Monday, May 6, 2013

A dirty rotten scoundrel

Most everybody would agree Lebron James is currently the best basketball player on the planet. In fact, there are many, including yours truly, that think he's the best ever. Like it or not, Lebron can do things on the basketball court that Michael Jordan never could. Yes, Lebron is bigger, taller, and stronger, but hey, it is what it is. Sure, there are also many that continue to use the "Jordan standard" as a yardstick for measuring Lebron's greatness. After all, they claim, Michael won 6 championships and Lebron has only won one to date. And that's just wrong.

In individual sports such as golf and tennis, it would be fair to compare championships won, ala Tiger Woods and his chase for Jack Nicklaus' marks, but when it comes to team sports, any such comparison should be irrelevant. No matter how fantastic any athlete is on any particular team, unless he has a pretty good "supporting cast", the chances of winning a championship are slim.

Remember Ernie Banks, the long time Chicago Cub and Hall of Famer? He never even sniffed a world series, let alone won one.

How about Dan Marino, of Miami Dolphins fame? He set a lot of NFL passing records, some of which still stand -- but he never won a Super Bowl.

Larry Bird was the best college hoopster in the country while at Indiana State, but Magic Johnson had a better supporting cast at Michigan State, so the Spartans won the national championship in their "showdown". There are others that fall into the same category. Championships in teams sports don't necessarily define an individual player's greatness.

This year, Lebron James was an obvious choice for NBA MVP, and he won the award in a landslide.

In fact, it was only one vote shy of being unanimous. Which brings me back to the dirty rotten scoundrel. That would be one Cary Washburn of the Boston Globe, who cast his ballot for NY Knicks star Carmelo Anthony instead. People were outraged. How dare Washburn do such a thing, they screamed. Is he blind, prejudiced, not paying attention, or just plain stupid, they fumed? Stephen A. Smith, the yappy little runt and apparent Spike Lee wannabe (in my opinion), that fancies himself an NBA expert, wanted Washburn called on the carpet to explain why he commited such sacrilege by not voting for Lebron.

Well, guess what? Smith (his initials being SAS, which is just about perfect) and company need to shut up. Washburn didn't just fall off a turnip truck or parachute in from another planet yesterday. He EARNED his credentials over many years to become an MVP voter. Further, he could vote for whoever he damn well felt deserving of the award, and it's not like he picked some guy from his home town team. It was Carmelo Anthony.

Question -- in the world of professional sports, who do most Bostonians hate more than anybody else? Answer -- anybody from New York. Had Washburn voted for a Celtic for MVP, perhaps it should have raised some eyebrows. But a Knick?

And let's not forget that while Lebron outpaced him in a few other personal statistical categories, Carmelo won the NBA scoring title this year. He's a fantastic player in his own right too.

So what's the big deal about the vote not being unanimous anyway? It never has been before. And even if it was this year, Lebron's trophy wouldn't have gotten any bigger, or worth any more money, assuming his contract has such an incentive clause built into it.

In the end, Washburn wasn't a dirty rotten scoundrel at all. He's just a man that knows a helluva lot more about the NBA than most of those that want to see him tarred and feathered and ran out of town.

And he cast his vote accordingly.

Good for him.

One more thing....  in case I failed to make it clear above.....

Shut up SASSY. Go hang out with Spike and be happy. You two deserve each other.

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