4.25.2006

Breathe with him



In an email issued earlier today, I typed ruefully that all I wanted out of the tonight's game was Gilbert's nominal redemption. So overpowering did LeBron appear this past weekend—and so ceaselessly inept have the Wizards been at non-transition defense—that I figured only an appearance by the Arenas we all know and love could salvage his image's stake in this series. As the public by now knows, I was instead treated to Gilbert at his gutsiest, the rebirth of the off-kilter warrior who emerged from the wreckage of last season's battle with the Bulls. During the season he may often coast on whimsy and blessing alone, but this game called us to remembrance: dude is not just a gunner, and not some stat-padding, single-minded knave plundering a weak conference. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a franchise guard who can stare down Lebron and emerge victorious—not in a shoot-out, but in a trial-by-fire recital of chutzpah.

Victory gained, but at what cost? As my Saturday ravings indicated with force immaculate, I have an immense degree of personal investment in this LeBron-as-absolute picture of the Association, perhaps as much as I've sunk into the proud ship Arenas over the years. And this game was, to put it bluntly, the worst I've ever seen him play. Or at least the least mature he's looked since the mature Bron came into focus. That preposterous block aside, he looked worse than nervous or stumbling; the man who might be the game's greatest yet came off as hoarsely cocky (late game turnovers off of no-looks, par?), lazy (rejected by the rim on a dunk?), and lacking in any of the programmatic genius of his emergence in Game 1. As far as high-concept basketball art is concerned, he might've just Reggie Bush'ed the title back to Kobe, whose cloak of silence was already a close second. He knew not himself, nor others, nor, in the least Bron move of all, what was at stake.



Of course I'm overreacting, just as I did when I assumed that his post-season career from here on out would take the form of Game 1. But while the big picture of the series might well disprove me, this has implications for the Bron of history and lore. Arenas's Game 1 blank doesn't contradict who he is, even if he had to come up major tonight to prove that he's equal parts question mark and exclamation point. The thing with LeBron is that, unlike Arenas, he's not allowed the excuse of being flawed, given to problematic impulses, or, god forbid, capable of anything less than the most universally-acclaimed solution to any given basketball problem at hand. Perhaps there will come a day when the game's great minds actually expect James to surprise them with his genius, but for now he's nothing less than the walking golden rectangle. The question is whether fans, media, and other players will admit that tonight's LeBron exists, however temporarily, within that archetype, posit it as a full-fledged alter ego with backlash in its heart, or prefer to chalk the whole thing up to Jared Jeffries's defensive prowess.

Me, I think this makes him all the more convincing; that even he can't quite handle the full scope of his powers makes his future that much more terrifying and, in a Kobe-like way, something that really belongs to him. Even if, like Bryant, it's a way he'll basically have to find himself, and only when it actually counts.

47 Comments:

At 4/25/2006 11:58 PM, Blogger mutoni said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 4/25/2006 11:59 PM, Blogger mutoni said...

im actually happy with what james went through tonight. it's only fair, you know it and so do i.

this is "his 3 airballs vs. Utah" moment.

just like it did for bryant, this will only add to his legend and be better for him in the long run. like you said, shoals, when it really counts, i believe he'll find himself and we'll all be stunned (in a good way) by what he unearths.

 
At 4/26/2006 5:10 AM, Blogger Josh said...

Still can't help thinking LeBron could use an actual coach.

When he was out there tonight losing the plot you got the feeling it was up to him entirely to right the ship, and Bron's ability to handle his biz notwithstanding that's too much to put on the shoulders of a 21 year-old in his second-ever playoff skirmish.

Comparing Bron-Brown to Wade-Riles, Kobe-Phil, Parker/Manu-Pop, even Melo-Karl, LBJ would seem at least on the surface to be at a real disadvantage. I'm certainly not well-versed on the Cavs' player-coach dynamic, but I still can't help feeling Bron's the (probably subconsciously unwilling) puppetmaster.

