Tag Archives: cleveland cavaliers

Leicester City: The Greatest Sports Story. Ever.

 

By Nate Flax

As the clock hit the 96th minute of the Tottenham – Chelsea match, the entire soccer world realized that the greatest underdog story in sport history had concluded. After trailing 2-0 at halftime, Chelsea came back to draw with the second place Tottenham Hotspur, thanks to a brilliant 80th minute equalizer by Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. As the final whistle blew to end the heated London Derby, Tottenham’s title hopes were dashed and for the second year in a row, a new Premier League champion was decided at Stamford Bridge. However, this time it wasn’t one of England’s heavyweight contenders, but instead a club that had been written off before the season even started.

Leicester City

Located right in the heart of England, world-famous clubs, always surrounded Leicester with Manchester just to the North and London to the South, but until this year, very few that did not follow the BPL closely even knew a soccer club existed there, even though the team was founded in 1884 (132 years ago). The Leicester City Foxes were simply insignificant, finishing at the bottom of the table the year before and had only received promotion into England’s top league the year before that. They entered the season 5000-1 odds to win the title this year and featured a team that had cost just £80 million to put together (to put in perspective Manchester City spent £80 million on one transfer alone earlier in the year). Billy Beane’s Moneyball scheme wouldn’t stand a chance against this. Other recent previous 5000-1 odds as explained by ESPN’s Paul Carr included 16-year-old Paul Chaplet’s chances at this year’s Masters (where he shot 21 over par and finished dead last) and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ chances to make the playoffs with a month left in the season and their record sitting at 14-35. The odds for Elvis Presley being found alive were also 5000-1.

Being written off before the season even started, Leicester really had no chance of failing any expectations given to them, quite frankly because there were no expectations to start with. But that’s when everything clicked. Led by Riyad Mahrez, Danny Drinkwater, Jamie Vardy, and seasoned manager Claudio Ranieri, the Foxes outdid themselves by continuing to be that pesky opponent that just wouldn’t give up even though they seemingly had no business competing with powerhouses like Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, and Chelsea. Yet somehow, with Chelsea holding Tottenham to a draw, Leicester City sat seven points clear on top of the table with just two games to play, making it impossible for anyone to catch them, and crowning them the kings of England. With the third smallest budget in the Premier League, the Foxes became the first team not named Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, or Chelsea in 21 years to win the title, and just the sixth to win out of 48 that have tried since 1992. After a season that proved that money can’t always guarantee a crown, Leicester City concluded the fairy tale of a season that underdogs could previously only dream of.

LeBron’s Social Media shouldn’t be Media…

By Nate Flax

For the last week or so, the sports world has paid extra close attention to future Hall of Famer, LeBron James. While it’s no surprise that James is once again in the spotlight, the reasoning behind his recent hype is quite frankly ridiculous. After a blowout win against the Denver Nuggets, a reporter, seemingly against all his journalistic instincts, asked LeBron why he had unfollowed the Cleveland Cavaliers’ twitter page to which James replied with a very blunt “Next question.” The brief interview immediately went viral, being broken down by blogs, twitter, and just about every show featured on ESPN. Sure, James’ reaction could have been better and more polite, but did it really deserve a00week-long critique?

Since the infamous decision to return to Cleveland after abandoning the team for the Miami Heat, things have not gone as planned for James and the Cavaliers. His glorified return was spoiled by a loss in the NBA finals to the Golden State Warriors, and the team can’t seem to avoid locker room drama. The twitter fiasco only added to a long line of recent off the court problems for the Cavs, as well as more rumors of another LeBron James departure from Cleveland. James shrugged off the unfollow as simple preparation for the playoffs, an understandable mindset for a man who has made it a mission to bring a championship to his hometown.

It was not as if preparing for the playoffs was not already on James’ mind. A new entrance song as well as a cut down on all social medias were already announced as part of his plans to get set for the postseason. Even if the unfollow spree the superstar went on that week was not about prepping for the post season, it doesn’t really matter who he follows. As Sporting New’s Jordan Greer put it, “LeBron follows Victor Cruz, so is he going to play for the Giants? He also follows Bun B. Time to start that rap career. Or maybe James doesn’t need to follow the Cavs on Twitter because, you know, he’s physically there with his squad. It’s not necessary to receive your news and updates online when you can just say “Hey, Kyrie, are you going to play tonight?”

