Donnie Walsh/D'Antoni = Evil Obama/Biden ??

Ok, I finally get what basketball players mean when they use the cliche "It's a business" to respond to questions about trade rumors, contract extensions, and free agency. The recent overhaul of the New York Knicks by Donnie Walsh has been praised by those such as Stephen A. Smith as a spectacular deal for the Knicks, giving them cap relief and prime positioning for the LeBron-centered free agent market in 2010.

I understand that. For all intents and purposes, this was the right move. Clear out Isiah's trash and start fresh. Plus, give your franchise hope for landing an established young player instead of some crapshoot like Galinari that you can only acquire through draft picks. Textbook rebuilding.

But as a fan of basketball, this concerns me. The Z-Bo-Crawford-D'Antoni mashup was something extremely strange and a spectacle to watch. They were putting together solid games. Randolph was finding some redemption, and Crawford seemed like he would have the best year of his life. Plus, D'Antoni was really having to prove his worth. Make 7-seconds-or-less-ball work with Isiah's castaways, all the while keeping Marbury on the bench and keeping the NY media in check. For the first time in years, the Knicks fans I knew tasted the audacity of hope.

Now, the plan I guess is "wait a couple more years." If I were a six-year-old Knicks fan I would be confused as hell. "Dad? Why did the team get rid of its two best players for a couple of has-beens and Al Harrington's withering soul? It's just like little Minnesota kids having to wonder why Randy Moss, Kevin Garnett, and Johan Santana disappeared from my great home state in the blink of an eye. And the dreaded answer, of course, is that "[sports is] a business."

This whole way of doing things leaves a bad taste in my mouth--not just for "think about the children" reasons.

1) It makes the Knicks less fun to watch. I pretty much covered this above. Also, peep the world's ugliest boxscore:

2) It allows Mike D'Antoni to be completely free of accountability. Screw up this year, and it's , "What did you expect? We're rebuilding." That type of Charlie Weis good-ole-boy-ing will lead to nothing but complacency and lowered expectations.

3) It allows gets Donnie Walsh off the hook. Say the Knicks suck this year AND don't get some dream free agent in 2008 -- Oh well, he tried! And Shoals wisely brought up some quote from an ESPN article that I don't have time to search for where one team exec said a lot of teams are pulling the "we're going after LeBron" trick when it's really just an excuse to cut cap--this very well might be what's going on.

This whole situation recalls this Onion article , with Isiah of course playing the W. role. The Knicks hitting rock bottom means that anything that Walsh does is automatically an improvement.

4) It again puts the lunging for Lebron back into the spotlight. This sucks for Cavs fans who have suffered enough during LBJ's short time in the league. It also comes at a time where FINALLY Danny Ferry has made a serious positive addition to the team: Mo Williams on the Cavs is an infinitely better move than any of that Larry Hughes/Damon Jones/Donyell Marshall/Wally Szczerbiak garbage in the past.

This is just another chance for a smaller-market team to get screwed out of a prized possession, with the help of media-maggots who love to see good players in big markets.

I feel for Toronto fans (Bosh), Phoenix fans (Amare), and to a small degree Miami fans (Wade) as well.

Look, I understand how this goes. I suppose the way the salary cap/free agency system is set up is helpful in that it rewards teams that are smart (Pistons, Spurs) and has done a pretty good job of preventing dynasties from forming over the past few years. At the same time, I hate how it has made teams so future-oriented. Like, every year you can mentally eliminate the 10 or so teams that are building toward a future that may never come, and the Knicks added themselves to this group far too early in the game this year. The East is wide open. Marbury could have provided a valuable chip at mid-season. But no, let's all pat Donnie Walsh on the back and praise him for positioning the Knicks for 2010. Also, Knicks fans don't get too excited by the possibility of LeBron. I have a feeling Bron's going wherever he thinks he can get that ring. Even Phil Knight money isn't worth that much.

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At 11/23/2008 8:08 PM, Blogger Colonel D. Williams (Ret.) said...

