This week in Heat schadenfreude

Humphries garners a new superlative

by Zettler Clay

Yesterday, there was the question of whether LeBron James will ever stop taking heat (no pun intended, I assure you) for his move down South. Well now it seems that he gets a respite, thanks to Forbes.

It turns out that Mr. James is no longer the most loathed NBA player alive. That honor and distinction goes to recently-signed Nets forward Kris Humphries. Yes, the Kris Humphries that was just married to Kim Kardashian for all of 72 days.

I certainly saw this coming (OK, I didn’t). At least the voters (survey conducted by Nielsen and E-Poll Market Research) showed some originality in their approach. A year ago at this time, we know who would have topped this list. Five months ago, we know who would have took the crown. But basketball fans — at least the ones Forbes attracts — chose to knight a guy with a 5.6 ppg career scoring average.

*The power of the Kardashians reign again.

And for the second time in as many months, The King finished as a runner-up.

*Lamar Odom rounded the top 10 list, being voted 10th.

H/T USA Today

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LeBron Gets It…Again?

by Zettler Clay

There seems to be no end in sight for the LeBron James backlash. The latest bit of evidence is a new provision in the newly-signed labor agreement. From the Sports Business Journal:

NBA players are now prohibited from holding an ownership stake in a player-management firm or from acting as National Basketball Players Association-certified agents under a provision in the league’s new collective-bargaining agreement.

The provision was something NBA owners asked for and players agreed to as one of the so-called B-list items, terms that were collectively bargained after the NBPA re-formed as a union, according to a union source.”

Now far be it from us to begrudge LBJ backlash, as we’ve created a special category to chronicle such matters. But to undercut the man’s cashflow on ventures outside of basketball? As Royce Young from CBSSports.com reports though, this ruling may or may not have an effect on LeBron’s recently-formed company, LRMR, as it is not technically a player agency.

Either way, this stipulation in the CBA seems a bit…strategic. Maybe the lockout was more about The Decision than anything else. And if it’s true that a one hour television special threatened to cost us a season, then my animus against the terms “taking my talents” and “not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4…” just took a heap of gasoline.

H/T CBSSports.com

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DeShawn Stevenson, perhaps gloating just a tad

by Micah Hart

Here is the championship apparel DeShawn Stevenson is wearing today as the Mavericks return triumphant to the city of Dallas (via @BallinwithBryan):

You gotta hand it to him — Stevenson backed up his talk in the Finals, much like his teammate Jason Terry, and to the victor go the spoils. If that’s the shirt he wants to wear, he’s earned it.

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Enjoying Heat schadenfreude one last time

by Micah Hart

When LeBron James signed with Miami last summer, leaving Cleveland in the lurch like he did, as a fan I wanted him to feel what Cleveland fans felt. I wanted him to hurt the way they hurt.

As of last night’s title-clinching victory by the Dallas Mavericks, I think it’s safe to say that what the fans wanted has come to pass. Today, LeBron is hurting, and for the haters it is as satisfying as the first gulp of a Coke on a hot summer’s day.

Here is what I wrote right before the start of the season, and it still holds water:

If I am a Cleveland or Toronto fan (but more Cleveland), I don’t want to see Miami struggle through injuries and flame out in the first round because they are at less than full strength. I wouldn’t complain, but it’d still be a disappointment.

If you really want to be spiteful and vindictive (and really, isn’t that what hatred is all about?), you don’t want Miami’s success to be curtailed by a collection of rolled ankles and twisted knees. You want the Heat to be awesome. Devastate the league. Win 70 games. Cruise to the Finals. THEN lose. That is revenge, my friend.

Given the hubris and arrogance exhibited last summer, it’s hard to muster much sympathy for Miami. And while others had a stake in the production, the tab will be paid going forward by LeBron and LeBron alone.

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Macy’s didn’t watch the game you watched last night

by Micah Hart

Via @thatsportsgirl, it appears Macy’s was watching a different NBA Finals than we were:

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How does Cleveland feel about the Mavs win?

by Micah Hart

Take it away, www.didthecavswinlastnight.com!

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Hollywood as hell T-shirts for sale

by Zettler Clay

In this finely-tuned capitalistic society of ours, any quote, non sequitur or shrug is grist for a business opportunity. If Joakim Noah didn’t know that before, he certainly does now.

 

Like these shirts*, “Hollywood as Hell” has the potential to stay in rotation for a while. On one hand, it’s a jab at a Heat team seen by many as entitled. On the other, it’s a compliment — or admission of guilt with sarcastic undertones. Everybody wins.

Thank you Noah.

*If the Cavs, er, Mavs beat the Heat in the Finals, I imagine this shirt will be popular in Cleveland for a long time.

Just another routine play by a routine guy

by Zettler Clay

For all the carnage that LeBron James wreaks on the offensive end — as Kyle Korver can attest — his work on the other end often plays second fiddle. Although he was named to the NBA All-Defensive team for the third time this season, it’s easy to forget how well he works in that facet.

So when Carlos Boozer came barreling down the lane with Dan Gilbert’s best friend coming to challenge, those on the “LeBron Sucks” train prepared their schadenfreude mix, poured it into a sports bottle and toasted, before this happened:

Well then. Not even a Boozer right-arm push-off could prevent ‘Bron from adding to his copious reel. I hope the seats on that aforementioned train is comfortable, patrons. Or at least comfortable enough to last until Game 4 on Tuesday.

There’s no crying in baseball — What about basketball?

by Micah Hart

Ooooooh, boy. There’s a lot to parse from this tweet by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst after the Heat fell 87-86 to the Bulls on Sunday. For starters:

– Heat coach Erik Spoelstra isn’t particularly known for playing head games with his players. Admitting to the public that members of his team are in tears feels like more of a Phil Jackson move.

– Who was crying? The pressure on the Heat is really only felt by three players — the rest are just along for the ride. Just sayin’.

There is a tendency amongst us all to view everything through the prism of immediacy, especially as sports fans. When the Heat started 9-8, I was amongst the chorus who quickly judged the Heat to be inferior. Then, when they reeled off a 21-1 stretch, I felt silly for having written them off so quickly. But hey, that’s how we are as fans.

Players, generally speaking, don’t necessarily react this way, or at least the players on the top-level teams. They know the game is a grind, and tomorrow is another day, and all those sports cliches they feed us. They have to keep a level head, because emotion often interrupts execution.

Which is why the mood in the Miami locker room after today’s last-minute defeat at the hands of the Bulls is a little surprising. Yes, the Heat are flailing, having dropped four straight. Yes, the Heat have struggled against the best teams in the league all season (they are now 1-9 against the top 3 seeds in each conference). But this is still a team with two of the best three or four players on the planet — if this slide is too much for them to handle, the playoffs could be a short and bumpy ride…

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Chris Bosh makes his bid for best actor Oscar

by Micah Hart

Remember this clip when Chris Bosh is walking up to the stage at next year’s Oscar ceremonies to accept his Best Actor award for his portrayal of “Guy pretending he just got elbowed violently in the face” from last night’s Heat-Bulls game in Chicago. In case you missed it:

Bosh really goes for it here, rolling around on the court for several seconds after the fact. Now that’s commitment to the craft, my friend. And all for an offensive foul call midway through the second quarter. I guess you never know which play will be the one that turns the tide.

Of course, I could be jumping the gun. Bosh does have some pretty stiff competition in the category:

Honestly — what is the deal with Bosh and the Bulls? Every time he plays them, he ends up the target of heaps of Internet abuse.

Then again, it’s possible this was an act of premeditated genius on Bosh’s part — most of us are talking about his dive today instead of, you know, the whole 1-18 thing.

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