Why have an NBA dunk contest anymore?

Ugh, remember that dunk? See, when there are dunks like the one below during the All-Star game, what is the point of having an NBA slam dunk contest anymore?

That, friends, is a sick dunk. A sicker dunk than I saw during the whole dunk contest at least. Its a shame superstar player like LeBron didn’t participate in the slam dunk contest this year and that instead we were left with B list performers using black lights from your local midnite bowling alley and jumping over people. Not really all that interesting to me. The utter lack of defense played in the All-Star game these days allows for dunks like the above all.the.time. I mean the final score of the All-Star game was 152-149. There was NO defense being played as evidenced by this awesome alley-oop dunk by Kevin Durant and Chris Paul:

Just nasty. How about some more LeBron?

Ok, for real, its far more interesting to watch guys cut lose in the flow of a game rather than have 10 attempts at a lame dunk that once you’ve seen botched three times you could give a rats ass about. Maybe changing the structure of the dunk contest is in order, maybe paying out premiums for actual All-Stars to participate in dunking contests is called for but personally i’d rather just let the contest die the death it has deserved since Brent Barry won it lo these many years ago. Dumping the contest even might make for some more entertaining dunks throughout the actual game since it would be the only place to showcase one’s dunking prowess. The All-Star game itself is one step away from a Harlem Globetrotters game as is, just let them go wild.

But hey, congrats Jeremy Evans…you won with these.

Just over one year ago choke artist Lebron James ripped our collective Cleveland hearts out of our big, fat, unemployed chests when he uttered the now imfamous “taking (his) talents to South Beach” staging a public divorce from his hometown team (well, not really, I mean he grew up in Akron, not Cleveland but Akron doesn’t have an NBA team, so suck it) and the only team he had played for professionally (he probably got paid at SVSM, but semantics).

Cleveland went on to finish with the second worst record in the NBA but did manage to lock up two of the top four draft picks in the worst NBA draft in years. Typical.

While ‘The Decision’ was savaged by the media, including ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports is now sticking a small makeshift scarecrow outside of their hole to see if Elmer Fudd has left yet. They are now attempting to recast Lebron and ESPN’s collectively selfish, and transparent tv special as a noble, and selfless act.

Read the rest of this entry

Much like when I speak with my parents, spend time with my kids, or treat women like equals, it’s unusual for me to take in the NBA draft. Not when there are UFC fights to watch; or when the NFL Network is yakking away about the subjective 100 best players of 2011 were; and then criticizing their own list. But tonight, when my beloved Cleveland Cavaliers were going no. 1 overall, I figured I would clothespin my nose for Wilbon and company just to see who we picked up.

Kyrie Irving, welcome to Cleveland. Don’t welch on a dice game like other former Cleveland athletes.

Make me forget Lebron James, ESPN:

Three of the first six players taken were from Europe, capitalizing on the absence of some American college players who might have gone in their spots and made this a stronger draft. It was the first time four international players who didn’t play at a U.S. college were selected in the lottery.

Even Irving has international ties. He was born in Australia while his father, Drederick, played professionally there and said he might be interested in playing for the Australian national team.

I can’t even pronounce most of these names! This is America, people. Why isn’t Rick Perry running against Obamacare? (Downs whiskey, fires .45 into television set, passes out).

These days, it’s good to be Michael Wilbon of ESPN and formerly of the Washington Post. Michael Wilbon gets to talk sports for a living, and he enjoys some of the best access in the business.

Michael Wilbon loves to talk about his famous professional athlete friends, notably Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and Irvin “Magic” Johnson. Oh, you didn’t know Magic still went by Irvin? Well, Wilbon is so close that he refuses to call him Magic. Wilbon won’t criticize washed up QB Donovan McNabb either, no matter how many coaches give up on him, because they are good friends as well. Wilbon will sing the praises of the talented and flawed individuals because they gave him access during their playing days and because any relationship they have with him legitimizes the biases that Wilbon flaunts on a daily basis. Of course, while Wilbon is reticent to criticize his A-list birthday guests, he will still gladly take shots at others, including organizations, that have unpleasant dealings with his friends.

