Tag Archives: LeBron James

LeBron back in Cleveland would be 57 kinds of awesome. Penalty kicks are an awful way to decide World Cup games. And Jimmy Fallon and Halle Berry make a human hamster wheel


A not-so-little secret, from a former sportswriter: We in the sports media tend to overhype things.
We make way, way too much out of common events, declare games “the best ever” and are quick to anoint heroes and legends all the time, making enormous mountains out of molehills.

But if what happens today with LeBron James is what lots of folks were reporting Wednesday night happens, then the news’ importance would be inelastic: It could not be stretched.

LeBron James going back to Cleveland would be HUGE. Bigger than huge. The biggest sports story in a decade, I think.

Do you realize what an incredible tale this is? Hometown kid, grows up to become the best player on the planet, plays seven years for the Cleveland Cavaliers and is beloved beyond belief by the fans there. They don’t win a title, and then as a free agent he goes on national TV, humiliates the city that loves him and chooses to go to Miami, where he teams up with other stars and of course, wins championships that he seemed destined to win for the long-suffering fans of Cleveland.

His jerseys get burned in Cleveland. He feels rage like few athletes ever have. The Cavs owner writes a scathing letter ripping LeBron to shreds.

And then, four years later … LeBron comes back to Cleveland? It would be epic. That kind of story just does not happen in sports.  You know with Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins, and some other free agents who will soon sign by his side, LeBron would have a great chance to end Cleveland’s 50-year sports championship drought.

Why would he go back to a place that sent so much fury at him? I have no inside information into his psyche, of course, but I honestly think he feels bad about the way he left. I think he knows how he departed, making a spectacle of himself on national TV, was wrong and immature, and he sees this as righting a wrong.

And if he comes back to Ohio and wins a title or two, man, what a story it would make.

I so hope LeBron becomes a Cav again. It would be just a wonderful, wonderful story.


**And now, more Jimmy Fallon awesomeness: He got Halle Berry to agree to be a human hamster wheel with him the other night.
Love how trusting these celebs are with Fallon…

**Finally today, a couple words on the ridiculousness of World Cup penalty kicks, deciding games.
I like shootouts in the NHL regular season, because at some point games have to end, they’re exciting for fans, and with 82 games, it breaks up the monotony and never truly impacts who wins the Stanley Cup. If they ever went to shootouts to determine Stanley Cup playoff game winners, I’d be right out there with my pitchfork with all the other hockey diehards, because it would be positively insane to do that.

And yet, in the World Cup elimination rounds, when a country has waited four years to get a chance to win this prestigious event, if the score is tied after 120 minutes of play, they go to a “skills competition” gimmick to decide the winner.

It happened Wednesday in the Argentina-Holland semifinal, it happened in the Costa-Rica-Netherlands game, and the Brazil-Chile game as well. It’s nuts that after working that hard, and putting so much effort into the game, teams watch one shooter and one goalie decide the outcome, one at a time.

Play it out until someone scores, I say. Allow more substitutions if you must, but to have the whole thing come down to PKs seems incredibly unfair to me.

Then again, I’m not a soccer guy. Happy to argue with anyone who is.

The Spurs, a championship “team” in every sense of the world. A couple of beautiful Father’s Day tributes. And my thoughts on an incredible run by the Rangers ending


There are certain teams in sports that remind you of why you loved them in the first place.
They play the game beautifully, like you always want to see it be played. They conduct themselves with class, with humility, and win gracefully. Their games are the purest, most beautiful form of the sport, and you wish it could always be that way.
But it’s not, which is when a team like that comes along, it’s so special.

The Edmonton Oilers made me feel that way about hockey in the 1980s. The New York Yankees did it for me in the late 1990s.
And the 2014 San Antonio Spurs … man, is this a team that Norman Dale from Hickory High School would’ve loved, or what?
Tim Duncan, as selfless a superstar as basketball has ever seen. Tony Parker, a wizard with the ball on a string. Manu Ginobili. Boris Diaw. And Kawhi Leonard, who I remember watching at San Diego State a few years back and thinking, ‘That dude plays hard.

