Tag Archives: basketball

Fact: I need an ego check from time-to-time

Let’s be real, it’s not that tough being a guy.

If I want to go to the mall, I don’t stop and put on my makeup. I pick up my gym shorts, throw on some Sperry’s and glide right out my front door. Bad hair days(at least what women experience) are non-existent. I’ve never once thought about pregnancy but believe me, I’m counting my blessings every 17 minutes that I don’t have to go through with it. The only time of the month I’m thinking about is which weekend I’m going to spend $15+ at Popeye’s Chicken.

The long-debated double standard does exist. Amongst other men, a guy who can bed different women on a frequent basis is looked at as the man. Vice-versa, a woman who does the same gets the Scarlet Letter treatment. A man can go single for years and he’s “just looking for the right one.” A woman who can’t keep/attract a man probably has a terminal disease.
The one area where we men seem to have more problems with? Our egos.

2010-10-08-double-standard

If a guy tells you he doesn’t have an ego, he’s a liar. We all do. The biggest test most men face is whenever our manhood is challenged.  I once saw a confrontation in high school where a guy was threatened by a much bigger guy. Knowing he was outmatched, but not wanting to look weak, he attempted some verbal abuse. Paul Bunyan Jr wasn’t having it. He shoved the smaller guy to the ground….where he immediately began screaming in the highest pitch possible. It was like watching Problem Child 2 all over again. The crazy thing is, you see examples everywhere.

Ever met the guy who won’t shut up about his accomplishments in meaningless contests? I know guys who have attended parties and spent an hour arguing their proficiency in playing video games with his hand behind his back. As if that’s tough to do. One of my best friends recently showed me a bruise that looked as if he lost a fight with a hedgehog. How’d he get it? By playing intramural softball on the bruise for three weeks and refusing to treat it. I lost a piece of my pinkie toe trying to show a Michael Jackson dance move to a roommate and refused to sit out an intramural football contest three hours later. If you haven’t gotten the point yet, we can be idiots.

I experienced an ego-check about a month ago when I was challenged to a duel to the death. It was only a basketball game but when you get approached by two 17-year-old kids threatening to destroy you, you’re going to take offense.  I gave my buddy Joe the nod and let him know that I was about to put on my Michael Jordan cape. Here’s the thing though, I don’t have a Michael Jordan cape. In my own mind, I’m all-world on the basketball court and could have been the next Moochie Norris had someone worked on fundamentals when I was a young pup. In reality, I’m a rangy, athletic guy with a mean jump shot who can’t seem to drive the basketball. And while these kids, were no Lebron James & Mo Williams….one of the kids was really good. And a tad to quick for me to care to chase around all day.

After winning the first contest and losing the second, a turning point came in the third game when I realized something: I was counting my stats. Not just making mental notes. Actually counting and playing towards certain stats. The worst level of douchery you could ever hope to achieve as a basketball player.

I had risen the level of such legendary basketball players such as Javale McGee & Andray Blatche.
And of course because I was acting like a loser, Joe and I ended up losing the game and I learned a couple of hard lessons that day.

1.) I learned I’m not a professional basketball player, nor am I getting paid like one.

2.) I can be a selfish asshole sometimes.

As much as guys hate losing, we all need these ego checks. Getting snapped back into reality is how we stay grounded as men. The best move is to accept praise, but never think too deeply about it. Now if we could just figure out women and responsibility….

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Why I’m rooting for the Miami Heat in the 2012 NBA Finals

I don’t have a favorite NBA team. Haven’t for about 10 years now. My aunt(who got me into sports), was a fan of the Orlando Magic, led by point guard Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway & center Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq became my favorite player and through the years I would follow his career up until his final championship in 2006 with the Miami Heat.

The last team I would say I was a fan of? The Los Angeles Lakers in 2002. Since then, I’ve become an NBA observer, more fascinated with the journeys of individual players rather than teams.

This year brings an interesting dynamic to the NBA finals as the two current best players that the league has to offer battle it out for the crown of NBA champion and best player in basketball.

Lebron James vs. Kevin Durant. The Miami Heat vs. The Oklahoma City Thunder.
The quiet, but deadly assassin versus the pompous, self-proclaimed “King” James.

