Why isn’t Jason Collins signed?

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Let’s go back to the year 2001. George Bush had just begun his term. Airport security was a lot faster. Michael Jordan played for the Wizards – that year, the Wizards drafted Kwame Brown first overall. That same year, some kid named Jason Collins made his debut, too. Both, talent-wise, at least, have made little affect on the league. But Jason Collins completely shocked the world of sports when he announced he was gay this april, that put Kwame Brown in the dust.

But guess who had a job at the beginning of this season? Even though everybody knew he was an injury risk and washed out, the 76ers took him in 2012 and even after averaging 1.9 points a game, didn’t get rid of him. Now, to be fair, Kwame Brown did get waived two months ago. Which takes us to Joel Anthony, another center that has accomplished literally nothing in his career and could’ve been traded or waived anytime. But no, a player who is averaging 0.6 points a game and 0.6 rebounds a game is still good enough for the Heat. Last year, he gave the Heat 87 points, about 40 more than Jason Collins, which is not the difference for the Heat, almost ever.

There are a couple more examples, although it’s hard to find. I wouldn’t recommend looking. But the point I’m making is that there are players in the NBA that do what Jason Collins did and have a job.

Now, it’s not a complete outrage. Jason Collins, for what it’s worth, was a pretty bad player. He averaged 0.7 points a game last year – but that just wasn’t that much worse than some other players.

So it leaves me with this question.

Why isn’t Jason Collins playing right now?

A commonly used reason is that it’s a lot of PR to take on for a player who will do very little. But isn’t there no such thing as bad publicity?

Another reason used is that Jason Collins isn’t good enough. I’ve already debunked that one.

The other most commonly used one is that NBA owners are homophobes. I hope that one isn’t true, or else the NBA may lose me as a fan.

Until this gets resolved, all players who are gay in the NBA are going to be scared to come out as gay, and it’s going to take another Jason Collins.

At the beginning, we thought it was a huge step. Unless Jason Collins gets signed – we aren’t doing as well as we thought.

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The (Not-so) big three

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Flashback to July 8, 2010. A small boys and girls club hosted one of the most controversial TV specials of all time, the second LeBron said “I’m taking my talents to South Beach and joining the Miami Heat”. That led to a Vegas-Caliber unveiling of Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade all on the same team. Predictions, (Not one, not two) magazine covers, interviews, fanfare, merchandise, and much more were created and embraced.

Flash forward to June 12, 2011. The Dallas Mavericks took an NBA Finals right in front of all of Miami to see. Bust? It was looking like 2012 was the year instead. The big 3 would prevail, as always.

Flash forward to December 25th, 2011. The NBA was back. Lockout shortened, but back. But this time, it wasn’t around the Heat. It was lob city, New York and other teams sharing the spotlight, and sometimes stealing it from the big three. They were fine, and expected huge seasons from everyone.

Flash forward to June 21, 2012. Turns out, they didn’t need a big three. They just needed a big one, as LeBron led them to a title. But this title didn’t feel too real. The season was a good two months short, and it didn’t seem like domination in the regular season. Some people wouldn’t accept Miami’s championship until they one won in a full season with some domination.

Skip forward exactly one year to today, and we can say this season was dominated by the Miami Heat. Owned by them. But it wasn’t a big three effort. It was LeBron and co. Bosh had a mediocre-at-best season, and Wade was very on and off. Mike Miller and “Birdman” stepped up, along with Ray Allen and Mario Chalmers showing more of an on court presence.

So now, it’s all over. The next NBA game isn’t until October. Which gives us some time to ponder a couple things. First things first, as I said before, this was not a big three performance. It was LeBron and Co. LeBron led the entire team in points, steals, rebounds and assists. His 596 points in the playoffs were second to none anywhere. Bosh performed mediocre, and his point average is steadily decreasing. Wade is seeming older and more injury prone by the day.

This finals has lead people to believe the Heat are the next dynasty. However, I don’t believe that. Why? Because a team simply cannot revolve around a single player. Unless the big three play like they did when they were hired to become the big three, it simply doesn’t work that way. LeBron can’t hold this team up forever, and a huge reason they won was because the supporting cast all stepped up big time. The big three are not being big enough right now for the Heat to become something Jordan-like.

