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Tuesday , Aug , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Dwyane Wade: Heat treated unfairly

“At that point it was me. Obviously we went through a lot last year. It was unfair some of the stuff that we had to endure but we grew from it. That’s over with. We move on to whenever we play basketball again and we will be a different team.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s relative.

Yes, Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and the Miami Heat endured a massive backlash last year and were the undisputed league villain.

Was it unfair, though?

On the one hand, this trio handled their South Beach union with as much modesty and class as Kanye West at an awards show.

On the other hand, Bosh, James, and Wade stay on the right side of the law, take care of their kids, and are involved with charity.

So to lump James in with Charlie Sheen, Donald Trump, and Tiger Woods may be a tad harsh. 

Of course, the public is split. The Heat are as polarizing and captivating a team to take to an NBA floor or compete in a North American sports league.

Perhaps the Heat were treated poorly, however, the public will not have sympathy for three highly paid professional athletes.

Instead, The Three Kings should embrace being the villain. The sooner they accept being the bad guy, the sooner they win that ever elusive championship.

And only then will the hoopla, controversy, and speculation teeter off.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Sunday , Aug , 21 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Derrick Rose: ‘I’m going to win multiple championships’

DR: It was great but I’m not satisfied. I won’t be satisfied until I win a championship. I’m not satisfied at all. There’s not a doubt in my mind that I’m not going to win a championship. I’m going win multiple championships. It’s not a doubt in my mind.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: It's not the same. Not even close.

In an interview with Hoopshype, Derrick Rose, the 2011 MVP and rising superstar for the Chicago Bulls, admitted he wants to win multiple championships.

Such a declaration should sound familiar. LeBron James was, and still gets, roasted for making a similar statement last summer after taking his talent to South Beach.

There's a difference between Rose and James, though.

Rose was talking about what he wanted to achieve in his career, which is fair. All players, especially the creme de la creme of the NBA, should have lofty goals.

James, however, was acting like he already won multiple championships when he boasted to fans at the Heat's pre-emptive victory parade. The glitter, glitz, and hype of that July day in 2010 was as grand as the L.A. Lakers' championship parade a month earlier in June.

Of course, the Heat hadn't won a thing yet -and wouldn't win a thing, losing to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals.

So, put the daggers down. Rose's comments pass the smell test, while James is struggling to move past last July's blunders.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below. 

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Saturday , Aug , 20 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Is LeBron as Hated as Charlie Sheen, Tiger Woods, and Trump?

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: This isn’t breaking news. And this isn’t a surprise. People don’t care for LeBron James.

James, the infamous and famous swing for the Miami Heat, scored near the bottom of an Ipsos poll that surveyed the public about their feelings towards athletes and celebrities.

The NBA’s current villain was joined by Charlie Sheen, Donald Trump, and Tiger Woods as the public's least favourable athlete/celebrity.

Here’s the question: does James deserve this?

Sure, The Decision was as a poorly planned and executed exercise since, well, ever. And The Celebration and The Prediction that followed were as bad.

However, James doesn’t do drugs, drink to excess, reference Tiger’s Blood and/or ‘winning’, cheat on his spouse (repeatedly) and claim to be a family man, attend sex addict therapy, or lead a bizarre crusade to discover where exactly the leader of the free world was born.

So we can hate the arrogance with which James handles basketball-related activities. We can’t hate the loyalty he shows lifelong friends, family, and Akron, Ohio -even if those relationships have gotten him in trouble. 

Perhaps we should despise James and the Heat for what they actually are: the New York Yankees of the NBA. And perhaps we should recognize James isn’t the Sheen, Trump, or Woods of the NBA.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

 

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Saturday , Aug , 20 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Dwyane Wade: I will play basketball … I don’t know where

"I will play (basketball)," he said at the Dwyane Wade Fantasy Camp at Fontainbleau Hotel. "I don't know where I will play it. Just because we're in a lockout don't mean I'm going to stop playing the game of basketball."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Lockout or not, Dwyane Wade will play basketball next year. He just doesn’t know where.

Fair enough.

