The Hate LeBron James Love Made

I smiled and stretched as the snow flurry cool Lakewood, OH sunlight reluctantly nudged my eyelids…shaking my mind alive. “One more day.” I thought. One more day and the King of unfinished work returns to his roots…roots that seemingly strangle every inch of his being as Cleveland blood rushes through his still developing mind. His has to be the mind conflicted…blood experienced. Does he hate December 2nd? Will this would be arduous task change him for the better or intimately worse? How will he see this teaching moment? Will he reminisce with vicarious bliss of Cavs good times…joyous moments on and off the floor or will his mind go dark…rehashing imagery of burned 23 jerseys in The Decision’s polarizing aftermath? How should he go at the Cavs Thursday? It may be absurd thought considering LeBron James is a flash point athlete with definitive professional responsibilities, but can the question be asked if he truly wants to win Thursday?

I would wonder this of any athlete in his position and don’t think it’s diminishing of his character to want to go for 50 plus but ultimately clank a sure game winner to the delight of the Q faithful. Yes, he would be excoriated by the media and also the NBA, but wouldn’t such a story book result be apropos considering the fire raging between LeBron and Cleveland fans? It wasn’t that he left, it’s how he left that hurts tremendously, so a LeBron James game winner with so much rich thick drama and hype would rip Cleveland’s hearts out again and render The Decision pale in comparison.

As the nation anticipates a moment so unique, the true epicenter of the sports world lies in Cleveland and one can only wonder how much the city financially capitalizes from the return of a prince gone too soon. Cleveland is destroyed. James was seen as an economic savior and when I covered Cleveland recently, I felt none of the same excitement and admiration for a Cavaliers game as I did just a year before. His likeness is nowhere inside the Q and a priority is now placed on making the slogan “All for one, one for all” the fabric which is this citiy’s true identity. Maybe what can be considered such a burden made LeBron’s decision that much easier when he weighed the pros and cons. How would you feel if the hopes of an entire city were placed on your Chosen One emblazoned shoulders and you were not yet 30? The air was let out of Cleveland the day he left but there were bigger issues before LeBron. “The city is dead” neatly stated Cliff, a Cleveland cab driver, as we conversed on the way to my Lakewood destination. He continued, “There’s mass corruption in the government here and politicians have been arrested. LeBron was all we really had left to hope for. It’s bad here. It’s really bad.” This genuine sentiment only encapsulates what the nation cannot truly feel. LeBron was a power ball ticket shared by all. A piece of homegrown paper born of the state’s trees…firmly in grasp of citizens young, but old and shockingly, without true consideration, snatched from their now depressed hands. Hands embarrassed and left cold…withdrawn with only a distant memory of what LeBron once was and the Miami pain surely left for all of the world to see.

His return is their comeuppance, a chance to shove all the emotion back in his face suffered through that fateful Thursday night this past July.

Where is ESPN now?

LeBron James roasts and “parties” are scheduled all over the city and surrounding suburbs tonight. Some advertise 23¢ beer drafts if an item of LBJ garb is brought to the bar and also #6 pig roasts (huh?) where Cleveland Cavaliers fans certainly will voice their displeasure between scorned pursed lips sips of ever flowing community ale. It helps the Browns are on the rise and that Ohio State crushed Michigan Saturday, but nothing else envelops the minds of the people here lately (outside of life) than the return of King James. I walked through Lakewood the festive drinking night before Thanksgiving to get a sense of what people were thinking about a moment their own. Lakewood is a mere 11 miles from the Quicken Loans Arena and spending a little less than 2 months the last two years in this working class suburb, an opportunity was presented to get a true sense of how the community lives.

I didn’t know what to expect but those I spoke with seemed like good people. There were obviously curses exclaimed at the mention of LeBron’s name but trust it was nothing Philly. Those I spoke with were closer to LeBron’s age than I anticipated which also highlighted the maturation process. A process we must all go through before we know of life and how to go about making life changing decisions. Folks were just as conflicted as maybe LeBron is. There were responses where hate and love were contradicted in the same sentence. There was a rush I saw in the faces of most as they gave their thoughts…minds wandering to the Q floor cheers they once felt. It’s not hard to explain. LeBron was their king. He is everything here he is now criticized for nationally. These people were energized when LeBron was Cleveland. He was their escape from lives made difficult by the times. This game is wanted. This game has to happen. This game will change things if only for a 48 minute span and I’m afraid that once LeBron leaves depression will reset and reality will once again kick in.

Here’s what one Cleveland fan told me true:

Michael Tillery: How do you feel about LeBron James.