The 2010 plan is pretty much like the position the Democrats took after taking control of Congress. Instead of actually doing something in the present they make us wait around for two years for real change to come.

I know the Dems could have done a lot more but used W as an excuse and took the two years off while putting false hopes into people about change.

The thing is, Lebron might actually end up in NYC. But for the rest of the teams like the Spurs - do they really think they're going to get a top FA? They couldn't even get Kidd or Jermaine after they won the 2003 title and TD was in his prime prime, (as opposed to his late prime, which will then be followed by his Indian Summer prime.)

Looking for the future, yes, can often be an excuse for failure, if not just being cheap.

I'm not sure where the bailout fits into this forced analogy? Perhaps something Stern will do to stay competitive with the Euro league moneybags?

At 11/23/2008 8:09 PM, Blogger Phil said...

I'm upset because I have both Randolph and Azubuike on my fantasy team. They're numbers are both going to drop...

At 11/23/2008 8:15 PM, Blogger David Arnott said...

"I have a feeling Bron's going wherever he thinks he can get that ring"

And that's exactly why he'll stay in Cleveland. It'll be easier to convince Bosh and Steve Nash to join him in each signing a three-year contract. If it doesn't work there, he can sign his second-to-last NBA contract with either the Brooklyn Nets or the Knicks or the Lakers to take the mantle from a declining Kobe.

At 11/23/2008 9:03 PM, Blogger Alan said...

I was actually going to buy tickets to see the Knicks against the Raptors here in Toronto (plenty of seats still available) but I think I'll cancel now. Blind Lemon Randolph was killing it in New York. I'm sure there are a bunch of cliche sayings about not selling the present for a future that may never come but I can't think of any at the moment.

word verification: crabs (not an acronym for anything, just crabs)

At 11/23/2008 10:40 PM, Blogger tray said...

"Like, every year you can mentally eliminate the 10 or so teams that are building toward a future that may never come"

Can't you mentally eliminate close to a third of MLB, probably more of the NFL or NHL, all before the season starts? There's a bell curve-like distribution of talent; there's always gonna be a non-contending bottom third. In virtually any sport.

At 11/23/2008 11:05 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

I've said this in the last post, but: LeBron in 2010 isn't even that necessary. The last time the Knicks got under the cap (1996), the initial goal was to sign Michael Jordan to play with Ewing; that obviously didn't pan out. So instead they used his money on a second-tier SG (Allan Houston, who ended up an All-Star), a third-tier PG (Chris Childs), and the rest they used in a trade for another second tier fading star with a big contract(Larry Johnson). Point being, you can rebuild around one franchise player, like LeBron, or maybe they can spend $40M on a combo of say, Amare and Joe Johnson. JJ is a guarantee to leave Atlanta; maybe him and Amare might dig a reunion with D'Antoni.

I'm inclined to believe that the Knicks will still win close to 40 games, and compete for the 8th seed. The guys traded - Randolph and Crawford - weren't great defenders. The new guys are much better (Mobley, Harrington, and Thomas). The Knicks now lack an inside scorer, but they'll probably set some sort of record for 3PTA this year that make even Nellie wanna puke. Has an NBA team ever attempted more threes than twos?

Still, D'Antoni gets an extra 10 wins a season out of his teams based on pure stupidity/lack of disclipline by other teams. Those Suns teams really shouldn't have run more than 50-55 games every year, but they got 60-65 thanks to other teams making bad decisions and trying to run with them. That's a big part of why they never lost to bad teams (teams that typically lacked disclipline). The Knicks have already done the same so far this season to bad teams - the Grizzlies, et al - and yesterday, even down to a seven man team, they still beat a slightly talented Wizards team because the Wizards thought they could run with the Knicks. End result: 122 pts for the Knicks and a win. D'Antoni's system guarantees the Knicks will win way more games than their talent dictates they should... and for that reason they will compete hard for that 8th spot. And, more importantly from a FD standpoint: they will drop 120 points every 5-10 games this year.

