I can’t jump on a bandwagon for the wrong reasons. I refuse to be brainwashed by the media, which is why I’m trying to break onto the scene to educate fans. On the surface, it’s easy to cater to big names because that’s all we’re exposed to.
For instance, Tim Tebow is a football player just like all the other guys. Tebow is another young quarterback with room for growth and his fair share of pros and cons when you keep things in perspective. All that talk about Denver’s defense was ridiculous. They only had a handful of good games out of 17, including the playoffs. We all know they were 1-4 to start the season with Kyle Orton at the helm. By the way, Orton can win some games for the Cowboys if Tony Romo were to get hurt. But Tebow got a bad wrap for winning games unconventionally. Who cares? Michael Vick anyone? How about Rex Grossman going to a Super Bowl and Trent Dilfer winning one? If it’s your team and that’s your quarterback, you’re not complaining that you won the division and beat the Steel Curtain in a playoff game. Big Ben and that Steelers’ defense was heavily favored and lost. The elephant in the room concerning Tebow will always be his Christian faith.
Well let me tell you something. If you were followed around and interviewed on the regular after your job, interrogated for statements made by your peers and outside sources that you didn’t even hear about yet, how would you feel to be ridiculed for being a good guy that works hard in a world cluttered with laziness and fake personalities? Of course it comes with the profession of being in the NFL. I’m just trying to show you how these athletes are people just like you and I, they’re getting paid the big bucks to be physical specimens and public figures as well.
I won’t apologize for using my mind and doing my own research. I think people are beginning to see things for themselves, and for what they really are. I understand the impulse to be prisoners of the moment in a microwave society. It’s difficult to decipher the right sources and information to trust. My challenge is to be that guy to point things out, and to also reveal how debates are manufactured. Half the time I talk sports with someone, we’re in agreement but they’re blinded by hostility and ego. You may be in a conversation, but most people don’t listen or give feedback based on what you say. Unfortunately, the agenda is right in front of you that they just want to say what they think as if it were the gospel. For starters, if there’s anyone I’m going to trust, it’s someone that eats, drinks, and sleeps his or her profession for a living.
With that said, the sports world has been watered down by halfway effort and a false sense of entitlement. No offense to Jeremy Lin. He’s not a superstar like ESPN magnified him to be, but he is a classic example. I’m happy for him and he’s living the dream of playing in the NBA. When healthy, he’ll be a serviceable player because he has skill.
Some other topics of interests: Dwight Howard is by far the best big man in the NBA. Andrew Bynum plays for a storied franchise in Los Angeles, alongside a future Hall of Famer in Kobe Bryant. I get it. He’s a big guy that flashes dominance. Bynum started in the all-star game opposite of Howard. The popular belief is that Bynum’s offense is superior to Howard’s. I know for a fact that most people saying that are talking out of something other than their mouths. I watch the Lake Show, and I watch the Orlando Magic. Everyone is in agreement that Bynum has a high ceiling in regards to potential, so just let the kid mature and elevate his game on the court. Let his play do the talking like Dwight, who’s about to win his 3rd Defensive Player of the Year award. They’re both immature, but they’re good players with a lot of basketball left in them. Howard’s presence detours the opposition from penetrating, and they settle for outside shots. If you need a recent example, go watch how LeBron James and Dwyane Wade played a month ago in Orlando. Everyone wants to compare, just let these pros do what they do best. I’m tired of yielding Lakers fans and their biased opinions of Andrew Bynum. I love Bynum’s game and when he finally puts his head on those shoulders I believe he’ll be “the man.” The Lakers’ title hopes are on this kid’s shoulders.