BTW, were any two humans less qualified to call this game than Doc and JVG? The cheap voyeuristic thrills they took at the Wiz's hard fouls makes sense when you remember BRON TORCHED THEIR TEAMS THIS YEAR.

 
At 4/26/2006 8:29 AM, Blogger T. said...

BRON TORCHED THEIR TEAMS THIS YEAR

Josh - I know the Rox didn't have a season to remember by any standards, but we split with the Cavs (losing in OT at home). LeBron's 32 in a loss and 36 in a win (matched by McGrady's 34 and Yao's subsequent 27) - doesn't really qualify as being torched.

Dirk dropping 50 on us last year? Torched. (in caps).

Lebron averaging 34 against us? That's near his average, ne?

There's a couple of things I'd take away from last night. Doc mentioned it when I was flipping between this game and the Astros/Dodgers - he said playoff games: "Each one has a different flavor" and highlighted the scoring difference between Snow/Marshall circa game 1 and circa game 2.

Remember the Memorial Day Massacre? I was 100% certain the Lakers were going to get swept - the Celtics ran them off that court that day.

And the poor finish? Happens to the very best. In 1981, the pundits were calling for Magic Johnson to be traded (I remember clearly the paper calling him 'Tragic Johnson' - when he dribbled out the clock against the Rockets (?).

 
At 4/26/2006 9:18 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

two questions on how the wizards were acting post-game:

was it just me, or did arenas go to hug hughes afterwards, get rebuffed, and then first pump at no one in particular? not like this needs to be said, but he acts really strange in high-pressure situations.

can someone tell me what to make of caron's bron-mock at the end? i couldn't believe my eyes, but then I saw that Jamie from SBL had confirmed it on the email.

 
At 4/26/2006 9:22 AM, Anonymous White People Don't Know said...

What was the bron-mock? I must have missed that.

 
At 4/26/2006 9:30 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

okay, i want to be careful with this, because it strikes me as kind of a punk thing to do and i kind of like butler this season (i go back and forth). but basically, once media were on the court and fans starting to file out in a daze, he walked up to the spot where lebron always throws powder in the air and mimicked the gesture with a huge smirk on his face. arenas lost it.

i don't know why lebron seems to demand that i be so serious all the time.

 
At 4/26/2006 9:46 AM, Blogger Mirabeau Lamar said...

With a media blitz including "We Praise You LeBron" and "We are all Witnesses," it would be easy for the Wizards to get quickly disgusted with the messianic tone of this series. Caron Butler's mocking of LeBron's "Kneel Before Rome" pregame ritual is a cold dish of humble pie for a kid that has been drinking legally since December. Not that I blame LeBron for Nike or ABC's ad campaigns, but the coronation is a few years premature.

 
At 4/26/2006 9:50 AM, Anonymous Existenz said...

It would appear as though it has happened: ESPN is reporting that Nash has won a second straight MVP
http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2422255

 
At 4/26/2006 10:00 AM, Anonymous Kaifa said...

Completely off-topic, but what about Kobe changing his jersey # to 24 for next season?

Why would he do that? And why so close to MJ's number? This just gives his critics more ammo along the lines of 'he wants to one-up Jordan etc.' bullshit.

It just feels like another step in the whole image recreation scheme, does '24' tie into the whole mamba thing somehow? Maybe the mamba sheds its skin 24 times in its life or something, I don't know...

On another downside to this #24 thing, we're gonna hear every sportcaster in the business making cheap Kobe/special agent Jack Bauer jokes all next season long. I'm already extremely excited about this, good times all around. Who does Kobe's PR by the way?

 
At 4/26/2006 10:12 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

that was pretty much everything we'd planned to say in a post about it, so i've got nothing

 
At 4/26/2006 10:13 AM, Anonymous Kaifa said...

And another topic for discussion, this time from the Arizona Republic:

Suns star Steve Nash will be named the NBA's Most Valuable Player for a second straight season, according to a league source familiar with the voting.