The Spurs finished off a massacre of the two-time defending champs Sunday night, and it wasn’t even close after the first quarter. The Miami Heat got a championship performance from LeBron James (next stop, Cleveland? I have no idea, but that would set the sports media shuddering with joy.), but nobody else really showed up after Game 2.

Do you realize how incredible it is that Duncan and coach Gregg Popovich (above) won titles together 15 years apart? FIFTEEN! That’s unheard of, but it speaks to quiet consistency, and greatness both.

The Spurs are more than worthy champs, and stand as a testament for all that basketball fans like me love about the game.

Couple more thoughts on an NBA Finals that ended way sooner than any of us expected:

— It was the final game in the career of my all-time favorite Dukie, Shane Battier, and that makes me a little sad. The man had a tremendous career, making every team he was on better with his defense, his intensity, and his intelligence. The joke when he was at Duke was always that he’d be President one day.
Wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

— Very classy of LeBron and the rest of the Heat to act gracefully in defeat, congratulating the Spurs on the court after the game. It’s really hard to dislike LeBron anymore, isn’t it, all you who hate him?

— I said this on my Twitter feed the other day: I would 100 percent watch a reality TV show starring broadcasters Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson, living in an apartment together, bickering, hugging, you name it. They are fantastic on TV together.

**Hope everyone had a happy Father’s Day Sunday; I am so blessed to have three outstanding fathers/role models in my life, with my dad, my stepfather, and my father-in-law. They show me every day what it’ll take for me when I join the “club” in September and become a Dad myself: compassion, humor, kindness, and most of all, patience. Lots, and lots of patience!

Can’t wait to join the club. Three more months and I get the best title of all: Dad.
Couple things to share that I saw Sunday: First, the above Dove ad that almost made me cry, and this from Joe Posnanski, who is never better than when he’s writing about his kids, and being a father. This is really great.


**Finally … after midnight on Friday, after Alec Martinez had collected a rebound kicked out by the all-world Henrik Lundqvist and deposited it into the open net to give the Los Angeles Kings the Stanley Cup, I fell back on the couch and sighed deeply.
I was mad for about 60 seconds, mad that the incredible New York Rangers run through the Stanley Cup playoffs was over. Mad that they played three games in L.A. this series, all went to overtime, and they somehow lost all of them. Mad that Chris Kreider didn’t score on a breakaway in OT, mad that the Rangers hit the post twice and didn’t score the winner.
But that was it; just 60 seconds or so of anger. After that, it was pride. And joy. And a little greatfulness sprinkled in, that the Rangers took their fans on a crazy, unexpected journey that came up just three wins short.

It really was a hell of a spring, and a great way to go out. The Kings were better, but I’m so glad the world got to see Lundqvist at his best.

Sigh. Training camp in three months. Can’t wait. In the meantime, check out (below) the always-awesome Hockey Night in Canada closing montage, putting a bow on these fantastic playoffs:
(By the way, that photo above is not how I looked after the game. Lenox Hill Hospital gave out 100 Rangers onesies to babies born during the Finals. Brilliant.)


LeBron and the Heat survive in an NBA classic. A Spanish town figures out the public dog-poop problem. And introducing Rib Stain camo gear


What. A. Game.

I’m not a fan of either the Miami Heat or San Antonio Spurs. I used to have a man-crush on LeBron but now I just admire his incredible talent, and I’ve always appreciated the lunch-pail work ethic and greatness of Tim Duncan.
But really, it didn’t matter much to me who won Tuesday night’s epic Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

And still, I was on the edge of my seat, screaming and pulling my (limited) hair out with every twist and turn.
That was a phenomenal NBA Finals game Tuesday night. I have no idea how the hell the Heat pulled out a 103-100 overtime win, when it looked for so long like the Spurs were headed to yet another NBA title.
LeBron, after being mortal all night, tosses his headband aside in the 4th quarter and became superhuman again. Duncan, great all night, could do nothing in the 4th quarter and overtime.

