Monday, May 22, 2006

The Sports Guy Drives In Two

Some may have noticed the link on the side of my blog to "The Sports Guy", Bill Simmons of Yesterday, I read two recent pieces of his and couldn't help but like them. The first one was about his wife's inability to relate to his fantasy sports league obsession: [edited]
Of course, my wife doesn't understand. She thinks I'm nuts. And maybe I am. I've already spent 100-plus hours managing my team: talking trades, researching free agents, bitching to Hench the commish, monitoring our my guys through DirecTV's baseball package Yahoo!'s StatTracker, even calculating how much it would cost to murder Baldelli Matt Clement. I can't think of a less productive way to spend my time, short of joining a gym or appearing on "Around the Horn." When you consider the upside (a 1 in 10 12 chance of winning the league) against the downside (a 9 in 10 11 in 12 chance of losing), then mix in the anticlimactic feeling of taking the title -- no raucous champagne celebration, no ring, just the respect of friends and not enough prize money -- there's no real reason to play fantasy other than for the male bonding or for watching your one friend who married too soon get completely bombed at the draft.

So why do I want to belong to more leagues? Because I'm an overly competitive psychopath, that's why.
Heh. That was too perfect. Then, he talked about LeBron and Kobe. The difference between the two? Kobe packed it in in a Game 7 of a tough series against the Suns. Lebron led his team to a Game 7 they should have never reached, putting them on the brink of victory in Game 6 and still driving hard against the best D in the league late in Game 7. That is why Kobe will never be Jordan, while Lebron may one day surpass him.


  1. thats funny, I just added him to my bloglines feed Thursday. I've been enjoying his writing in the ESPN Magazine print edition. (for a sports guy like you Ez, you should get it, it's an amazing magazine.

  2. I don't like paying for things. :)

  3. I like him and also Malcolm Gladwell, with whom he published a lengthy exchange recently.

  4. Gladwell- Loved his books.

    From the Daily Dime

    Double Standard Now Standard For Kobe And LeBron

    Kobe Bryant, in the second half of Game 7 against the Suns, plays passively and is roundly criticized for either quitting or making a statement or both.

    LeBron James, in the second half of Game 7 against the Pistons, has an almost identical performance and the closest anyone comes to asking what happened is my colleague Chris Sheridan, relaying to LeBron that Coach Mike Brown suggested he was tired. Which James quickly and firmly denied.

    LeBron James

    So. If there was ever a blatant demonstration of the double standard when it comes to judging Kobe vs. LeBron -- or just about anybody else -- this is it.

    When Kobe took only three second-half shots vs. the Suns, all the questions were directed at him: Why did he do that? What was said at halftime? What was he trying to prove?

    If you don't buy that he needed his teammates to trim Phoenix' lead to single digits before he could take over, fine. If you think after his 23-point first half he should've started firing at every opportunity and that that would've somehow inspired his teammates to play the kind of staunch defense they couldn't muster in the first half while getting touches, OK.

    But then you have to ask the same questions of James and the Cavaliers.

    After all, he had 21 first-half points while taking only four jumpers (missing three) on 10-of-15 shooting and Detroit led by a mere two points. Sure, James took nine shots in the second half, three times more than Kobe. But he made only one and seven of them were jumpers. Moreover, the Pistons didn't do anything more defensively than have Tayshaun Prince guard him rather than Rip Hamilton, but the only reason Hamilton was on him in the first place is that LeBron had tortured Prince earlier in the series.

    Now, granted, Cavs coach Brown did Detroit a huge favor by playing Larry Hughes 26 minutes and putting him in the middle of the floor rather than LeBron during that time. Hughes simply couldn't create the chances for himself or his teammates that LeBron could.

    Hughes' stat line didn't look bad, but this is all you need to know: He played in three games in this series, all of them losses, two of them blowouts. Cleveland, conversely, won three of the four games he didn't play, all of them going down to the wire.

    Meanwhile, having James attack from the wing also allowed the Pistons to corral him more easily by forcing him to the baseline.

    Look, I understand why Kobe is guilty until proven innocent and the judge and jury are making goo-goo eyes at LeBron. Kobe has made his share of publicity blunders while the closest LeBron has come to offending anyone was having a suspicously financed chromed-out Hummer in high school. It can be hard to like Kobe, while LeBron makes it easy. I truly get that.

    I'm also not here to denigrate James' effort or performance. There's never been anyone in NBA history who has had his combination of size (6-8, 250) and speed (f-f-f-fast enough to turn the corner on anyone), and he has an amazingly mature game for someone 21 years old.

    He made his share of tactical blunders and bad decisions in this series, but that's no surprise; I wouldn't expect him to understand the game the way Kobe or Tim Duncan or Steve Nash do. He is going to be a force to be reckoned with for a long time and I can't imagine how amazing he will be once his mental game catches up with his physical talents.

    All I'm saying is, that their personalities and Q ratings shouldn't have anything to do with how their performances as NBA players -- nay, superstars -- are judged. And based on how similar their playoff exits were, and how dramatically different they were treated, that's clearly not the case.

    -- Ric Bucher, ESPN The Magazine

  5. I saw that last night, but I disagree. LeBron was going all out, drawing a 3-point play with 4 minutes left in the game when they were down 12. Did Kobe have any drives like that?

    Lebron played the same way he always does - unselfishly - and his team couldn't hit a shot. Kobe didn't even play his own game.

  6. Kobe has three rings. How many does LeBron have.

  7. -->Kobe has three rings

    Horace Grant and Will Perdue have four and Rodman's got five. What's your point.

  8. Yeah, Shaq was good, wasn't he?

  9. My point is that LeBron hasn't done anything of real significance yet. Until he has a ring he is just another a player.

    A good player, but the world is full of good players who didn't win anything.

  10. We all know that Kobe is yesterday's news and that LeBron will continue to be a force to be reckoned with!

  11. What Stacey said. :)

    But I hear ya, Jack.

  12. Clement? Ezzie, I'm from Boston and I'd never put him on a team.

    Make sure I invite you to my league next year. It's Cut-Throat. :-)

  13. CE - Sure, I'd be interested. But you've got to see our league. 12 guys, over 700 trash-talking messages so far. I have a great team and I'm only in 6th... after being 3rd yesterday and 7th a week ago. Crazy tight league, almost every trade attempt gets vetoed because everyone's screwing each other over. Lots of fun. :)

    And there's more $$ on sidebets than on the league itself.

  14. Oh, I was hoping Clement would have another solid first half, then I'd trade him. He sucks.