The announcement may not come for two weeks, like last season's May 8 ceremony. The votes have been tabulated in what was expected to be a close race with LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki, Chauncey Billups and Kobe Bryant.

Nash won the fourth-closest MVP vote last year, edging Shaquille O'Neal a year after Nash was not even an All-Star.

Nash, 32, impressed voters this season by posting career highs in scoring (18.8 points per game), rebounding (4.2 per game), field goal percentage (.512) and free-throw percentage (NBA-best .921). He led the league in assists again with 10.5 per game and finished sixth in three-point shooting (43.9 percent).

After Amaré Stoudemire's knee surgery deprived the Suns of their top scorer, Nash led the team to 54 wins and its first repeat division title with only Shawn Marion and Leandro Barbosa back for a full season.

Nash would be the first international and Suns player to win twice.

Only nine previous players repeated as MVP winners. Magic Johnson was the only point guard to do so.

 
At 4/26/2006 10:43 AM, Blogger SilverBird5000 said...

Whatever feelings I may have had about Bron's performance were completely swept away by my UNDYING SYMPATHY for Jalen Rose during that Spurs game. I don't really care for the man personally, but an active player doing courtside reporting for a playoffs he himself missed is an indignity I wouldn't wish on even my most hated of baskeball enemies (that means you, Robert Swift). the whole thing with the towels - hilarious as it was - only made the wrongness of it all that much more painful. what's next: a Larry Brown-Stephon Marbury flying trapeze act at halftime? The Eddy Curry Hotdog Concession? LET THESE MEN BE!!!

 
At 4/26/2006 11:32 AM, Blogger mutoni said...

some self-proclaimed "insider" on one of the Laker forums broke the number change last week. Dude also claimed that Bryant is doing it for groundbreaking reasons. We'll see, I guess.

I have a feeling it has to do with the black race. He's apparently been really involved with racial issues of late. Maybe some kind of weird tribute to Jackie Robinson.

 
At 4/26/2006 11:42 AM, Blogger c-los said...

Arenas and Hughes have been battling all series on and off the court. When the Cavs got the ball down 5 with under 30 secs and Hughes was inbounding it you could clearly see Arenas talking trash to Larry who was throwing it in. Gil had this 12 yr old look on his face that was only outshined by his akward fist pump after the buzzer went off. As for Jalen, I dont see why its a big deal that he is doing sideline reporting. Just because his team missed the palyoffs doesnt mean he is supposed to go into a shell after the season. Im sure TNT asked him to do it and he was like WHY NOT. I was disappointed in Jalen's attire though. I'm more comfortable seeing him in this kind of gear:

http://www.nba.com/media/rose_250_060103.jpg

 
At 4/26/2006 11:51 AM, Blogger miamian said...

Why are people worried about the "Lebron mock" when what they should be worried about is the fact that Lebron has that over the top mortal kombat/WWF pregame thing going on in the first place? He's basically biting off of KG's routine, adding two scoops of self-indulgence and a sprinkling of sacrilege, and doing so before he has come close to establishing any sort of playoff resume. what a joker. we are all witnesses to some corny shit from that man.

 
At 4/26/2006 11:56 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

don't even make me break out the jpeg of jalen's draft night suit.

and while i whole-heartedly buy silverbird's sorrow, jalen is a pretty good color/media/commentary guy. he's been in the tnt studio a few times for that premature weeknight audition they run every once in a while.

maybe this is ahead of time, but this nash news makes a funny contrast with lebron. i think i've said this before: if nash wins two in a row, isn't he then the type of HOF player who wins two in a row, an all-time great at his position? i guess stockton didn't ever get one capsizes this argument--he's not a better pure point than stockton, making a mockery of his award. but he's arguably a more complete player on the offensive end than stockton, and certainly has created his all-star teammates more than stockton did malone.

the timing is amazing, too. the lebron "he will get enough of them" line goes on the assumption that, while nash is in some essential way not a certain kind of player, bron is. this has been at the root of his entire image, and until last night, he'd pretty much played it to a tee. the question is whether any indication to the contrary can soften his somewhat oppressive rep, just as nash's winning two straight mo-pod's MAKES HIM THAT KIND OF PLAYER.

unless you want to argue that seasonal awards are total contingencies, and that you have to give one out every few years as a lifetime achievement award to balance this out.

