Happy Monday, you crazy kids. Here’s hoping this past weekend treated you a bit better than the last. The weather’s improving, baseball is drawing near, and the Cavs finally got their crap together with two, decisive back-to-back wins over teams that were getting just a bit too big in their britches over the last few weeks.
It’s refreshing to have things back on track as winning cures everything. No rumors. No speculation. No unfounded reports of players wanted to be traded. Just wins.
Do you need a little motivation for your day? Take it away, LeBron:
— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 5, 2016
— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 6, 2016
— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 7, 2016
And if you’re wondering what the hell James is talking about—WHO’S HE TALKING TO?—he’s trolling you.
Spoke to LeBron James about cryptic tweets. Said more "da vinci code" tweets to come. Guessing #thedc stands for that. He's just having fun.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) March 6, 2016
I oftentimes (OK, all the time) disparage baseless commentary as a form of sportswriting. The term “hot take” has been used to the point of exhaustion, but every so often another column comes out and the once-buried term rises from the ashes like the flaming Phoenix it is.
The link that’s quoted within the tweet, however, is of one of the worst columns penned in recent history, one that was dug back up on Sunday when the Golden State Warriors lost to the Los Angeles Lakers, with Steph Curry having a rough afternoon. It’s written by a Windy City blue hair named Bernie Lincicome and is an utter atrocity to the craft of sports coverage.
Seriously. Get a load of this lede:
Let’s start with the truth. The 3-point shot was created for people who couldn’t play basketball. It was made for people who couldn’t grow tall enough, dribble well enough, drive hard enough or move fast enough.
It was for the last kid picked on the playground. The one who pushed his glasses up his nose. The one who wore black socks in gym class. The 3-point shot was made for you and me.
Incredible right? Ignore, for a half second, that black socks have been en vogue for quite some time, and realize that a sports columnist is using space within one of the country’s largest newspapers to question the athleticism of professional athletes. But wait—it gets better.
Like other well-meaning props — instant replay, artificial turf and social media — it got out of hand, doing more harm than good, or as the French say “faire plus de mai de bien.”
I don’t know if the French really say that. In fact I know almost nothing of what the French say, but, like the 3-point shot, pretension is worth a little extra.
If you’re wondering to yourself, “did this guy just make up a saying to only later question its true existence, but then use it to support is ridiculous stance?” the answer is decidedly: Yes, yes he did, all while crowbarring in a jab on those damn young kids and their smartphones as well as any technology used within games to increase fairness and accuracy.
Ready for more?
The 3-pointer has become as dull as the intentional walk, and any competent player in the NBA can make a 3. There is no special skill to it.
Yeah. He went there. Any old player—short or tall, fast or slow—can drain an NBA-distance three-pointer. Meanwhile, any player who makes around 40 percent of his threes—meaning missing more than half—is considered elite at the skill. It appears that the issue is rooted a bit deeper, that Kevin Love’s 6-10 frame draining threes (or Nikola Mirotic, for that matter) isn’t the fuel for Bernie’s fire.
Then Big Bern pulls the band-aid off.
What started as a scratch became a rash, grew into a disease and is now an epidemic. Oh, let’s just say the name. Stephen Curry. … The Age of Curry is certainly the least enthralling, no matter the breathless accounts of yet 12 or 15 more 3-pointers in one night.
Say what you want about Steph Curry, the mouth guard chewing, and the coverage he receives—his play isn’t an epidemic; it’s one of the most captivating individual seasons in the history of the NBA, one so next level that the latest #HoopIdea revolves around re-spacing the NBA floor. Is his game above the rim like MJ, Wilt or Dr. J? No. But his game has tilted the axis of what we have known to be the NBA. One doesn’t have to like Curry to understand what he’s doing is not only insane, but takes loads of skill.
Given the author’s apparent disdain for social media, it feels ironic to compare this column to the nonsense that the Average, Thoughtless Joe tosses on Twitter without thinking twice. Nevertheless, good old Bernie inadvertently lumped himself in with the hang-up-and-listen crowd. It takes a special kind of man to write a column like this, and while the fisking done above will be one of a handful of such pieces written and published on the web, I’ll take any chance I can get to lace into the worst of the worst when it comes to quote-unquote commentary.
If you watched the Cavaliers lay into the Washington Wizards on Friday night, what you may have missed was the National Anthem as played by former Cavs big man Jim Chones.
The crowd at The Q ate it up and it really set the tone for an excellent all-around night as documented by Kyle in that link above.
For every one of the ridiculous thoughts spewed like that above, we need to counter it with at least three or four pieces of #ActualSportswriting. Enjoy.
“Bud Collins’ sportswriting was foundation of his career” by S.L. Price (Sports Illustrated): “Does that sound like a man in funny pants? Are those the words, the rhythms, of the sideshow barker who banged the drum so furiously, so lovingly, for tennis for so long? … Maybe you liked it, maybe you didn’t, or maybe you liked it and yet winced sometimes, too. No sport needed airing out more than tennis when he came along in the ‘60s, but you felt the tongue planted firmly in cheek there: Bud was puncturing the thing, even as he was pumping it full of a new kind of gas.”1
“Biggest Loser after Connor McGregor and Holly Holm upsets: The UFC” by Dan Wetzel (Yahoo! Sports): “From his traditional perch at the side of the Octagon on Saturday night, UFC president Dana White could only watch as piles of millions burned in front of him. Holly Holm … choked out. Conor McGregor … choked out. A pair of the sport’s biggest and most bankable stars suffering stunning upsets, turning UFC 196 into a carnage of commerce.”2
“About That Life” by David J. Roth (VICE Sports): “The Daily Mail found a video of [Delonte] West looking scraggly and unwell at a mall near his home in Maryland, and a story about him acting erratically at a youth basketball game. They put that online, too. It’s from last month, but that doesn’t matter. That’s not how this works. West’s struggles are in the public domain now. He is falling—despite the attempts of a family that loves him, through the contingent and tissue-thin comforts that millions of dollars can buy, and right where everyone can see it happen. He’s 32.”3
And finally…Live hip-hop can be hit or miss. When there are more drum machines than drums, and more hype men than lyrics to be shared, made-for-radio singles rapped on a stage in front of a studio audience or—worse, an amphitheater crowd—can be excruciating. Every so often, however, we get the artists who swap in some instruments, be they Jay Z’s Unplugged show with The Roots or Kanye using full-on orchestra instrumentation.
When I heard that Future was to take to the SNL stage, I was unsure of what to expect as I had witnessed him sound horrible (with Pusha T.) on Jimmy Fallon roughly a year earlier. What he delivered, however, was right in line with his incredible streak of fantastic work. The drums, the keys, the guitars… It was great.
Check it out for yourself below:
This track continues to be one of the most streamed singles on Apple Music, which, if you read Andrew’s quasi review of EVOL, should be no surprise. Shout out to The Weeknd, of course. Abel slayed. Talk about two guys on a hell of a hot streak.
Here’s to you using today as a launching pad for a hot streak of your own. Have a killer Monday, kids.