Category Archives: NBA

I’m All In on the Andrew Bynum Comeback

Many eras ago, there was a time where NBA players truly hated one another. A time once the playoffs rolled around, nobody was all talk. It was time to man up or go home. Not “If we lose it’s okay, we’ll just move our vacation together up one week”. One of the guys who spearheaded that era was Lakers center Andrew Bynum, as seen below:

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It should probably be noted this behavior is not condoned, but the NBA is definitely softer than it was back then

A few days ago, we learned that this former Lakers, Cavs, and Pacers center is en route to an NBA comeback.

Despite the fact that his dribbling sort of reminds me of Stanley from The Office (gif below for all you uncultured swine), I’m actually really pumped for Bynum.

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Why? Am I former Lakers fan? No. Did I place an irrational bet years ago saying he would be a Hall of Famer? Fortunately, no. Does he represent something larger than any of you probably understand? Fuck. Yes.

Andrew Bynum’s comeback is not just about a former star center playing basketball again. It’s so much bigger than that. His attempt to get on a professional court again gives hope to players of the past just like him. That’s right, every oversized and overrated center that ever graced the NBA is looking at Andrew Bynum right now like “Holy shit, he’s gonna do it”. Greg Oden, Kwame Brown, Anthony Bennett, Darko Milicic, and Sam Bowie are all sitting on their couches viciously icing their knees and crying their eyes out. But deep, deep under those tears of failure is a glimpse of hope. A belief that just because you’re a big man that fell out of the NBA, and your body was bigger than your brain could handle, that you and so many others could be great once more. If Bynum completes the comeback, it will be a lesson to all of them…don’t give up, even if literally every doctor tells you that you should. Listen to your heart, not your knees.

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Image via Sporting News

Fortunately for him, Bynum is the rich man’s version of all these players, and actually had/will continue to have a solid career. At his peak, he averaged 18.7 PPG and 11.8 RPG. Knee injuries derailed him, but at one point he was part of discussions in a blockbuster trade for Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. He was an impact player without a doubt.

Most people will shake their heads at this, much like we do with all old players who leave the league. But, at 30 years old, this really isn’t that far of a stretch. He could really go out and perform well in front of a couple of teams, and they’ll decide to take him as a project. Off the bench, you’ll get a player similar to Dwight Howard’s level of production, probably a little less. Regardless, a veteran who has been to the end of the world and back is great for a young team with young big men on the team (@SacramentoKings?)

You know what, give me Andrew Bynum in a Kings uniform by mid-October or I’m not watching a single second of the NBA season this year. ALL IN.

#BringBackBynum

LeBron vs MJ: One Point Nobody is Making

The argument that everybody seems to hate, but still can’t stop talking about…Is LeBron James better than Michael Jordan? The truth is, there’s no way to determine who has had a better career until LeBron closes up shop for good. LeBron still has three to four solid years left, and maybe five to six total. A lot can happen in that time. Randy Johnson won four straight Cy Youngs from ages 35-38, Barry Bonds won four MVPs from 36-39, and Kobe Bryant scored 60 points at 37. Sometimes, players get better with age (in Barry’s case it was just a lot of steroids, but I think that hurts my point more than it helps, so we can ignore that).

People argue that just because LeBron takes 12U town recreation teams to the Finals every year that he needs to be crowned the best. Others say that although MJ didn’t make it to the Promised Land every year, he was 6-0 when he did make it, and should be deemed the GOAT. Who knows where Jordan would have been without Pippen? But, LeBron has lost five times in the Finals. Great debate. Both sides have some legs to stand on. Lots of potential and ammo for a light-hearted, casual sports conversation at your local BBQ to get unnecessarily out of hand as both sides get way too passionate and end up fighting each other in the grass while their wives and kids watch. LeBron could be better than MJ, or vice versa, but neither beat a pointless sports argument that diminishes the respect your loved ones have for you. That’s what Memorial Day is all about.

With all that said and done, there’s one one argument that I never hear, and I just can’t figure out why. The argument is the whole Michael Jordan playing baseball thing. Do people just like, not remember that? If you want to compare careers, how can you forget the whole “stopped playing in his prime” aspect? It seems wildly important, for both sides involved.

LeBron left the Cavs to play for the Heat and fans almost imploded from hatred. Imagine if he left the entire NBA to go pursue that football career he’s been teasing us with for ten years? I think Skip Bayless would actually be speechless for the first time in his life. Regardless, you’d have to agree that the decision alone would need to have an impact on his legacy.

Michael Jordan ACTUALLY did that. He QUIT BASKETBALL. Here’s proof:

I don’t want this to sound entirely negative to MJ, because there are pros and cons to the whole situation:

FOR MICHAEL JORDAN

For all things considered, MJ had a decent 1994 season:

.202 BA, 3 HR, 51 RBI, 17 2B, 1 3B, 30 SB, 23% strikeout rate.

