Tag Archives: USA Hockey

The aura of LeBron, and a magnificent win for USA Hockey

I wouldn’t say I’m jaded.

After 13 years of being a sportswriter, I’ll just say I don’t get nearly as excited about covering events or games as I used to.

It’s one of the many dirty little secrets of being a sportswriter: After a while, we just don’t care that much, most of the time.

But there are certain things that still get my adrenaline going. I feel a little thrill on the way to the field, or the gym, or the rink. There are still so many cool things we get to do.

Sunday, I felt that way. Sunday, I went to see LeBron.

People scoff and mock when I say that LeBron James might end up being better than Michael Jordan. But I truly believe he might. The 6-foot-8, 260-pound human force of nature is the only reason I care about the NBA anymore; going to the Orlando Magic-Cleveland Cavaliers game was the first time all season I’d watched an entire NBA game. (Hey, my Nets are 5-50, what do you expect?)

Why did I go, to write a column on a Sunday afternoon when I could’ve easily stayed home?

Because I only saw Michael Jordan live once, at the end of his career when he was a Washington Wizard. That would’ve been like only seeing Willie Mays with the Mets, or Joe Montana with the Kansas City Chiefs. It was a terrible representation of who and what they were. I never saw MJ in his prime, and I feel my grandkids will suffer for it (I’ve gotta tell them stories, you know)

And so since I feel I was gyped on Jordan, I’ve decided I’m going to see LeBron in person as much as I can. He’s just that freaking good. Last season, I interviewed him a couple of times in a group, and piqued his interest briefly when I noticed he was reading “Outliers,” then a new book by Malcolm Gladwell.

He’s not a criminal, he’s not a moron, he’s a genuinely polite and successful kid who has the whole world in his palm and doesn’t usually act like it.

Sunday, he was his typically brilliant self, slashing his way to the basket, hitting rainbow jumpers, and toying with the Magic. Orlando won, but LeBron was the show, as usual.

And I was very glad I got to see it.

**And now, a bowling interlude: Yours truly, in a bowling for the public schools charity thingy on Saturday, rolled a 185. My highest score in at least 10 years or so (I rarely bowl).  I was darn excited and proud of myself. Thank you.

**OK, when people in my Facebook friend universe are writing about hockey in their status updates, I know this was not just an ordinary game.

In as exciting a hockey game as I’ve seen in quite some time, the U.S. Olympic men’s team, despite being outshot 2-to-1, pulled off a thrilling 5-3 win over Canada in Vancouver.

This is what hockey should be about; I kept thinking while watching the game. This is like the NHL All-Star game, but with checking and intensity. Fabulous game by Ryan Miller in net for the U.S., and an incredible defensive effort in the third period by all of America’s boys.

And that diving goal by Ryan Kesler into an empty net, when the American shocked everyone in the area by poking it in and outworking the Canadian defenseman? That hustle, that effort, that desire, should be put into an instructional video and shown to every youth hockey team.

What a great win, and a tremendous upset. No, it wasn’t the Miracle on Ice, not even close. But still, pretty damn good.

I bet you there are a bunch more hockey fans in the U.S. tonight than there were on Saturday.

Of course, the American win could be erased in a few days, if Canada goes on to win the gold medal. But still, you have to think the weight of the pressure on the Canadian guy is even heavier than it was a few days ago.

Can’t wait for the next game, Wednesday.