Giovanni Ruggiero: LeBron James…honestly…is like that girl you break up with but can’t stop chasing. You want to hate him all you can but at the same time you know how good he is and you want him back.

MT: As he was growing up here and eventually picked by the Cavs, what went through your mind?

GR: Cleveland has suffered for so long without a championship and we thought he was gonna bring it here and then he went to Miami. He had no allegiance at all to Miami. Disgusting.

MT: Why didn’t Cleveland win a championship?

GR: Because they didn’t have the right parts. I think it’s 50/50. 50% his fault and 50% the teams fault. We’ve got to take 50% of the blame for how good he is. If you put LeBron on last year’s Cavs team and play the Heat now with LeBron, I think the Cavs would beat them. You are going to have people here who can’t stand LeBron…and rightfully so. He also has the choice to do whatever he wants to do to ensure what’s best for his career but when he said in 2006 that he wanted to win a championship for the city of Cleveland, the city was full blown behind him. We wanted him to win so bad and that is why most of us feel betrayed.

MT: Will Cleveland ever get another player of his ability?

GR: No. I think he’s the greatest NBA player of all time already. He’s the greatest athletic specimen ever in any sport.

MT: Do you ever see a time where Cleveland gets over this?

GR: I think so but I don’t think so with him. People loved him. I loved him. I’ve been a Cavs fan since I was a little kid because of my father Modesto is the biggest Cavs fan I know. I just don’t know how to take this.

****

Giovanni’s response was the best I received that night. Yeah it’s that dramatic. I’m not here to judge anyone but I have to be honest and say that once I got here, I’ve expanded the scope of how these people should feel. These people are different no matter what color they are. Where I’m situated in Lakewood there’s this bar, Harry Buffalo, close by that was jam packed on what is labeled the biggest drinking night of the year. Folks were enjoying themselves. I saw many camera flashes of pictures surely to be posted on facebook and had an appreciation for the smiles. What I see is a well rounded sense of humanity. They say hello on the street. They know I’m a stranger before I speak. There is no notion of running ahead of the pack. LeBron did that and behind him they followed, wished, hoped, dreamed and moved as one. Yes, they were living through him and now that he is gone they want to give it to him.

Thursday how will this be expressed? We should all take notice and take from their example…no matter what transpires.

“The deep pain that is felt at the death of every friendly soul arise from the feeling that there is in every individual something which is inexpressible, peculiar to him alone, and is, therefore, absolutely and irretrievably lost”–Arthur Schopenhauer

49 Responses to “The Hate LeBron James Love Made”

  1. Origin says:

    Brotha Mizzo that was a great write up.

  2. Okori Wadsworth says:

    spectcular writing Mizz.

  3. gregg somerville says:

  4. Burundi says:

    Mizzo-great work, truly!

    One day, I believe that LBJ will look back and realize that his inability to emulate Magic Johnson and play in the post where the greatest need was while he was in Cleveland will be his greatest failure; his greatest regret. One day, he will look back and realize that he let, during the ’08-’09 Playoffs, ultra light-in-the-cakes, Mickael Pietrus, all 6-6 215 measly lbs of him, D him up when the playground inclination would have been for LBJ to make his way into the post and annihilate whomever tried to stop him. Another embarrassing irony is that Tiger Woods was watching some of those games and Tiger witnessed LBJ fail to impose his will upon the reed-thin Magic, which remains inexcusable because Tiger is all about imposing his will. When Magic Johnson played in the post, it was all about imposing his will, his will to win, upon his opponent. I hate to speculate on this, but I think that LBJ and many of these cats coming up fail to do this because of a lack of a strong male role model within their immediate influence who teaches them how a man must do simply what he must; how a man must subordinate desire (to simply run the point and be flashy) to the real laborious task to truly winning.

  5. Burundi says:

    Heck, if LBJ is truly a student of the game, it will bode him well to study how Bird ran the point forward position and how Bill Russell played center at the same height while going up against Wilt and others. LBJ has a lot to learn. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to realize that the game he needs to learn, at this point, is from the neck up…

  6. Ron Glover says:

    I forgot that we even talked about you putting this up, my heart dropped when I saw it. Great stuff as always.

    A game-winning dagger by James tonight would supplant any torture that the Cleveland faithful have suffered at the hands of Michael Jordan and John Elway.

    Good to see your name back up here if only for a moment, don’t be a stranger.

  7. Ron Glover says:

    The closest that I can relate Giovanni’s feelings is when the Eagles let Reggie White walk. It had become apparent that Norman Braman wasn’t going to break the bank for any impact players. And we already knew how Reggie felt about testing the market.

