Great week gang, and keep your eyes peeled Monday for an NBA draft contest.
From the "Talks Too Much" Studios, here we go...
Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) and shooting guard Dwyane Wade react in the final moments during the second half at Game 5 of the NBA finals basketball series, Thursday, June 21, 2012, in Miami. The Heat won 121-106 to become the 2012 NBA Champions.Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Now that LBJ has won a ring, where does he rank all time? (If Miami does not clinch it Thursday, I want to know if you think the Heat are in trouble heading back to OKC.)
Thanks, I'll press send and listen.
We think LeBron James is on his way to being one of the top two or three players ever. Period. And he may be the best ever when he hangs up his Nikes.
As for winning the title — and it was nice how LBJ did it in style, wrapping up an MVP-worthy performance by messing around and getting a triple double (Copyright Ice Cube) — the best comparison we can come up with is Peyton Manning winning the Super Bowl. Remember how Manning was hammered with claim after claim about how he couldn't win the big one? Well after winning the Super Bowl, Manning was mentioned among the best quarterbacks of all time. He was still the same player he just added a piece of jewelry not available at Rick Davis' Gold and Diamonds.
LBJ is the same player he was, only now he's bona fide. (He's a suitor — Copyright Ulyesses McGill's daughters.) In fact, James was vilified for not embracing the moment before hoisting the NBA title and looking to pass rather than shoot in crucial situations. He's still the same player with the same distributor mentality, only this time the shots fell and the scoreboard turned out in his favor.
But that's sports. Heck, that's life. Winners write history, and the fact that Shane Battier and Mike Miller and Mario Chalmers took turns whipping the Thunder reserves makes all the difference.
James will finish his career with multiple titles and while he may never catch MJ in some folks eyes, James will be in the team picture of the best ever. And if he becomes addicted to this winning thing, look out. Plus, this is James' ninth year, and his game is starting to evolve. He has become an efficient back-to-the-basket player in the post and his decision-making off the dribble in these Finals was top-shelf. Plus, he accepted the responsibility of guarding Durant.
If you're being honest about his talents, James will be a fixture on everyone's All-time NBA team.
And for those of you who think we're over the top in our James praise, who other than LeBron could match arguably the most complete season ever and match Oscar Robertson's triple-double average for an entire season? Who blends size and skills better and has more plus-plus qualities? And he's only 27. TWENTY-SEVEN.
Buckle up gang.
I have this question on the back burner since baseball started...what in the name of Roseanne is with all this WHIP, WAR, and other misc alphabets when writers discuss pro players? Have actuaries taken over the world of baseball? ERA is confounding enough when a guy pitches 2/3 of an inning every other night. Does the alphabet soup really matter to the average fan or am I getting old?
In short, yes, you need a CPA to calculate an PERA or a VORP. It's some crazy stuff that is simultaneously eye-opening and tear-worthy.
We can remember being a small 5-at-10, more like a 3-at-6 and being so proud of ourself for figuring our batting averages in our head. Now you'd need an abacus and a team of MIT students to shuffle through the stats.
The romance with the river of stats is part of the long-term smooch-fest between baseball lovers and the game above all other sports. The numbers are constant and ever-changing at the same time.
So how they are viewed and gauged and digested are in some ways constant and ever-changing as well.
Bill James developed the basis of the unfamiliar alphabet collection of stats in the 1970s. He was the main guy behind the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) and its work became known as sabermetrics. All of this was documented in Michael Lewis' best-seller MoneyBall, which became a box office hit movie with Brad Pitt playing Oakland A's GM Billy Beane. (Side note: How great a day would it be for them to make a movie about your life, and word comes down that Pitt is playing you? It would be difficult to control the ego for a while after that, no? On the reverse end, what would be the worst news you could receive in that situation? Hey, we're making a movie about you and Chaz Bono is going to play the lead. Great huh?)