And poor Chris Bosh, who gets way too much blame when the Heat lose, came up with a couple of huge blocked shots in the final minute of OT.
Couple other thoughts:

— How good is Tony Parker? Imagine what would’ve been if the Spurs had traded him for Jason Kidd back in 2003, like they almost did. Would they have more titles, or fewer?
— The officiating was, predictably, awful, though I think the basketball might be the hardest sport to officiate. The Spurs’ Manu Ginobili absolutely got fouled at the end of overtime on his drive to the hoop, but he traveled also, so I guess it’s a wash. So many missed calls in this game.
— Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy are really an outstanding announcing team. I’d listen to them call anything.
— I haven’t seen much of this series, having been on the honeymoon, but it sounds like last night was the first “great” game of the Finals. I have no idea what’ll happen in Game 7, but I’m not betting against Tim Duncan. I say Spurs win by 3, even after that crushing loss last night.

**Time for our regular installment of “There’s no possible way this product could be real, except it is.”

Do you have a problem getting stains on your shirts while eating ribs? Well worry no more, my friend (By the way, this would’ve been a perfect Father’s Day gift for my dad if I knew about it before Sunday.)

**Finally today, I love what the Spanish town of Brunete is doing about a problem we all encounter every day: dog poop on the streets.
When Brunete police officers catch a dog-owner allowing the feces to stay on the sidewalk and forcing the rest of us to avoid stepping in it, they’ve come up with a novel solution:

They’re mailing the poop back to the owners.
How are they doing this? Get the full details here, but basically it involves spying and some good ole’ fashioned detective work.

I love it. Would love to see the careless owners’ faces when their “package” arrives in the mail.

Then again, I do feel pretty badly for the postal workers who have to deliver it.

This Miami Heat win streak is nuts, and I don’t even care about the NBA. A man refuses to share ice cream with his woman. And the NYPD, “heroically” fighting pot


Today, the Madness truly begins. These next two days are sports nirvana for me, as I plan to watch hour after hour of college hoops at one of the many fine watering holes here in New York City. If you hear on the news reports of a man thrown out of a bar for screaming too loud for a 14 seed to upset a 3, you’ll know it’s just me happy my Davidson over Marquette pick has come through. Enjoy the madness…

I care very little about the NBA mostly, except at playoff time and in those rare years my Nets (now the Brooklyn Nets, of course) are any good, like this year.

But I have to say, this Miami Heat 24-game winning streak has captured my attention like nothing else in pro hoops the last 10 years. I find myself checking NBA.com every day to see if they kept it going, not because I love the Heat (though I have gotten over hatred of LeBron over “The Decision”, and Miami does employ my all-time favorite Dukie, Shane Battier) but because a streak that goes on this long is just so improbable in pro sports.

I don’t care how good you are, and clearly the Heat are the NBA’s best: In a long 82-game season, filled with long road trips to Cleveland and Detroit and Milwaukee, every team is going to lose once in a while. It’s just inevitable; your top players have a bad night, the bench guys can’t bail you out, and the opposition and their fans are fired up to take down the champs.

And yet every time it’s looked like the Heat were going to tumble, they somehow pull the rabbit out of the hat. Wednesday night at Cleveland was their most Doug Hennig-esque trick yet (look him up, kids, he was a famous magician in the 1980s).

The Heat were playing in Cleveland, which of course still has all kinds of warm and fuzzy feelings toward LeBron, and despite the Cavs playing without its top two stars, they amazingly led the Heat by 27 points in the third quarter.

Pretty much an insurmountable lead in 95 percent of NBA games. But because this streak has magical powers now, apparently, Miami came back and won.
They’ve now won 24 straight games, nine short of the all-time record.

It’s hard to not root this streak, or at least not be in awe of it. And oh yeah, this happened during the game, too; I hope this guy enjoyed his few minutes of fame.

**Next today, I thought this was pretty funny. Former NBA star Chris Webber, and the man all Knicks fans love forever, Isiah Thomas, used their analysis skills to explain how this fan at a recent game refused to share his ice cream with his lady friend. Pretty funny…

**Finally, yet another disturbing story about the ridiculousness of America’s war on marijuana, perhaps the stupidest “war” ever fought in U.S. history.

A recent report discovered that the NYPD spent one million hours making 440,000 marijuana possession arrests in the last 10 years.