    The mass exodus of players was going to leave the Eagles plucked cleaner than a Route 66 carcass. It left the Eagles franchise in a state of flux for some time pretty much until the arrival of Reid/McNabb.

    I always wonder if the death of Jerome Brown and the ascension of the Dallas Cowboys hastened White’s departure.

  8. Okori Wadsworth says:

    @Burundi: i completely agree man.

  9. Mizzo says:

    Thanks everyone. This just hit my email box:

    Cavs Chants x Laugh at LeBron
    The official “Chant Sheet” for 12.2.10
    Throughout the game:
    Whenever LeBron is introduced, laugh as loud as you can
    Introductions;
    Wade – Boo
    Bosh- Boo
    Arroyo – Boo
    Z – (We’d encourage Cheering)
    LeBron – Laugh as loud as you can
    12:00-6:00 1st Quarter
    Whenever LeBron has the ball or is at the free throw line the
    chant is:
    NO-Ring-King (To the beat of “Lets-Go-Cavs”)
    6:00-0:00 1st Quarter
    Whenever LeBron has the ball or is at the free throw line the
    chant is:
    Ak-Ron Hates-You (Clap, Clap, ClapClapClap)
    12:00-6:00 2nd Quarter
    Whenever LeBron has the ball or is at the free throw line the
    chant is:
    Wit-Nessed Noth-Ing (Clap, Clap, ClapClapClap)
    6:00-0:00 2nd Quarter
    Whenever LeBron has the ball or is at the free throw line the
    chant is:
    Sideeeee-Kick Sideeee-Kick (No Claps, derisive singing)
    Start of Third Quarter
    To the tune of “My Country Tis of Thee”
    Our King he betrayed Thee
    Couldn’t play any ‘D’
    He has no RING!
    Playoffs He Barely Tried
    Embarassed Akrons Pride
    No Doubt he really lied
    He HAS NO RING!
    (Repeat as Necessary)
    12:00-6:00 3rd Quarter
    Whenever LeBron has the ball or is at the free throw line the
    chant is:
    Scott-ie Pip-pen (Clap, Clap, ClapClapClap) Apologies to Pip
    6:00-0:00 3rd Quarter
    Whenever LeBron has the ball or is at the free throw line the
    chant is:
    Traiiii-tor Traiiii-tor (No Claps, Derisive Singing)
    12:00-6:00 4th Quarter
    Whenever LeBron has the ball or is at the free throw line the
    chant is:
    De-Lon-Te! De-Lon-Te! (To the beat of “Lets-Go-Cavs”)
    6:00-0:00 4th Quarter
    Throughout the last half of the Fourth Quarter:
    Cleve-land Rocks!
    Cleve-land Rocks!

  10. Ron Glover says:

    “De-Lon-Te! De-Lon-Te! (To the beat of “Lets-Go-Cavs”)
    6:00-0:00 4th Quarter”

    That’s cold Bruh!!! LMAO!

  11. Marc A. says:

    As someone who lives in the Cleveland area (all of my 48 years), I find this totally ridiculous. It’s shows what big losers the whining baby, low esteem fanbase really are. I am one of the silent majority here (since no one in the media bothers to talk with Us) that was glad that LeBron James made the decision that was right for him, and that’s what counts. It’s sad that only one voice gets heard around here, and that’s from the haters. To me, this shows the lack of true diverse opinions that are allowed to get expressed.

    The “fans” here didn’t deserve LeBron, and don’t deserve to have a championship sports teams…..ever. I hope the Heat wins by 30 or more tonight, and LeBron scores 40.

  12. Ron Glover says:

    @Marc A.: I go through the same foolishness here in Philly with the so-called “knowledgeable fans” – from Randall Cunningham to Donovan McNabb I’ve heard the venom from the fans and the idiot press. And they have the nerve to wonder why everyone hates them.

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  14. Very well written. As someone who has family in the Cleveland area, I don’t even believe their words can begin to describe what LeBron’s departure has done to them, not only as individuals but as a collective community as well. You hear certain people try and diminish the power of sports by saying, “it’s just a game,” and then you have a situation like this and you truly see how big of an impact one sport and one figure can have in a city.

  15. sankofa says:

    As usual for me context is everything. I have often refrained from arguing folly tricks and re-lie-geon with fanatics because you end up in a lose-lose scenario with people of different world view. I add sports and entertainment fanatics to this.

    *Note: I consider myself a recovering fanatic*

    I personally disagree with people’s disdain for Lebron’s “decision” or his supposed short comings as a player.

    I personally think that his “decision” is blown way out of proportion and has morphed into a reason to shit on the brother, without contextualizing the reason behind it…even if on the surface it appears self serving.