Though the Cavs are probably the lone bright spot in Cleveland sports, its ridiculous to blow such a minor, non-basketball issue, into a week-long drama show. Let the man do his job and be the brilliant basketball player he is without over analyzing every off the court action he makes and appreciate the greatness without creating a story where there isn’t one.

Kyrie Irving Faces Biggest Challenge in Basketball Career

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By Matt Stevenson

May 1, 2015

Last Sunday the Cleveland Cavaliers swept the Boston Celtics and knocked them out of the playoffs in Game 4 of the series. A great first playoff series win for this young Cavaliers squad, but it came with a major repercussion.

Kevin Love left the game in the first quarter and it was scary. Not knowing what specifically happened at first glimpse, the live broadcast shows Cavaliers Forward Kevin Love getting tangled up with Celtics Kelly Olynyk while scrambling for the ball. Immediately after, Love sprinted right to the locker room without stopping to talk to anyone. After several replays, it was clear his shoulder was indeed dislocated.

A debate on whether it was intentional or not has taken the social media world by storm. The game itself was incredibly physical with technicals and ejections being issued.

Cavaliers Center, Kendrick Perkins, set a hard screen on Celtics Forward, Jae Crowder, that sparked some shoving and much trash talking. However, later in the game Crowder and Cavs Guard J.R. Smith got into it while positioning themselves for a rebound.

The video shows Crowder shoving Smith pretty hard (definitely foul-worthy). J.R. Smith retaliated though by flailing his arm, with a closed fist, and connected with Jae Crowder… right in his face.

Accidental? Maybe. Suspension? Definitely. How long? Nobody knows.

So Kevin Love is reportedly out for the rest of the playoffs. J.R. Smith is for sure getting suspended and it could potentially be a few games. After sweeping the Celtics on Sunday, we wait for the Bulls as they look to close out their series with the Bucks.

This means the Cleveland Cavaliers are without two of their starters and the two other members on the team, besides LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, that can be consistently relied upon to create their own shot. This takes away a huge element of the Cavs game as they rely heavily on Love and Smith to hit 3’s and space the floor.

This may be one of LeBron’s biggest challenges in his career, without a doubt. But I think this focus’ more on Kyrie Irving.

Kyrie Irving will be expected to score a lot, as LeBron will be busy defending the variety of players Chicago has such as Jimmy Butler, Nikola Mirotic, Taj Gibson, and Mike Dunleavy.

Two other key players for this series that must step up to win are Tristan Thompson and Iman Shumpert. Defensively they need to show up, but offensively Shumpert needs to hit perimeter shots and Thompson needs to continue his offensive rebounding giving Cleveland second chance points.

Is Kyrie Irving ready to accept the challenge and put the stamp on the “Superstar” label? This series will indeed determine that as he faces a Bulls team which is finally healthy and has been labeled as the Cavaliers only threat all year in the Eastern Conference, WITH Kevin Love and J.R. Smith.

This Round 2 series of the NBA Playoffs between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls will be the first big test of Kyrie Irving’s young career. Is he ready? We’ll find out this weekend. GO CAVS!

Kevin Love Rocks Cleveland Indians Hat in Hospital

Kevin Love

By Matt Stevenson

April 30, 2015

Game 4 of the Cavaliers-Celtics series ended in a sweep, but Cavaliers fans lost more than they won. 3 time All-Star Kevin Love dislocated his shoulder after getting tangled up with Celtics Kelly Olynyk and will miss 4-6 months after a successful surgery and, more importantly, the rest of the playoffs.

Much debate has been brought up amid the injury if Love, who has a player option with the Cavaliers, can opt-out of his current contract and become a free agent. 3 years of trade rumors when Love was on the Minnesota Timberwolves were consistently held up due to the lack of commitment teams were getting on Love resigning with any team he could be traded to.

The price to trade for Kevin Love was simply too high with no guarantee he would stick around for the long haul.

The Cavaliers ended up trading the 2014-2015 first overall pick, Andrew Wiggins, in a package with other first rounders and even the 2013-2014 first overall pick, Anthony Bennet, for Love. The Cavaliers executed the trade with a firm belief that Kevin Love would opt-out of his contract upon the end of this season, only to resign with Cleveland for a 5 year maximum contract worth about $120 million dollars.

