Tom Brady is the Greatest Quarterback I’ve Ever Seen (In My Life)

I’ve had almost 36 hours to digest what the fook (*Conor McGregor voice*) happened on Sunday evening.

Sunday was quite the tiring day. The wind was blowing heavily outside as I had the damnedest time getting my fire started on my smoker. I was going to get everything ready to go, though! I smoked a 10 lb. pork shoulder on Friday, in which leftovers existed for Sunday evening, and on that Sunday I smoked 11 bacon-wrapped, cheese stuffed jalapeno peppers, a family pack of chicken thighs and about 5 lbs. of country pork ribs. Dana and I also made pepperoni rolls.

Our guests for the evening were my de-facto Falcons fan-brother (that I wrote about at the end of this post; I will refer to him as “Falcons Broski” for the rest of this post), his girlfriend, his girlfriend’s son and a mutual great friend of ours that is a Cowboys fan. They brought chips, cupcakes and 8 lbs. of chicken wings (all 8 lbs. of which I deep fried).

Everything was set! Delicious food had been prepared by yours truly, and it was ready at about the time the big game came on.

Falcons Broski was pumped (of course) from the get go, when Devonte Freeman busted out a big run to open the game for the Falcons. Falcons Broski’s palms were sweaty as he kept wiping them on his jeans. And then LeGarrette Blount fumbled the ball away. Not long after, Matt Ryan led the Falcons down the field and Devonte Freeman ran for a touchdown to put the Falcons ahead 7-0 in the second quarter. A little while later, Ryan connected with Austin Hooper in the endzone for another Falcons’ touchdown. 14-0. Falcons Broski was singing Atlanta’s praise at this point. It got even better for him when Robert Alford picked off Tom Brady and ran it back for an 82-yard touchdown. 21-0 Falcons.

And so all was good during the first half as the Falcons took a 28-3 lead into halftime. I was mindblown at how Atlanta was dominating New England. Tom Brady was missing throws and Julian Edelman couldn’t catch a cold. Everybody in the living room was laughing and talking up a storm. I didn’t watch much of the halftime show as I excused myself to the kitchen to fill up on some grub.

Into the second half, the Falcons continued their dominance when Ryan hooked up with Tevin Coleman for another score. 28-3 Falcons. We debated who would win the Super Bowl MVP, Ryan or Julio Jones? Jones had been on fire.

The Patriots scored a little while later, but missed the extra point. 28-9 going into the fourth quarter. Falcons Broski was still all laughs, all a good time… the Patriots hit a field goal to make the game 28-12. A little while later, Matt Ryan fumbled and Brady led the Patriots down the field for another touchdown, this time to Danny Amendola (he’ll always be RAMendola), and they converted on a 2-point conversion to make the game 28-20!

I still figured the Falcons had the game in the bag, y’know? They had been tearing up the Patriots all night with their running game, so all was good. Falcons Broski started getting quiet. Everybody in the whole damn living room was quiet as we locked in on the game.

Y’know that part about the Falcons destroying the Pats with their running game? Yeah, about that… they only ran the ball a few times after securing that 28-3 lead! In the drive following the one where the Pats made it 28-20, the Falcons kept passing the ball! When they were setting up a great drive after what would have been a historically awesome Julio Jones reception, they… passed, and Ryan got sacked. They passed once more… another Ryan sack. Third and long, they passed, and I believe this one went to Mohamed Sanu for little gain. In hindsight (I know it’s always 20/20), the Falcons could have ran the ball, used some clock and hit a field goal to make it a two score game. Instead, they nonsensically passed and it ruined ’em.

Brady cut through the Falcons’ defense on the next drive, when Julian Edelman made one of the greatest catches I’ve ever seen… the Patriots scored and a quick pass to Danny Amendola secured the 2-point conversion.