Think about that for a minute: Think how much better and more effectively those 1 million hours could’ve been spent. Think about the REAL crimes that could’ve been prevented, or investigated, if officers weren’t arresting people for the victimless, mostly harmless crime of smoking pot.

Just ridiculous. The only upside is this story also says that Andrew Cuomo is talking about reforming New York’s drug laws, and decriminalizing marijuana in small amounts.

Wish the rest of the country would do the same.

Good News Friday: The banker who saved ducklings. LeBron, acting like a shy kid at the White House. And the double-arm transplant: Another medical miracle

A healthy dose of Good News today, as we head into Super Bowl weekend; just think, a few days from now and you’ll no longer have to see either Harbaugh brother for a really long time.

First up today, the banker who saved ducklings. A hat tip to my father for this clip; he saw it on “Good Morning America” and send it to me. A man named Joel Armstrong saw a dozen ducklings trapped on a ledge outside his second-story office; the ducklings’ mother had flown down already and the ducklings were supposed to follow, but they were too scared.

So Armstrong went outside and coaxed them down safely. All ducklings happily back on the ground! Then Armstrong and the mommy duck led them back to the river.

Such a cute story.

**Next up, LeBron James, acting like a kid, all bashful and excited this week after meeting President Barack Obama and visiting the White House.

I think I’ve pretty much completely forgiven LeBron for his 180-degree attitude turn back during “The Decision” and all that; he’s back to his old charming self, and I”m convinced he just temporarily lost his mind for about a year. Happens to all of us.

I just love how genuinely thrilled he seems to be there, and when he calls the leader of the free world “Coach” by accident.


**Finally, sometimes you forget how far medical science has come. We take so many of these improvements for granted that it takes something amazing to wow us.
Well, something amazing happened to an Iraq war veteran on Staten Island, N.Y. named Brendan Marrocco received a double arm transplant at Johns Hopkins last month, and he met the media this week to show off his new limbs and talk about them.

Who ever would’ve thought we’d be able to put new arms on people? I mean, aren’t we pretty close to being able to create a bionic man soon?

Truly amazing.

Good News Friday: Coca-Cola promotes secret acts of kindness. A flash mob marriage proposal that’s awesome. And a dolphin that spewed a rainbow

OK, OK. I’m happy for LeBron James. An amazing playoffs, an amazing NBA Finals, and a truly worthy champion. I still think “The Decision” was one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen a big-time athlete do, but you know … the guy went crazy for a few months. He deserves this title.
And I’m even happier that my favorite Duke player ever, Shane Battier, has won his first NBA crown.
And now, on with the show… 

I start this week’s Good News Friday with this: Random acts of kindness are just about the best thing ever.
Coca-Cola, who long have been known for awesome advertising, has done something very, very cool: They’ve taken security camera footage from around the world and spliced it together to show things that we never seen on security cameras:

People being nice. And helpful. And happy. And taking a moment out of their day to find some joy. (Note: I read up on this commercial and 90 percent of these scenes are real; the other 10 percent have been re-enacted.)
This is my favorite commercial in a long, long time. Watch it and smile.

**If you read this space often you know how much I love creative and unique marriage proposals. Not sure if this one tops Isaac’s lip-dub proposal from a few weeks ago (nothing will ever top that one), but this one’s pretty good: A flash-mob proposal involving a high-school band in New York City’s Bryant Park. It gets good around 2 minutes in…

**Finally, a whale spitting out a rainbow. Illusion, or proof that Free Willy here has some magical powers? You decide (it’s at the :16 mark).

LeBron comes through big-time. A man opens a bottle of beer with a chainsaw. And dis-inviting the President from your wedding

**While we all marvel at pictures like the one above of the eclipse on Sunday, and remember a terrific sports weekend (Rangers win, a hugely exciting Preakness Stakes, and great NBA playoff action), a few words today about Mr. LeBron James…

Every once in a while, LeBron James has a game for the ages, one that reminds you that he has the ability to become the greatest basketball player of all time.
I don’t think he’ll ever get there, because I think he lacks that indescribable killer instinct that Michael Jordan had, but Sunday he showed just how special he can be.
In a game the Miami Heat had to win, LBJ scored 40 points, pulled down 18 rebounds, and dished out nine assists. It’s the kind of game you just shake your head at, that one person could be that good.
And it all speaks to the frustration those of us who love basketball, played purely and brilliantly, have with LeBron: If he could do all that, at such a clutch time in the playoffs, why can’t he do it all time? Why does he disappear so often in the biggest moments?
This season is a referendum on him as a player, and as a leader, and as an all-time great. It’s fascinating to see what the next chapter will be.

