9 years ago an 18 year old high school basketball phenom decided to bypass college and go straight to the pros. He was immediately castrated for doing so because so-called “basketball aficionado’s” wanted him to go to college and “learn how to play the game”. Lebron promptly won the Rookie of the Year award over Dewayne Wade who played 3 years at Marquette, and Carmelo Anthony that played 1 year at Syracuse. He did something only 2 other players in the history of the NBA had done, average over 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists per game. The other 2 players that accomplished this were Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson, two of the best players the game has ever WITNESSed, pun intended. Looks like things worked out!
During his rookie season he was crowned King James by the marketing heads at Nike and as any 19 year old would have done, if put in the same situation, he accepted the title and ran with it. But regardless of what he did, anyone that knows endorsement deals know that they have a lot of control over your on and off the court image, so he had little to no input into the decision. Besides, if you were offered $90 million to endorse a shoe, and be crowned as a king, you would have made the same decision as he did with no hesitation.
Two years later, in 2005, he made another decision that had sports pundits, business execs and anybody with an opinion up in arms. The Internets was on fire. How could this young [black] athlete be so brazen? Lebron fired his agent and hired his long time friends to run his fastly growing empire. Everyone had something negative to say about this move. He was making the biggest mistake of his life, his career as a major endorser was dead in the water. How could he let these young [black] kids RUiN his career like this? But Lebron had faith in the abilities of his friends and they never skipped a beat, gaining more and more endorsements and helping their lifelong friend build an even greater empire. Once again things worked out the way he planned them!
The following year, in 2006 he led his team to the playoffs but they got knocked out in the Eastern Conference semifinals by Detroit. The next year, in 2007, he led his team to the Finals for the first time in franchise history but was defeated in 4 games by the San Antonio Spurs. The following year they were knocked out in the semifinals and the year after they got Shaq to help him out. They made it back to the conference finals but were defeated by Orlando.
In 2010, Lebron’s last year under contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, they went back to the playoffs and were defeated by Boston in the conference semifinals once again. This would be his last year wearing a Cavalier uniform; The Decider had decided to use free agency to take his talents to a new team.
Since the start of the NBA Finals 2012, I’ve been hearing how bad the officiating has been. Overwhelmingly this criticism has been directed at The Miami Heat, with claims of the officials being on the side of Miami over OKC. Granted the people yelling are almost always on the losing end of any given game, so the only thing they can say is the officials blew the game.
So me being me, I decided to look at the numbers to see what they say. Are the officials really that bad or are angry fans placing their frustrations about losing square in the lap of NBA referees? So here are the numbers.
In the 4 games played as of 6-19-2012 the Miami Heat has attempted 10 more free throws than the OKC Thunder; 103 – 93. Proof positive that OKC is being shafted; the NBA wants Lebron to win a championship, right! Well if you answered yeah that’s right, then you’re wrong, and here’s why.
Game 1: OKC 20 – 27, Heat 14 – 18
Game 2: OKC 19 – 26, Heat 22 – 25
Game 3: OKC 15 – 24, Heat 31 – 35
Game 4: OKC 15 – 16, Heat 18 – 25
After 3 games Miami was leading by only 1 free throw attempt; OKC was 54 – 77 and Miami was 67 – 78. 1 more attempt but 13 more made over a 3 game span. Then in Game 4 when the complaining reached epidemic proportions the Heat went 18 – 25 vs. OKC’s 15 – 16. Those dirty referee’s were trying to help Miami win, David Stern should fire all of them and then be fired.
Well here’s a little something that you need to take into account before you go all nutty and claim the NBA is rigged. Although I think that the NBA is, and always has been skewed towards their superstar players and big market teams, the officiating still isn’t as bad as fans claim it is.
Why you might ask?
10 more free throw attempts in a 4 game series amounts to 2.5 more attempts per game which boils down to 1.25 more fouls called for Miami over the 4 game period, right. Even if we just focus on the Game 4, you still have to factor in the fact that Miami was leading at the end of the game and OKC had to foul a few times to stop the clock.
So even though Miami got 4 more fouls called for them in Game 4 than OKC, which resulted in 9 free throw attempts, 6 of those attempts (3 fouls) were in the last few minutes of the game when OKC was fouling intentionally to stop the clock and get the ball back at half court.
Now let’s look back a couple of games and then you realize that each game was close till the end, all nail biters. Anybody that knows basketball knows that in the last couple minutes of a game when it’s close, teams will intentionally foul their opponents to stop the clock and get the ball back. This has been NBA strategy since I’ve been watching basketball. The same thing occurred at the end of the last 3 games, in which Miami won. So in reality, Miami really isn’t up in attempts or actual fouls being called in their favor, because NBA strategy dictates that you foul players in close games when the clock is winding down.
But that’s not what all the animosity is about is it; it’s about a bunch of Lebron hating NBA fans being pissed that their team by default, whatever team that plays The Miami Heat, is losing in the NBA Finals, and that’s about it!
Armchair I used to play basketball regular job working traveling league coaches, sports pundits and everybody else I forgot to mention that think they are basketball guru’s are going to have something to say about this, but as the title says HI HATER’s!
Tonight the Miami Heat are tipping off against the Oklahoma City Thunder in what is sure to be one of the most talked about finals in recent memory. Why? Because Lebron James one of the best players the game has WITNESSed, pun intended, will be appearing in his 3rd championship series but has yet to win one. I believe this will be the one.
Lebron James has been cast as a villain every since he came into the league because he accepted a title that the league and his sponsors bestowed upon him. And that title was King James. The marketing material that followed pictured him in a crown and sitting on a throne just as a king would, and it was accompanied by a simple word. WITNESS!
Behold the best basketball player has arrived at 19 years old straight out of high school. Since then he’s been loved by many and hated by many, even though he had nothing to do with his branding, he accepted it just like any other 19 year old who thought they were the best player in the world would have done. I guess that was a mistake?
Then he realized that he would never win a championship with the team that he was on and exercised his right as a free agent to put together and become part of a team that had a far greater chance to win a title than his former team, which gained him the HATE of an entire city and the league brass. Every since that move he has been cast as a bigger villain and the aforementioned armchair, travel league and I used to play basketball, but now work a regular job super coaches and pundits can’t get enough of calling him everything but what he is, one of the best players that has ever played the game.
Here are a few myths that continue to be propped up by the league and the sports media: Continue reading