Today we got the news that LeBron Jameswants to doff his #23 in order to facilitate the number being retired by the league. Instead, James claims he will soon switch to #6. James says the move isn’t about marketing or merch, it’s about remembrance. About honoring the legacy of Michael Jordan.
One small problem: #6 was worn by a NBA player every bit as influential as Jordan, a player who won nearly twice as many championships as Jordan and who changed the way the game was played. The player? Bill Russell. Oh yeah, and there’s the little matter of Julius Erving’s personal digit too. Like he didn’t have something to say about how the NBA game is played today?
Jordan’s number should not and will not be permanently retired, because if it is, you can get busy mothballing dozens of numbers of players who were just as influential as Jordan. And it goes without saying that Jordan is no Jackie Robinson, something that is apparently lost on the embarrassingly myoptic James.
James’ numbers game is one more fake news story that he’s manufactured for the sadly dogmatic media. Much like his recent, ridiculous claims that he’s tired of the speculation regarding his impending free agency. Jim Rome had an epic take on that yesterday, via ESPN’s Jim Rome is Burning:
But while Rome’s relentless beatdown of James brought me tears of joy, James claim that he cared more about winning than money elicited tears of laughter. Read more…
By all accounts, Stephon Marbury’s time in Boston is a bizarre anticlimax. He rarely plays, he’s afraid to shoot, and he’s managed to completely stay out of the media, good or bad. So why does he say he’s happier than any time he’s been in his career?
A simple quote from Bill Russell seems to have motivated Marbury, by vindicating what he’s been saying all along. That his problems in New York were all the fault of the Knicks, and Marbury is completely innocent.
What, you thought Marbury was going to grow up and shoulder some blame?
Ever since the Portland Trail Blazers made Greg Oden the top pick of the NBA draft back in the summer of 2007, not much has seemed to go right for the oldest-looking 21-year old in the world. He missed his entire rookie season thanks to microfracture surgery on his right knee, which isn’t the best way to start off a career. Still, Blazers fans and Oden looked to this season as a new rookie year, and hoped he’d help turn things around.
Then Greg banged knees with Golden State’s Corey Maggette on February 12th, and even though team doctors knew that he’d chipped his left knee cap, the Blazers reported it as a day-to-day injury. That’s most definitely not the case, and in fact, it’s more likely Oden will miss the rest of the season. As you’d expect, he’s catching a lot of grief for it, and Oden wants you to know that he’s tired of it.
Quiet night in sports as the NBA gears up for the All-Star weekend in Phoenix (first round of stories: “Hey, it gets cold in the desert!”). Therefore, coverage this morning will be 20-25% less sports-y. This is in honor of NFL Commisioner Roger Goodell taking a pay freeze this year and trimming his bonus from last year to drop his 2008 pay by roughly a quarter.
“The commissioner believes it will take a collective sacrifice of everyone to get through this difficult economic environment.” The commish is wise. However, the commish will certainly have a better case for the uncapped year coming up and the next CBA negotiations by showing “fiscal responsibility” now. Also, the layoff of 15% of league staff in NYC might be a little more palatable.
Darren McFadden, Bay Area savior and Al Davis’ last good idea, had his shoulder ’scoped last month, but no one knew his shoulder was injured. Not only that, but he went back to his college doctor to have the procedure done. We’re not suggesting this was a good idea, but Al Davis’ medical plan for the Raiders consists mostly of leeches and bromide. Hey, it’s worked for him…
Our favorite Tweet of the day, from the Phoenix Suns: “All-Star round table topics - Obama, race, education, HIV - were just interrupted by a birthday cake for Bill Russell.” The All-Star weekend is magnificently bizarre.
When we were growing up, we saw this ad in all the comic books:
(We’re hopelessly old. Shut it.)
We weren’t quite sure yet who this Dr. J was and who his fine sidekick with the jumper might be, but we knew we needed a Spalding rubber ball. When we got one, we needed Dr J. to shoot it for us, too, but he didn’t come in the box.* (Note that Rick says, “You don’t need magic.” He didn’t come in the box, either.**)However, Julius Erving may want to staple a copy of that ad to his lapel when he heads out on the town to avoid having a couple approach him at a Finals party in LA, thrilled to finally get their picture taken with Bill Russell. As you can imagine, Erving took it all in good spirits. (No, not really.) Read more…
With this year’s dunk contest regaining much of the fun of the old days, it’s worth pointing out that today is Julius Erving’s birthday. Hard to believe Doc is now 58 years old - as we enjoy this video demonstrating how smooth the man was on the court. Plus, a little mid-day Stevie Wonder is good for the soul.
Nobody in the game today rocks a fro the way Dr. J did back in the day. And even though the man is getting up there in age, he still seems to have it (at least with the fairer sex). Read more…