The Super Bowl saw its first overtime in 51 games. The Patriots won the coin toss, got the ball and the rest is history. Falcons Broski sat in complete silence for about 15 minutes. I reckon we all did. I still can’t believe what transpired. The Falcons completed the biggest choke in the history of the NFL.

My feelings were bipolar on Sunday evening. I say that, because when the Falcons went up 28-3, I thought, “Welp, there goes my thoughts about Tom Brady. I mean, hell, I used Peyton Manning’s 43-8 loss to the Seahawks in 2014 as a way of saying, ‘Brady would never lose like that!’ And here Brady is, losing 28-3 to the Falcons!”

I was also thinking, “Damn, the NFL has evolved and passed Bill Belichick up! The Falcons have all these playmakers that are eating the Pats away, while the Pats have next to no playmakers! Belichick needs to up the ante and draft some playmakers!”

By the end of the game… holy hell!

Yes, the Falcons choked the game away. Kyle Shanahan made piss poor calls (by not running the football more). However, the Patriots’ D played out of this world, and Tom Brady was invincible, as if you were playing All-Madden on a Madden video game and trying to stop the CPU.

Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback I’ve ever seen in my life. Albeit a short life, I’ve watched Brady from the get go.

Let me tell anybody who cares to read this story: on February 3, 2002 I watched my St. Louis Rams, a team that was heavily favored in Super Bowl XXXVI, shockingly fall to the New England Patriots 20-17. The Rams were down 17-3 but battled back with a HALL OF FAMER Kurt Warner quarterback sneak and a Warner-to-Ricky Proehl touchdown pass. In the Patriots’ final drive, a young man by the name of Tom Brady, who took over for an injured Drew Bledsoe earlier in the season, stepped up to the plate and led the Pats down the field as John Madden recommended that the Pats play for overtime. Adam Vinatieri hit a 48-yard field goal and gave the Patriots their first Super Bowl win in NFL history after they were embarrassed by the Bears in ’86 and clowned by the Packers in ’97.

I was pissed off. I watched the game next to my dad, and he grinned from ear to ear. You see, I think deep down my dad liked the Rams and thought Kurt Warner was a hell of a quarterback, but he liked to get under my skin in order to aggravate me. I digress. As we watched the post-game celebration and Tom Brady was anointed the game’s MVP, I rolled my eyes. “He’s the MVP with just 107 passing yards and a touchdown? That’s crap!” My dad looked over at me and said, “Tom Brady is going to win a bunch of Super Bowls. He plays with poise and he’s a winner. He doesn’t let the pressure of the big stage get to him”.

My dad had no reason to say something like that. No bias. He was a fan of the Miami Dolphins, a divisional rival of the Pats. He passed away a week before Christmas in 2003, so he didn’t see the Patriots’ subsequent Super Bowl appearances and victories (at least in this realm), but he was absolutely right in his prediction that Brady would win a ‘bunch’ of Super Bowls.

I often wonder what my dad would say about Brady now. Dad was born in 1954, so he grew up watching Joe Namath (he always said that he and his brothers idolized Namath when they were young boys), then he became a Dolphins fan in the early ’70s and remained one the rest of his life. He got to witness Joe Montana’s greatness in the ’80s, and I mention that because he always told me that Montana was the greatest ever. Since he was a Dolphins fan, I asked, “What about Dan Marino?” And my dad would say, “He’s great, he has the stats but he didn’t get it done in the playoffs. He couldn’t rally the troops.” I went and looked at Marino’s playoff performances and noticed how many times the Dolphins were ousted by double digits. Dad had a point.

Since my dad’s death, I’ve had a billion dreams about him where we talk about sports, from football to basketball to boxing to MMA. After Sunday evening’s game, I’d love to be able to talk to him about what transpired.