    The problem with comparing athletes of different era fails to consider each of their environment and the social media that these kats are into now. Even the older kats get caught up in this and end up tripping on this. Burundi…no one can be, could never be magic Johnson, Michael Jordon, Dr. J etc. Hell none of these Kats can be Garry Payton or Tom Chambers for heaven’s sake!

    While you are right about the absence of a positive man in his life as a role model, we cannot and should not overlook how much these young kats have been cuddled and spoiled even before they showed any other promise than being taller than their class mates. Jr. High, High school, AAU, Jr. College, University, they all conspire to fail in teaching kats today the fundamentals of the game. Perhaps the last truly old school player that could have played with the ancient kats is Tim Duncan, who coincidentally has two parents, was raised in nurturing environment and had a current coach who further mentored him into the hall of famer he is.

    If anything this hate/disdain for Lebron should set up the scenario for him to find himself as a man first and a player second. Still he has to seize the opportunity and ditch the yes man around him. Lebron James will never be magic, Kobe or Jordon, but he should be recognized as Lebron James a good athlete with flaws like us all.

    P.S I hope Miami beats Cleveland by 30 and that cock sucker Gilbert shits all over himself.

  16. Temple3 says:

    Mizzo:

    Well done.

    Burundi:

    I’ve come around to your way of thinking on that. Not that I ever necessarily disagreed, but I never thought of it as a primary solution in Cleveland. In Miami, it seems obvious that James should play on the block. It ain’t gonna happen. I don’t even think the coaches (ironically, this word rhymes with roaches) are pushing for this.

    Ma’at –> Isfet –> Ma’at…and so it goes.

  17. ks says:

    sankofa,

    Cosign. Like him or not, the level of irrationality surrounding “the Lebron issue” is mind boggling. Simply put, a lot of mainstream media folks (like Adrian Wojornarski from Yahoo) and “outraged fans” need to stop with the bitchassness. It’s ridiculously over the top.

    To your bball specific points. Yep and to add to your point, let’s look at post play as mentioned earlier. How many dudes have post games now? Hell, Dwight freakin Howard doesn’t have a real post game so I’m not surprised that Lebron doesn’t. During this era I’d be hard pressed to think of any player other than Tim Duncan or a prime Shaq that had a consistent and quality post game though you could probably throw a prime CWebb or, when he felt like it, Sheed, into the mix.

    Overall your point about how these dudes are coddeled before, for the most part, they’ve done anything in the “ESPN era” is on point. Lebron was on the cover of SI as a HS player. His HS games were broadcast on ESPN in primetime and so on. Frankly, all things considered, it’s remarkable how well he’s turned out so far. If “The Decision” is the worst thing he ever does then he’s well ahead of the game. I like that he’s not apologizing and seems to be saying in a passive agressive way – “Eat a Dick mofos!”

  18. GrandNubian says:

    Good stuff mizz…..

  19. Miranda says:

    I hope Lebron shoots 150 points tonight.

  20. Miranda says:

    Seems kinda silly to come out to the game with some big sign to disparage a guy on a team bout to whup up on the team you’re rooting for.

    or maybe they’re really just there to hate on Lebron and dont give a rat’s ass about the Cavs anyway….yeah, that’s probably it.

  21. Julius says:

    I don’t see what the mystery is surrounding the Lebron hate. That’s part of sports. It’s more fun to create heroes and villains. Lebron’s relationship to Ohio is really the stuff of old-time epic tragedy, Sophocles style. But is making a nasty sign and going to the game to hound James any different in spirit than all the whining about sports issues that occurs on this forum or any other? Are some of you suggesting that the energy spent here is somehow more noble? I don’t buy it. You could easily interpret every word pecked out here as a similar waste of energy. I don’t think Cleveland is acting irrationally at all. They’re sports fans. Would sports be any fun if the fans didn’t care? What, people are supposed to kick back in their seats and get all misty-eyed as they ooh and ahh and marvel at the athletic talent before their eyes, irrespective of whether it’s “their” team or not? Please. That’s simply inhuman. Marc A, you need to join the real world brother. ALL sports fans got blood pumpin in their veins and are emotional creatures. This isn’t just Cleveland, or white fans, or black fans, or any category of fan. Even Hollywood phony Laker fans would act this way if some hometown hero from Santa Monica High spurned them. What’s the big deal? I find the LBJ hoopla kind of entertaining. It certainly spiced up what otherwise would’ve been a totally forgettable below-the-radar boring matchup between the Heat and Cavs.

  22. Origin says:

    And folks in the MSM media thought Cleveland had a chance…………LOL!!!