Many people are asking if this team can be compared to the Bulls of the Jordan era. I don’t know if it can. While this team is performing, so much question surrounds them. Will LeBron stay? Will D-Wade retire? Will Bosh step up again? Will Ray Allen leave? Was Miller just a fluke? Is there too much centered around James? Can Birdman play better in the regular season? Is Chalmers good enough? I can think of many more. This team was so dominant this season, but it just doesn’t seem comparable yet. 2 titles. While that’s good, they’re still under the Spurs. LeBron isn’t Jordan yet. He very well can be. But there are simply too many questions around this team.

This team was a guarantee in 2011. They are no longer like that. The only player who is playing like their contract is paying them is LeBron. It’s no longer a matter of dominance. Now, it’s a matter of keeping them at the same level. If somebody slips, that affects everything.

Now don’t get me wrong, the Heat will be sighted in the playoffs many years following this one. LeBron could pass Jordan, but he needs help. Celebrate now Miami about your title. But if you don’t get the people you paid to be big to play like it, watch out. Because I can see Oklahoma City in the horizon.

The hardest (and easiest) sports to watch

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Okay, raise your hand if you watched The Masters. The whole thing.

Okay, now raise your hand if you just watched the final day.

Raise your hand if you only watched the last hour. (Me).

I was thinking about this as I extended all my CBS primetime shows by an hour… who can really sit down and watch 4 days of golf? I mean, really? Who can even watch one day? So I thought that, hey – people might say that about baseball, which led me here. So, without any further ado, my sports that are the easiest and hardest to watch.

FOOTBALL: Okay, the game is fine – it’s timed, it can be exciting, it’s unpredictable, and they play through any weather. Here’s the real problem I have with it. It’s three hours. No, not the game. It’s a mere 60 minutes. Which means there are 120 minutes of assorted timeouts, breaks and stoppages. Which stinks. If you watch a game of football, only 33% is actually them playing the game. Which makes it different from any other sport – in quite a bad way. And also, who can really watch they 1 and a half yard gains being cross-analyzed without going insane?

BASKETBALL: It’s all great.  It’s an hour less than football. It’s excitement, dunks, fun, a person who is new can pick it up fairly easily, and there is never a true stop in the action. Unless the game is close. And you know what comes after that – intentional fouls. Which lead to foul shots.  And after that, there are timeouts. Which mean 2 minutes turn into 4. And 4 minutes turn into 8. So when the game ends, the clock has been below a minute for 6 minutes. Which makes me repeatedly bang my head against whatever hard surface I can get to.

HOCKEY: There aren’t really stops. There’s only one timeout. It’s high scoring. There’s no problem!! Except for this. Ice hockey is very tiring. So the games take 2 and a half hours. The other problem I have with it is that I can’t really see the puck. It moves very fast, and unless you have been trained to watch hockey all of your life, it’s really hard to follow. Like, really hard.

SOCCER: No stops except for one. Constant action. Timed games. Brilliant plays. Easy to pick up.  Fun to watch if you understand it. And if the games matter. So have we found our golden game? The only visible problem I can find with it is faking injuries. Aside from that, I think this could be it…

BASEBALL: Baseball, is actually rather hard to watch. It is very hard to interpret if you don’t know the game, and has no time frame, but still many commercial breaks. Plus the bullpen calls. And it can get tedious. So unless you know the game and like it, you can really love to hate it.

GOLF: Okay, with no offense to golf, with tournaments, unless you are a golf fanatic, really, are you going to watch every second of the Masters? Now how about the Shell Houston Open? Hmm….

And now, the official Sports According to Will list of HARDEST SPORTS TO WATCH (6 is hardest to watch, 1 is easiest)

6. Golf

5. Baseball

4. Hockey

3. Football

2. Basketball

1. Soccer

So could the theory be that the simpler the game, the easier it is to watch? Maybe…

This is just me, so tell me about you if you want to!

Sincerely,

The Sports According to Will Information Bureau. (A.K.A. me)

Is your mind blown yet?

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OK, seriously. When will they die? When is it going to be over? The Spurs are just not going away!

I’m a little scared. This team is an obvious dynasty, an obvious powerhouse. But every year since – well – I can’t even remember that far back – the Spurs have been a high seed in the playoffs. I simply don’t get it.

