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Essay: How Carmelo and the Knicks Stopped Making Sense

As the value of “superstars” in this league continues to rise, a separate stock has emerged as equally valuable: the Hercules. The players who are so good, they can win games on their own. Their will-to-win terminates any sort of advantage opponents had over them.

This isn’t referring to players who can have really, really good games on occasion, like Kobe Bryant when his shots actually go in, or Rudy Gay when the Raptors face the Bobcats. It refers to players who every night have the aura of greatness, as if angels should blow horns, heralding their arrival to decimate your pathetic team. LeBron James is the obvious prime example of this, effortlessly putting up 26 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists every night. While many choose to focus on Kevin Durant’s scoring, he has an exceptionally well-rounded game as well, notching 28 points a night, eight rebounds, and four-and-a-half assists.

Credit can be given to the maturity of these two guys, as well as their ability to lead their teams and command respect. Throw in their unique physical figures (LeBron’s super ripped, tight end body, Kevin’s bizarre lanky-yet-muscular stature) and they’re two unbeatable players. They are Gods amongst men. Read more…

Categories: Essays

Essay: Josh Smith Is Predictable Money

February 28, 2013 Leave a comment

We pretend like basketball is something we can predict. That we know how games are going to go, how players are going to perform, and who will be victorious in the end. This isn’t like football, where the season is so short and the game so physical that having a “bad day” could mean a ticket to the playoffs or not. It’s also not like baseball, where there’s so many games, a team could have dozens of hot or cold streaks in just a couple of months. Basketball can’t even be compared to hockey, because it’s so low-scoring, it could very well come down to a guy being in the right place at the right time, no matter how good or bad the team is. With basketball, the ball don’t lie. You can watch every play, see every movement from every player, and know how things are going to go. You know how the teams are going to match up. That’s not to say an inferior team can’t win, it happens all the time. Except you know that when it counts, they won’t win. The other team  is better, because they play better, and usually, because they want it more. Read more…

Categories: Essays

Essay: How The Bulls Are Blooming Without Rose

February 5, 2013 3 comments

Even as a Bulls fan, I often forget that Derrick Rose was ever named MVP. It just feels like we’ve been living in this era where LeBron dominates everything, and anything he doesn’t, Kevin Durant does. R0se won the award based on his numbers and his talent, as all MVPs do, but it took a lot to get those numbers and to reach that talent. He was only 22, and in his first season with coach Tom Thibodeau.

A lot of the improvement from Thibs’ coaching would come the next season, in his defense and outside game. That MVP season and that run in the playoffs was based on will. Desire. Passion. That’s also what’s keeping this Rose-less team not just afloat, but succeeding beyond wildest expectations. Chicago is in third place in the Eastern Conference, and with Rose returning to contact practices, it seems a matter of time before they retake first place. So how does the fight in these Bulls translate to actual wins? Read more…

Categories: Essays

Essay: Kemba Walker And The Curse Of Being A “Winner”

November 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Being labeled a “winner” may be as damning of a label as you can get from someone. Maybe even worse than “loser.” At least being a loser gives you an opportunity to rise up and become a winner. But being a capital-W Winner means there’s nowhere else to go, and everybody wants to be where you are. It’s no surprise then that so many with that label seem to drop off so fast. When you’re drafted to an NBA team with that label, you’re expected to bring the “winning attitude” with you, and make everybody else winners.

It’s illogical, and it’s resulted in a lot of players being mentioned for their college achievements and not their pro career. Let’s be real, it’s about how you play with the big boys. Is it any wonder that so many young men only go for one year of college? It isn’t just about the money. It’s about getting money while you still can; while expectations are low, and people will give you more time (and more contracts).

Of course, many of the best players in this league came straight out of high school, and none of them wake up in a cold sweat wondering what would life be like if they won a national title in college. You want to be Bobby Hurley, Christian Laettner, or Corey Brewer? No. You’d surely prefer the life of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, or Dwight Howard. Read more…

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Essay: Royce White, And What It Means To Be A Pioneer

November 19, 2012 1 comment

For those of you out of the loop, Rockets rookie forward Royce White went on a twitter tear last week, after news broke that he was being sent to the D-League.

  • I’m most defiantly not AWOL… There are many things here ppl don’t know, #Honesty is what I’m sticking with. @HoustonRockets “Luke 12:3″
  • Problem goes back WAY before D-League assignment. This about #Consideration and #Health it isn’t about Rebounds & Money.
  • My “anxiety” hasn’t caused inconsistency in my participation with the team from training camp until 72hrs ago, ✈ to DET, ✈s Isn’t the issue.
  • I’m most definitely* not AWOL… There are many things here ppl don’t know, #Honesty is what I’m sticking with. @HoustonRockets “Luke 12:3″
  • It’s sad to think ppl ACTUALLY think 🏀 should be higher on my priority list then health..you can’t enjoy success OR money without health.
  • I’d waste my “Talent”, to stand up for myself and what’s right, regarding my health 10x’s out 10. #Logical Player “Commodity” league.
  • “your a COMMODITY” and “we’ll support your health needs even if its inconvenient…” just don’t go. My health can’t afford such an ideal.

He also released a statement:

In hindsight, perhaps it was not a good idea to be open and honest about my anxiety disorder, due to the current situations at hand that involve the nature of actions from the Houston Rockets. As a rookie, I want to settle into a team and make progress; but since preseason the Rockets have been inconsistent with their agreement to proactively create a healthy and successful relationship. At this point the Rockets are aware of my position and the reason for my absence. Any other response is inaccurate. This is important to me. It is a health issue. I must advocate for my rights. It is a player-commodity league. The failure to meet my requests for support will end with me being unhealthy and that is not a consequence that I am willing to accept to play any sport.

I wrote earlier about White’s anxiety and the treatment he might receive in the league compared to the treatment he should receive. At the time, Royce was still in negotiations with the Rockets regarding help he’d receive for his anxiety and OCD as well as how he’d travel, due to his fear of flight. Royce himself had been fairly quiet but open about his condition.

He gave the standard good-guy lines, discussing while he needed to put his health first, it wouldn’t be a disturbance to his play or working with the team. It’s now become clear that this is not the case. But before we all play America’s favorite game, “Point the Blame”, let’s take a breather. Read more…

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