in defense of the king

NBA:

The King James Version of the 2010 NBA season has come under heavy fire from alleged scholars.

Bill Simmons ripped LeBron James for not coming out sooner with a quote declaring his preference to to stay with the Cavs if that is in fact his intention. All-unknowing Geoff Ketchum proclaimed his former whipping boy Kobe the greatest while abusing James for having a Larry King interview during the finals and trying to be the center of attention during the finals instead of "growing up" and leading a team to a championship.

Well, first of all the King on King interview was only aired recently, by Larry's decision, after being taped during the playoffs. You might criticize Lebron for making a large deal of his own free agency, but then I don't know when a greater player was an available free agent. It is a big deal and I'm not one to clamor for tons of false-humility.

Last season he produced 24.78 wins with a WP48 over .400. The list of NBA players who have achieved numbers like that is short and only includes names like Olajuwon, Bird, or Jordan. His teammates accounted for another 33.08 wins and 16 of those came from Jamario Moon (4.19), Anderson Varejao (8.17, 2nd highest on the team), and Hickson (4.09). You'll notice that all three of those players were denied crucial playoff minutes by brain trust Mike Brown.

As a reminder, while Kobe has played much stronger in the playoffs (still not approaching James) he only produced 9.69 wins this season with a WP48 of .164.

This is classic winner's bias. The perceived good players on the winning team are always elevated in public opinion over the good players from the losing team. Lost in this oversimple perspective is that teams win games. While superstars make a larger difference in the NBA than perhaps any other league they still require a lot of help to secure championships.

Lebron James deserves the money he'll be paid soon, the firing of the Cavs' incompetent coach and GM, and a decent team around him to maximize the greatest player since Jordan. He doesn't deserve stupid criticisms of a performance beyond what anyone else in the league is currently capable of producing or the silly comparisons to the winning team's superstars.

As far as your game 1 analyis: I think one of the biggest difference makers in this series is Andrew Bynum. I already noted that a surge from him would be impactful and the kind of disparity between Gasol and Garnett or Bynum and Perkins we saw in game 1 will mean a short, successful series for the Lakers. The Boston perimeter is good but you usually can't count on guards to make the difference over strong production from the big men. Unless the guard is named Bird, Magic, Jordan, etc.

Football:

I prefer the Pac10, or PAC16 or whatever, to all other options.

On News8 Austin I saw an old feller from Waco decrying the "splitting of Texas teams" and arguing that Baylor deserves to be in the same league with Texas and the other Big 12 programs. His notion that Baylor is just as competitive as any other school is obviously laughable and I couldn't help but notice that his idea of what constitutes a Texas school strangely didn't apply to TCU, SMU, Houston or Rice all of which would protest inclusion on a tier below Baylor.

At any rate I wouldn't at all mind dropping the baptists exhibition game from the yearly schedule, or even the farmers for that matter. I understand that many Aggies would prefer to compete in the SEC and would happily leave Texas. I remember, as a Red Sox fan arguing that our identity was not in fact rooted to being perennial losers and that winning would just simplify baseball for poor Red Sox Nation and remove the suffering. Then Boston won 2 World Series. I celebrated a seminal sports moment and haven't been as drawn to what the sport offers since then. The time commitment necessary to routinely follow the baseball season is too intense to sign up for more abuse after already tasting the sweetness of redemption.

My point is this, the Aggies entire identity is wrapped up in beating Texas and arriving in Sports Heaven with a Big 12 title, victory over Texas, and national championship. Nothing could have more meaning or importance for their culture. They'll just be someone else's bitch in the South Eastern penitentiary anyways.

Geekdom:

Just watched the Vietcong take on the Waffen-S. As far as the actual competition it came down to this for me:

It takes a far different level of tactical skill to defend your homeland than to conquer other nations in their own environment. The Vietcong were like the Aggy basketball squad, very difficult to defeat on their own court but incapable of greatness beyond that. The Waffen-SS would be your Duke Blue-Devils, terrible in Cameron but likely to brutalize you anywhere else as well with a host of obnoxiously superior and calculating white dudes.

The gap in weapons technology was minimized by the fact that the only weapons the Vietcong made for themselves were primitive (although certainly devious) explosives and traps. The rest were Soviet or French hand-me-downs.

The tests made it seem as though the sub-machine guns were equal as killers but the German's test was clearly more difficult than the Vietcong Normandy-shoot'em up. I would have guessed that the Mauser was superior to the Tokarev, although the Soviet handgun looked a lot better than many of the sidearms U.S. troops are issued even today.

All that aside, this was one of the most hilarious episodes I've seen to date. The Germans were clearly uncomfortable with trash-talking about their Nazi predecessors while still maintaining superior facial expressions that hissed, "granted my grandfather was an ass-hole but he still would wipe the floor with yours..."

All of the acted scenes were particularly comedic as they repeatedly used words like "evil" and "despicable" while portraying SS and Vietcong fighters slaughtering idiotic Americans including one fantastic and often-repeated shot of a Vietnamese dude shooting down a helicopter with a quick spray from the hip with his machine gun.

The show's hosts clearly weren't too comfortable announcing that the deplorable Nazi's had toppled another foe although they didn't hide their excitement when the German weapons experts were shooting up mannequins that represented another race of humans to be put under foot.

If you are able to find humor in this sort of thing rather than getting your panties bunched up over the fake depiction of American combat deaths...well, the show offers a phenomenal brand of comedy you won't find elsewhere.

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