And for the average fan, no you don't need to know whether a 8 WAR is MVP worthy or sit-the-bench worthy. In fact three of the leading alphabet gangs — Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs, and Baseball Reference — all calculate WAR with their own formulas so there's only so much that can be gleaned from a stat different folks figure differently.
That said, we're all getting old. Stupid kids with their loud music and shiny stats. Get off our lawn. (Side note: WHIP — or walks and hits per innings pitched — and OPS — on-base percentage plus slugging — are great stats.)
First question: Is there any position in any sport more likely to produce Difficult Player Disorder than wide receiver?
Second question: Who was hotter, Donna Douglass or Barbara Eden? (hint, it's not close).
Because you're such a valued regular, we let you have two this week.
No, wide receiver is the home planet for Prima Donna Disorder and there's not a real close second. There are some serious whack jobs that are baseball closers, but nothing compares to the off-the-charts attention hounds and headaches from certain wide receivers. And having spent some time playing quarterback, we have never met a receiver worth his salt who did not come back to the huddle saying how open they were. Period. In fact, want to know when a receiver thinks he is open? When he puts on his helmet by Golly. In fact, we wouldn't be surprised if some problem-children pee-wee players are pushed to the WR spot because they match the profile. Call it the mental equivalent of the husky kids (we preferred to be called big-boned thank you very much) wearing numbers that started with a 6 and playing on the line.
As for the hotter question, our answer as always is the Mrs. 5-at-10 is far-and-away the hottest, and there's no close second. What's that? She was not a choice in this question? OK.
As for the choices given, we take Jeannie. To be fair, though, she had the best uniform this side of Daisy Duke. And you're right, it's not close between Jeannie and Ellie May. Just like Mary Anne over Ginger is not close and Chrissie Snow over Janet and all of her "Three's Company" replacements was nowhere close. Just like then-Kirtsie Alley over Shelley Long is not close.
In fact, there were only a few debates between TV show starlettes that we would consider being close. We could see the Blaire-Jo debate on "Facts of Life." We could see the Kelly-Jessie debate on "Saved by the Bell." We could see the Kate Jackson-Farrah debate on "Charlie's Angels." And there are a slew of soap operas dotted with pretty faces, including the 1990s classics "90210" and "Melrose Place."
And the winner on all counts is the Mrs. 5-at-10.
Jay - SEC football is right around the corner, so for the Friday mailbag...If Dooley goes 6-6 (or worse), can you give me 5 good reasons that Hart would keep him at least one more season?
Simply put, no we can't come up with five good reasons why a 6-6 season would spare Dooley the pink slip. We can come up with five bad ones to explain why a 6-6 (or worse) season gets Dooley another season:
1) Dave Hart is actually still working for Alabama as a double agent, and he was sent by the REC to infiltrate the UT athletic department.
2) It's all part of a master plan to get so bad that everyone would clamor to bring Phillip Fulmer back.
3) Nude pictures. Lots and lots of nude pictures.
4) Football is just not that important in the SEC. We're more worried about academics and the APR... What? We're last among SEC football programs in that too? Crud.
5) Kirby Smart needs one more year at Alabama.
That said, we firmly believe anything under eight wins this year will be a disappointment for these Vols. The schedule is there and the offense has the pieces to score in bunches.
And anything under eight wins will mean some difficult decisions for Hart and the UT administration.
First, I wanted to tell you I like the 5@10. I don't ask many questions but I read almost everyday.
I have been following every step of the Sandusky trial. It is awful and horrible I know but I am hooked.
Jay, there's no way he Sandusky gets away with this is there?
No matter how much ground the defense was able to cover and how much smoke Sandusky was able to deflect, we don't think there's any way he gets cleared on all 48 counts. No way.
That said, the revelations that there are new allegations of abuse by new victims — including Michael Sandusky, Jerry's adopted son — there is talk that the prosecution is prepared to file new charges if Sandusky is cleared.
Admittedly, we have not been following this as closely as you have Tiger, but it's hard to see Sandusky walking out of the court house not guilty on all 48 counts. In fact, we're not prepared to even think about that.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...