**Here’s something you don’t see every day: A man opening up a bottle of beer with a chainsaw.
As the great Andrew Sullivan said about this, it’s probably best to try this before you start drinking for the day.

**Finally, I’ve always admired the courage of Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank, not just for being an openly gay man in politics, not because he calls out Tea Party lunatics at times, hilariously, but because he always says and does exactly what he thinks.
Frank is retiring this year, but more interestingly today is the fact that he’s marrying his longtime partner this summer.
When asked recently by C-Span whether President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama would be invited to his shindig, he replied,
“If he and Michelle wanted to come, I would be delighted and honored to have him, but he will bring the Secret Service. I would be flattered to have the president do that, but it would ruin the party to have the Secret Service. I’m not critical of them, but they can go take their layered protection of the president somewhere else. Not to my party.”

I love it. Barney wants to get married and doesn’t want his guests hassled. Good for him. The President has other things to do, I’m sure.

Guns ‘N’ Roses, played on a cello. Game 7 tonight: ecstasy. And the best “man peeing” photo you’ll see this week

Guns ‘N’ Roses was absolutely, positively the most important band to me in 1987. And probably 1988, too.
Those of us who were teenagers at the time remember their incredible influence. How big was their influence? My mother once stunned her friends by singing along to “Sweet Child O’ Mine” in the car.
“My kids play it all the time!” was her response.

Anyway, my love for G ‘N’ R hasn’t faded too much over time. Which is why I thought this was incredibly cool. It’s their first hit, “Welcome to the Jungle,” played by two guys named Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser on a cello.

**Tonight, the two best words in sports get to be said again:
Game 7.
The Stanley Cup Finals between Boston and Vancouver have been nuts. There’s been dirty play on both sides. Great goaltending on both sides. Fantastic action, blowouts, close games, and about 11 different emotions for Canucks fans when thinking about their awful/fantastic goalie, Roberto Luongo (seriously, this guy has caused fans more heartburn than a lifetime of eating at Taco Bell).

I have loved all of it, though I have absolutely no idea what will happen tonight. Gun to my head, I think Vancouver wins, 3-2. (Check out this fantastic column by Bruce Arthur of the National Post, in Canada. Just great writing here.)
I do know that it’ll be fantastic viewing. Even if you’re not a hockey fan, you’ve got to love the drama of a Game 7. 8 p.m. tonight, NBC.
And you know, while we’re talking hockey, this happened 17 years ago Tuesday. Still the greatest sports memory of my life, and I don’t think it’ll ever be topped:

**Finally, there were a bunch of great photos in the wake of the Dallas Mavericks’ win over the Miami Heat. I like this one, a T-shirt worn by Mavericks forward (and LeBron antagonist) DeShawn Stevenson (scroll down halfway).
But this one has to be my favorite. Really, name me a photo you’ve ever seen of a man peeing at a urinal that’s better than this one? Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, you are my hero… I wouldn’t want to be the next guy holding that championship trophy, though.

A brilliantly funny letter, from a Mom to her spawn. The Heat go down in flames to the Mavs. And a beautiful Tony Awards moment

They threw a party back in July, celebrating like they’d already won a championship.

Go ahead, click this video and watch it. You’ll see LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat, with one title between them, ever, prancing and preening and carrying on like they were the greatest damn thing ever.
All year, they had a target on their back. And rightfully so.
They rolled through everybody in the playoffs, until they ran into the Dallas Mavericks, who finished off a surprisingly convincing Game 6 Sunday night, and won the NBA title.
It was a fabulous game, just like every other game in this series.
So many thoughts… I’ll try to be fairly brief.
— LeBron James’ legacy is not forever tarnished, and people who are saying that forget that the dude is only 26. He’ll have at least another 10 years to get a few rings. But wow, this series really does damage to his rep for a while. He was better Sun. night in the 4th quarter, but not good enough.