My dad also made a bold prediction about another quarterback, and although he ended up being wrong, he was almost right about this next prediction. I’ll never forget one day when my dad and I were passing a Nerf football around in the driveway in the summer of 2001. I remember that Peyton Manning was on the box. Manning was coming off his third year in the NFL. Dad thought that Manning was robotic on the field, when I asked him his thoughts about ol’ #18. “He’s robotic and a control freak. You don’t want that in a quarterback. Makes the rest of the offense nervous. He’ll never win a Super Bowl.”

Years later, with Peyton and the Colts’ meeting failure after failure, being dominated by the Pats in ’04 and ’05, stifled by the Steelers in ’06… I thought my dad was going to be correct in this prediction, too. As luck would have it, in January 2007 the Colts’ defense came into full fruition, with safety Bob Sanders (remember how dominant he was?) leading the charge. The Colts had the luxury of playing an overrated Chicago Bears team in the Super Bowl, a Bears’ team that featured Rex Grossman, the worst quarterback to ever start a Super Bowl (at least since Vince Ferragamo with the ’79 Rams). For a while the game was close, but Grossman’s incompetence as a quarterback failed the Bears and Peyton won a Super Bowl with a score of 29-17.

I always thought Peyton lucked out by playing the Bears in that Super Bowl. When the Colts made it back to another Super Bowl when they played the Saints in 2010, the Saints won by two touchdowns, including a pick-6 from Peyton Manning that sealed the victory for ‘Nawlins. A few years later, Peyton went to Denver and we saw him and the Broncos go to another Super Bowl, this time in 2014, against a Seahawks team. The Seahawks blew out the Broncos 43-8; Peyton couldn’t do anything to stifle the Seahawks’ defense that game, and the majority of the game Peyton spent his time on the sidelines, looking down and sulking. A year later, the Seahawks played Tom Brady and the Pats, and well, even though the Seahawks screwed their chances in the closing seconds, Brady and the Pats came out with a close victory.

A hobbled Peyton Manning that could no longer effectively play the quarterback position won a Super Bowl with a stacked, all-time top 15 defense on the Broncos last year in 2016, but that was effectively the Denver defense’s doings.

I digress. I’ve tried so hard to hate Tom Brady over the years, but I just can’t. I watched my Rams lose to them in upsetting fashion 15 years ago in Super Bowl XXXVI, and ever since — as I’ve watched my Rams’ toil in losing season after losing season since 2004 (I still love ’em, whether they are in St. Louis or Los Angeles) — I’ve watched Brady go to seven Super Bowls. Brady would have seven rings if his defense would have stymied the Giants in ’08 and ’12. (I always thought that the Super Bowl on February 3, 2008 — five years after the Rams’ loss — was poetic justice as the 18-0 Pats fell to the underdog Giants…. y’know, once upon a time I always thought it was my dad looking down from heaven and preserving the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins’ perfect record from being broken by the Pats….)

Last week, when the little kid at media day asked Tom Brady who his hero was and he kinda choked up and said his dad, I’m not gonna lie… when I watched that, I shed a couple of tears and thought about my hero — my dad. My dad was the smartest, most hardworking man I’ve ever known. He believed in true hard work and embracing the grind. He believed through hard work and perseverance that you could accomplish anything and everything, all criticizers’ and detractors’ words be damned! He passed that mindset on down to me, I’d like to hope/think. He always believed that hard work beats talent all seven days of the week. My dad was only about 5’6″ or 5’7″, his nickname among his brothers, his two sisters and his childhood friends was always, “Stubby” because of his hands (although he always had an inappropriate — albeit hilarious — joke about that), but he was genuinely the strongest, smartest and relentlessly hard working person I’ve ever known. And when I say, “smartest”, I don’t mean naturally. I mean he craved learning! When he wanted to learn something, he’d go and do it. We got a computer in the early ’90s and he learned how to use it himself. He was incredible at math. He wasn’t all that great at spelling (he’d be happy with spell check these days), but he was a pretty damn good writer, too! He was a businessman that treated people the way he wanted to be treated, and he loved joking/teasing the hell out of everyone. I’m so damn proud to carry his name. If I can even become 1/4th the man he was, I will be happy.