I can’t understand. Why? They’re OLD! How are they so old and so good? Tim Duncan and Tony Parker are the face of this franchise, and somehow STILL THE CORE. They’re the leaders.

For years, I’ve said that this team will be gone by next year. But I don’t know if anybody can anymore! I suspect that in the year 2073, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will be in a wheelchair, in an ad-covered Spurs jersey, averaging 44.4 points a game with a little star next to it because he’s now part robot.

This team is defying gravity – or at least age. I get that the three – Ginobili, Parker and Duncan are incredible. But this really has never been done. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were fighting for the fifth spot in the playoffs. But the best record? Geez.

I – I can’t say anymore. Why, you ask?

Because I know I’m going to feel like an idiot next year.

 

Money money money – why so much?

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ca. 2006 --- LeBron James --- Image by © Anthony Mandler/Corbis Outline In the sports world, one thing is inevitable. Contracts. And contracts lead to agents. And agents lead to money. And to play, there is no way out.

And I think that’s fine. That’s completely normal. For any real job, you sign a contract. But here’s what I don’t get.

LeBron James for the next six years will get a total of roughly 110 million dollars. If I got 150,000 dollars a year in savings after tax, I would need to work 122 years to get it. And if I wanted Pujols money? That’s 169 years. Although it’s really nothing when you are immortal.

So why do we think having a player play a game well is worth 150,000 dollars after getting a hit? I simply don’t get why we have to pay these players so much money!

If the sports world was up to me, I would change a lot of things. (BCS, Playoff formats, money, BCS, BCS, BCS, BCS – did I mention BCS?) But this is the second most puzzling to me. I just can’t grasp how a player could be worth so much money (like A-Rod, and 29 million a year) for playing a game?

Playing a game is tough. It takes a toll on you and your body. But throwing a ball into a net is worth that much? I just don’t get it.

 

How bout’ them Lakers? How bout’ not.

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here's the hype (image SI)

Here’s the hype (image SI)

The Lakers have a losing record. Let me say that to you again. The Lakers have a losing record. At the beginning of the season, it was the dream team. You couldn’t beat them. They had superstars, and they were not going to be touched. Turns out they were half right, as it turns out, another LA team rules now.

The Clippers. Lob City. They’ve beaten the Lakers twice now. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Caron Butler, Willie Green and DeAndre Jordan are the starting lineup that lead LA to this 27-8 record and a 17 game winning streak.

Do you remember in 2010, when the Cowboys were failing, and everyone was going: How bout them cowboys? And everyone else was going: How bout not? I feel the same way here too. We get it. The Lakers stink now. But we don’t need to see it on the front of ESPN every time Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard get hurt.

 

But for a Lakers fan, the worst part of this is Kobe Bryant. He has completely turned his back on the team, shown no respect at all, and the criticizations of  the Lakers as “An old team – we’re slow as s—” were just a few of his many rants this year, along with “Sticks in the mud” – and telling his fans to “Shut up.” and that they were “Stupid”. Also, he said one of his former teammates shouldn’t have played in the NBA, and they were too cheap to spring for a point guard.

This isn’t the superstar kids are supposed to look up to, the one who criticizes his coach, his former teammates and his team. He said he was “Trying to push the right buttons” to light a fire under his team, and didn’t care about being perceived as the villain.

Which, in my opinion came out simply as “I’d rather be known as a winner instead of a good teammate.”

And then we have the coaching. The Lakers fired Brown early in the season. The team has gotten better. But according to the players and Kobe, the type of coach they wanted was like the interim coach they had – apparently, Kobe Bryant, seeming better

Here's now. (Getty Images, AP Photo)

Here’s now. (Getty Images, AP Photo)

In other words, it means that Brown was overcoaching, and the Lakers just wanted to let the players play.

So why do we care anymore? It’s all happened. We all know the Lakers are bad. Picking up Howard was a terrible move, and Gasol can’t stop getting hurt. It’s done.

This is why Lob City rules now. They have young talent that doesn’t talk back. They have a coach who coaches the right way, and not a superteam, just a team that works together.