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He pretty much came raw into a sport that has been recognized as one of the more difficult to master and put up average to slightly below average numbers. He wasn’t a slouch by any means, and was rather effective on the basepaths with 30 stolen bases.

After trying to follow his passion, which is something I give him credit for, he returned back to the NBA and dominated once more. As a two-year, two-sport athlete in high school, I can safely back MJ up by saying that it’s not easy to perfect your game when you want to focus on so many specific parts in both sports. The fact that he was able to leave and come back without losing a stride is impressive.

Also, Space Jam was an amazing movie and if he never quit basketball, we might have never gotten that gem. LeBron can’t top that.

AGAINST MICHAEL JORDAN

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I know I said he wasn’t a terrible minor leaguer, but let’s not take that too far. He wasn’t good. You saw him in Space Jam. He was a liability at the plate day-in and day-out, and it’s sad he left his famed career to be below-average. It just sort of ruins your perception of him as an athlete. At least with LeBron, we can leave it up to the imagination what he would be like in the NFL (probably unreal).

He also left his team, and then came back with the expectation that everything would be the same. If your girlfriend dumped you for somebody she liked more, then she dated that person for a year, then that other dude basically told them her she sucked, and your ex-girlfriend came crawling back to you immediately after, you’re telling me you’d be pumped? You’d tell her to kick rocks 10/10. MJ is a user, and was spoiled by his era. LeBron has had to deal with a lot more hate than this…

 

Bottom line, the “Michael Jordan quitting basketball” is an argument that needs to be considered in future MJ vs LeBron discussions, and I cannot fathom how people don’t bring it up more.

#Cavsin7

LeBron James Lists Warriors As One of His Potential Teams; Fans of Literally Every Other Team Decide to Start Watching More Baseball

According to Bleacher Report , LeBron James claimed he will listen to offers from the Warriors and Spurs this offseason, as well as the Cavs, Lakers, Heat, and Rockets. His decision to include the Warriors is based off his “respect” for their “winning culture”.

 

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Fans yelling at their phones and TV screens when they hear this
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Fans when it actually happens

Clearly, I don’t think it will ever happen because there’s no shot they would be able to offer him a max deal while keeping Draymond or Klay long-term, but even the thought of LeBron, Curry, and Durant on the same team makes me feel like Owen Wilson.

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All respect for the NBA, LeBron, KD, Curry, Kerr, and anyone else involved with this move, would be lost entirely. However long LeBron chooses to play for in his deal will be followed with the worst years of the NBA in the history of the league. Professional basketball would matter so little, that I might actually consider watching the Ball brothers in Lithuania before I watch the NBA.

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But don’t you think LeBron would have learned his lesson when he went to Heat and got annihilated for joining a “Big Three”? Or when Durant went to Golden State and had to make a fake Twitter account just to boost his self-esteem? Let’s make this clear:

LEBRON, IF YOU GO TO PLAY WITH THE WARRIORS, FANS WILL HATE YOU AND THAT TEAM.

Your journey to “Catching Jordan” will be over because having a team like that around you is basically like using PEDs (maybe not), and any championships you win basically won’t count in the eyes of those that judge you. Nobody can deny you are the most dominant player of this generation, and your stats alone will force people to argue for you as the greatest player of all-time, but doing this will only hurt your legacy. And at this point in your career…that has to be the last thing that means something to you.

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On the bright side, more people will watch baseball, and maybe 2K19 will be a little cheaper.

A List of Things Markelle Fultz’s Shot is Uglier Than

Remember Markelle Fultz? The first overall pick in the draft? Consensus best player in a stacked class? Sure thing, great speed, great vision, great player. Well…this is him now.

Feel old yet?

A few videos have been released of Fultz learning to shoot again, and it is UGLY. With free throws like that, he has potential to be the biggest bust of all-time. He’s still young, and he can still fix it, so I’m not going to be making any assumptions. But, for the time being, I don’t want to let an opportunity for humor slip away. Let’s discuss a few things that Markelle Fultz’s shot is uglier than:

Steve Buscemi

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50 Cent Throwing a Baseball

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Kyle Kuzma’s Outfit Choices

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Jabba the Hutt in his prime

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Kevin Durant Trying to Drink a Beer

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Dennis Rodman (two pictures were required)

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Matt Schaub Pick Six’s

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Ed, Edd, and Eddy in Real Life (Viewer Discretion Advised)

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Moles (both kinds)

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Anyone Who Consciously Hates on Nicolas Cage

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Science…it’s stupid and hard

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Kim Kardashian singing anything, let alone her own song “Jam (Turn It Up)”

Shaq Shooting Free Throws (didn’t know this was ever possible)

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And finally…this

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I’m sure I’m missing something, so comment below if you think there is anything Fultz’s shot is uglier than before he figures out how to be good again.

You’ve Heard of the Steroid Era…But We Are About to Enter the Weed Era

A few weeks ago, Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon revealed to ESPN that he smoked or drank before every single game he played in the NFL…and still led the league in receiving in 2013. However he managed to do that, whether the alcohol/weed cooled his nerves or made him feel like he was on top of the world, it’s an incredible feat.