 
At 4/26/2006 11:58 AM, Blogger SilverBird5000 said...

c-los,
i think you'd agree there's a pretty big difference between "a shell" and "cheryl miller". its not like they make Matthew McConaughey do red carpet interviews just because Sahara bombed. and if money is the issue, shouldn't it go to someone who actually needs it. like, say, Sprewell?

 
At 4/26/2006 11:59 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

did anyone else catch arenas joking with hughes near the end of the second that he was going for forty? you've got to love a guy who smiles a lot during the playoffs.

miamian, in a way i'm with you on taking a second look at lebron's pregame ritual. but no one's ever denied kg the right to do it, and lebron is similarly the heart and soul of that franchise, and up until last night, the kind of no-fucking-joke competitor who would have to be doing that for all the right reasons.

that's the importance of last night's game.

 
At 4/26/2006 11:59 AM, Blogger SilverBird5000 said...

REIGN OF FIRE

 
At 4/26/2006 12:04 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

plus i'd argue that when lebron bites, it's showing respect. like that dude needs to look to anyone else's example for anything; even if he were too stupid to think of a pregame ritual (he's not), he could pay someone to.

 
At 4/26/2006 12:08 PM, Blogger miamian said...

my thing w/ kg's routine is that it is much less exhibitionist -- in general his only audience is the one or two press guys that catch some chalk dust debris. lebron's was very much of the "now introducing, standing at 6'8, weighing in at 240...." variety. just shake hands and play dude. fan appreciation night was last week.

even vince carter's (where he runs over to the basket and pulls himself up by the net) is a very personal thing for him despite how public it appears. lebron's didn't have any sort of "i'm getting focused" tint to it, and i think that is what would upset a player on the wizards. its bad enough they are implicitly shown up every second he is on the court (anything good done by a player wearing blue is played off as a mistake by lebron), he also has to do this pregame "chosen one" pose.

and no way around the fact that he stands there for a good 10-15 seconds. ten years ago, charles oakley would have killed him twice and hidden the body and established a foolproof alibi w/in that span.

 
At 4/26/2006 12:09 PM, Blogger c-los said...

Silverbird,

I don't think Jalen is doing it for money. Someone mentioned he has been in the TNT studios a couple of times so my guess is that he wants to do that kind of stuff after he retires. I just wish he would open his mouth when he talks. It was like reading lips

 
At 4/26/2006 12:14 PM, Blogger c-los said...

@miamian

There was an article in the Washington Post today by Michael Wilbon that mentioned the Oakman. Basically Wilbon asked Oakley what he thought about the hard foul by Brenda Haywood. Oak hit him with "What hard foul". I miss those days of guys getting hammered when they went into the lane. Especially young guys who havent proved themselves in the playoffs yet.

 
At 4/26/2006 12:21 PM, Blogger miamian said...

i caught the wilbon article. i appreciated the oakley comment, but thought the rest of the article was a little much, how that one hard foul has forever changed that series.

plus im not trying to see anyone get injured on a hard foul.

its a shame that bill simmons has sabotaged the invocation of charles oakley -- now whenever someone brings him up (including myself in the prior post), i inevitably think of bill simmons's all-star weekend column in which he basically drooled over oak's presence for 3,000 words. it was embarrassing at the time, but i didn't realize that it would have the lasting effect of forever tainting oakley's image as "the guy that bill simmons thinks is really awesome."

 
At 4/26/2006 12:24 PM, Blogger Mirabeau Lamar said...

What happened to those "enforcers" in the league like Oak? Did the tighter flagrant rules hasten their extinction? I can't think of one single player in today's League that is a pure enforcer.