The regular season had its ups and downs, but nobody received more criticism than Love. It was a daily topic on any media outlet whether it was ESPN, Bleacher Report, or even the local Cleveland news stations (and Minnesota’s as well I’m sure).

Kevin Love was left out of LeBron James’ Instagram photos, he was called out publicly by LeBron on Twitter claiming he needs to “Fit-In” and him clearly not having the same chemistry as the rest of the team on or off the court.

Kevin Love had the roughest season out of ANY player in the NBA this season in regards to the criticism from the media.

The reports of him leaving Cleveland because he doesn’t want to retain the lesser role, in which he currently does with the Cavaliers, is a legitimate argument. In the next round if the Cavaliers don’t do well, will Kevin Love be motivated to burn the Cavaliers? As the fans and organization would learn his worth through a devastating playoff exit, he might feel even more offended and motivated to leave Cleveland.

But then the morning after his surgery, Kevin Love posted a simple picture on Instagram, the same app that has been used to exclude him from the Cavaliers. It’s a picture of him giving a thumbs up with an enormous smile on his face. The reason the photo is important is because he is wearing a Cleveland Indians hat.

This is not just a hat. It’s a symbol. Kevin Love is thanking the Cleveland fans for the love and support we’ve given him through the awful injury he endured. I believe this is a message to the fans of Cleveland that he is, indeed, staying put in Cleveland for years to come.

2015 NBA First-Round Playoff Preview

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By Matt Stevenson

April 18, 2015

Although I say this every year, I AM BEYOND EXCITED FOR THE 2015 NBA PLAYOFFS! The amount of legitimate contenders this year has separated this year’s playoffs from the rest, and significantly so.

The Eastern Conference finally has several power houses that can make the first two-rounds somewhat interesting for the first time since Boston’s Big Three left. Then, of course, we have the usual for the Western Conference. This conference is once again more loaded than your Aunt Ruth’s potatoes! A Clippers-Spurs first round match as well as Mavericks-Rockets is awesome.

I think three questions are critical to answer for the Eastern Conference: Can LeBron and the Cavaliers continue their dominance? Can Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler coincide for a deep playoff run? Will the Atlanta Hawks prove to be a real threat to the future of the Eastern Conference?

In the first round I think the two-seeded Cavaliers win every single positional battle and will breeze through Boston, although I think Boston will take one game, Cavs in 5. The Atlanta Hawks earned the first seed with an incredible display of teamwork in the regular season, also breaking the franchise record with over 60 wins. The obliterated the Brooklyn Nets in the season series 4-0 and I expect nothing less. Although I’m a huge Joe Johnson fan, and Brook Lopez is playing the best basketball he has since he got paid, Atlanta has everything going for them. Hawks 4-0. Boy, what if we would’ve seen a Pacers-Hawks first-round matchup though? Last year’s 1 vs 8 seed went to 7 games between the two and was great basketball.

Raptors against the Wizards is an interesting matchup, as both have more of the “complete team” philosophy. However, the Wizards just haven’t been able to click the way thought they could while the Raptors are playing tough basketball. Kyle Lowry is proving his max contract worth this season when healthy. I thought them nabbing Paul Pierce really could make them threats to any team in the East. Raptors in 6. The last first round matchup in the East is the Bulls vs Bucks. This series is simple for me, Jason Kidd has proved to be a good coach willing to get to players. But without significant depth like the Bulls have (not to mention they have experience as well) the Bucks won’t last. Derrick Rose will get the go to be himself again I think and create a spotlight on the Bulls as reporters will start to get nutty with the idea of a Cavs-Bulls second round matchup. Bulls in 4.

So in the Eastern Conference we have a second round matchup between Chicago and Cleveland and Toronto and Atlanta as most expected. I predict the Cavaliers will prevail in this conference as LeBron, Kyrie and K-Love will prove to be too much to handle for the rest of the field.

