the field.

So outside of the Raptors game, anger has and can fuel this young man.  Now, I’m not saying Durant should turn Rasheed Wallace on us and become the Tech King.  I’m saying that he should drop the nice guy image and be the bad guy.

Look at history; usually the best scores to play the game were the most competitively nastiest people, or the bad guy.  Ask all of New York how much they hate MJ or ask Steve Kerr what happens if you foul MJ in practice.  We know how people feel about Kobe “Black Mamba” Bryant.  Larry “Legend” Bird was always considered distant and disliked by many, some even teammates.  Hell its reason why Magic gets more love than Kareem “Skyhook” Abdul-Jabbar when Jabbar has 6 rings to Magic’s 5.  Heck Nike’s new campaign with Durant is “KD is Not Nice”.  So Durant give into it.

I know people are going to say, “LeBron tried to play angry two years ago and he realized that it wasn’t his style.”  Why?  Because LeBron is a medic, ala Magic Johnson, not an assassin or sharp shooter, LeBron can heal and cover up problems on your team (yes you Cleveland).  That’s why angry didn’t work for LeBron, but if you look up games where fans or players tried to get under his skin and taunt him he goes off too.

Plus what getter rival to the “King Era” then the Durantula (I don’t care if you try and sue him Mark Durante we all know who the Real Durantula is), if Durant takes my advice we can start calling him, The Hulk, or maybe Bane, and just make the steroid Durantula venom.  What do you think?  Either way we need Durant Smash! the West, and then in the Finals he can make LeBron’s punishment more severe!

Jason

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