— Can’t say enough good things about the Mavs. Their role players all were fantastic; Tyson Chandler got so many big rebounds in Game 6. Jason Terry was unconscious shooting the ball. J.J. freaking Barea couldn’t be stopped, and even DeShawn Stevenson chipped in.
It wasn’t just Dirk Nowitzki. This was a hell of a team effort.
— Very happy for Jason Kidd, 38 years old, in the league so long, and finally getting a title. I wish he’d gotten it for my Nets, but hey, at least he got one. One of the 5 greatest point guards to ever play.
— Definitely bummed we didn’t get to see NBA commish David Stern have to hand the trophy to his mortal enemy, Mark Cuban. In a classy move, Cuban had original Mavs owner Donald Carter accept the trophy.
—  That relentlessly promoted ABC show “101 ways to get thrown off a Game show” or something like that? Yeah, I’ll probably watch 1 episode. I’m sick like that.
— Hope you enjoyed Game 6 if you’re a basketball fan.  NBA is headed for a lockout this fall, just like the NFL has. Yep, millionaires arguing with billionaires in another sport.
Good thing we have hockey. Go Bruins! (Game 6 tonight).

**Tricia Bliven Chasinoff is a friend of a friend. She’s the mother of two, she’s smart, she’s funny, and she’s just a really cool person (though I’m sure she’d vehemently deny that.)

She writes a blog called Just Breathe, about her life, and motherhood, and all the crazy stuff that goes on.
This may be her funniest blog post yet. It’s titled “Letter to My Spawn,” and I predict at least 7-9 chuckles if you read it. It’s honest and witty and if you’re a parent, you will totally empathize.

**Finally, didn’t watch Sunday’s Tony Awards since it was on against Mavs-Heat, but did catch this online. Larry Kramer, one of the most important AIDS activists of all time, saw the revival of his play The Normal Heart win a slew of big awards.
Kramer gave a short, eloquent speech here about the cause that has inspired his life.
Thirty years after the scourge of HIV/AIDS was first discovered, people like Larry Kramer are still fighting for acceptance.

A beautiful father and daughter story about reading. The most ridiculous scientific study, ever. And an ode to NBA benchwarmers

This story made me all kinds of happy, and I’m neither a father nor a daughter (that’ll make sense in a minute, I promise.)

Last week on CBS Sunday Morning, the story was told of Jim Brozina and his daughter, Alice Ozma, from New Jersey.
When Alice was in the 4th grade, Jim was worried that as Alice grew, their close relationship might suffer a bit. So he made a vow to read her a story every night. And he kept that up, every night.
For nine years.
Alice came home from parties in high school so she could read with her Dad. They didn’t miss a night, amazingly.

It’s a beautiful story about fathers and daughters (Alice wrote a book about it) and the joys of reading. It’s guaranteed to brighten your Sunday. And make you want to read a book.

**This is one of the more ridiculous scientific “studies” I’ve ever seen. It basically says that vivid TV advertisements make people believe they’ve had experiences that they haven’t really had. Like, they gave one group of subjects popcorn, and another one didn’t, then showed the subjects a really awesome TV commercial about popcorn.
Then they followed it up by asking the subject groups about the popcorn, and some people in the group that didn’t get popcorn actually said it tasted good and they enjoyed it.
I’m sorry, I call B.S. on this study. But here, read for yourself. 

**Very psyched about Game 6 of the Mavericks-Heat series tonight. LeBron gets one more chance to prove he’s not a stiff in the clutch. Excellent column here by Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Mr. James and his big moment.

Personally, I think Dallas must win tonight if it’s going to win the series. Winning a Game 7 on the road is gonna be awfully tough.

Anyway, who cares about Dirk or Dwyane? The real drama is with the benchwarmers. Check out this funny video (above) by Jimmy Kimmel and Usher about the dudes who never play…