At 11/24/2008 12:05 AM, Blogger The Other Van Gundy said...

It's strange how we still want sports to be pure, even though they generate enormous amounts of cash and anything that profitable never will be pure.

I disagree about how fun the Knicks were to watch pre-trade: Zach Randolph hoisting threes is just embarrassing, and Crawford's just a taller Ben Gordon. But I can certainly understand your point, all the same.

Here's why I have no problem with rebuilding. A bold restructuring of a team overseen by front office guys willing to take calculated risks... that can pay off. Half-hearted "Yeah we're rebuilding" efforts like my beloved Bulls undertook after Jordan's retirement are frustrating, and they do lead to lowered expectations/complacency. But I don't see that here.

The problem is, we hate teams that don't go out and try to win every single game. Tanking earns nothing but scorn, and this idea of retooling for the future at the cost of the present has clearly galled a lot of Knicks fan. But something has to give, because, in their current incarnation, these Knicks are simply not capable of winning a championship. That's an unpleasant reality that Walsh chose to embrace. Because if you go in thinking you could grab a ring, then your front office moves will be of the win-now variety - adding cagey vets late in the season, swinging a big trade. This does nothing long term.

If you want to win-later, then you're going to have to swallow some bad losses because of your slash and burn strategy for regrowth.

But wouldn't you say that the real competitor can accept a loss now for a championship later? I'd rather have that than futile years of semi-respectability, sniffing around the lower seeds of the playoffs. Maybe Walsh and D'Antoni aren't trying to be savvy businessmen - maybe they're risking it all on LBJ010 because they want to win that badly. If that's the case, don't we have to respect it? This is a win at all costs strategy, it's just they're playing a two year game.

At 11/24/2008 5:09 AM, Blogger T. said...

By the way, I received the book yesterday from Amazon, and not to add my name to the list of "ZOMG, the book is amazing" commentators, but "ZOMG, the book is amazing"

I hope you can put out editions every couple of years or so.

At 11/24/2008 6:03 AM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

re: tray, yeah but in baseball a seemingly rebuilding team like the rockies of 07, the rays of 08, the twins of 06 can make it to the playoffs. similarly in the nfl, a team like the giants (which we pretty much counted out last year) can win the superbowl. also see the pittsburgh steelers in 2006. there are far fewer surprises in the nba, and when you do get one -- warriors beating the mavs....the hawks last year -- it doesn't last for very long.

At 11/24/2008 7:58 AM, Blogger Justin said...

Re: Dr. LIC, to say that that the Rays were rebuilding is to suggest that something of stature existed before. And then got disassembled. Not trying to be a dick - just thought it was a funny comment.

I think the magic of this situation is D'Antoni having been installed first. He's one of the few coaches with the combination of winning track record and (noteworthy) novel, kitschy approach to make this situation play. I don't feel that just any coach could be sitting at the end of the Knicks bench overseeing this project and eliciting the free-pass that D'Antoni (and Walsh) enjoys. He provides enough of a gimmick and enough of an alchemic generation of win- and style-relevance and entertainment to ride out the next couple of years. Who else among the modern coaching ranks could man the helm of a scuttled ship and make people still want to pay attention?

wv - concycer: "Macrophenomenal..." abridged

At 11/24/2008 8:43 AM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

haha...ok, "building."

At 11/24/2008 9:42 AM, Blogger Joe Friday said...


What, in your opinion, makes you think JoeJ is a “guarantee to leave ATL”? If it is the inherent ability of the Hawks’ ownership group to fuck everything up, then I see your point.

However, JoeJ has indicated nothing of the sort that he is unhappy with the Hawks current personnel or the direction of the franchise. Dude was in purgatory for 15 days after signing his FA deal with the Hawks and never wavered or showed any interest in returning to Phoenix. By all accounts he loves ATL, as do most players from the south. Not saying money doesn’t talk, and if NYK or any other club wants to offer him a max deal (sucks for y’all if that’s end game) I’m sure he would take it, but I don’t think him leaving ATL after next season is anywhere near a lock.

