I recently saw the above image posted on the internet with the caption, “Be quiet Larry Bird’s peepee is sleeping”. So now whenever I feel down I can look at this and get a chuckle imagining Larry Bird dressing his penis in pajamas and a nightcap and laying it on a miniature pillow.
That’s the only basketball related smile I can muster these days. In the 25 years I have been obsessed with the NBA this is perhaps the least I have ever looked forward to a season.
After four years of hard-core partying for Miami Heat fans, we are now in the hangover stage. LeBron James, the man who one Cleveland writer dubbed the whore of Akron has come back “home” to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Every time I open up my closet and see that #6 LeBron James Miami Heat jersey hanging I don’t know how to react. Should I burn it? Ignore it?
Mostly I just cry into it.
The Cleveland Cavaliers should win the NBA championship this year. They have the best player in the world in LeCarpetbagging James who manipulated the roster to get Kevin Love a top rebounder and kidnapped former Heat three point shooters Shawn Marion, Mike Miller, and James Jones. If the Cavaliers manage to convince Ray Allen to join them, then they might as well not play games this season because the Cavs will run away with the championship.
Of course the Heat should have won the last four championships with their rosters, but came away with only two. While James is undoubtedly the most physically gifted specimen to ever step on to the basketball court, I find myself now agreeing with his critics that for some reason he’s a mental midget who cramps up when the games matter most.
Or at the very least I’m hoping what they say is true.
Because the only thing worse then having someone leave you is seeing them leave you and succeed. After this betrayal I will find myself rooting for the Bulls and Spurs against LeJerk. I will find myself nodding my head every time Skip Bayless criticizes the self-appointed chosen one and I will probably call him a flopper every time he gets to the free throw line.
Up is down. Down is up. LeBron is LeBum.
As for my Miami Heat, I will still be rooting for them. I’m very appreciative and feel a kinship for the guys who did stay like Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Mario Chalmers, Birdman, Udonis Haslem and (hopefully) Ray Allen, but my expectations have to be tempered. The games are going to be boring. No more otherwordly passes or dunks that made every Heat game must see viewing the last few years. Hopefully, the Heat will try harder without the crutch that is LeCoward. So while the games won’t have the euphoric highs, hopefully they won’t have the frustrating lows of utter laziness as they’re no longer guaranteed wins simply by stepping on the court.
There are two teams in my lifetime the Heat can emulate as their ceiling for the upcoming season. In 1993, the three time defending champion Chicago Bulls saw the LeBron James of their era, Michael Jordan abruptly retire to play baseball. Somehow the 1994 Bulls managed to win only two less games then they had the prior season and would have made the Eastern Conference finals if not for a bogus call against Scottie Pippen in the second round of the playoffs.
The other team was the 2001 Miami Heat who after adding Brian Grant and Eddie Jones to their roster discovered the previous year’s defensive player of the year, Alonzo Mourning, would have to retire due to kidney disease. Somehow that Heat team won only two less games then the previous season before getting clobbered in the opening round of the playoffs.
The link between those two teams is they had two of the best coaches of all time in Phil Jackson and Pat Riley. After being one of Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra’s biggest critics, I’ve been impressed with his work the last two years. If he can inspire this Heat team to win two less games than last year’s 54 win team he will deserve to me mentioned in the same sentence as Jackson and Riley. But the thing about the NBA that Chicago Bulls fans know is that great coaching can only take you so far. Hard scrabbled defense and supreme effort in rebounding can make you a top team in the regular season, but in the playoffs talent always trumps effort and intelligence. Much as I’d like to believe in miracles, the second round of the playoffs is the best I can hope for in this roster that will more likely be a 40 win team that loses in the first round of the postseason.
On a positive note Jordan returned to the Bulls and Mourning to the Heat. LeCreep only signed a one year contract with the Cavs, so maybe he’ll be back with the Heat after a sabbatical.
If not I still have that Larry Bird picture.