Now the fun part, attempting to dissect the Western Conference. This is much like March Madness as it might be easier to decipher my picks by flipping a coin, but I will indeed choose off my knowledge of the game. I see only one matchup that will be done in 4 and that is the Warriors vs Pelicans. I love love LOVE Anthony Davis, but he’s going up against the most dangerous shooting team in NBA history. But this shooting team can also beat them in every other way because they can stick David Lee, Draymond Green or Andrew Bogut on Davis. Warriors in 4. Grizzlies vs LaMarcus Aldridge’s Blazers can be a great series, however I think it will be done quickly. No Wesley Matthews or Batum for the Blazers therefor relying on who? Alonzo Gee… LaMarcus Aldridge is one of my favorite players in the league but him and Lillard can’t get it done by themselves against an experienced Grizzlies team. Memphis in 5.

Now my two favorite matchups in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. The Houston Rockets taking on rival Dallas Mavericks is an exceptionally great first rounder to watch. The Rockets won the season series 3-1, but I have a bad feeling about this. There is one key factor in this series, Rajon Rondo. If Rondo can finally mesh with the Mavs (which he hasn’t so far) they have the best starting line up top to bottom. But of course, what about James Harden? He is my pick for MVP and with Dwight Howard they are a scary team. But they don’t have the guards to defend Dallas’. Scoring won’t be a problem for Harden, as it never is. But I think Dirk Nowitzki has a favorable matchup, as does Rondo. Oh yes, Chandler Parsons who darted Houston for Dallas last summer is going to show his previous franchise why they should have paid him. With two great guards in Monte Ellis and Rondo and the absence of lock down defender Patrick Beverly, I’ll take the Mavs in 7.

Perhaps the most exciting first round matchup in NBA history in my opinion, the young and freakishly athletic Clippers host the defending Champion Spurs. Chris Paul said last week, the window is closing for the Clippers to figure it out and he is salivating for that trophy. I think he gives the Spurs problems and will make Tony Parker go to work. Griffin and Jordan pose threats to the Spurs as well and I think they will do a surprisingly good job defending Duncan. But the X Factor is Kawhi Leonard will come through. JJ Reddick and Jamal Crawford aren’t going to stop him, and Matt Barnes is too old to play significant minutes against Leonard. He’s in a contract year, and the Spurs know Duncan and Ginobili may very well retire this season. Pop and the Spurs get it done, in miserable fashion,  by a series at 4-2.

So in the Western Conference we look forward to a Warriors vs Grizzlies and Spurs vs Mavericks. Talk about great basketball. However, in this conference I pick the Warriors to head to the NBA Finals. Although I am a firm believer in the philosophy that just shooting doesn’t win championships, the Warriors are young, fresh and healthy. In which is the Spurs’ weak point because I don’t see the Spurs having the guards to defend the Splash Brothers along with the athletic Livingston off the bench.

So Cavs and Warriors in the NBA Finals and as a Cleveland fan I’m going Cavs. The time has come and it’ll be a great year for Cleveland. The NBA playoffs are finally among us, and they are going to generate much excitement across the sports world. The first round has incredible potential regarding match ups and it will spark the greatness to follow.

NBA MVP Race During the Final Stretch

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By Matt Stevenson

April 6, 2015

The NBA MVP race is coming down to the wire with a 5-star cast. LeBron James, James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Steph Curry are all playing at a phenomenal rate as the season winds down.

Harden and Westbrook both have led their teams despite losing valuable teammates such as Dwight Howard for Harden, and Kevin Durant for Westbrook. LeBron James showed his worth during his 2 week break as the Cavs went 1-7 during that stretch and have looked damn near flawless since. Then, of course, there is Steph Curry who seems as if he’s making memes out of everyone he faces up against. All 4 are having incredible seasons and it is difficult to pick and choose only one player in such a competitive season.

For Steph Curry, his Golden State Warriors currently possess the 1st seed in the Western Conference and also hold the NBA’s best record at 62-13, 6 games ahead of the next best record held by the Atlanta Hawks. Shooting nearly 44% from 3 point range and 59% from the field, Curry is in the top 5 for each respective category.

The super splash brothers have been a force to be reckoned with, but that’s what many are holding against Steph Curry.

Curry has an unbelievable amount of talent around him, arguably the best surrounding crew in the whole NBA. Kay Thompson and Draymond Green are both deserving of max contracts while David Lee, Harrison Barnes, Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bogut are no scrubs either. This team has big time players with experience and is a dangerous team to face down the stretch.

So Curry might have easily had the best season with team success as well as individual success, but the talent around him may end up hurting him in the end.