At 11/24/2008 10:58 AM, Blogger Grant said...

I looked at the box score just to see if someone had a sense of humor and wrote "S. Marbury DNP-- Player's Decision". Alas.

At 11/24/2008 3:06 PM, Blogger dunces said...

Could a team theoretically get to a "building" state by first unbuilding? Would that help dodge some of the shame and doomed psychology inherent around rebuilding?

wv: corate; some kind of timesharing deal for free-agent point guards?

Also, these captchas are getting more and more coherent every day. I guess spam-bots are really good at consonant-heavy pattern recognition?

At 11/24/2008 4:08 PM, Blogger Chad said...

Lotsa good points in the post, so it's probably weak of me to jump on a throwaway line at the end but, well, I'm going to do it anyway.

Do you really think the East is wide open, DLIC? Last year, Boston and Detroit were clearly above the pack, with a re-shuffled Cleveland team making it interesting down the stretch. This year, it sure looks like Boston and Cleveland are above the pack, with a re-shuffled Detroit team a possibility to make a run.

Seems to me like there's a pretty closed system at the top.

At 11/24/2008 4:21 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...

"I'm inclined to believe that the Knicks will still win close to 40 games, and compete for the 8th seed." Knicks fan much? How about the hidden indicator of the Jazz owning the unprotected 2010 Knick pick?

wv: racely, just racely

At 11/24/2008 5:19 PM, Blogger DocZeus said...

Clearly, the Knicks dumping their bad contracts on overpaid players is clearly a GOOD thing. Zach Randolph and Jamal Crawford were overpaid and clearly were not going to be leading the Knicks to any glory.

My problem is the flawed strategy of basing their entire hopes for rebuilding their franchise on the idea that they are going to lure two or more franchise players for less money to an organization who in recent times has been historically awful.

I mean let's remember, this is an organization that two years ago had a massive sexual harassment lawsuit
levied against them.

If the Knicks were simply trying to rebuild like EVERY other team does by drafting smartly, building a young core, trading smart and THEN attempting to lure marquee free agents than I say go for it. But it's not. It's swinging for the fences which exactly is what put them in this position in the first place.

At 11/24/2008 5:20 PM, Blogger Mercurialblonde said...

I really don't think Lebron is going to leave Cleveland. If Danny Ferry moves Szerbiak's contract for someone of the Jason Richardson, Gerald Wallace ilk this year, and then they would still have cap room in 2010 I believe, to let Lebron recruit Bosh or Amare or Wade. This on top of having Mo Williams, possibly Gerald Wallace or Jason Richardson, and maybe coming off a title or two.

The thing that is hurting the Cavs is a lot of teams don't want to be the team that makes the Cavs good enough for Lebron to stay there, since they are building to target him.

Anywho. This is all pretty much the score for Lebron since high school. I remember that draft and the grown men drooling over the prospect of getting Lebron.

At 11/24/2008 5:20 PM, Blogger Quick Draw said...

Chad - I wouldn't consider that a throwaway line. It ties into earlier comments regarding parity and teams that are hopeless before the season starts.

Out of the big three, the NBA has the least parity. As you said, the East looks like a closed system, and barring injuries or the emergence of an unknown quantity (player), the system will likely stay that way. That is what differentiates the NBA from the NFL and MLB, respectively.

Injuries happen in all three, but they are a consistent leveler in the NFL. Unknown players emerge, as well, but the NBDL is not the extensive farm system that supports Major League Baseball.

At 11/24/2008 5:55 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

i meant "wide open" insofar as anyone can make the playoffs. as far as contenders, it's basically just detroit, boston, and lebron.

At 11/24/2008 5:58 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

If the Knicks were simply trying to rebuild like EVERY other team does by drafting smartly, building a young core, trading smart and THEN attempting to lure marquee free agents than I say go for it. But it's not. It's swinging for the fences which exactly is what put them in this position in the first place.