Now let’s bring the MVP discussion to the forefront. I’m going to axe out all those feeble attempts to throw more cards on the table. Tony Parker and Steve Nash are having good seasons, which is why they made the all-star team. If you want to discuss runner-ups then by all means go for it, but nobody remembers 2nd place. Speaking of runner-up, it’s going to be Kevin Durant because this guy scores gracefully. People are debating if Russell Westbrook deserves consideration, you can tell that to his fan club but don’t bring that nonsense to me. Westbrook is having a good year, especially scoring, but Durant is who other teams gameplan against and he’s having a remarkable season. Durant is fun to watch, and he’s become an elite player in a short amount of time. He hasn’t even hit his prime yet.
As a Bulls fan I would love to include Derrick Rose because he is the reigning MVP, but he’s simply missed too many games and Chicago is a well-oiled machine. They have the best record in basketball again and without a doubt in my mind, Tom Thibodeau should be the first back-to-back Coach of the Year. Scott Brooks has the highest-scoring duo in the NBA in Durant and Westbrook, and the leading shot-blocker in Serge Ibaka. Not to mention the Sixth Man of the Year James Harden, coming off a 40-point game. Greg Popovich is clearly the runner-up, and the Spurs could finish with the best record in the West just like they did last year.
I digress, but let’s finish all the awards in the process. If Kevin Love got Minnesota into the playoffs he would get my MVP vote, but he got injured and they’re not a competitive team. So, I’ll give him somewhat of a consolation with the Most Improved Player award. Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving made multiple game-winning baskets and is the Rookie of the Year, posting 19.6 points, 5.6 assists, 4 rebounds, and a steal per game.
As reluctant as I’ve been to name LeBron James the MVP, it wasn’t a matter of “hate.” I just had to see the season unfold, and it’s not like Chris Bosh has been a big factor for Miami. Not to discredit his effort because he is an all-star, but it’s tough to get the Toronto version of him when his touches are limited. James is not “King James” to me, and he’s not the “Chosen One.” I feel he has to win multiple championships to back his words up. He chose to tattoo and embrace strong nicknames, now the South Beach experiment has to win a title before the dominoes can fall to 6 and 7 rings.
But he is the odds-on MVP this season. Beyond his talent, he’s playing at a high level. Yes, even in 4th quarters, just not in the final seconds of a close game. Again, I hold him accountable, because if you’re going to talk like you’re the best, you better be able to do everything on the floor. But, that’s a different argument and grading scale. Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant are the top-2 scorers, but none are having better seasons. James is 3rd with 27 points per game. He also averages 8 rebounds, 6 assists *14th), and 2 steals (3rd). The Heat are 13-1 when Dwyane Wade sits out, in large part to James shooting 53%, thanks to an improved post game, and 36% behind the arc. Hate it or love it, LeBron James is the MVP.
Las Vegas just released their Super Bowl odds. Of course Green Bay and New England are the favorites. It’s understandable that the Denver Broncos are tied for 4th to win it all, but the other contending teams will gladly give them the hype as opposed to all the pressure that comes with it. Especially for the underachievers in the NFC East residing in Philadelphia and Dallas. As an Eagles fan last season was a struggle, but this season they’ll bounce back into the playoffs. I bet most people didn’t know they finished 4th in offense and 8th in defense, but the “Dream Team” statement from Vince Young blew things out of proportion and the media ran with it. The Broncos have better odds than Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Dallas, NY Giants, and Chicago. Don’t sleep on the blue-collars Bears. They hosted the NFC Championship game 2 years ago, resulting in a loss to the Packers (Champions). Last season they were 7-3 before losing Jay Cutler and Matt Forte to injuries, and have added a Pro Bowl receiver in Brandon Marshall. The only team I would bet against is the Giants because the champs generally don’t repeat. The Patriots might not have won any Super Bowls under Bill Belichick and Tom Brady (Spy Gate).
Hopefully Peyton Manning stays healthy, because the AFC West division will be competitive. After the schedule release and with the draft coming up in a week, the NFL continues to steal headlines from other sports (NHL playoffs, MLB season just started). This will be another exciting football season as we impatiently anticipate week one!