Wade like most of the NBA is waiting for the Players Union and owners to settle their dispute and negotiate a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The Miami Heat guard, unlike some his superstar peers, has been bullish on playing during the labour strife. But why?

1) Wade would earn between $1-$2 million per month to play his trade for a club in a foreign league.

2) Wade would have numerous opportunities to further the D-Wade brand, which is always good.

3) Wade would show NBA owners that the players have options and do not need to fold during bargaining.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Wednesday , Aug , 17 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

The Game Disses LeBron and His Mom

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Add The Game to the ever-growing list of those who have bashed Miami Heat superstar LeBron James.

Apparently the California rapper takes a swipe at James in his soon-to-be released The R.E.D. album, saying “Fall back like LeBron’s hairline against the Mavericks / He lost” (Credit to Holly at The Score for the discovery).

This is nothing, however. The Game reportedly goes there. Yes, there ...

“Then I hit LeBron’s mom in Bron-Bron’s coupe /
With Delonte West taping, we had bon-bons too /
With Cleveland cheerleaders, they had pom-poms too”

One word: Wow.

Right now, James is a target; Tiger Woods aside, he's the most controversial figure in professional sports. Media, fans, NBA stars, and rappers have all slung their share of mud at James.

Some of this is deserved. The Decision and The Celebration, both part of James' departure from Cleveland to Miami, accurately portrayed the All-Star as self-centered and vain.

What is legitimate criticism? What is unfair? And where's the line?

Referencing a rumor involving James' mother and former teammate Delonte West, who suffers from mental health issues, is too much.

Way to much, in fact.

Keep in mind: James will eventually win an NBA championship. He and his Heat are too good not to. Last year they came within two games of winning it all -even though 2011 was their first year together and everyone outside of Florida wanted them to fail.

When that day comes, when James finally hoists the Larry O'Brien trophy, he'll have his revenge.

While criticism of his play, fair or not, may continue, this kind of nonsense will hopefully stop.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Monday , Aug , 15 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Chris Bosh on The Decision: ‘We all Make Mistakes’

Looking back on last year’s free agency and “The Decision,” do you look back and think it could have been done differently or do you just own up to it? Chris Bosh: “I say you own up to it. We all make mistakes. I think anybody would be kidding themselves if they thought they were perfect at anything.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call:
So, Chris Bosh believes LeBron James made a mistake with The Decision.

Well, left-handed power forwards in glass houses shouldn`t throw stones, right Bosh?

In an interview, Bosh indirectly said James slipped up last summer by announcing on ESPN he was ‘taking his talent to South Beach’ and leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat.

James admitted as much last year, although he couldn’t, or wouldn’t, say what he’d have done differently.

Equally as damaging to the Heat was Bosh, James, and Dwyane Wade’s collective decision to announce their arrival the way teams celebrate a championship.

The Three Kings held a massive party, and acted more like rock stars than NBA superstars. A sold out stadium of Heat faithful cheered. To be fair, James was the one who predicted multiple championships.

Bosh`s arrogance at this pre-emeptive celebration - along with James and Wade’s surliness -  turned off  fans outside Florida and solidified the Heat’s status as villains.

From that moment the Heat was public enemy number one. And they have yet to get the bulls-eye off their back.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Sunday , Aug , 14 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Heat interested in lighter Eddy Curry?

Curry weighed 350 when he auditioned for Miami in March. Curry intrigues Pat Riley, who might offer him a minimum deal postlockout if he loses another 12 pounds or so. His skills “are there, no question,” Grover said.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Eddy Curry could soon become Pat Riley’s Greatest Reclamation Project.

Reports indicate Curry has dropped close to 40 pounds and, if his waist line continues to shrink, he may sign with the Miami Heat for the minimum when the lockout ends.

This is rather remarkable, especially when considering how low the skilled big had sunk.

Curry made $31 million to play in 30 games over the last three seasons. He blew most of that $31 million and, reportedly, took out high-interest loans from dubious characters. And then there was this.

Of course, Curry might not be best for South Beach. He was a finesse-five for the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls, and the Heat need a defensive-minded banger down low.

Still, Curry won’t cost much, so, perhaps, he’s worth the risk -as it will appease the people behind Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade.