Next lets talk about the king himself, LeBron James. As mentioned earlier we noticed how awful the Cavaliers played when LeBron was out for his two-week break and how good they were when he returned. Arguably the most dangerous team in the league, the Cleveland Cavaliers have successfully defied the laws of throwing together a new team and staff while actually winning.

It doesn’t happen often. Steve Kerr of the Warriors is a rookie coach as well, however he went into a system under previous Golden State Coach Mark Jackson that had the same players with great team chemistry. This Cavs team has a rookie Head Coach in David Blatt, except he doesn’t know the NBA like Kerr does. Oh, and only 3 players from last years team are even on the current roster.

However, there are some scratches on the surface to LeBron’s MVP case. Similar to Curry, LeBron has a gifted roster full of talent and potential. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love obviously are two of the top players in the league, despite the disappointing season of Love. JR Smith, Iman Shumpert, Timofey Mozgov and Tristan Thompson are also worthy of mentioning as the great talent this Cavs team holds. Finally buying into David Blatt’s system, this Cavs team truly is a Championship contender and may even be the favorite.

In Houston all I hear is “Fear the Beard” from the Rockets fans. This man has really put the pressure on Oklahoma City to win soon as they traded possibly the best scorer in the league. His versatility is hard to compare as he is not afraid to take a shot on any part of the court. It seems like he has a 40-point game each week and his team currently holds the 2 seed in the brutal Western Conference.

Oh yeah, by the way this is without All-Star Center Dwight Howard and starting Point Guard Patrick Beverly. An injury plagued roster and losing the 3rd counterpart in Chandler Parsons from last season would assembly doom this Houston Rockets team, similar to how the Thunder currently hurt. Except Hardens Rockets are winning. Consistently winning despite the injuries are something all other MVP candidates can’t compete with.

But wait, Russell Westbrook is on a more injury prone team with last years NBA MVP, Kevin Durant, out for the season along with injuries to pretty much half of the roster. Although true, there is one big difference between Harden and Westbrook… Harden is sitting in the 2 spot in the West while Westbrook and the Thunder and fighting for their playoff lives. 11 triple-doubles by Westbrook is as incredible as it gets on an individual standpoint, however they aren’t always getting his team wins.

There have been point guards, recently and in past-time that have put up similar numbers yet still won. Jason Kidd did it in New Jersey in the early 2000’s while the big “O” Oscar Robinson did it as well back in the old days. If Westbrook and his Thunder don’t make the playoffs, it’s hard to even mention him in the discussion.

After this long post, I think it’s safe for me now to make a decision on my MVP for this season and I’m going to have to go with James Harden. As a biased Cavaliers fan, it hurts to give it to someone else aside LeBron, but Harden hasn’t had the talent LeBron and Curry have all year while still putting up incredible numbers as well as winning. This is no landslide this year and as a matter of fact, this is the tightest MVP race the league has seen in recent time.

This exhilarating MVP race is just the beginning of a post-season in which has me extremely excited due to the amount of legitimate contenders. Of course, the MVP is announced during the playoffs so as this exciting season winds down we look forward to the NBA playoffs. James Harden gets my vote, but it will definitely be a close one.

The Social Media Age and Teammate Interaction

By Kaleb Page

February 12, 2015

Right now as you read this very post, you are probably getting a notification from one of your social media sites about something. Which hopefully you ignore and continue to read this post, but in today’s day and age social media surrounds everything we do. This surrounding by social media can be a good thing but equally bad as well.

While it provides us all with a connecting platform that in the past was never there and ultimately providing opportunities we never could have imagined; there is still an underlying point that can be crossed for the worse. Posting negative things, calling out people behind a keyboard, etc. has been something I’m sure all of us have seen.

Athletes are no different and many are very active with different social media outlets. That is why when a comment is made by a big figure in sports on social media, everyone critiques it. No different was it when LeBron James tweeted a statement in response to something said by his teammate Kevin Love.

This whole season for the Cavaliers it has been a continuing process to see what will be the optimal lineup and style this team will play with. It seems like since the recent additions of J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Timofey Mozgov the team has found a sense of direction. Along with that it seems like the ‘jelling’ is starting to solidify into a strong team that is enjoying its basketball.

