5-at-10: King James adds to legacy, good and bad State of the Union, Super Bowl QBs have super futures

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James speaks to fans after passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the NBA's all-time leading scorer during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

King James

Buckle up, friends. I will try to be brief, but that attempt will likely fail.

We'll start in L.A., where LeBron James dropped 38 points at the age of 38 to surpass Kareem's scoring record of 38,388 that has stood for 38 years.

And yes, that's a whole bunch of 38s.

I am weary of LeBron or MJ. Truly.

If you are my age, you likely romanticize MJ and his perfect 6-0 record in NBA Finals. That's fine.

But then do you have higher regard for Bradshaw or Montana than Brady, because the former QBs were 4-0. Brady lost Super Bowls -- he won more, too, so it's not a complete apples to apples discussion -- but those guys lost more in earlier playoff rounds.

Love that MJ was perfect in the Finals but it's nonsensical to say getting to 10 Finals is a worse thing than getting to six, regardless of the record when you get there.

But that's the rings argument, and it carries weight for a lot of folks. Every other argument though leans to LeBron, and I say that as someone who loved MJ growing up.

Still, the GOAT discussion is a prism that depends on the viewer more than the view.

Here's a line of praise that I think deserves to be discussed as LeBron James fulfills his destiny as the NBA's all-time leading scorer.

Never, in our ever-growing realm of over-hyped sports, entertainment and pop culture, has there been a child prodigy deliver on that praise and promise in such a grand style.

If you are thinking Tiger Woods, well, he's a close second. But Woods found the controversies, the trappings and ultimately fell short of the all-time record in his endeavor most of us -- including his father -- believed was his destiny.

Tiger will not catch Jack. LeBron passed Kareem, and likely will pass 40,000 career NBA points considering he's 38 and still playing at an MVP-level and has openly stated he wants to be in the NBA when his high-school-junior son Brony is eligible to be drafted.

Yes, Tiger and LeBron are the GOAT 1B on a lot of folks modern lists, and that's some what comparable, but Tiger was chasing ghosts, for the most part. James was chasing Air -- a pop culture icon who was larger than sports for a decade.

James was on the cover of SI as a high schooler with the blasted headline "THE CHOSEN ONE."

And look how he has handled that. Sure, James has struggled to find a consistent voice in his social stances in a time when those landscapes change frequently.

But look at the comparable stars who found that praise at that age and that volume, and the life hurdles or struggles -- many self-inflicted -- they found along the way.

James physically was made to be a basketball god. He's 6-foot-9, 270 pounds (he lists 250 but my driver's license still says 220, which may be the only thing LeBron and I truly have in common) runs like a receiver and handles like a point guard.

He has always had the vision of Magic and the dominant physicality of a perimeter-playing Shaq.

And to his credit, James has spent tens of millions sculpting his physique, a testament to his relatively injury-free career and his ability to replace Tom Brady as become Public Enemy No. 1 on Father Time's "Most Wanted" list.

But amid the trappings of fame, the perils of popularity and even the distractions of success, James has forever remained true to his pursuit of the dream.

And his fulfillment of the title of The Chosen One.

State of the disunion

Yes, I watched the State of the Union.

So many thoughts, and man, this is one of those days I still wish I had the ol' A2 column, you know.

First, to all the folks saying it's Joe Biden's best speech ever. It likely was. But that's also like saying that was the best 1980s Braves team in a lot of ways.

Biden's pantheon of pause-worthy public addresses and sensational speeches is going to be a very short book on tape.

Second, I'm not sure where the disconnect here is or why no one in Washington can hear it, but jobs and the economy are not the same thing.

Under the same umbrella, sure. But low unemployment -- while great -- and new jobs (debate all you want how many of those were seasonal around the holidays in the most recent report) are cool, too.

But when eggs are $7 a dozen and my paycheck -- which admittedly has not changed in a while -- does not go as far as it did this time last year, nevermind three years ago, the economy is not better.

Yes, Biden's plan to find Americans work is working. Like gangbusters. And that's a very good thing.

But let's be really clear here -- as all of our retirement plans teeter on the edge like a paper-football touchdown -- the economy under this administration is a boa constrictor that has gripped the nation.

And saying the economy is hunky dory because unemployment is low is like saying the NFL team with the best rushing attack will have the best offense. (And yes, I looked it up, the Bears led the NFL in rushing but finished 23rd in points scored.)

Finally, the Republicans who catcalled and heckled the president while he was on the podium embarrassed themselves, their party and their country.

Seriously, we can't be better than that? Moreover, we can't find people to elect who are better than that?

Was Trump treated respectfully? No. But we called that out then, so we will call this out now.

And in truth, no matter what you think of Trump the dude or what you think of Biden the president or whatever else in between, last night was 100% the wrong platform to act like spoiled middle schoolers starving for the limelight or daddy's attention.