Also, c-los, that photo is gold. Any suit that makes you look like the valet for the rest of the team has gotta earn respect. Maybe Jalen is moonlighting as a bell-hop at the New York Hilton: "Your room is ready, Mr. Francis."

 
At 4/26/2006 12:52 PM, Anonymous Mr. Six said...

Pet theory: JR Reid happened to the enforcers. After that, the rough stuff seemed to decline, either by rules or indirect direction from the Commish. The Brawl dug up the enforcers' collective corpse, raped and burned it, and put it back in the ground.

I haven't had a chance to watch the Wiz-Cavs game yet. Sounds like the Wiz played great, which is as much a reason to watch as seeing the whole of LeBron. The mere possibility that he is the One makes even his failures essential viewing, however. As noted, failure is necessary element for greatness; hard fouls that affect play and poor playoff performances make the whole of the story of the League's champions. The narrative just became even more what it was always required to be.

And I have to agree with the up-thread comments on Mike Brown. Maybe he'll turn out to be a great coach, and he and Bron will make each other the way that MJ and Phil did. But I fear that the Cavs management are wasting LBJ's time with a guy who doesn't seem to know what to do with what he's got.

 
At 4/26/2006 1:19 PM, Blogger Joey said...

Two-time MVPs in NBA history: Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Tim Duncan, Karl Malone, Moses Malone, Bob Pettit...and Steve Fucking Nash?!

This distinction just lost something. Nash is a great player who makes teammates better. He's an all-star. And he's unique. I am not saying otherwise.

But he's also a bad defender; a guy who needs a certain system (namely, the D'Antoni one) to succeed; a guy who dribbled way too much in Dallas and didn't get the ball to the right guys in the right spots consistently; and, of course, a guy who has won his division a few times.

MVP is a subjective evaluation, and it's somewhat specious to cite Nash's award win this season as proof that the designation of "two-time MVP" means less since it's a relative distinction conferred each season. But that said, the dude is probably not the most deserving candidate this year. Kobe, LeBron, Dirk, and Chauncey would all get my vote ahead of Nash. Wade probably, too.

 
At 4/26/2006 1:30 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

looking at all past mvp's, his two "relative" awards would be the definite exception. as opposed to, say, baseball. if anything, giving out multiple "lifetime achievment awards" makes it seem like rewarding single-season flourishes is the further thing from the press's mind.

or maybe that's because, unlike baseball, great players tend to be the dominant ones year in and year out. maybe nash isn't just rewriting the way we think about the mvp, but the way immortality is defined in this sport.

steve nash: play basketball like it's soccer, writes his resume like he's mlb.

 
At 4/26/2006 1:31 PM, Blogger ForEvers Burns said...

If LeBron took a particularly hard foul from Haywood earlier on, Gilbert seemed to have taken a harder foul from Varejao shortly afterwards. I think the way each player responded illustrates just how differently they seem to see themselves with respect to the game, and the playoffs in particular.

Like Wilbon said, LeBron’s hit seemed to wake him up, as if during game one he somehow hovered above all the hype surrounding him and only let the game itself dictate his actions and attitude. Yet taking that hit seemed to wake him up in a way; he suddenly thought to himself, “oh shit (emphasis), this is the playoffs.” From that point on, he started to play with a kind of timidity and hyper-self-awareness that he would spend the entire game trying and failing to get beyond. If I have any problem with LeBron, it’s that sometimes he doesn’t seem to know how to handle his own greatness and tries to put up a persona that seems more confident and comfortable than he actually is. I’m not really sure why, but everything from his chalk ritual to the LeBrons ad campaign seem to further confirm this for me.

Gilbert’s hit seemed to wake him up too, only to have the opposite effect. Suddenly, Gilbert seemed to think, “Oh shit, this is the playoffs (emphasis).” Psychologically, Gilbert and LeBrown seemed diametrically opposed. By far, Gilbert’s greatest weakness, and this season’s regular mix of greatness and disinterest showed it more than any other, is his inability to stay focused. It’s almost like one 48-minute game of basketball is not enough to capture his attention. If LeBron has spurts of being too uncomfortably aware of himself, Gilbert has spurts of being completely oblivious of the game and his own ability to dominate it.