However one player has been up and down trying to find his all-star form. That player is starting power-forward Kevin Love who even though is playing well, still is not hitting on all cylinders. In the preseason Love mentioned something about trying to ‘fit-out’ with this team as he was unsure his role and place in the team. Then after a loss to the Indiana Pacers this past Saturday, Love was interviewed and said that it was one of the toughest situations he had to deal with. Thus, on Saturday night a tweet by James was sent out with some advice:

“Stop trying to find a way to FIT-OUT and just FIT-IN. Be apart of something special! Just my thoughts”-LeBron James (@KingJames)

Quite the public remark to be made by ‘the King’ and one that saw its fair share of debate from those on every sports outlet imaginable. From ESPN to Fox Sports the debate raged on with if James was out of line and what will this relationship look like moving forward. After the media ran away with the tweet, James responded back saying that the media essentially needed to relax and if he has a problem with a teammate he tells them to their face.

Personally I think James would be someone to actually go up to a player and give his thoughts, but I think this tweet is nothing more than a call out to Love. A call out to basically say the team needs you (Love) to step up and be that dynamic big-man you were out in Minnesota. A public motivation point put out by James may be what wakes up Love, but only time will tell.

As for now it looks like King James is sending the message, get on board as the stretch run of the NBA season is approaching.

The Cavs Make Moves

By Kaleb Page

In this early stage of the NBA season the Cleveland Cavaliers have had not even close to the start everyone including themselves had expected. With a record of 19-16 this is still a team searching to find what it is and what it wants to hang its hat on night in and night out. As I said it is still very early so things can change and even with injuries to Kyrie Irving and LeBron James this team still is second in their division and fifth in the eastern conference.

For the GM of the Cavaliers David Griffin, managing this team that has so much potential is a huge task. With Irving and James down and the Cavalier faithful starting to wonder what is up with this team in recent weeks; Griffin needed to find something to re-energize not only the team but the fans as well. On Monday night that opportunity presented itself in a trade.

Prior to the game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Cleveland Cavaliers starting shooting guard Dion Waiters was pulled from the line-up. It was then soon broadcast all over the sporting world that a three team deal had been made. This deal would send Waiters to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith to the Cavaliers, and the Knicks get three players who have non-guaranteed contracts they can dump at the end of the season to further open up their cap space. Along with the players in the deal, the Thunder are giving the Cavs a protected future first-round draft pick and they are also sending a 2019 second-round draft pick to the Knicks.

Quite the deal that happened on a Monday night in the NBA. This move for the Cavaliers was dissected by ESPN’s Tim Legler and he made it clear that this trade really benefits everyone involved. In his break down on SportsCenter, Legler mentioned that this trade addresses a need the Cavs have when it comes to team defense, and with a guy like Shumpert who adds length along with a defensive mindset to the starting line-up; the Cavs made a great deal. He also went on to mention that the swap of Smith for Waiters is a slight upgrade even though both players do have similar playing styles.

With that said I would have to agree with Legler on this trade being really beneficial for the Cavaliers. When you can get a young guy like Shumpert, who is a rising player in the league known for his perimeter defense, it helps improve what the team is lacking right now. Even though Smith is somewhat a loose cannon no matter what team he is on, he has proven to be an offensive weapon capable of going off at any time. It will be interesting to see if these two pieces are able to pay dividends for this team that expects to be in the finals when it is all over.

I would add though that this might not be the end for the Cavaliers as far as deals go. Even though the deal is great, it does miss the hole that is still their post defense. It is hard to find anyone on the market to fill the void left when Anderson Varejao went down, but the team does need to find some type of presence to shore up the back-end just like it did with this trade that added help to the perimeter.

Bill Simmons: Shots Fired

By Kaleb Page

When it comes to talking sports, whether it is with friends or here in this blog, there comes times when we say things that are shock value type statements. These statements typical are a little on the extreme side and yet we all make them. While for us who aren’t in the spotlight these comments only receive a good “are you serious” or “c’mon man.” For those in the spotlight these comments receive way more.

Bill Simmons is a contributor, analyst and personality on ESPN covering the NBA. His style of analysis is one that catches fire from others in the industry. However for me I think sometimes his personal touch on the topics, which he has a massive knowledge for, is something I look for because it breaks up the cookie cutter mundane reading we get from certain columnists.