That is the first well-thought out, cohesive argument I've heard against the Knicks strategy. I agree with ya, Doc Zeus. To a degree.

But, really... isn't trying to rebuild via the lottery and draft also swinging for the fences, too? Surely the resident Bulls fans on this site (paging Recluse) would have to admit that all those nice draft picks don't always get you where you want to go. And certain teams are built on trades and/or free agent signings - the Shaq/Kobe Lakers (both acquired by trade or free agency), the Kidd/Carter Nets, the Detroit Pistons (Billups = FA, Sheed, Rip = Trade), etc.

Or, conversely, if you meant just putting together a solid core of role players - well, the Knicks have done a decent job of that. David Lee, Nate Robinson, Wilson Chandler, and probably Danilo (Peja Jr) are all decent role players. Not stars, but all capable, as seen already, of putting up numbers in D'Antoni's system, and filling roles. Jared Jeffries (Boris Diaw Jr) might also turn out to be a solid role player in D'Antoni's system.

wv: wordally? Fought wordaxis during the Scramble wars.

At 11/24/2008 6:04 PM, Blogger wondahbap said...

Anyone who thinks LeBron won't leave Cleveland is seriously under estimating LBJ's desire to be a worldwide mega star of the MJ/Tiger mold. There's no way it will happen in Cleveland. No way.

Even now, he isn't the NBA's marquee player. Kobe is. Chicago, LA, or NY would change that. LeBron enjoys rock star like celebrity status. Global icon's do not stay in Cleveland.

At 11/24/2008 7:26 PM, Blogger badly drawn boykins said...

"Anyone who thinks LeBron won't leave Cleveland is seriously under estimating LBJ's desire to be a worldwide mega star of the MJ/Tiger mold. There's no way it will happen in Cleveland. No way."

I'm not sure if some kid sitting in Shanghai or Belgrade or Brugges really cares whether LeBron is in a major TV market. To someone outside the US, "Cleveland" isn't a cold, dreary Rust Belt city - it's a brand.

Before the internet and air travel and the foreign markets, yeah, market size mattered. And there's no doubt that Derek Jeter owes about 97% of his celebrity to playing for the Yankees. But while Jeter is an adequate baseball player who was lucky enough to have played on a few championship teams, LeBron is the big swinging dick of basketball. He's bigger than DMA size. He's not limited by Cleveland - he makes Cleveland a brand.

If you're talking about global appeal, it helps to look at soccer - take Cristiano Ronaldo, for example. Do you think his appeal is at all limited by playing in England's equivalent of the Rust Belt?

WV: breal - He's Lebron in the membrane

At 11/24/2008 8:04 PM, Blogger wondahbap said...

badly drawn boykins,

To a person who is already a fan of the NBA, then no it wouldn't matter. But it's the casual fan and the tourists that being in NYC (or L.A or and maybe Chicago) brings. Millions of tourists aren't traveling to Cleveland and finding out about this LeBron James guy. That will happen in NY or L.A. Through the media.

It's the widely read back page of the Post or Times, or even Page Six. It the tabloids. That's not happening with the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

It's the the hobnobbing with celebrities, the actors, the rap stars, and more in NYC or LA. that's not happening in Cleveland.

Lebron is the brand, not Cleveland, and that brand becomes more recognized when magnified when in a big city.

At 11/24/2008 10:26 PM, Blogger RHYbread said...


I don't think Cristiano is an accurate comparison at all. Manchester United was a huge brand way before CR was cavorting with hookers and man purses. No doubt his performances are stellar, but a guy like Karim Benzema who is almsot as good but plays in Lyon has barely any of the visibility and accolades.

No doubt that the LA,NY, etc would be good for Bron. Not only because of the media and increased celebrity, but because the franchises have some built in history. He could stay and build a legacy ala San Antonio, but who the hell really cares about San Antonio even though they're probably the best franchise of the naughties.

At 11/24/2008 11:19 PM, Blogger O said...

right on point. Me and my league pass are going to ignore the knicks for the time being.

