Posts Tagged ‘Michael Jordan’

Monday Medley

What we read while not taking pictures with Donald Sterling’s girlfriend…

 

Monday Medley

What we read while adding “infallibility” to our résumés…

I Still Hate LeBron

Nothing can make me like LeBron James. I don’t care if he is a champion now. I don’t care if he is the NBA Finals MVP. I don’t care if he put up one of the greatest playoff performances ever this year. I don’t care if he helped Shane Battier get a ring. I don’t care if he overcame the worst cramps in human history to do it. I don’t care if he’s humbler, happier, and more mature than he was two years ago. I don’t care if spends his off-season saving small children from burning buildings. Nothing can make me like him.

And yet the tide is turning in his favor. Throughout the year, fans and sportswriters seemed to be letting up on LeBron, as if the statute of limitations on detesting him had run out. Seth Davis, of Sports Illustrated, seemed to make this argument almost explicitly. And now that James finally has his ring, I suspect the intense fandom that lined up behind whichever team happened to be playing the Heat will die down a bit; it’s not as fun to root against something that’s already happened. Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while telling WikiLeaks they couldn’t use our server….

  • John Paul Stevens was interviewed on 60 Minutes.  Even more interesting is the full transcript of his April interview with Jeffrey Rosen.

The LeBron Commercial

Yesterday, when LeBron James tweeted his new Nike commercial, called “Rise,” it got more positive feedback than anything James has done since winning second MVP. People on Twitter loved it (if you didn’t know this, LeBron himself took the liberty of retweeting practically every good thing said about the ad), Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon both called it “brilliant” on Pardon the Interruption, and the Internet went crazy praising it as the first positive step in the rehabilitation of LeBron’s image.

“Rise” certainly is another example of Nike grasping the nuance behind a sponsor’s public image (something I was in the minority in seeing in April’s Tiger Woods ad). In 90 seconds, the ad manages to touch on LeBron’s Decision, the fallout, the betrayal felt in Cleveland, the criticisms he took from Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley, his new role as the NBA’s Bad Guy, the attacks on LeBron’s “handlers” this season, his infamous “mental notes,” and the drop in his celebrity value, among other things.* It’s impressively comprehensive for one ad. Continue reading

Shut Up Michael Jordan (And Magic Johnson, And Probably Larry Bird Eventually)

Shut up, Michael Jordan. Nobody should be listening to you. You were an excellent basketball player—probably the best ever—but you are an arrogant, selfish idiot. We all know that by now.

So nobody should care that you said you would never have called Larry Bird and Magic Johnson and asked them to join you on the same team: “There’s no way, with hindsight, I would’ve ever called up Larry, called up Magic and said, ‘Hey, look, let’s get together and play on one team.’” Oh, really? “With hindsight,” you wouldn’t make drastic changes to what pretty much everyone agrees was the greatest professional basketball career of all time? Shocking.

What about without hindsight? What about when you were 25, like LeBron James is now, and you, like LeBron James, had never won an NBA title? Continue reading

The LeBron Decision

LeBron James hanging up his Cavs jersey

It isn’t often that a player is accused of being selfish for taking less money in order to win championships. It isn’t often that a player is accused of being self-aggrandizing for holding a special that donates all proceeds to charity. It isn’t often that a player is accused of letting an entire city down after pretty much single-handedly leading his team to consecutive 60-win seasons.

But then again, LeBron James isn’t a normal basketball player, so comparing him to what “often” happens probably doesn’t make much sense.

There was something undeniably disappointing about the way LeBron’s decision played out yesterday. Maybe it was because of the slow, gradual, yet inevitable way it all played out: It went from possibly Miami, to probably Miami, to almost certainly Miami. By the time LeBron actually sat down for his interminable interview with Jim Gray, the outcome was all but certain, even if everyone was hoping that LeBron would justify our collective denial.

But it’s hard to see it being as disappointing if the gradually leaking information had all indicated that LeBron would return to Cleveland, or even that he would go to New York. No, there was something uniquely disappointing about LeBron signing with Miami, just one day after Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh announced their plans to play in South Beach.

So why, exactly, was this so disappointing? Was LeBron’s behavior really “selfish”? Did he really “betray” the city of Cleveland? Continue reading

In Defense of LeBron and “The Decision”

What ever happened to LeBron James?

Remember old LeBron? You know, Cute, Innocent LeBron? The LeBron who covered up his tattoos when he played on national television for his high school team while appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated? The LeBron who was ruled ineligible because he accepted all those gifts and then allowed to play because the game was supposed to be on TV?

Yeah, where’d that selfless LeBron go?

I am personally offended by this new, egocentric LeBron James. Betrayed, even. I was all set to spend my Thursday night enriching myself with a thorough rereading of The Brothers Karamazov between commercials of a CSI: rerun. Continue reading

The Sports Revolution: And TWO!

Let me set the scene for you: You are playing the game of basketball, and you drive to the basket, and you are fouled on a layup attempt that you miss. You receive two free throws. The next play, the same thing occurs, except that you make the layup. You receive one free throw.

Let me reset the scene for you: Playing the game of basketball, yadda yadda, miss layup + foul = two free throws, made layup + foul = two free throws.

Wait, what?

Yes, mon ami, Pierre returns and with a vengeance. The NBA shall draw my unique ire over the course of the next several weeks, as I once again spew vitriol at the odd presumptions of American sports rules, taking aim at its most athletic and aesthetic of sports, but one that is passing away before our very eyes.

Continue reading

Tiger Staring Blankly

As you almost certainly know by now, this is Tiger Woods’ latest Nike commercial—his first new ad since his marital shit hit the proverbial fan back in November, and Woods subsequently went from respected golfing machine to tired punchline.

A lot has been said about this ad. That it is a shameless instance of a company capitalizing on a troubled marriage to sell a product. That it is crass manipulation of a dead man’s voice. That it is an illustration of Tiger Woods’ narcissism. That it is a rare example of a company promoting its sponsor, as opposed to a sponsor promoting the company. That it is just downright creepy and weird. All of these may or may not be true.

What hasn’t really been said about the ad, though, is that it is a really startling and brilliant piece of marketing. Continue reading