Today, Stephen Jackson, a former 20 PPG journeyman in the NBA, revealed to Bleacher Report he smoked his entire career.

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A lot of high points during Jackson’s career.

A post shared by Bleacher Report (@bleacherreport) on

First things first, let’s not overreact to how good of a career Stephen Jackson had. He was good, probably never achieved over an 84 rating in 2K. He averaged 15.1 PPG for his career and never eclipsed more than 21 PPG. Good, but relax on the “Hell of a career” statement. Save that for the Hall of Famers, please.

Secondly, I think we are about to enter a whole new era of sports. Obviously, the 90s brought us the Steroid Era in baseball, which drizzled it’s way down into other sports over time. It was iconic, to say the least. It’s cheating, and it was entirely wrong, but Barry Bonds hit 73 HR in one season while batting .328…that is inhumane and absolutely incredible to watch. Bonds was hitting home runs with broken bats, and baseball reached a peak it had never known before.

But now, we are in the WEED ERA. Everybody and their brother is going to start revealing they smoked, drank, or did some other crazy shit before going out onto a field and being professional athletes.

Personally, I cannot wait until this happens. We’re gonna see things like Hines Ward smoked a blunt during halftime of Super Bowl XLIII, or Kershaw crushes Four Loko’s before every start. The Steroid Era took away from the accomplishments of athletes who used them, but the Weed Era is going to make your mouth drop at what some athletes accomplish while baked or drunk, further adding to their legacies.

A plethora of athletes are going to come forward, more likely when weed is entirely legal in more states so they avoid getting in trouble. Jackson could come out because he is retired and cannot exactly get in trouble with the league. Gordon came out because it was no secret and already got banned 7,000 times. Remember Michael Phelps? The guy smoked and got caught, but in case you haven’t heard, he was still an unreal athlete. The more people that get associated with this aspect of athletics, the more acceptable it will be, and the more people will continue to come out and say they followed the Josh Gordon Method. Not necessarily a good thing for sports nor the integrity of its players, but I believe it’s a trend that is about to hit this world hard.

Essentially, weed is going to be the backbone of athletics in like six years. Stay tuned.

The Leadership Role of Kyrie Swervin’

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Boston Celtics
Picture Courtesy: Newsweek

After the Celtics saw Gordon Hayward go down in the opening minutes of the first game of the season, it looked very dismal that the Celtics would compete for the first spot in the Eastern Conference with the Cleveland Cavaliers. “Yes, the Celtics will still make the playoffs this season without Hayward, but they’ll be a middle pack team in the East standings,” said many sports analysts. After the Hayward injury in Cleveland, I don’t think anyone in their right minds would have thought the Boston Celtics would be 24-7, first in the East, three months into the NBA season.

How have the Celtics been so successful losing their new superstar that was supposed to be “their missing piece”? Easy,  Kyrie Irving. Although a lot of the hype this early summer had been all about acquiring the shooter in which the Celtics needed bad, in Hayward, it can not be forgotten that Kyrie Irving can straight-up ball. He might have been number 2 to Lebron James, but who wouldn’t be?

Just a few of Irving’s accolades to look at:

-2011-2012 Rookie of the Year

-4x Allstar (’14 MVP)

-2014 “All NBA”

Could he be successful without LeBron James? Throughout the first three months of the NBA season, the answer to this is YES. Although he has missed a few games this season with a facial injury, he is doing legit everything to put his team in a successful place, and giving the Celtics a chance to win every single night he steps on the floor. Kyrie Irving is shooting the ball great this year to start the season. He is averaging 24.3 points and shooting 49.4 %, which is about 5 percent above his career average.

This might be seen as average statistics for an NBA All-Star, but he is putting up these numbers and winning games with a whole new team and cast of players. Within the starting lineup for the Celtics is Jayson Tatum (age 19) and Jaylen Brown (age 21). Irving is really making space for these two, allowing them to get open shots.

We all know Irving has incredible ball handling skills. He is using these skills to give his players space, by opening up the court by his handles and being double teamed throughout games. A great example of this was this past Wednesday against the Denver Nuggets. In this game, Irving had 7 assists. The special thing about this is 5 of these assists were to Celtics big man Aaron Baynes. What NBA Allstar is looking to pass the ball to Aaron Baynes that many times throughout a game? He is really getting his team involved especially the many young guys on the team.

Irving seems to be a mentor on this Boston Celtics team, being one of the older guys at only 25. He is always high-fiving his teammates, coaching and showing a lot of emotion during games. Head Coach Brad Steven’s has noticed the leader Irving has become on this “New Look” Boston Celtics Team.

Video from ESPN

It sure will be fun to witness a series between the Celtics and Cavaliers, if they match up in the upcoming playoffs this March. It is evident that Kyrie wants to prove that he does not only win championships in LeBron’s shadow.