Move over Rafer Alston, Derek Anderson, Ike Austin. Smush Parker, Antoine Walker, and all others. Eddy Curry may soon be coming. You’ll have competition for Riles’ Greatest Reclamation Project.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

 

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Saturday , Aug , 13 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Jason Terry Calls LeBron a Loser

The chorus is "win, win win, win win," but at the 40 second mark Terry starts singing "lose, lose lose," and then says to the camera, "I feel like LeBron right now."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s not just media. It’s not just fans. Players are piling on, too.

During the last year, Miami Heat superstar LeBron James has been criticized, and even mocked, by anyone and everyone associated with professional basketball.

Yesterday Dwight Howard teased James about his vanishing hairline. Today Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Terry insulted James in a revised, Jet-version of a soon-to-be released rap song.

Of course, Terry‘s Mavericks beat James’ Heat in the NBA Finals, so he holds bragging rights. The league’s top sixth-man called James a loser.

This, perhaps, is a touch harsh.

Thanks to the magic of the Internet, we, along with James, can watch Terry's slight over-and-over again.

Watch the video of Terry getting at James and tell HoopsVibe News your thoughts in the comment box below.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Aug , 13 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Dwight Howard mocks LeBron … again

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: What’s a shot about receding hairlines between friends?

Usually nothing.

Well, things are different when the guys taking and giving the shots are two of the NBA's biggest superstars. It becomes a must-see. This is the best description of Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard mocking Miami Heat guard LeBron James for having ‘runways’ on his dome.

Howard, however, wasn't finished. Not by a long-shot, in fact.

He then dropped a decent impression of The King and again took a run at his pre-game ritual of tossing chalk in the air.

Watch the video below and get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below with thoughts.

 

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Thursday , Aug , 11 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Nocioni and 76ers to part ways?

I don't know. The Sixers already said they don't want me. And now we're in a lockout. So I'll see what I do. Playing in Europe is a possibility.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Andres Nocioni will be on the move -again.

Reports indicate the Argentine swing will not return to the Philadelphia 76ers when the lockout ends and is open to playing with an NBA or European team.

This is and isn’t a surprise.

On the surface, it would seem a young, developing team like the 76ers would want a veteran presence like Nocioni. Remember, he does the little things and brings an edge.

However, the 76ers didn’t use Nocioni. For a variety of reasons, he played in just 54 regular season games and only got off the bench once for ten minutes in the playoffs against the Miami Heat. 

The only complication is his salary. Nocioni has one year guaranteed at $6.5 million, while his next team will hold an option on 2012-13 at $7.5 million.

Suppose the lockout lasts all year. His 2011-12 salary would then be negated. The 76ers wouldn’t exercise the option on 2012-13, so he`d be a free agent in July of 2012.

Things will change for Nocioni. The one certainty: he won’t return to Philadelphia.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Tuesday , Aug , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Lakers Targetting Chris Paul?

With the Lakersshowing more signs that their basketball mileage is catching up with them, they need to inject speed into their lineup. And with Mike Brown planning to abandon most of the triangle offense, they need a solid point guard. ... [Chris Paul] has the edge over [Deron Williams] because of his youth (26) and uncanny speed.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: With the 2012 season in limbo, many have turned to speculating on next year’s free agent class.

One rumour keeps making the rounds: Chris Paul walks on the New Orleans Hornets to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers next July.

Before you roll your eyes at the new Collective Bargaining Agreement for not fixing the migration of stars to big markets, recognize that this makes sense for Paul.

The Lakers will have financial flexibility. They have $67 million in committed salary for the 2012-13 season, but the club holds options on $25 million for Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom.

While they won’t walk on Bynum, the purple-and-gold will gladly bolt on the final $8 million on Odom’s pact. There are other ways to trim salary.

Regardless of the system - hard or soft cap - the Lakers will be able to make a competitive offer for Paul.

New coach Mike Brown will replace the Triple-Post with a drive-and-kick system that relies on the point guard penetrating and running pick-and-rolls.

Sounds perfect for Paul, right?

The New Orleans Hornets can’t afford Paul. The league owns the team and the city can't generate enough revenue to pay for a top supporting cast.