  23. Origin says:

    Miranda them folks were dumb they paid over 100 bucks a seat even in the nose bleed section to boo Lebron and Miami while they whipped on their team……..well you know what they say about a fool and their money.

    Those idiots could have stayed home, watched the game and kept their money in their pockets.

  24. Miranda says:

    They paid that much money to try and get on TV with their homemade poster board?

    ROFLMAO….and I hope somebody asks those idiots…”so, you did all that..to do what?”

  25. KevDog says:

    For Z-“Wed encourage cheering.” WTF?

    Burundi, T3. I don’t think LeBron could ever become an effective post player. He just doesn’t have the reps on the footwork necessary to become great at it and frankly, lost amid all of the great athleticism he does have is the simple fact that the two components of athleticsm he does not have are great coordination or balance. He’s actually kinda clumsy. At this point in his career, he is what he is.

    Sankofa, I don’t know how anyone with any sense of human sensibilities cannot have been put off by the manner in which LeBron handled “the decision.” It was one of the lowest points I’ve ever seen an athlete publically and willingly sink to. You REALLY have no problem with it?

    I’m not at all down with those fans burning his jersey in effigy, that’s some Klan shit. And Gilbert was equally, if not moreso as ass for his behavior because he basically incited his fanbse to violence, but LeBron reveald the depths of his megalomania and complete lack of empathy for the human condition. He’s truly a spolied manchild who has never been told “no” and honestly believes the world revolves around him. I would be embarassed if I raised a child like him.

  26. sankofa says:

    @ Kevdog

    I personally never watched that event, but i also never saisd i didn’t have a problem with it. i said it was blown way out of proportion to shit on him. Again, Lebron’s evidence of immaturity is proportional to the level of media hype he gets. but really shouldn’t be seen out of context with this generation of idiotic behaviours we see in the young. Much of this HAS to be attributed to the adults…our generation (assuming you are older than forty-five).

    At least he hasn’t been seen showing his pecker on youtube, etc

    After seeing him play point’guard’forward I totally agree with you on the coordination bit, but most of these cats lack some semblance of coordination-IQ-hard work to compensate attitude like … Kobe?

    @ks thsnks for seeing where I’m comming from.

    P.S mizzo ( to the article… a black fist raised in the hour of chaos)

  27. Temple3 says:

    I think the incessant peering into the daily actions, thoughts, and naked desires of professional athletes is overdone.

    If we embarked on the same exercises at home or work, we’d be as disgusted as those “Train Wreck Junkies” who watch so-called “Reality TV.”

    God don’t like ugly — but it’s everywhere. We’ve slid down the slippery slope and into the big pile of shit where no one is capable of minding their own GD business.

    At the end of the day, all that matters are results.

    Do you keep your word? Do you give more than you take? Do you mind your manners and contribute meaningfully to a beloved community? Do you win in your world? Are you gracious when you win? Do you re-dedicate yourself when you lose?

    I can’t sit in judgment of 20-something millionaires. I’m simply far too imperfect.

  28. Temple3 says:

    KevDog:

    I’m not sure how much the coordination matters. Karl Malone had one of the ugliest PF games in the history of Ugliness, but it didn’t stop him from operating like a freight train for years. Aesthetically, you are 100% correct, but the correlation between beauty and results in this game is tenuous.

    Think of LBJ like Craig Mack — he’s kickin’ New Flava In Ya Ear. It looks weird and sounds funny, but — dang it…It WORKS.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8pG1mG7BeI

    Now, Biggie is like Jordan on this track, but you get my drift.

  29. KYLU says:

    omg i hate lebron james he can’t leave his home town. my room is all lebron james and i mhave all the caves stuff and that day i took out every thing and i hate hate him right now im going to kill him right now omg WHY DID YOU LEAVE UR HOME TOWN

  30. Burundi says:

    @Sankofa

    I mentioned Magic Johnson because he started lots of tall guys (like Ralph Sampson, for one) thinking that they could dribble or even run the point. Fair or unfair, LeBron is apart of that legacy, like it or not—and, he will be judged unkindly for having underutilized his natural gift of size and strength where and when it counted the most—(oh, and I’m not buying that “he doesn’t have a post game” because we watched him bull over JJH who tried to body LBJ, Thursday, when LBJ was close to being on the block. Additionally, he posted Ron Artest last X-Mas day, more than once, and Artest looked as helpless as any average Joe!)