I digress. Before I finish this up, I just want to point something out. I will never understand the popularity contest and the polarizing love/hate-fest between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. The country hates Brady but loves Manning. They see Brady as “smug and arrogant” (how?) and Manning as the everyday guy. This is 110% due to advertising and marketing. You don’t see Brady in very many ads at all. Yet you see Peyton advertising for Domino’s, Nationwide, DirecTV, Buick and Oreo. You see Manning on Saturday Night Live. Every time, he’s portrayed as the average everyday guy, when that couldn’t be more opposite. Brady is actually originally more of an ‘everyday’ guy than Manning will ever be. Manning was born with a silver spoon in his mouth; his dad was an NFL quarterback and is in the college football hall of fame for his time at Ole Miss. The Manning family is probably one of the richest in all of sports combined. Manning had the option to go to school anywhere, went to Tennessee and was the first pick in the ’98 NFL Draft.

On the flipside, Tom Brady embodies the All-American Dream. Brady grew up in northern California in a middle class family. His whole life as an unathletic quarterback was an uphill battle. No college coaches even looked at him. He was sending high school highlights tapes to every college he possibly could. As luck would have it, he attended the University of Michigan, but he had to sit for his first couple years. He had to battle with Drew Henson for a starting position in his last two years as a Wolverine. He was overlooked in the 2000 NFL Draft and was lucky to be picked in the 6th round, pick #199, by the New England Patriots. If Drew Bledsoe didn’t go down in the 2000 season, we might’ve lucked out and never seen him on the playing field. Brady has gone on to win 5 Super Bowls and appeared in 7.

Don’t get me wrong. I actively root against the Pats. I will always feel that Super Bowl XXXVI was emblazoned with controversy (Marshall Faulk being held, roughing the passer not being called when Kurt Warner was receiving late hits, Brady not being flagged for intentional grounding, etc.), but Brady truly embodies the All-American success story. I think that’s why my dad was an instant believer/fan of Brady, even as early as 2002, because he saw the struggle Brady went through, and he appreciated that.

I would love to be able to sit down with my dad and his best friend Sonny (who was like a second dad to me) one more time and listen to them trash talk each other’s NFL teams. Every time a wild or big moment happens in sports, I always wonder what my dad would’ve thought about it.

I know this post went all over the place. No rhythm, nothing. But I don’t care. I needed to write/document this.

Charles Barkley is Right About LeBron James

I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time defending LeBron James over the years. Lately he’s been bitching about wanting more playmakers on the Cleveland Cavaliers. I think it’s just a ploy to stir up dust, something he seems to do just about every January (the last couple of Januarys) to light a fire under his team. No harm, no foul.

Charles Barkley said that LeBron is whiny; I agree.

“Daddy” (The Cleveland Cavaliers) told the child (LeBron James) he can’t have his toy. LeBron, who has a house full of toys, runs crying to “mommy” (the media) saying that “daddy” doesn’t love him. “Mommy” and “daddy” fight when the toy store worker (Charles Barkley) pipes in and implores the “daddy” and “mommy” to act like adults. “You spoiled that child and now he’s a whiny brat”, Barkley the toy store worker emits. “How many toys do you need kid?” And now the child is running to “mommy” saying that the mean man hurt his feelings. Just imagine what all the other parents (teams) and children (players) are thinking.

In all seriousness, why do we now have a society where the criticizer dishing out soft criticism is dubbed a ‘hater’? I’ve wrote about this in the past. I despise that word and I can’t help but view people saying it as childish or downright mentally ill-by-choice.

LeBron went on to Google some lurid facts about Barkley’s indiscretions and brought it to light. You can tell just how offended ‘Bron was/is, just by how emotional he is about it. He might just be the most thin skinned star in NBA history.

