Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Resting Lebron James. Fair or foul?

Much has been made of late concerning certain NBA teams "resting" their stars for a game here and there. At the forefront, of course, are poster children Lebron James and Co. of the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers.

James is on record as saying it sucks, but sometimes certain guys need rest due to the long grueling season. Seems fair enough. Notice he's never come out and said this is typically a coach's choice, not necessarily the players'. That would be throwing his own head coach Tyronne (Shoelaces) Lue under the bus, as it were. So credit to LJ for avoiding that little possible snafu.

And James is correct when he asserts a head coach's job is to find a way to lead his team to a championship, far more than it is to win a single game. Contenders get to say such things. Bottom feeders don't enjoy the same luxury, for obvious reasons, not the least of which is a bunch of multi-millionaires running around playing an inferior version of roundball while getting beat like a drum game in and game out. But that's an argument for another day.

Yet resting players, particularly stars like Lebron, doesn't sit well with many. One of those is Mr. Kosher Peanuthead, aka NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Dear Adam feels the pain of the average fan, as only a multi-millionaire such as himself can. Right. It's not right, he whimpers from on high. There could be "harsh" penalties if this practice doesn't immediately cease and desist. This is definitely a shot across the bow of the collective owners. Either get your boys to straighten up and earn those massive contracts, or I might whack your pee-pees, as in pocket books.

Conversely, Lebron James thinks there's little the NBA brass can actually do about it. An interesting stand-off.

It is further interesting to note that Silver serves in his position at the whim of the owners in the first place. Though he was former Commish David Stern's hand-picked boy to succeed him, if he riles up too many owners they can just as easily fire him, Trump style, as they did hire him in the first place. Like the CEO of a major company, the board of directors can off him given due cause and motivation. Let's not forget who works for who here in the NBA hierarchy.

However, if the Commish and the Board of Governors (see owners) get together and decide something, there's little coaches and players can do about it. Sure, the union can raise a stink and say any such actions have to be "collectively bargained", but good luck with that, at least in the short run. The people ultimately holding all the purse strings can pretty much do whatever they want until and unless the courts decide to forbid it. And that could take years to wend its way through the complicated and slow working imbroglio of the legal justice system.

But resting star players is a dilemma indeed. Certainly not fair for some. Example in point --

Lebron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love of the Cavaliers were all sat down for a recent game against the LA Clippers out west. Given the nature of the NBA schedule, there were no doubt many Clip fans who saved up their bucks to buy tickets for the only time the Cavaliers would appear at Staples Center to play against their team. Those seats are anything but cheap. The average John/Jane Doe might only be able to afford to go to one game all year. This was the one. They wanted to see the Big Three and the champs when they came to town.

And when they finally arrived on the premises -- guess what? All the star players they'd been waiting to see -- won't be participating -- even though they're otherwise completely physically healthy. Damn right they have cause to be pissed.

But again, it's quite likely in the long-term interest of both the team and the players to give them a breather once in a while. So what to do that is fair for all?

Enter Byron Scott, former LA Lakers star, and not-so-good head coach later on.

BS, maybe or maybe not appropriate enough initials (let's not forget our last President's were, sniff, BO, but nobody ever thought to mention that) seemed to have the perfect answer.

He rightfully pointed out that fans in other cities might only get one shot to see the "stars from afar" and they should absolutely not be denied the chance when it comes around. Further, out of the 82 game regular season, half of those games are played at "home". Further yet, no team is ever "on the road" for more than maybe two weeks at a time.

So be it resolved that if teams want to rest their star players, make them do it at home games. The fans there have 40 other chances to see them throughout the year, as opposed to only once in many other cities. Play shall be mandatory on all road games unless compelling evidence of physical injury is presented by the medical people. And good luck if they ever get caught "fudging" that. If so, send them off to Judge Judy or a segment on "The View" for "cruel and unusual punishment", the Eighth Amendment and Geneva Convention be damned regarding the use of torture and otherwise inhumane treatment.

That ought to satisfy the players, the union, the owners, and even Mr. Peanuthead.

Heckuvan idea, Byron, and I was only kidding about the initials.

Maybe. Like Isiah Thomas was IT as a player, so too did he crash and burn like the Hindenburg when he got in WAY over his head as a member of management. IT translated to Insanely Terrible. Same with that Jordan guy. MJ? It could just as easily stood for Mostly Junk. Have you seen that Charlotte team since he took over the reins? Not a pretty sight. Monumental Jokes. And we won't even talk about him trying to hit a curve ball in his ill-advised adventure into professional baseball thinking he was all THAT, when he was obviously not. A Majorly Juvenile crusade.

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