Maybe it's time to just appreciate greatness
In a shocking development, decided to stretch out the sleep to four hours from three last night, hope you don’t mind this being a little bit late.
Tough noogies if you do.
There is no doubt LeBron James is a polarizing figure, a lot of the great athletes of our era are, and he has surely given enough fodder for people on both sides of the fence.
Yes, The Decision was an ill-conceived moment of narcissism and the inaugural celebration of the Big Three was premature and over the top and garbage but that’s all it was, really, but the stench has stuck to him for almost two years now.
And yes, we look at that body and see those skills and feel somehow cheated that he isn’t like he was last night more often but that is simply asking too much.
I have been highly critical of James for years, I’m more appreciative of grace than raw power in this game and I would think there are several of you out there who feel the same.
But, really, if this isn’t a redemptive NBA Finals, it should be; what James is doing is simply stunning on so many levels that we really should marvel at it.
No, it will not change everyone’s opinion of him by any stretch, many people who dislike him for whatever reason still will but that, frankly, is their loss.
All he’s done is whatever it takes. He has attacked the basket, he has defended, he has made passes and grabbed rebounds and he has been astonishing to watch.
It has provided a glimpse into an athlete at the absolute peak of his abilities and if you can’t put aside whatever lingering jealousy or whatever it is for a little while, that’s on you.
The three-point shot that snapped a late tie last night – with a body betraying him and a season in the balance – was, as Erik Spoelstra said, a simple matter of will and determination winning the moment.
It was one of those “wow” moments without being athletic, it was a great shot under trying circumstances with so much on the line; it was a career-moment and I’m glad I was there to experience it.
Now, those who know me know that I cannot comprehend at any level the pain he must have been feeling; he said “it’s basically like your body just shuts down, your legs shut down on you, there’s nothing really you can do about it” and who among us knows that feeling like he does?
But it gives you an appreciation of mental toughness, and should give you an appreciation for athletic ability and, you know what, that should probably make up for whatever past feelings still linger.
Man, how did I miss this?
Super Son and I once spent a fine weekend afternoon in a theatre chortling through the Three Stooges movie – it was pretty good and Larry David as Nun has to be seen to be believed – and now it’s time to pay homage to one of the originals.
It was Moe’s birthday yesterday.
Mighty Red Tigers got drilled Tuesday night.
Just in case you were wondering.
Things are a tad jumbled around here, I’m going somewhere Friday but I’m not sure where or when but I know there’ll be time for mail.
Some brain cramp, Russ.
Yeah, the foul with 13.8 seconds left by Westbrook with his team down three and only 4.2 seconds left on the shot clock was a brain cramp but why?
Well, it all has to do with a tiny tweak by an old-time competition committee that we’re even talking about it and the next time they go through the esoteric rule changes they make, you might want to take notice.
There was 8-10ths of a second left on the shot clock when Harden tied up Haslem for a jump ball. Not too many years ago – and we couldn’t pin down precisely when the changed was made but we think it was five or six years ago – the shot clock would have been reset to 14 if the Heat had gained possession off the tip (it would have gone to 24 if the Thunder get the ball) and the Westbrook foul would have been far more necessary.
The change was actually made, according to league officials, to reward the defensive team for a good possession while still giving the offensive team a fair amount of time to get off a shot.
Still, everyone in the arena knew how much time was on the shot clock, Westbrook was reminded by the OKC bench; it was a mental lapse and the next time you roll your eyes when you hear a coach yammering on about the importance of knowing time and score, think of last night’s moment.
A quick Canada moment?
The junior men’s team had its run of wins at the worlds qualifier end Tuesday night, beaten by Brazil in the semifinals, denied a chance to play the Americans for gold.
Not all that big a deal, actually. They did what they had to do down there and that was to qualify for next year’s worlds and that was accomplished on the weekend.
It’s never good to lose, never fun but it’s hard to beat any host team in one of these events and full measure to the lads for taking care of business early.
It’s a good young group and this tournament will be an excellent experience they can take with them to the worlds next summer.
Okay, now I have to go find out what kind of flight options exist for Friday for a couple of cities. A lot of me wants to be sitting on my couch on Friday evening getting re-acquainted with the family but, you know what? This series has been so compelling and so fascinating, I wouldn’t mind another few days on the road just so I can see more.