On Wednesday of last week, Simmons went on to Colin Cowherd’s radio show. On the show Colin and Bill got on the topic of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and what Bill thought so far. Simmons gave his assessment and further stirred the pot with his comments on LeBron James. Before making his comments Simmons did drop the disclaimer of it is still way too early to make big assumptions. Simmons comments were:

“I don’t know if he’s hurt, I don’t know if the big weight loss has affected his game or whatever. This is not a jump-to-conclusions thing. I have been watching this Cavs team since the preseason games started, and he does not look the same.”

Also Simmons made the comparison of the LeBron move to Cleveland to the Albert Pujols move to the Angles a few years ago. Saying that this could play out to that but he still was holding out on fully committing to that thought.

Now keep in mind that even though Simmons was making these statements that would seem pretty far out there; he did provide solid reasoning and said he was not jumping to this conclusion. Merely he was wondering, with the basketball knowledge he has and what he has seen so far, what is going on with this super-team?

While you keep that in mind, Simmons’s colleagues at ESPN ripped his comments apart and even cut it to not have his disclaimer about not wanting to jump to this conclusion fully. The colleagues in particular are Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg of the Mike and Mike show. The snippet of the segment between Greenberg and Golic can be seen below.

This brings up a key word or phrase that if you watch sports more and more you will pick up on a whole lot. That key word or phrase is “context or taken out of context.” This is a clear showing that when you cut out the important parts said before Simmons’s comments you lose a big piece. Obviously if you frame what Simmons said in the way Mike and Mike did; he will sound like someone who has no idea what he is talking about.

Shots were fired by Mike and Mike but Bill didn’t hesitate to get his in too. Thursday Simmons took to Twitter going on a rant about how he lost respect for the show. He even further went on to say:

“For an ESPN Radio show to pull an interview out of context from another ESPN Radio show, then play the moral authority card, is disgusting.”

There are multiple tweets and things said by Simmons in response to what has happened. Personally, I side with Simmons in that it almost seemed like an attack on his comments. If they really had a problem with his comments, why not have him on to discuss it himself? Instead you just throw it out there to fill air-time and really frame the words said into your favor. Definitely the wrong move by Mike and Mike in my opinion.

It will be interesting to see, since this isn’t the first time Simmons has been at with ESPN or colleagues there, if Simmons will soon leave the organization. It would be tough since he is tied heavily with the organization and it is one of the biggest sports followed networks in the world.

If Bill does leave ESPN, I hope he doesn’t change his ways and he continues on to be the witty, smart and candid sports personality so many of us like to listen to.

Cleveland Rocks Again

By Matt Rogers

It’s a Sunday in November, and the Cleveland Browns are relevant in the NFL playoff picture. At 5-3, this marks the best first half of the season the Browns have had since 2007, when the team finished with their last winning record: 10-6. Thus, making it almost impossible for the national media to ignore the feat. The Browns have earned plenty of mentions on the national networks, lately, What makes this appealing to Browns’ fans is that it’s not because of their futility or for purpose of being the butt of every joke.

Also worthy of mention regarding sports teams in Cleveland is the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavaliers had what most will agree to be the best offseason of any NBA team this past summer, when LeBron James released an essay in Sports Illustrated telling Cleveland he was “Coming Home”, after spurning the city and team just four years earlier in gut-wrenching fashion with “The Decision”. It also did not hurt that Kevin Love, who some believe is the NBA’s best Power forward, was added via a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves for rookie number one pick, Andrew Wiggins, and former number one pick, Anthony Bennett.

After losing their first game, in what was a highly covered game because it was the first game of LeBron James’ homecoming season, the Cavaliers won their second game. Both of these games were televised on national networks, after only having a handful of nationally televised games over the last four years without LeBron.

It is sure to be a year to remember in Cleveland because of the buzz that these two teams are creating. The buzz will only get louder, and louder, and louder as the season goes on because of the excitement that being relevant within the NFL and NBA brings. Cleveland fans are usually regarded as some of the most passionate fans in the NFL, NBA, and MLB. There may be times that the Cleveland fans are not the most loyal, but every city has fans that are guilty of the same. Anyone would be hard pressed to find a city more deserving of a winner, after waiting 50 years, and counting, between championships. This includes losing two World Series in 1995 and 1997, and suffering through what was LeBron’s first ‘Decision’. It is about time that Cleveland teams give their fans something to consistently cheer about rather than showing glimpses of a breakthrough only to have any hope ripped away with another losing season.