At 11/24/2008 11:47 PM, Blogger T. said...

@badlydrawnboykins - I'm not sure soccer IS a viable comparison. ManU is a globally known team, but how well known are players who play outside the Premier League + Real Madrid + Barca? None of the German stars in the Bundesliga have a world wide formula, and aside from a Del Piero here or there, same with the stars of Serie A - ManU is globally and historically known. The Cleveland Cavs, not so much.

At 11/25/2008 12:38 AM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! Where did you get the idea I was a Bulls fan??? I'm not even really from Chicago, I just live here.

I actually like this Knicks team a lot more than the current Bulls, since they got D'Antoni, although I best he wishes he were coaching Derrick Rose right now.

At 11/25/2008 5:51 AM, Blogger Ben said...

When bad contracts are handed out and you need to dump them, who you gonna call? Apparently the Clippers, post-Isiah, have decided to co-shoulder that mantle with da gubmint.

Dallas is in pretty bad shape too right now.

At 11/25/2008 1:02 PM, Blogger Bhel Atlantic said...

Team management/ownership can pursue any of several goals for their team, which are not always harmoniously compatible:

1) Go for a championship.

2) Put an entertaining, playoff-contending team out on the court.

3) Turn a profit.

The example of Phoenix under Sarver suggests that 2 and 3 may be compatible, but perhaps not 1 and 3. The example of the Clippers under Sterling suggests that even 2 and 3 may not be compatible (but this is surely poor management on Sterling/Baylor's part; if 2 and 3 were not possible together, there would be something screwy with the NBA system).

Anyway, regarding the Knicks, (3) doesn't even seem to be a concern, which is good. It seems like Mr. DLIC wants the Knicks to pursue (2), even if it will make (1) impossible. If D'Antoni couldn't win with Nash, Amaré, and Marion, how can he do so with Randolph, Crawford, and Nate Robinson?

Nash likes NYC so I can imagine him joining the Knicks for the last couple years of his career. I'm slightly skeptical that LBJ and/or Bosh would join a team with no existing core, but if all those guys sign up, watch out. Last year's Celtics, and the 2001-02 Nets with Kidd and RJ and Collins starting anew, showed that a winning core can be assembled rather quickly.

Finally: I think Chicago is a dark horse to sign one of James, Wade, Bosh, or Amaré. Who wouldn't want to play with Rose, and in the home of Jordan? Chicago only has Hinrich, Deng, and Nocioni signed for 2010-11; they can probably trade at least one of those guys as needed.

At 11/25/2008 1:23 PM, Blogger badly drawn boykins said...

Okay, so Cristiano/ManU comparison doesn't work, but it's not as poor comparison as you make it out to be. Why would some team in the Northwest of England become a global brand? By winning a lot.

Think about the Bulls before Jordan - even with Americans, it was practically non-existent. Jordan made the Bulls, and LeBron can make the Cavs.

And by winning, the Cavs can become as much of a global brand as the Lakers or the Bulls (really, people don't give a shit about the Knicks abroad). And I think you overestimate the level of mystique most people in the world attach to NBA franchises. They don't really care about the NBA before Magic and Bird, and if they're born after 1975, they most likely only care about the NBA since Jordan started winning championships.

At 11/25/2008 1:38 PM, Blogger wondahbap said...

Chicago is the #3 market in the US. If I'm correct Manchester is fairly large itself, no?

I'll give you San Antonio. TD is one of the greatest players EVER, and won 4 Chips. But yet, his Finals appearances had low ratings, and one was against LBJ and Cleveland. No one cares about those teams. Casual fans do not care. there are millions of casual NYC or LA fans, because those cities mean something.

It's about what LBJ can become in that city. Jordan was not Jordan without Chicago, Magic wasn't Magic without LA, same for Kobe and Shaq, and Jeter isn't Jeter without NY. The fans, the cities, the lights, the stars, the dreams, the giltz, the glamour add to the mystique.

