Let’s start with a big story – because that’s what I do. Lakers looked unbelievable – now let’s not go crazy, but it was a pretty special day. Andrew Bynum may be the only guy in the NBA that can dominate a game and never score as he held Tim Duncan to 2 points. The other story of course, the Miami Heat lose yet another close game – this is building for great drama, say what you want.
The NBA playoffs are going to be as good as the Jordan era. You’ve got so many unbelievable stories – the defending champs, the Celtics trade away Perkins “why did they do that?” pfft, Oklahoma City is now better. What about Dallas? The Bulls are charging, the Heat can’t win a close game. So after the game, Erik Spoelstra comes out – I’m not even sure if he was being honest, I think it’s one of those like, dialogue enhancers you throw in after a weekend in Vegas with the boys or on a first date with a girl, where you kinda throw in a line at the end.
So Erik Spoelstra comes out and says the “This is painful for every single one of us going through this, there are a couple of guys crying in the locker room right now… it is not a matter of want, it is a matter of doing” I’m honestly not even sure that it happened…BUT HE SAID IT! The daunting part of Spoelstra is that usually coaches get blamed – not players, when you lose close games…coaches get blamed.
Now I’m not saying its Spoelstra fault, and he’s lucky that he has the NBA’s #1 villain. If Kobe was missing those last second shots, Spoelstra would take all the heat. But Lebron’s missing those shots and 90 – 95% of the country hates Lebron, so they’re blaming him. Dan Levitar was on the Mike & Mike Show on ESPN this morning; I thought the bigger story wasn’t that he said that they were crying. But that the bigger story for me is….why would you tell anybody?
“Yeah he’s going to do that, like I mean, I don’t understand the purpose of him doing that. I’m sure he has one, I’m sure there is a reason that he did that, but he’s aware of what’s surrounding his team and he’s aware of the questions of mental toughness and I don’t know why he would do that, I’m not sure what the point of that is either. He’s not going to endear this team to America, there is no way of that happening and you know what’s going to happen in the masculine testosterone, people in the world of sports are just going to question you, whether your soft or not”
That was Dan Levitar on the Mike & Mike Show on ESPN this morning…that is the bigger story! Forget if they cried or not, guys cry all the time, you don’t know about it and I don’t know about it…who cares! The bigger story is…why would a coach, a young NBA coach, peel off that layer and give it to the media? That was a bigger shock to me…that’s the bigger story. Does Pat Riley wake up this morning and say “what are you doing? You’re just adding gas to the fire…what are you doing!” Do the players now lose trust in Erik Spoelstra….that is a huge issue to me.
The second thing is that, what’s interesting in sports and why sport’s is so different than the rest of society. The Lakers went through a similar struggle this season, but do you remember how Phil Jackson put his foot down and erased all the questions? He asked “is it playoffs yet? No, okay then. It’s not the playoffs yet and we’re still playing regular season games, so we’ll get there in time” So Miami struggles…. and the earth is collapsing! The Lakers are struggling, lost 5 of 7 and 3 of 4 and Phil Jackson mocks it. Here is what Kobe said about it “Don’t know and don’t care, I think people are crazy and they can just all go and kiss my $%# because I don’t give a @#$%! I really don’t, I’m going to keep on moving forward and then come June time,we’ll see what happens, so don’t say nothing! But now it’s time for you people to talk” Isn’t it amazing what a ring does in sports? There is almost nothing like it. I don’t think society has anything like it.
But if you have rings like the Lakers, Phil Jackson can mock you for questioning them. Kobe Bryant can swear at you, roll his eyes at you. But if you don’t have that ring, the world is on fire! And I was thinking about it this morning. In Hollywood, it’s the Oscar’s, in sports it’s the ring, even in politics…you can win the Nobel Peace Prize like Al Gore or Obama…the other side then scoffs at you “well its subjective, its ridiculous” But in sports if you have the ring, you have the thing! You get hand; you get ultimate hand…”ohh be quite…we’ve got a ring!”
The only thing in society that I can compare it to is a Purple Heart. “Larry is a mess! Well, he did save 17 people from that huge fire…” The Purple Heart in society basically is ultimate hand. A guy can be a wreck and you can say “well he was in the jungle…28 people, saved them all” Purple Heart….okay, you win! He’s cranky, he’s unemployable, he’s this….but he’s got a Purple Heart.
It’s amazing what a ring does in sports. The Lakers and the Heat are going through similar issues…similar issues!! The Lakers roll their eyes at you and in Miami…the world is collapsing!