When will people learn that putting talent together doesn’t make a team? Maybe never, seeming that it just keeps on happening, and teams aren’t winning championships, and some aren’t making playoff appearances. Take the Angels, Dodgers, Red Sox, Cowboys, Eagles and many more.

So can we please end the conversation with this sentence?

The old king is dead, long live the Clippers.

NBA Preview!!!

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I know I’m pretty darn late to the party. This one has been in the works for a while, and only now have I really just gotten around to finishing it. But no more procrastination! So, without any further ado………. my NBA Preview.

EASTERN CONFERENCE:

1. Miami Heat. I hate to say this, I really, really, really, really hate to. But unfortunately, they forced me. Unfortunately for the rest of the world, this team is (A) Pretty good, (B) Playing with a swagger that’s just hard to describe, and (C) finally finding talent that doesn’t involve LBJ, DW or CB.

2.  Chicago Bulls. The only reason they should be number 2 instead of 1 is simple. No Rose. While they will still be good, the Bulls are Defined by D-Rose. Without him, they’re good. With him – they can be unstoppable.

3. Boston Celtics. Remember when I said 2011 is the last year for Garnett and Pierce? I was wrong. But now, this is Rondo’s team. So expect another few years out of this lineup before it’s back to square one.

4. New York Knicks. I really don’t feel confident in this prediction. But if everything goes decently well for the Knicks, then they’ll have the 4 seed taken just because of the talent they can produce. Not saying they will, but it’s very possible.

5. Brooklyn Nets. I feel a bit more confident on this one. With the new image, new players and a new chance, I feel good about the Nets. They have a decent bench and a great starting lineup.

6. Philadelphia 76ers. You know the name, Seventy Sixers? I feel like they’ve been hovering in this area for a bit – now they take a step up. Next year, maybe they’ll get rid of the name, change to the Fifty Fourers.

7. Cleveland Cavaliers. Kyrie Irving looks poised to make a sophomore stretch, and become one of the elite point guards in the game. Next year, this team will be ready for prime-time.

8. Atlanta Hawks. This team is getting older, but I still think they’re playoff caliber. They can play with the big boys, but it could be hard in the division owned by the Heat.

EASTERN PLAYOFFS.

Heat Over Hawks, In 6

Bulls Over Cavs, In 7

76ers Over Celtics, in 5

Nets Over Knicks, in 7

 

76ers Over Heat, in 7

Bulls Over Nets, in 6

 

Bulls Over 76ers, in 5

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE 

1. Thunder. With the playoff experience checkmark off the list, the only thing standing between them and this spot is their ego. Keep it low, and Aloha, Number one seed.

2. Clippers. Also mark the playoff experience checkmark off. But this will be more than a checkmark season. This season will be the second breakout. Get ready, because LA has a new king.

3. San Antonio Spurs. Seriously. When will they go away?

4. Lakers. It’s not going to be the same. They’re on the way out, and don’t be surprised if they finish lower than this. Kobe, Meta, Gasol and Howard are getting older and more prone to injuries. Sorry LA – there’s a new King here.

5. Houston Rockets. With the addition of Harden and Lin, this team is going to be offense heavy. And while the lack of defense might be scary for Rockets fans, the offense will be enough to propel them to the number five spot.

6. Denver Nuggets. It’s a new look for them, and it’s looking good. Don’t expect a miracle season, but definitely a good one.

7. Memphis Grizzlies. One spot up from last year, they look ready – and they will be. Returning veterans are everything here, and they want to give Memphis a long journey through the playoffs, and look poised to take the first step.

8. Mavericks. One last time for them. Nowitzki is past his prime. Terry waved goodbye, and the Mavericks might be doing the same with the playoffs for a while starting next year.

PLAYOFFS

Thunder Over Mavericks, in 5

Clippers Over Grizzlies, in 7

Nuggets Over Spurs, in 7

Rockets Over Lakers, in 6

 

Thunder Over Nuggets, in 6

Clippers Over Rockets, in 5

 

Thunder Over Clippers, in 7
Which brings us to the NBA Finals. And I predict the team that will hoist the Larry O’ Brien Trophy, in 7 games, with the MVP Kevin Durant, will be the Oklahoma City Thunder, bringing a championship to the franchise for the first time since the seventies.