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Just A Little Bit Too Much…..
Now, maybe we can turn on SportsCenter without hearing about how LeBron James might be the greatest thing to hit the NBA since birth control.
Hallelujah. Now that the Magic beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 99-89 in Game 3 Sunday night at the amped-up Am maybe somebody will turn down the volume on this limitless LeBron LeLovefest.
It’s like listening to Barry Manilow singing “Mandy.”
It’s like listening to Stevie Wonder singing “I Just Called to Say I Love You.”
It’s like listening to Paul McCartney singing “Silly Love Songs.”
Barf. Yes, LeBron’s a great player. Yes, he hit a great shot Friday night in Game 2.
But from listening to all the hoopla, you’d think it was the greatest shot since William Tell split the apple sitting atop his son’s head.
It’s no wonder the raucous, roaring Magic fans Sunday night felt the whole world — ESPN, Nike, the NBA — was on LeBron’s side. One fan even held up a sign that said: “Magic’s 6th Man: The Fans. Cavs’ Sixth Man: The Refs.”
Seriously, have you ever seen so many invisible fouls? Dwight Howard fouled out on a phantom call on LeBron. Hedo Turkoglu was called for another. During a timeout while the Magic dancers were on the floor, LeBron actually walked right through the middle of their routine. Amazingly, none of the dancers were whistled for a foul.
When asked if he wanted to comment on the imperceptible fouls on LeBron, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy replied tellingly, “No, but you can. You write a column. The league won’t fine you $25,000. You guys see it. Write what you saw.”
Give Van Gundy and the Magic credit. They are the only ones in the league who refuse to be LeBron’s LeBootlicker. Gotta love Van Gundy barking at his team and telling them to quit being LeBron’s “witnesses” during Game 1. Or Dwight actually snarling at LeBron when the two got tangled up Sunday night.
This why the Magic own the Cavs. This is why they’ve beaten them 10 of the last 14 times they’ve played. They don’t kneel down and kiss LeBron’s Nikes. They may give him his points (41 on Sunday), but they don’t give him their genuflection.
Excuse me if I sound bitter about the LeBron LeBoosterism. True story: As Sentinel colleague Brian Schmitz and I were walking down an empty hallway in Cleveland’s arena late Friday night after Game 1, a security guard started yelling at us: “Step to the side! Step to side!”
What? Â… Was this some sort of medical emergency? Were EMTs rushing some fallen fan to the hospital?
Not exactly. It was just LeBron being escorted to the media interview room. And, apparently, nobody occupies the same hallway as LeBron for fear the intruders might smush the rose petals being thrown at the king’s feet.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not LeBron’s fault. He is an exceptional player, but the fawning fans, media and refs are making everybody sick of him. A classic case of LeBron LeBurnout.
And if you haven’t caught it, it’s only because you haven’t turned on ESPN since his buzzer-beater in Game 2. From hearing the commentators coo over him, you’d have thought LeBron had just scored the winning goal for the 1980 U.S. hockey team. The only thing missing was Al Michaels yelping, “Do you believe in miracles!”
Do you believe in hyperbole?
On ESPN Saturday, a radio host from Cleveland was interviewed about the magnitude of LeBron’s shot. He actually said the shot was the greatest thing to happen to Cleveland sports since the Browns won the 1964 NFL championship. He went on to say LeBron’s shot may have lifted the curse many Clevelanders believe has befallen their sports franchises.
One shot in Game 2 of a conference final against little ol’ Orlando breaks a decades-long curse? Really? Coming soon: LeBron buzzer-beater fixes foreclosure crisis.
Question: Why is it when Rashard Lewis hit a game-winner, it’s a good shot, but when LeBron hits one, it’s a legendary shot?
“We were able to overcome the dagger (of LeBron’s shot),” Van Gundy said sarcastically after the win Sunday night.
A google search of “LeBron shot” before Sunday’s game, netted headlines such as, “Has LeBron James overturned Kobe Bryant’s s legacy?” Or, “LeBron hits last-second shot that rivals Michael Jordan’s.”
Let me see if I’ve got this straight: M.J. and Kobe have nine championships between them, but LeBron hits a three-pointer in Game 2 of the conference finals and suddenly he’s somehow in the same class as two of the greatest champions of all-time?
Stop it. This LeBron LeBuildup is akin to Tim Tebow times 10. Like Tebow, we all recognize James as a great player and a good guy, but do we really need to hear the hyperbole ad nauseum?
Remember when Fox announcer Thom Brennaman crooned during the national championship game, “If you’re fortunate enough to spend five minutes around Tim Tebow, your life is better for it.”
Gag. The LeBron LeLovefest is even more out of control.
Except there is one difference between LeBron James and Tim Tebow:
Tebow has actually won a championship.