    Magic’s success is why LeBron and others his height even got a chance to run the point! Additionally, LeBron’s physical tools exceed Magic’s in every way and, there’s simply no good reason why LBJ failed to emulate Magic’s formula for winning. Magic, SITUATIONALLY, choosing to win by playing, out of necessity, the 5 (the center position), which clearly didn’t fit his skill set nor physical build, was a clear and present blueprint for success. Also, remember Magic only did it because Kareem was out and his will to win demanded it. That will to win by going out of your comfort zone—and even putting yourself in harm’s way (a friend whom I played lots of ball with during undergrad who went on to play for the Knicks told me that he lost a tooth playing in the post, which was not uncommon before players started using football mouth guards) is manhood basketball.

    Temple and I have had this discussion for years wherein I had long ago concluded that were I, then, either Mike Brown or Dan Gilbert, I would’ve been taken that ball outta LBJ’s hands years ago or I would’ve traded him if he wouldn’t have played on the block WHEN NEEDED. Temple will verify this. Thus, LBJ’s former enablers cannot be too upset at him because they helped create him by their inexcusably brazen idolatry, most glaringly through their anger. They tolerated all of the clowning before the games such as the faux picture-taking, etc. Thus, they deserved to lose him to free agency without compensation because they allowed the tail to wag the dog, so to speak.

  31. Burundi says:

    The fans never made loud enough demands for LBJ to do what was necessary for that team to win and no one in the front office evidently knows/knew enough about basketball to figure it out (which they clearly exhibited by failing to retain Boozer) so all of Cleveland is culpable.

  32. Temple3 says:

    Burundi:

    Just to emphasize your point about Magic…1980 was not the last time that Mr. Johnson would venture down into the post to set the world right. In 1987 (I think) Roy Tarpley (a 7’0″ center from U-Mich) was going OFF in the post in a playoff series against the Lakers. Tarpley led the Mavs on the boards and pulled down something like 20+ rebs until Magic chose to guard him in the post and on the boards. End of Tarpley, end of Mavericks, end of series.

    That’s the type of stuff that today’s players tend not to get embroiled in. Tracy McGrady passed up a similiar opportunity to deal with Carlos Boozer when Utah shocked Houston a few years ago. McGrady isn’t the biggest guy in the world, but if he committed to dealing with Boozer, he could have made a difference on the glass and in the series.

    James may very well have to assume the same personal challenge and get on that baseline to make his dreams come true. No one else has been able to avoid that heavy duty lifting.

  33. Origin says:

    @ Temple – Great points brotha……..Magic also began to go more into the post once Kareem retired. He dominated the series against the trail blazers by posting up Terry Porter and Drexler in 1991.

    The reason Phil put Pippen on Magic in the 1991 finals was because Jordan nor Paxson were big enough to handle him in the post. Or to impede his movement when pressing him up the court.

    However brotha I have to give Tracy a little more credit. In that series he was the point guard. He basically brought the ball up court every play……cause skip to my lou wasn’t much of a point guard. In that series Mcgardy was the playmaker for the whole team. Due to Yao being in foul trouble and just having poor condition plus being D up……….it was all Tracy that series. Another problem is that the Jazz used Boozer and Okur. The coaches felt that Yao would be better off guarding Boozer because he played closer to the paint then Okur (Who basically stayed out at the 3 point line).

    I put Tracy not guarding Boozer more on the coaches then on him. Remember the season before in the playoffs Tracy guarded a 7 foot Dirk the whole series and held him to under his playoff avg. While at the same time being the only offensive creator on the team and handling point guard duties.

    Overall I agree with the assessment that you and Burundi have made about todays players and coaches. I have seen this up close here in Dallas in which there was a power struggle between Avery Johnson and Dirk. Avery wanted Dirk to play in the post and guard PF and Big men. Dirk basically refused to do it and would go and run to Cuban and complain.

    If you guys remember the 2005 playoffs when the Suns beat the Mavs. Well during that series when Damp would get in foul trouble when guarding Amare……….coach Johnson would put SG Michaal Finley on Amare. The reason……Dirk wanted no part in guarding Amare…..even though he was the only 7 footer on the team other then Damp. Yet in the press conference Dirk would call out Damp for not being able to guard Amare.

    Also take a look at how coach Mitchell was thrown out Toronto because he would bench Bargani because he refused to play defense and post up in the paint. Now look at Bargani’s game today this man in a starting 7 foot center that avgs. 4 rebounds a game…….sad!!

    So here are 2 instances where coaches (Johnson & Mitchell) wanted their players to learn how to play in the paint and play defense. But the players were coddled by owners and GMs (Cuban & Bryan Colangelo).

  34. Origin says:

    Another thing kats like Lebron, Dirk and many of these new generation of players……….just don’t hate to lose like guys we saw in the 80s. They don’t have mean streaks and want to punish their opponents. Nor do they want to do everything in their power to win.