So it’s generally accepted that Paul will leave New Orleans and join Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire in New York.

Not so fast.

Last I checked the Knicks played in the Eastern Conference. Each year, Paul would have to go through Miami’s Three Kings to reach the NBA Finals.

And when the Heat have a down year, Paul would likely face 2010 MVP Derrick Rose and his upstart Chicago Bulls. The Bulls, with their air-tight defense, are no pushovers.

So Paul’s best bet at championship glory may be out west with the Lakers.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

 

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Tuesday , Aug , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

LeBron: ‘I’m optimistic that we will have a season’

“I'm optimistic that we will have a season this year,” James said. “Very optimistic.” A little anxious, too. He's working out twice a day, trying to erase some of the sting that's still there after the Heat lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA finals.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Does LeBron James know something the rest of us do not? Secret talks? A covert deal? Has he chatted with Union Boss Billy Hunter?

I appreciate LeBron James’ optimism that owners and players will somehow strike a hail-Mary deal, however, the facts are tough to overlook.

Right now, there’s no negotiating and/or bargaining between owners and players. Both are holding firm and refusing to compromise on a new financial system.

The owners want salary rollbacks, a hard cap, and a greater share of the Basketball Related Income, while players want to stick with the current system -even if it’s out of whack with the post 2008 economy.

Yet James remains optimistic. Fair enough. Always look at the bright side, I guess.

Still, the negative is tough to overlook. Alex Meruelo recently dropped $300 million on a mediocre franchise, the Hawks, in a mediocre sports town, Atlanta, because Commissioner David Stern surely promised a hard cap and a better split of the BRI.

And to get those concessions the owners will likely have to blow-up the entire season. That’s right: no basketball for 2011-12.

So James can stay optimistic. I’ll stay optimistic he knows something the rest of us do not.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Monday , Aug , 08 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Miami looking at Michael Redd?

If the Heat cannot sign preferred choices Shane Battier, Grant Hill or Tayshaun Prince postlockout, Miami will consider Michael Redd.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Is he healthy? Is he willing?

In theory, Michael Redd could absolutely help the Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat win an NBA Title.

For years, Redd was a prolific scorer with the Milwaukee Bucks, killing opponents with his deadly outside range.

The left-handed gunner has the skill-set to punish defenses for cheating on Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade.  

Of course, health matters. In the last two seasons, Redd has played in just 28 games, and doesn’t resemble the perimeter threat that terrorized opposing defenses.

Redd's goal may be to re-establish his reputation as a star rather than support another team's stars -like Bosh, James, and Wade in Miami.

If healthy and willing, Redd would help the Heat. A contender can never have enough shooting or depth.

--Oly Sandor.


Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

 

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Monday , Aug , 08 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Mike Beasley on the Goodman league: ‘The best league in the f_______ world’

“Goodman league. The best league in the f______ world,” Beasley said. “The Drew league is OK. They play indoor, man they don’t know anything about this hard life. It’s the streets out here man.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Where are they? Where are the people who claim to have Mike Beasley’s interests?

Those people - friends, family, coaches, agents, and fellow players - need to check in with the former second overall pick from the 2008 draft.

 The last month hasn’t been easy on Beasley. He was cited for marijuana possession. He became a youtube sensation after shoving a heckler during a game in New York.

Now he’s spouting off to the press about the Goodman League being better than the Drew League because 'it’s the street’.

After personal and professional struggles in Miami, the forward found his way in Minnesota. Those strides have been undone. 

The Timberwolves must have concerns. They won’t give Beasley an extension because of their logjam at forward, and they can’t get equal value in a trade because no team wants a problem.

Worst of all, the Timberwolves can't reach out to Beasley because the lockout bans teams from talking with players. 

Bottom line: Beasley’s doing irreparable damage to his career. Somebody, anybody needs to make him aware of this.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Sunday , Aug , 07 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Heat interested in McGrady –but not T-Mac?

If the Heat cannot sign preferred choices Shane Battier, Grant Hill or Tayshaun Prince postlockout, Miami will consider Michael Redd and Tracy McGrady, among others.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Would the ‘Three Kings’ welcome a king turned pawn in Tracy McGrady to South Beach?  