Wilbon also likes to use his blatant favoritism to try to appear fresh and contrarian. Take the latest example. Wilbon recently penned a column on ESPN.Com defending the much-ballyhooed “Decision” by All-world egomaniac LeBron James. Why? Well, because it brought interest back to the NBA.

Kick me in the groining hard, and don’t stop until I either pass out from the pain or utter the safe word, ESPN:

“The Decision” was roundly criticized by virtually everybody, but it was exactly — flaws and all — what the NBA needed. People who didn’t have a strong opinion of James either way suddenly had them. Nobody seemed to straddle the line anymore. You liked him or hated him, liked or hated the Heat, and you could not or did not look away.

Oh, really? Michael Griffin in LA, Derrick Rose in Chicago, Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s improbable run, and ‘Melo’s trade to the Knicks, all played a role. So did the Lakers’ constant sniping.

As for hatred for LeBron, that didn’t just appear out of thin air one morning at your Scottsdale mansion, Wilbon. Out here in D.C. LeBron hate was real for three seasons when the CAVS sent the Wizards home each postseason meeting. Out in Detroit, hatred for the Cavaliers, and especially LeBron was bubbling over when they came back to defeat the Pistons en route to the NBA finals in 2007. The Boston Celtics, and particularly Paul Pierce have hated LeBron since his AAU days. The Orlando Magic hated LeBron too, for his classless gesture after being defeated in 2008.

One more, and then I really do need to go:

And television isn’t the only place where increased interest in the NBA is reflected. NBA.com reports that page views are up 40 percent over last season, video streams are up 130 percent and NBA mobile downloads are up 75 percent. Traffic to NBA content on ESPN.com has increased dramatically as well, with some categories approaching triple-digit increases. If it’s too soon to say the NBA is in the middle of a full-fledged renaissance, at the very least the league has seen a resurgence, probably even an explosion.

And it’s entirely because of LeBron James.

The Heat drew fan attention because it’s a team of two of the best players in the league, and a third player who is in the top 15. LeBron could have faxed his notice and the interest would have still been huge. Also, there was just a lot of entertaining ball this season; the league has a few new stars and has finally moved beyond just marketing Kobe and LeBron.

Whenever I see Wilbon on PTI I think about what a chubby little shit he must have been growing up in Chicago. I think about how he probably didn’t have many friends, and how in gym class he hung from the chin up bar with his gut tumbling out and his arms aching as everybody laughed him trying to do a single pull up out. Too bad my time machine is busted or I would totally go back in time and pay some children to kick his ass.

Do you know those flashback scenes from Terminator when Kyle Reese fades out and you see the sky is pitch black and there is rubble and bodies everywhere? That’s what Cleveland’s downtown looks like in 2011. The city is bleeding population, and jobs, and the most famous athlete since Jim Brown bolted for better weather, and to play with his butt buddies, Dwayne Wade, and Chris “Me Too” Bosh.

In January, evildoer Lebron James tweeted out the now-infamous “karma is a bitch” tweet. Lebron denied he was talking about his former team, who were catching a beating from the Lakers that eventually shook out to 112-57, but Lebron is a goddamn liar so nobody believed him. Sunday, the Bulls handed the Miami Heat a 21-point beating that should have been filed in a police report as an assault. Tuesday night, Dan Gilbert delivered the first good news on the CAVS front in some time. Don’t call karma names, Lebron!

Taste the happy, ESPN:

The Cavs will select first for the first time since 2003, when they drafted James out of high school.

He left for Miami last summer and the Cavs tumbled to the second-worst record in the league, but they will have two top-four picks next month as they try to back owner Dan Gilbert’s boast that they would win a title before James. They already had their own pick and acquired another at the trade deadline from the Clippers in the deal for Baron Davis.

It is also worth noting that Cleveland Browns players Joshua Cribbs, and Joe Haden were there, along with Bernie Kosar. Cribbs and Haden were rooting for the CAVS, Kosar was going to ask for a loan from Dan Gilbert.