At 11/25/2008 3:58 PM, Blogger badly drawn boykins said...

Yes, Chicago is the #3 media market in the US, but it's not an international city. As far as non-Americans are concerned, there's no appreciable difference between Cleveland and Chicago. And I don't get the idea that Chicago somehow made Jordan. Those 90s Bulls teams were America's Team, not Chicago's team. Exactly what attributes do Jordan and Chicago share other than the occasional mustache? Sure, most Europeans will recognize Chicago as a "big" city, but they'd be hard pressed to come up with any strong feelings about it. Think Brussels without the fries and the waffles.

And yes, Manchester is a big city. But so is Cleveland (and Cleveland can boast Harvey Pekar - what has Manchester contributed to popular culture other than Factory Records and Oasis?).

Yeah, I understand the point you're making with San Antonio, but Duncan would still be surly and nerdy and generally uninteresting as an athlete no matter where he played.

And since you brought up Shaq, think about his early career - even with Orlando, he was a pretty big global superstar. Sure, he became bigger in LA, but even with the Magic, he was easily bigger than Patrick Ewing.

Also, imagine if Jeter had played for the Mets and only occasionally making the playoffs? He wouldn't be doing too many Gatorade commercials, and no one would be talking about him as a definite HOFer.

At 11/25/2008 4:10 PM, Blogger RHYbread said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 11/25/2008 4:11 PM, Blogger RHYbread said...

Well when you compare Q scores for these players, for the general population: MJ is at 82, Shaq is at 80, Kobe is at 75, Magic at 73. Lebron is at 47, behind Yao at 49.

Then among sports fans, Bron's behind Kobe (90), MJ/Magic (89), and Shaq (87). No doubt that MJ and Chicago both had big roles in making each other but Chicago is a pretty large and visible city on the world stage. For example, you can't really say Kanye and his disciples aren't major players because Chicago is an important part of who they try to come off as.

I don't doubt Lebron could build up Cleveland to Bulls status, but compared to bigger markets, it's so disadvantaged. The media in bigger cities will generate that much more press about him, whether he's winning or losing.

Source: Q-Scores

At 11/25/2008 4:24 PM, Blogger The Hypnotoad said...

It's all about the airports, baby!

At 11/25/2008 10:02 PM, Blogger wondahbap said...

"and Cleveland can boast Harvey Pekar"

Exactly. Thanks.

At 11/25/2008 10:31 PM, Blogger sportjunky said...

off topic but very much on topic, i don't know how to properly describe the move russell westbrook pulled off vs. the suns but i'm gonna try.

milking time at the end of the 3rd quarter, he drives left. amare is waiting with wilcox standing at the top of the key so he crosses over wide to his right to try and turn the corner on raja. raja hedges out so westbrook goes behind his back, back towards the middle of the court, amare steps up and in one motion westbrook split past amare drove through the lane at high speed, avoided the charge and lasered out a perfect pass to durant, waiting on the right side, who drained it.

the key to the play was the behind the back dribble. only it wasn't as much of a dribble as it was a behind the back pass to himself. he floated it wide and turned back to meet it and on the upbounce controlled it to burst right past amare. he basically lost raja and shook amare on one bounce.

the whole sequence from the moment he crossed bell over to the point he passed the ball to durant took 5 dribbles. it was like watching a style guide sequence come to life.

At 11/26/2008 12:07 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...


At 11/26/2008 2:29 AM, Blogger sportjunky said...

excuse the shoddy quality, its off my laptop via a digi cam. the pass isn't really done justice with this video but the move is pretty clear.


(with bonus footage of Amare being pure from 25 feet out)

i'm wondering if its accurate to say he got past raja and amare with one dribble, cuz he does initiate a dribble as he passes amare, but he gets by amare with the little shake back to the right once he regains control of the ball.

either way, i can honestly say i've never seen that move pulled off before.

At 11/26/2008 11:48 AM, Blogger MC Welk said...

wv: warnifyi (really)

At 4/13/2009 1:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...




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