Kevin Durant Joining the Warriors is Hilarious to Me

I never touched on this subject when Kevin Durant bolted from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the star studded Golden State Warriors.

But I have to, now, because it’s hilarious to me!

Back in the summer of 2010, I defended the hell out of LeBron James for ditching the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat. LeBron was a molecular structured villain for the majority of his four year stint in Miami (especially the first two years). When he left in the summer of 2010, a lot of people placed Kevin Durant on a pedestal and anointed him for how “loyal” he is/was. Even back then, I was smirking and having to stop myself from laughing my ass off at sports fans’ ignorance and the false notion of loyalty in professional sports.

I was always in the Bill Simmons’ camp (2008-2010) of referring to Durant as the future former Oklahoma City Thunder. I never thought that franchise would build the correct pieces around him to get him to stay, but then they drafted Russell Westbrook in 2008 and James Harden in 2009, while Serge Ibaka officially became a member of the Thunder in 2009. The team made a Western Conference Finals appearance in 2011 and ultimately made the NBA Finals in 2012 before being ousted by LeBron James and the Heat in five games.

After that, the train came off the rails. The Thunder decided to keep Serge Ibaka over James Harden (rather than paying Harden a max contract) by sending Harden to Houston, and then injuries to both Westbrook (playoffs/2013) and Durant (2014 and 2015) hampered the team. In the playoffs this past season, the Thunder were primed to capture a title! They had the 73-win Golden State Warriors on the edge of being kicked off the cliff with a 3-1 Western Conference Finals series lead, and the Thunder ensuingly shit the bed and blew three consecutive games to the Warriors.

Durant signed with the Warriors in the offseason, and now he’s the biggest villain in the NBA right now. Once again, it’s hilarious to me, after everybody praised his loyalty back in 2010 when he signed a new contract with the Thunder. He didn’t have to leave the Thunder, y’know? That team was ready to contend and face the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals for years to come, and he bolted!

I’m not mad at Durant; I don’t even dislike Durant. Hell, I’m actually excited for the upcoming season, because it’s going to be incredibly entertaining watching the Warriors play! They are officially the new villains of pro basketball, from Durant to that donkey-looking son of a bitch Draymond Green, the President of Dirty NBA Play, leading the charge! It’s going to be exciting — and amusing — watching detractors become enraged when the Warriors win and elated when they lose.

Oh, and the NBA title is not a ‘gimme‘ for the Warriors this season, either, despite their star studded lineup. They lost key pieces in Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut. Also, the 2003-2004 Lakers didn’t win the NBA title despite their lineup of Gary Payton, Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone and Shaquille O’Neal! Even the Heat failed to win a title their first year together during the LeBron-Wade-Bosh years.

The only thing I’m annoyed about are sports fans who live, breathe and die by the notion of a loyal professional athlete. Just sit back and enjoy the game, folks. Just be a basketball fan and have some fun.

Now, here’s some Kurtis Blow!

A Few Quick Words on Colin Kaepernick/National Anthem and the Lousy LA Rams

Y’know, I don’t agree with Colin Kaepernick sitting and kneeling during the anthem, but that’s his constitutional right. However, all the people whining and crying about it weeks later after the media originally caught onto his shenanigans are the biggest pussies in America right now. Social media can be a disaster for rapid, impulse reactions and silly statements opined by people who trip over themselves when they can’t get to the keyboard fast enough.

Somebody I know posted about boycotting the San Francisco 49ers’ throttling of the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football last night (before the game, of course; if you are going to boycott the game, boycott it because one awful team — the Rams — let the other awful team — the 49ers — whip ’em), and there were a couple of people in the comments agreeing to do the same. What’s the difference between whining, crybaby idiocy like that & whining, crybaby liberals? Not one thing. The two go together like Blue Moon and mango habanero chicken wings from Buffalo Wild Wings…

At this point, it’s a joke. The media is keeping this story alive, because people like that have their panties in a wad over it! Again, I don’t agree with Kaep, but the world keeps spinning and we all keep eating and shitting! Time for people like the dude on Facebook and others who also ‘boycotted‘ the game to put their big boy/girl pants on and suck it up. Time to be a grownup and accept that everybody has differing opinions, values and views. Hardcore left-wing nuts and right-wing nuts are guilty of the same bullshit. Boycotting a football game because a BACKUP quarterback is kneeling during the anthem? Shew… they say liberals are pussies, but these idiots like the dude on Facebook are getting their panties in a wad just the same.