I just hope, like I’ve needed to hope every Wizards’ game this year, that Gilbert can keep his head out of the clouds and chase the ball instead of butterflies.

 
At 4/26/2006 1:51 PM, Blogger Joey said...

The notion of redefining immortality intrigues me, and I think it begins to get at why this bothers me so much.

The men on that list are players whose names have to be included in the history of the NBA. They defined eras of basketball, and they were consistently dominant players who used the playoffs as a platform from which they could make indelible marks. No one questions their importance to the game, and no one will stop talking about them in 20 years (maybe Pettit, but only because dude's OLD).

Is that what we can say of Nash? He's never been in the NBA Finals; he's never been the best player in a playoff series; he's only recently emerged as a dominant player (he was good in Dallas, but not like he is right now); he can be outplayed on a consistent basis by any number of players (I will give the Sports Guy credit for pointing this out); and he's not even the best point guard of his time (see: Kidd, Jason). Should his name be written next to those above?

Even contemporarily, Nash is not the guy who stands out as shaping his basketball times. Shaq, Kobe, Tim Duncan, the Pistons as an entity--these are the people who history will remember when the post-Michael era is discussed. We'll remember Kidd, the ascendancy of the jumbo-athlete big man (Amare and Howard are just the beginning), the infusion of foreign-born talent, the rules changes. Nash will be discussed, but he seems almost like a product of his times and not a dictator.

This is a hodgepodge of scattered thoughts--does this make sense?

 
At 4/26/2006 2:18 PM, Anonymous Mr. Six said...

Meanwhile, over it Sports Guy chat ...

Kevin (Cleveland): Lebron said he doesnt believe in pressure. So is it safe to assume he'll bounce back in game 3? He made some stupid mistakes yesterday.

Bill Simmons: (1:11 PM ET ) he was absolutely atrocious last night, but he's still the best 21 year old player ever, and he's still ahead of MJ at the same age, My biggest problem with LeBron was that he seems to play differently after he gets whacked a couple of times, seems like you can take him out of his game. Cleveland needs to find him an enforcer like what MJ had with the Bulls in the 80's (Oakley). or else. Bron Bron seems like he's too nice of a guy.

 
At 4/26/2006 2:29 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i love those moments where it seems like simmons knows as little, or is at least as lazily monomanical, as i am.

joey--i wonder if this doesn't all come down to what nash hasn't done, or hasn't done yet, or doesn't have enough time left to do. if nash plays at this level for another four years, the suns continue to be among the league's top teams, and they manage to pick up a title along the way, isn't he just basketball's answer to curt schilling?

weird that, for as much as basketball focuses on what could be, it's very, very hard to pull a walton when it comes to pantheon induction. wait, obviously there's a difference between a koufax and a schilling; there even is in baseball. i guess my point is that, whether injuries or slow development was the culprit, you'd think basketball to be more liberal about these qualifiers, not less.

word verification: karry

 
At 4/26/2006 2:57 PM, Blogger Joey said...

1) I didn't think that the LeBron pass at 87-84 was so horrible. Arenas should be getting lots of credit for a great play. Should LeBron have shot? His momentum was taking him backwards as he got behind the line, three guys were on him, and a wide-open big man stood under the hoop with enough time left to dunk, foul, and run a play for a three. I think a lot of this criticism of LeBron comes from what people are hoping for and not what they're watching: They want to see Michael, so when it's not Michael, they get mad.

2) Shoals, I think that the Schilling comparison is a great call, in all respects.

3) More than any other sport except golf, basketball is about what you do at the biggest moments. The playoffs affect perception more than anything else. It's why Robert Horry can be so inconsistent for entire regular seasons at a time. Maybe that's unfair, but that's how it is. And Nash, in my mind, suffers as a result.