    I don’t think it has to do with having a father in the house. I would argue that zeke would have won 5 titles if he had the height of MJ, Magic or Bird. That man was a stone cold blooded….killer. He didn’t care who he hurt, his goal was to win at any cost. A man that was 6-1 and maybe 180 pounds soaking wet who would run through a brick wall to win. Now maybe zeke was like this because he grew up the youngest of nine kids. But I have seen families where the youngest is often spoiled rotten. Maybe he was like this because he grew up in an impoverished neighborhood.

    Whatever it was zeke……….like Magic, Jordan, Bird hated to lose. We all have heard countless stories of how MJ hated to lose so much he would cheat at playing cards. Or how Magic hated to lose so much that if you beat him at something he would play you until he won.

    Even a person like Shaq who many people claim is fat and lazy even had a mean streak when he was younger. We all know that Shaq took his anger out on David Robinson every time he played him because he felt that David slighted him when he was young. Or how he tried to basically break the face of Mutombo or Sabonis when he played them.

    @Burundi – This lack of post game has a lot to do with the influence of the European game. These big men and wing players just refuse to post up. And its really sad that players who want to play in the post like Bynum, Oden and Yao bodies are breaking down. Like I said before its a damn shame that Bargani refuses to play in the post and the dude is 7-1. Who knows the raptors could have a winning record if he played in the paint. I tell you what players like Bargani, Dirk and Bosh just disgust me………that is such a wast of height. If those guys actually tried and develop a post game they could be the next Garnett or Duncan.

    And to think 19 year old rookie demarcus cousins has a better post up game then Bargani, Dirk and Bosh.

    If I was running the NBA………I would create a big man camp and have Hakeem run the camp and make it mandatory that every young big man in the league attends in the offseason.

  35. sankofa says:

    Burundi, Origin, nice points all. I heard Magic on Monique the other day comparing his era (better shooters-smarter) to today’s (better athletes-bigger, faster) however I can’t help but thinking that alot of the failings of these modern players to play tough or smart goes back to the pampering they get when young, coupled with the media masturbation regarding dunking above fundamentals.. Being in Toronto Origin I can testify with your statement.

    I don’t over stand how these owners and that jack off in the commissioners office can say the game is getting out of control yet they are the ones that enabled every pathetic acts from the lack of player development to the bullshit they are allowed to get away with.

    Not every player will have a never say die attitude naturally etched into their DNA, but I sincerely believe that with the right development and teaching a player can learn to develop something close to that.

  36. Burundi says:

    @Origin

    But Zeke had a few older brothers who, in the absence of a father, were de facto parental figures or role models (with some, admittingly being how-not-to-be. I’d argue to you that his take-no-prisoners approach is learned behavior tempered and forged by his proximity to men, good or bad. He gives his Mom great credit, but his game suggested no such coddling at all. When he fought 7 foot Bill Cartwright, no way spoiled cats would step up to that challenge (could you see Zeke laying down on the scorers table to get out of an altercation with Ben Wallace or sucker punching a player and then backpedaling all the way past half court?). His basketball will preceded and, in fact, laid the foundation for the Bad Boys persona. Zeke, like LeBron was unstoppable his first few years, but he learned that less was more. He made folk around him better and he did what was necessary for the team to win by sometimes switching to the 2 while Joe D ran the 1. Heck, he even got Adrian Dantley traded because Mark Aguirre, well-known for being a Laker-Killer for the Mavs, was on the trading block. It wasn’t popular with some fans, but I celebrated the day I heard it because Aguirre allowed the Pistons to compete with the Lakers in transition, which was the very essence of “Showtime.” Deee-troit Basketball was born! Zeke’s unquestioned leadership was about hard choices that we don’t see today, that’s for certain.

    The thing about your point on T-Mac is that truly great players will not leave it up to the coaches to decide who’s gonna check a guy that’s killing your team and no coach will ever refuse a players willingness to step up to a Goliath-esque challenge. Heck, think about when you’re playing in a pick-up game with a loooong wait on the side if you lose. Somebody usually steps up and demands to guard the guy that’s blistering his squad ‘lest they’re ready to call it a night and head home.

    While I’m no fan of his, I must say that Kobe simply wouldn’t stand for Boozer working his squad like that.

    Temple and I were dialoging on that as that series was going on and it was clear that him checking Boozer was very necessary because, on the offensive end, the refs were allowing Boozer to push Yao WAY off the block. Yao, not being from this country still has no idea how to fight down there to keep that from happening. No way Houston was supposed to lose that series…

    Your assessment of Dirk in Dallas and Mitchell’s situation in Toronto were eye-opening and, I agree with the influence of the influx of European players and their propensity to eschew playing in the post, but I still argue that not being taught the game by someone, some male in close proximity that sufficiently demonstrates how a man must go on and assert himself and do beyond his best by doing what is absolutely necessary.