As for the Rams’ performance last night, it is what it is. I expected a fight out of them. I even expected the team to neutralize the 49ers, since the defense is ‘supposed‘ to be top notch… instead, the 49ers had their way with the Rams and won 28-0.

It shouldn’t, but it amazes me that Jeff Fisher is still around. He’s probably the most overrated head coach in the history of the NFL. He had a few good seasons with Steve McNair and the Titans, including a Super Bowl appearance, before he became comfortable with a reputation of mediocrity and subpar play. Oh, and yeah, he had an anomaly of a good season with Kerry Collins in 2008, but that team bowed out as soon as the divisional round of the playoffs rolled around.

Fisher came to the Rams in 2012 and the team has posted four consecutive losing seasons, and I’m sure this season will mirror the same, but he’ll be kept around with excuses like, “the team just drafted a rookie quarterback!” (who isn’t even playing) and, “the team just moved to Los Angeles! Give him a break!”

Rams’ owner Stan Kroenke isn’t even about winning. He’s about making money from the team. That’s it. However, he’ll eventually find out that the money won’t come around if the product on the field isn’t any good, especially in Los Angeles. Los Angeles sports fans are the biggest fairweather fans on the planet. If the team is good, they’ll be there hootin’ and hollerin’. If the team sucks, you’ll hear crickets in the stadium. Besides, a college football program rules that area, anyway, in the realm of pigskin.

I’m genuinely jealous of sports fans who root for teams with owners with a winning mindset. It must be nice to know that, even when your team sucks, they are actively making moves to become better. The Rams are simply farting in the goddamn wind.

The Rams can keep losing. I’ll still be a fan, because after all, it’s just a game played by spoiled millionaires.

A Quick Word on UFC 202: McGregor/Diaz 2

The most anticipated fight I’m looking forward to tomorrow night isn’t Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz 2. It’s the co-main event featuring Anthony “Rumble” Johnson and Glover Teixeira. If that fight lives up to the hype, it’s going to be a doozie.

McGregor is promising to starch Diaz, but hardly anybody that is well versed in MMA (sans Irish fans…) thinks that’s going to happen. The whole time leading up to the rematch (including the UFC 200 debacle which saw the original rematch removed from the card) I’ve been in the mindset that this is Nate Diaz’s fight to lose, that he’ll defeat Conor, but I’m having second thoughts.

I admire the Diaz Brothers’ boxing and jiu jitsu abilities. Both of them prefer to stand up and goad their opponents into getting into a slugfest with them, which typically goes in the Diaz Bros’ favor. In the first fight between Nate and Conor, Nate took the fight on nine days’ notice, and Conor had to quickly prepare for a 170-lb. fight when he was originally planning for a 155-lb. superfight against Rafael dos Anjos. In the first round, Conor hit Nate with some bombs that would’ve dropped the 145-lb. fighters Conor was facing before that fight, but his shots — outside of turning Nate’s face into pizza sauce — did next to nothing in regards to damaging Nate.

By the second round, Conor was gassed and Nate started hitting him with combos before he rocked Conor, which then Conor shot in for an anomalous takedown before Nate used his superior grappling and jiu-jitsu to flatten Conor and lock in a rear naked choke for the victory.

I can’t wait to see how this one goes. My girlfriend is even super hyped for this one (she’s a McGregor fangirl).