4) That answer from Simmons was lazy, something made worse by the fact that the guy's only job is to sit around his house watching TV and playing internet.

 
At 4/26/2006 4:39 PM, Anonymous august strindberg said...

Not to be all anti-narrative, but the real change that happened around the time of Haywood's foul was that Butler started to make some shots. LeBron is no baby, and the foul wasn't all that hard. The important thing was that the Wizards played reasonable defense for 48 minutes, doubled from different directions at unpredictable moments. All those passes that LeBron threw away weren't because he was thinking about snuggles from Brendan.

What was surprising to me was that Rivers and Van Gundy, supposed tacticians (at least JVG), were so enthusiastic about the hard-foul story. Is that just because they've learned that commentators are supposed to operate that way, clinging to two or three nuggest of hard-won wisdom? Or is that actually the extent of halftime strategizing?

 
At 4/26/2006 8:25 PM, Blogger Mr. Babylon said...

Is it possible Nash won the mvp by getting all the second place votes while everybody else split the #1s?

 
At 4/26/2006 9:24 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

is that the funniest thing i've ever heard or the most ingenious?

NBA DAVINCI CODE 2006!!!!!!!!!

 
At 4/26/2006 9:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LeBron does need an enforcer. That team is soft.

 
At 4/26/2006 10:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steve Nash wins the MVP for the same reason Vince Carter always led the league in All-Star voting; not cuz he's the best, but because he appeals to the right demographic.

 
At 4/26/2006 10:34 PM, Anonymous White People Don't Know said...

I don't think nash should have (will?) win either. However, on the telecast a night or so ago someone said that nash has been on the highest scoring team in the league for 5 straight years. that's pretty impressive. maybe we will look back on this era differently than we do now.

 
At 4/26/2006 11:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In three years time, even if he never has a season to compare statistically with the last two, it will be dogma that Nash is destined for the HOF. Statistically, the numbers Nash puts up are similar to Isiah Thomas's, and I don't think there's any argument against Thomas being a HOFer. Makes you think if Nash were black and firey, instead of white and emo, thiere wouldn't be such a fuss.

Should it have been Kobe? He had the best season. His value to his team is insignificantly different from Lebran's or Nash's, or Wades, or whoever. I think if anything, this will enhance Kobe's reputation like when Wilt put up 50 a game in 62, but Bill Russell won the MVP for being the best player on the best team, but everybody knew Wilt was the best and it will go down in history as a stolen MVP.

This is a bad trend though. What if Nash puts up even better numbers next season, and Amare comes back and they win the regular season again? Does Nash get it again?

 
At 4/27/2006 1:53 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

the list of three-time MVP's: Russell, Wilt, Kareem, Moses, Bird, Magic, and MJ. paradoxically, this award both elevates his historical standing and completely and totally precludes his ever getting one again.

otherwise, you'd be forced to give it to him every year he does this, which would kind of be an insult. as if others were destined for greatness, but he had to be given all he could in this world.

 
At 4/27/2006 2:26 AM, Anonymous Mr. Six said...

Screw the media chumps and Rev. Avery, Phil Jackson is COY.

And Charles Barkley let slip that he's been hoarding the absolutely perfect nickname for Amare: Hellboy. That's just too fucking good.

 
At 4/27/2006 6:21 PM, Blogger Zembla said...

One thing about the MVP: it always goes to a guy on one of the conference's top two teams. Always. So, regardless of what Kobe did this year, there is just no historical precedent for a guy on the #7 squad getting the award. Same with LeBron - MJ is the only guy to win playing on anything worse than the third-best team in the conference, and the '88 Bulls still finished fourth.

For the most part, it's "best player, best team" all the time. Voters really don't think about the pantheon that much.

 
At 4/28/2006 4:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carravaggio!
"after a fortnight's work he will swagger about for a month or two with a sword at his side and a servant following him, from one ball-court to the next, ever ready to engage in a fight or an argument, so that it is most awkward to get along with him."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caravaggio

 
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