But this is less about the comparisons of the tired and childish arguments of "Well, they did it first" or "Why do they get away with it" at this point.

Just stop it entirely and be better. Especially at the State of the Union, which truly is the one place where silence and sitting speak forever more loudly, more proudly and productively than standing and booing or jeering or as Marjorie Taylor Greene was photographed doing, all of the above.

Side note: While we're here, egad, Marjorie Taylor Greene, wow, what else is there really left to say at this point? What a disaster.

Super Bowl

Told you we have a lot to get to today.

So, we need to start previewing the game because are days together are running low before the kickoff.

Before we get to rambling (shut it, Spy) remember the Super Duper Prop Drop contest. More details can be found here.

One of the things that interests me most about the NFL is roster construction.

One of the things that interests me the least about the NFL is discussion of race of the QB or any player for that matter. Whatever. Sports has way, way, WAY more often than not, if you can play you can play.

Whether you are pale, pink or polka-dotted.

So I think the two Super Bowl teams have superstar QBs who are super-good dudes and locker room leaders. As for color, the most important thing for me is that one plays for a red team and the other for a green team.


But roster construction does come in some ways connected to at least the connotations of skin color when it comes to quarterbacks, especially at the highest level.

Granted, there are some misconceptions and stereotypes that get played out by phrases that too generally and often get put on some players.

Gym rat. Possession receiver. Running QB or game-manager. You know them, too.

They also are flawed, like who is a better possession receiver in the history of the league than Larry Fitzgerald, whose hands were so true that over 17 years he had more tackles -- as a WR mind you -- than drops?

The running QB one, however, must be further discussed and dissected, in my opinion.

First, every NFL quarterback is going to have to be athletic in the days moving forward.

Matt Ryan and the statues of previous generations will be sitting ducks.

So athletic is now a prerequisite to play the position if you ask me.

Second, running QBs -- as in guys who run first and then find success because defenses have to stop a QBs legs -- are a scary proposition for teams in the modern day NFL.

And if we are being truthful, it is because of color.

The color green, as in money, as in if you commit 18-plus-% of your salary cap to a running QB and he gets hurt, then you are looking at a lost season.

It's one of the ways that these QBs have prospered. Jalen Hurts runs more Patrick Mahomes, but neither is a run-first QB per se.

Both are athletic. Both are mobile and both are willing to run.

But both are in the Super Bowl because they have stayed healthy for the most part by knowing when to run and when not to.

This and that

-- So 60 or so Chattanoogans think we should "abolish" the police rather than reform. OK. To me that's one of the dumbest stances in the modern discourse of finding better. Does anyone other than the rabble rousers, the look-at-me-professional-protesters or the folks that started drinking at Champy's before breakfast truly think doing away with law enforcement is a wise play?

-- Terrible loss for Auburn last night, and I'm not in a position to discuss the "kiss blow" technical yet. It was a terrible loss for a few reasons, most notably is I do not think Texas A&M has a good NCAA résumé with that non-conference performance but now the Aggies have a season sweep over Auburn, which will need to do more work than most likely expected -- me included -- to be comfortable on Selection Sunday. A 1-4 stretch as January becomes February is not a desirable way to transition the -ry months friends.

-- Terrible home loss for Kentucky, too. The Wildcats got handled by Arkansas in Rupp, and whether Chas or I want to admit it or not, it very well could be Thunder Dome for UK and Auburn when those teams play later this month. "Two teams enter, one team leaves (with tournament hopes)."

-- So while we're here, someone named Cam Thomas has scored 40 or more points in three straight games for the Brooklyn Nets. I know, I'm stunned, too.

-- Excellent work here by TFP longtime Georgia preps ace Lindsey Young, who shows the painful ramifications of the transfer portal on mid-level high school recruits these days. It's worth your time.

-- The Titans hired Tim Kelly to be there offensive coordinator. Great, that means he's leaving the mayor's job here in Chattanooga. Heck, maybe there's a Wamp somewhere not holding office currently we could run. Wait. Hold on. Being told that's a different Tim Kelly. OK, well, I'm sure he'll do swell in Nashville, too.

Today's questions

Which way Wednesday starts this way, which would you call the GOAT, LeBron or MJ?

Which is more impressive playing at an NBA MVP level at 38 or being top-five in the NFL in passing yards in a season at the age of 45?

If LeBron hung them up today, which had the better career, James or Tiger?

Which was your biggest takeaway from the State of the Union last night?

Which QB would you rather sign long-term to a nine-figure deal, Jalen Hurts or Lamar Jackson?

Answer some which way Wednesday questions, leave some which way questions.

As for today, Feb. 8, let's review.

On this day in 1936, the first NFL draft was held. Spy, how was the food at that event?

Rushmore of best all-time NFL draft picks, and yes, TB12 has a spot there.

Go and remember the Props contest.