Well, the Miami Heat may have interest in McGrady, but only if - and this is a massive if - he agrees to a supporting role next to Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade.

The former All-Star would have to accept that the ‘T-Mac’ era is done and become the player he was at the start of his career with the Toronto Raptors.

Up north he used athleticism, length, and quickness to complement Vince Carter, who was then the league’s fastest rising superstar.

Back then McGrady defended any and every situation. He locked opponents down; he helped teammates; and he pressed and trapped in the open court.

McGrady also stuffed the stat-sheet. He collected assists, rebounds, and steals; doing the all-important little things to help right the Raptors' fortunes.

Finally, McGrady can’t be ‘That Guy’. He can’t be the veteran malcontent that complained and bragged in Orlando and Houston, and was partly responsible for sabotaging Detroit’s 2010-11 season.

If he’s humble, if he’s hungry, and if he takes another contract for the minimum, then McGrady may land in Miami when the lockout ends.

The alternative is to keep clinging to the ‘T-Mac’ identity and finish his career playing meaningless basketball.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Saturday , Aug , 06 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: No $2 million per month Chinese offer for Dwyane Wade?

“Dwyane Wade’s agent said Friday his client has received no offers nor has had any discussions with professional teams from China, but he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of that scenario changing. ‘If offers are made down the road, will they be looked at? Absolutely,’ agent Henry Thomas told ESPN.com on Friday. The Chengdu Daily reported that Zhejiang Guangsha was offering Wade $2 million per month to play next season in the Chinese Basketball Association, a report that was later denied by a team official.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: China makes the most sense for a temporarily out-of-work NBA superstar.

After all, China is flush with cash because of their strong economy. And with a billion people, it would provide opportunities to spread the superstar’s brand.

However, the greatest reason may be timing. The season doesn’t start in China until December, which would allow the superstar an extended break, while hedging his bets on when the NBA season starts.

Conversely, Europe is broke, the branding opportunities are limited, and training camp for the long season will soon be opening.

So Dwyane Wade, like most big-ticket American stars, will play in China or rest until the owners and union can find common ground on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Forget the $2 million per month salary, Wade has yet to receive a formal offer of any kind from a Chinese side.

That doesn't mean it isn't coming, though.

These clubs need to identify sponsors to help finance big-ticket offers and are waiting to see what happens with negotiations between Commissioner David Stern and Union Boss Billy Hunter.  

--Oly Sandor.

Will Wade stay or go? Well, get at HoopsVibe News with thoughts in the comment box below.

The Most Hated Coach In The NBA: Erik Spoelstra
Friday , Aug , 05 , 2011 Paul Eide

The Most Hated Coach In The NBA: Erik Spoelstra

Why does everyone hate him so much? Is it because LeBron shoulder checked him and he did nothing, proving to some that he is in fact just a figurehead? Or is it because he is devoid of any basketball pedigree and is in fact a regular human, whereas a coach/GM/legend like Pat Riley seems like a superhero?

Read More
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Thursday , Aug , 04 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

LeBron James Fails With Tim Tebow-Gate

Tim Tebow will succeed in the NFL. He’s a hard worker, a student of the game, a natural born leader and most of all a WINNER! It takes time and he’ll be nice.

Listened to Merril Hoge today on SC and he was just blasting Tebow. The man hasn’t even play a full season and its only his 2nd year in.

Guys get on that TV and act like they was all WORLD when they played. How bout encouraging him and wishing him the best instead of hating!!


(LeBron James, twitter)

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Wrong again LeBron.

Last I checked media analysts aren’t paid to pick up pom-poms and cheer for those they cover. That’s what teams pay cheerleaders for.

(By the way, can you imagine Sir Charles, Shaq, or Kenny ‘The Jet’ Smith working the sideline of a Miami Heat-Boston Celtics game? Not a pretty picture!)

Media analysts are paid to analyze. Hopefully, their analysis sparks a reaction, whether good or bad, from the public.

Merril Hoge was doing what ESPN pays him to do: analyze. Best of all, his analysis on Denver quarterback Tim Tebow struck a chord and got a reaction from arguably the biggest name in sports (that would be you, LeBron)!