With Nate Diaz having a full camp this time, will he dominate Conor McGregor even more-so than the first fight?

Will Conor McGregor avoid expending all his energy in the first round against Diaz?

What if McGregor spent the fight utilizing kicks against Diaz? The thing about the Diaz Brothers is that they are stubborn against fighters who execute leg kicks and take their time circling the octagon and avoiding being cut off all night. McGregor could win this spending all five rounds staying on the outside and hitting Nate with kicks all night for a unanimous decision victory, but that wouldn’t be any fun.

I have a feeling that Conor won’t do that. He’s a prideful Irishman, and I reckon he’ll stand and trade with Nate again. I just wonder if he’ll still try to win on points. It’s going to be interesting.

Going against the grain on this one… McGregor by KO/TKO… somehow, someway…

Tim Duncan is Retiring

I’ve been inactive for a few months due to being busy (life and traveling). I’ve missed commenting on such things as the Conor McGregor/UFC debacle, Stipe Miocic winning the UFC Heavyweight title, Michael Bisping shocking the world and winning the UFC Middleweight title on short notice and UFC 200, but this morning Tim Duncan has announced his retirement from basketball after 19 seasons in the NBA.

Duncan is probably my favorite basketball player of all-time. While I’m forever a Celtics fan, I’ve always been a Spurs supporter/apologist. My dad was also a Celtics fan, but he loved the way Gregg Popovich ran the Spurs; in the early 2000s, my dad and I watched a shithorde of Spurs (playoffs) games and practically adopted the team as a western conference favorite. The last NBA Finals we watched together was the 2003 Finals in which Duncan and the Spurs ousted the back-to-back eastern conference champion Nets in six games (David Robinson’s last ever game).

I don’t have anything to say that somebody else couldn’t sum up better about Duncan’s career. I hope he’s not forgotten in the annals of NBA history. I mean, hell, of course he won’t be — he’s one of the greatest players of all-time; he’s in my top 5 based on pure leadership on and off the court as well as the way he played the game. He was never involved in a single controversy nor did he create drama within his franchise like another former NBA player who also played his final season this past year.

I was hoping Duncan would come back to play at least one more season, but it is what it is.

Mahalo and ciao, Big Fundamental.

James Harden Epitomizes My Boredom With the NBA

The Golden State Warriors ran roughshod on the NBA this year. The San Antonio Spurs, a team I’ve had a deep affinity for, for so long, were right behind them. Kobe Bryant retired.

And I’m bored with the Association.

I’ve been bored for a while. I mean, I love the playoffs. I love basketball. But I’m rooting for something interesting to happen. I want rivalries and tough, physical play between players that want to win more than they want to breathe, but most of those days are over. Sure, there may be some ultra competitive players in the league today, but what’s advertised more often than not, and what’s in the limelight, are millionaire buddy-buddy basketball players high-fiving each other and homie-hugging it out on the court while wearing different jerseys. Their mentality seems to be, “Yeah, winning is okay, but I’d like to play with the other team’s star player and make sure we are still cool so we can hang out in cool suites in the offseason”.

I miss that “fuck you” mentality of players.

James Harden of the Houston Rockets is an unequivocal offensive juggernaut. He could be a superstar if he was dedicated enough to the game of basketball to play defense. There’s a video of him going around the web (I’m too lazy to find it and share) allowing a free layup on a fast break last night during game 2 of the Rockets/Warriors series. That’s a common theme with Harden. You can go on YouTube right this instance and spend a whole day watching his defensive blunders and still have room to watch even more.

Here you have a guy that is incredibly marketable (thanks to the beard), who can be among the cream of the crop as far as top basketball players go, yet he’s… unremarkably below average at defense, and not from a deficiency in talent but from being fucking lazy. What’s the point of watching?

The NBA playoffs are outright physical — you can tell from watching the games — but James Harden is one of the players on the court marking his stamp of an exception to that rule. Why?