Go Mavericks, take the Canucks and Drew’s right
May 28, 2011
Happy Memorial Day weekend and happy NBA and Stanley Cup Finals to all.
• On the basketball front, go Mavericks. I don’t want to see LeBron James win a title. He was certainly entitled to go to Miami. It’s a free market. Yes, he actually took less money to take his talents to South Beach. Don’t care.
He should have stayed in Cleveland and lifted his team to greatness. That’s what the immortals of sports do. Everyone forgets that Michael Jordan spent seven years before winning the NBA title with the Chicago Bulls.
Yes, they got Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Horace Grant and so on. But who do you think made all those guys better? Would Pippen have risen to his heights without Jordan? No.
In around 1994, when the Broncos had Wade Phillips, it wouldn’t have been unreasonable for John Elway to approach management and say, “I’ve done my part for Denver, could you please trade me to a Super Bowl contender?” He wouldn’t have been out of line. Instead, he stuck with it. He had lifted some otherwise-normal Broncos teams to Super Bowls and continued to do so in his final years.
Yes, he had more talent in his final two years, but in Super Bowl XXXIV, the Falcons sat on Terrell Davis and dared Elway to beat them. He did. By staying with one team and winning a title (or two), Elway is a Colorado sports god.
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Cleveland was/is a city searching for such a hero. The Indians last won in 1948, while the Browns are still sitting on 1964. The city also had to endure losing the Browns to Baltimore and then getting an expansion team.
LeBron had the chance to become the king of that city, and it wasn’t like the Cavaliers were dreadful. They were in the NBA Finals in 2007 and in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2009. He could have chased greatness. Instead, he took the easy way out.
And as much as Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is obnoxious, it would be cool to see Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd get a ring. I’m biased toward the latter. Seeing Kidd play for St. Joseph Notre Dame back in the San Francisco Bay Area was seeing a man among boys.
(By the way, for high school parents, who come to me and say, “My kid is going Division I,” I laugh inside and think about seeing Kidd when he was in high school. It’s not impossible to play D-I, but those who do generally start on a whole different level than most.)
• In the NHL, congratulations to the Bruins for making the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1990. The good news is that Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers aren’t your opponent. The bad news is that you’ve got the Vancouver Canucks. The Cup will go west. Canucks in 5 or 6 games.
What will be really funny is members of the East Coast media complaining about all the travel involved in this series, which illustrates how hard it is for western NHL team to win the Cup. The Canucks’ nearest NHL opponent is 612 miles away in the Calgary Flames. The Bruins have most of the Eastern Conference within a 612-mile radius.
• Brutal week in the NL West: The Rockies started the week by losing pitcher Jorge De La Rosa for the season with an elbow injury. Meanwhile, the Giants lost catcher Buster Posey, also likely for the season in a nasty, but clean hit at the plate. (By the way, cut the nonsense about rule changes at home.)
The Giants can’t hit. The Rockies can’t pitch, and here comes Arizona. Are they this year’s San Diego? We’ll see. As for our slightly-grumpy readership after last month’s column, I just ask you one question. Neither the Giants or Rockies have played very well this season, but San Francisco leads Colorado by 3.5 games. Why is that? Is it possibly pitching? (By the way, it wasn’t my idea to disable the comments section on our website, but feel free to e-mail me.)
• Good on New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees for calling the NFL lockout for what it is. “Ever since Gene Upshaw passed away – I’m just going to lay it all out there – the owners saw blood in the water,” Brees said in report by Sports Illustrated. “They felt like, ‘This is our opportunity to take a significant piece of the (financial) pie back at all costs, a piece that we will never have to give back again. This is our chance, while they don’t have leadership, while they’re scrambling to find a new executive director. This is our time.'”
Yes, the owners instigated this lockout. This is about the NFL owners making more money. And the way the owners are moving, they have every intention breaking the players and/or not having a season.
And that means more Sundays for golf in the fall, if you want a silver lining. My game needs work.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.