I get the feeling this isn’t about Hoge or Tebow, though. This is more about James being peeved at the media for panning his play and behaviour in 2010-11 with the Miami Heat.

On the one hand, James had a superb year for the Heat, and established himself as the best player on a team that transcended sport. Perhaps he deserved better from the insiders and analysts.

On the other hand, James did not meet the expectation he set, and, according to some, fell short in the NBA Finals. The media called James on this, which, wait for it, sparked a reaction.

James has every right to speak his mind. So speak it. Put it out there if the media has been unfair to you.

Just don’t use Hoge, Tebow, or anyone else as cover for what you want to say!

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

 

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Wednesday , Aug , 03 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Blake Griffin on lockout: ‘My first three seasons, I could play 82 games’

"I haven't stopped working out really since May," Griffin said. "It's been every day, sneaking it in whenever I can." Griffin says it's frustrating for him to think that the NBA games may be interrupted after his first season playing in the league. Griffin missed all of the 2009-10 season with a broken kneecap after he had been the No. 1 draft pick out of Oklahoma. "Now my first three seasons, I could play 82 games," Griffin said. "So, we'll see what happens."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Last year was overwhelmingly positive for the NBA.
 
The sporting world was galvanized by Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James joining forces and becoming the ‘Heatles’ in Miami.

Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd’s hard work was rewarded with an NBA championship, guaranteeing both immediate entry into the Hall of Fame when they retire.

Derrick Rose won the MVP award, leading the Chicago Bulls to the league’s best regular season record and a place in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder took another step winning two playoff series before falling to Nowitzki and Kidd’s Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals.

The Memphis Grizzlies made the playoffs and upset the San Antonio Spurs. After years of futility, the Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers were relevant and entertaining.

There are other storylines I’m missing.

For instance, high on this list is the emergence of Blake Griffin, whose aerial antics reminded the world there’s a professional basketball squad in Los Angeles not called the Lakers.

(And this squad, the Clippers, can compete and delight despite being owned by the twisted and incompetent Donald Sterling.)

Suppose there’s a lockout. One that wipes out the entire season. Griffin, who missed 2009 with injury, will have played just eighty-two games in his first three seasons.

Fans would have to wait a year to see Griffin assault the rim. Fans would have to wonder what Griffin would do to defend his crown at the 2012 Slam Dunk Contest. And fans, the purists, would have to wait a year to see Griffin’s above average passing and skill-set develop.

This is tragic. And just another thing Commissioner David Stern, the owners, Union Head Billy Hunter, and the players are risking with their posturing and rhetoric.

I hope they know what they’re doing. Griffin missing another year should be a last resort.

--Oly Sandor.


Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Tuesday , Aug , 02 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant to LeBron Haters: ‘Lay off’

I think people need to lay off that kid, that’s what I think. I’ve gotten to know him pretty well playing on the Olympic team, and I think they just need to back up off him and just let him play and let him live his life. Let him make his decisions, let him mature as a player. “It’s tough to be under a microscope like that all the time. So I would like everyone to just back off him and let him play.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: First The Custodian. Now The Black Mamba.

Kobe Bryant has joined Brian Cardinal in the ‘LeBron James Apologists Club’, telling the world to ‘lay off’ and let the Miami Heat superstar live.

Sorry Kobe. LeBron is not a victim. Whatever pressure, scrutiny, and criticism he has endured over the last year has been mostly self-induced.

After all, James announced on national television he was leaving his home of Ohio to sign with the star-studded Miami Heat as a free agent.

Then James and the Heat held the 2011 championship celebration -eleven months before the NBA Finals were to be played. At this pre-emptive party James declared that his new team would win multiple championships.

Naturally, there was a backlash. Was the backlash fair? Was the backlash justified? Who knows?

However, it was predictable. A first year PR intern could have seen stormy times coming for James during the 2010-11 season.

Yet James refused to hire a PR firm to help his buddy from his AAU team that was clearly (mis)handling communications.

Kobe can have his opinion. He can even tell us his opinion. It won’t change James' predicament. Only James can do that.

--Oly Sandor.


Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.