Kevin Durant has been quietly building a reputation as the most dangerous scorer the NBA has to offer. His jump shot and overall basketball game has been referred to as beautiful while some fans consider Lebron’s game to be ugly and clunky, without any sort of finesse. The man who coined the expression “taking my talents to South Beach” is considered the villain in this NBA finals whereas Kevin Durant is looked at as a savior to some. The last hope of preventing Lebron from winning that elusive first championship.

So why am I rooting for Lebron James & the Miami Heat?

The answer is more complex than you may believe. To put it simply, I’m tired of the hate. There is a difference between dislike for a player and hatred. This is one of the most scrutinized athletes of all time. Lebron entered the league during a time when social media was taking off. Myspace. A few years later, Facebook. Followed by Twitter. Every single move that Lebron makes is documented and judged by the fans.

I used to be one of these haters. It took a Game 7 45-point outburst in a losing effort against the Boston Celtics before I realized I was a hater. If you asked me in 2009 why I hated Lebron I’d tell you one or more of these three things:

1. He’s a crybaby.
2. He’s overrated.
3. I just don’t like him.

Now tell me, which of these three reasons carry weight?

None of them.

For the same reasons I stopped hating Kobe Bryant, I stopped hating Lebron James. We’re privileged as NBA fans to watch one of the greatest NBA players of all-time as he continues his career and we as fans are content on criticizing him every step of the way.

So why do we hate Lebron James so much? Ask any fan and I’m sure they’ll say something similar to these reasons:

1. He quit on Cleveland.
2. He’s not clutch.
3. He’s a crybaby.
4. He had to join up with other great players in order to win.
5. He doesn’t live his life how we want him to.

According to , a “quitter” is a person who gives up easily. At one point in his career did he “give up easily?” Couldn’t have been in Cleveland. Lebron carried the city of Cleveland on his back for 7 long years. SEVEN YEARS. And the best help you got him was an over-the-hill Shaquille O’Neal and ANTWAN JAMISON?? Think about this, this man brought the Cavs to the finals with Mo Williams in a starring role. Mo Williams. Just keep repeating that to yourself. Cleveland fans should appreciate what Lebron brought to the city and not laugh as owner Dan Gilbert acts like a 14-year-old in a written letter.

He’s not clutch? Sure, he had a dramatic meltdown versus the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals. Since everyone seems to use this Game 6 as the sole reason Lebron isn’t clutch, have we forgotten about the 2007 Eastern Conference finals?

Did this just never happen?

In a potential closeout game for the Boston Celtics during this year’s Eastern Conference finals, I guess Lebron didn’t completely dominate the game at Boston. I guess this just never happened.

He’s a crybaby? What NBA star do you know that doesn’t whine after every foul call? Is Lebron James really the only NBA player who flops?

Argument #4 is the worst. Let me ask the haters this, have you ever been to Miami? If I had a choice between Cleveland & South Beach, I’d have informed Dan Gilbert before the 2009-10 season ever ended that I’d be leaving. So what if he went and played with one great player and another pretty good player.

Did Michael not play with Scottie?
Kobe and Shaq never happened?
Magic, Kareem & Worthy was a dream?
Hakeem didn’t play with Clyde Drexler???
And don’t even get me started on the starting fives of the 80’s Pistons & Celtics.

If Lebron figured out that the best way to win that ring was to align himself with D Wade & Chris Bosh, then so be it. At the end of your career, all that really matters is if you won or not. I’d rather play 15 years for Miami and win two championships than 15 years for Cleveland and never win anything.

But you know why I think people hate Lebron deep down inside? People don’t like it when an athlete divulges from the norm. Lebron & Chris Bosh took destiny in their own hands and joined forces, doing something fans aren’t used to seeing. People don’t know how to handle themselves when a player makes a move for himself. Lebron’s press conference comments reminding fans that at the end of the day, they still have to wake up to their jobs while he wakes up to his own was one of the realest things an athlete has ever said. You get mad at athletes for being fake, but when they say some real shit, they’re out of line.

Let this man live. Stop getting caught up in the hyperbole that the media creates and form your own opinion. The haters have become so ridiculous that I’m switching sides and rooting for Lebron James to rise above the hate. I’m rooting for Lebron James to win his first championship over the likable Kevin Durant because I realize we may not see another complete player like him for years and it would be a shame for him to not win a ring.

And if you must hate on the guy, hate him for a valid reason. He raises millions for charity while taking less money for a better chance to win. Don’t hate him for controlling his own destiny.

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