  37. Burundi says:

    …better speaks to the decline of post play amongst the brothas in the L.

  38. Burundi says:

    @Sankofa

    But Barkley (and many others) dunked a whole lot in the post, ‘tho Barkley did a lot in transition (going coast-to-coast), as well. I certainly agree that “pampering some when they’re young” is definitely true about a certain native Detroiter, who, though he often played with his back to the basket, avoided posting up on the block and wanted no part in checking PFs and Cs who would often be working his squad—and his pops was in the house, too.

    I agree that the instinct can be taught, but it seems like it’ll be considerably tougher without some young man having been taught by some older cat what the measure of a man is supposed to be.

    The real problem is that more Chicagoans aren’t making the because it’s so windy there that most have killer moves to the hole and most can post up because long shots on windy days have no chance, lol…

  39. sankofa says:

    Burundi, I’m not dissing dunking, I’m dissing the media emphasis of dunking over fundamental/intelligent basketball, as evidence by the nightly highlight reels in ESPN. Yes you are right about the value of a positive male role model in a young man’s life. This is where many of us, including the so called single mother fail the youth. A positive male influence doesn’t have to be the youth’s biological father (that’s a mantra of mine for a long time).

    The father figure could also be the coaches in his life…if they really care and if they families-single parent or not- would allow some one with the youth interest as a priority to actually be that. However this would mean they should stop having a god damn poverty mentally approach by living vicariously through the youth instead of preparing him for a life of maturity.

    Even though only a man can teach a boy to be a man… a woman can teach him how to be mature, respectful and make smart choices, even as an athlete. But that’s another story. While the individual need to be pulled up on their failings (one cannot call on ignorance these days) the conditioning that forms their personality and worldview as to make us take a look at the coaching/agent influences that abuse these cats. And neglect is the abuse that people don’t talk about much.

  40. Temple3 says:

    Sankofa:

    What is “something close to a never-say-die attitude”?

    I can’t call it, but I think you either have it or you don’t. I’m not sure there are any half measures between people who have it and those who don’t. There is a line or a wall between them.

    A never-say-die attitude hobbles around on a bad ankle and scores 29 points against the Lakers. It doesn’t fumble for excuses about guarding Carlos Boozer.

    The other day, my wife asked me if Roethlisberger would come out of the game with a broken nose. I laughed. Ain’t no way in hell a Steelers QB is leaving a game with the Ravens with a broken nose. That’s the same mentality that allows a guy to complete a Super Bowl winning pass against Triple Coverage.

    When you see that guy, you know who he is. McGrady isn’t that guy and its part of the reason he’s never won a playoff series. His cuzzin is the same way. He’s affectionately known around here as Wince Carter…but that’s a discussion for another day.

    — If you can think of guys who fit your mold, let me know. I can’t think of them. I’m not suggesting you’re wrong. I’m suggesting I need more information. Holla back.

  41. sankofa says:

    Temple…peace!

    My never-say-die attitude meets Burundi’s “his take-no-prisoners approach” about isaiah Thomas.

    I may not be able automatically identify someone off the top of my head in basketball being that I am trapped behind the wall in ice-box-land, however, the lack of such attitude is a testament to the dearth of man training than it is to the lack of heart in the league. Having heart is there or not there, cultivating that spirit is what is lacking in the different levels of coaching/league play.

    I often fall back on my military background as a source. There is nothing basic about basic training, yet basic training is where men and women are being molded from lumps of coach potatoes. Basic training is about breaking down the individual before reforming them into a cohesive unit. They become a well oiled killing machine in a chain of killing machines. Of course the military training and experience comes with its related problems that we won’t talk about here.

    I see no reason that that mentally cannot be installed in a B Baller, sans the over the top shit that basic training provides. Cul-ti-vate implies developing a culture of never-say-die on the micro and macro level of team sports that these cats would benefit from later on. I remember when Isaiah was GMing the Raptors and some cat was complaining about a sore thigh, Isaiah grabbed the sucker’s leg and squeezed till he screamed, then he told the cat that “in my day we used to play through this”. I guess what I am trying to say in a convoluted way is that this never-say-die attitude can be cultivated under the right circumstances and with the right teachers, as long as mixed messages aren’t being sent to the player.

    *** A footnote: Maybe the closet thing I can recall to a list would be that of Jason Kidd, who as a youth was bullied and bashed by an older youth Gary Payton into developing a similar attitude. Times that by a coach who can bring that out of his charges, Joe Clarke style.

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