Last night, after the Miami Heat quit late against the Dallas Mavericks as Dallas claimed the NBA championship, there was a lot of weird backlash going on. A ton of it, including from this guy, was against Miami. The Heat were the most hateable team in probably NBA history. Forming a super team wasn’t really what bothered me. What bothered me is how they celebrated every little thing that they did like it was the greatest accomplishment of all time. Remember this? The Heat celebrated signing up together like they won the title. That bit them in the ass when they stumbled to start the season. Eventually, Miami settled in and won some games. Did they take their success like a champion? No. They celebrated every minor accomplishment like it was game 7 of the Finals. Miami finished up as the 3 seed in the East. After beating Boston in the second round, the second round, they celebrated like they won the title. Charles and Kenny called them out on TNT for the over the top celebration. After the Heat beat the Bulls, Noah called them “Hollywood as Hell.” That fit to a tee, because there was no team more Hollywood than the Heat. Then the Finals started.
LeBron James is the best player in the world. No one can do the things he can do. When he’s motivated and wanting blood, he gets it like he’s on Game of Thrones. Remember the 48 point outburst against Detroit that carried Cleveland to the Finals? James scored the last 25 Cleveland points. A year ago, James melted down at the tail end of the Boston series, and eventually Cleveland quit late in game 6. Rumors started of people sleeping with his mom. No one had a good explanation of why that happened. The pressure was going to be on him for his next big playoff run. James answered the bell in the series against the Bulls. He shut down Derrick Rose. He made huge shots when it mattered. He did it all. James must have used all of his mojo then, because he was a non factor in the 4th quarter of Finals games. The best player in the world, matched up against washed up Shawn Marion, and Jason Kidd, and Jason Terry and JJ Berea, averaged 3 points in the 4th quarter. 3 points. He tweeted “Now or Never,” before game 5 after he tanked in game 4. He and Dwyane Wade mocked a sick Dirk Nowitzki. He did a lot of stuff that wasn’t very enduring.
With the backlash over the best player in the world not playing anywhere near the heights we know he’s capable of, there became a backlash to that. Namely stupid fucking assholes popping off with “you never played the game.” You never played the game is one of the biggest “I have no real argument, so I’ll say something condescending to try and make myself seem important,” quotes in the world. I hate it. On the surface, it makes some sense. I mean, we can’t really say that Drew Stubbs should hit the curveball when we’ve never seen what a big league curveball looks like coming from Clayton Kershaw. But, that phrase has been twisted and deformed into something stupid. We can all say that Drew Stubbs should stop striking out so much. You don’t need to play the game to say that. We’ve seen Drew Stubbs play and not strike out at a high rate. We know he can make changes to his approach. Did I need to play the game to notice that? Fuck no. What part of LeBron James sucking and playing hot potato and not rising up to the moment did I need to play the game for? I’ve played basketball before. I know what people who suck are thinking when the game is close and they don’t want to be the one who messes things up. I’ve been that guy. I can relate. Saying someone isn’t playing up to their potential is a hard thing to say. But, it’s much different to say that about, I dunno, Evan Turner than it is about LeBron. Evan Turner was a rookie transitioning into his role in the NBA. LeBron James has played nearly a decade in the NBA. To call him out and say he needs to be the man when it matters is fair. If you said that Evan Turner needed to be the star of the 76ers because he was awesome at Ohio State, that’s unfair and that would draw a you never played the game, because a very small percentage of people transition from being a college star to a high draft pick with high expectations. That’s a fair use. However, using it when guys choke in the big moments is just being an asshole. By that account, you shouldn’t have opinions on anything, except what you do for a living. And that’s just fucking stupid. So a person can’t be outraged at how the banks, and the housing bubble fucked up the economy because they weren’t a loan officer? A guy can be hit by a car, but because he never owned a car and never drove, he can’t testify about the guy who hit him with a fucking car because he never played the driving game? People can’t talk about how Weiner should have handled Weinergate because they never sent out pictures of their penis? See how stupid that sounds? When people don’t have a real argument for the thing that they stand up for, they spout stupid bullshit cliches. The other thing that came last night was “Oh, LeBron has so much money, he can spend more tonight than you do in a lifetime.” So? Doesn’t that mean he should fucking earn it? Doesn’t that mean he should be all he can be? Know who else spends more in a night than most people? Paris Hilton, and that’s just on drugs. Warren Buffet takes a dump of $500 meals every night. Should I be impressed with that? No. That has nothing to do with his performance in the office. It’s just dumb. The two defenses for LeBron were “he’s rich and you never played in the NBA.” In other words, there were no defenses for LeBron James. Basketball is just a game. Talking about people playing the game is one thing. People saying you can’t talk about the game because you never played it is idiotic. Especially when you aren’t in the NBA either. People saying that the guy you are ripping has money is even dumber. Know who is a millionaire? Adam Morrison. And he fucking sucks. Also, that means players shouldn’t rip people who write about them, because they never wrote an article. They never faced a deadline. They never had to write a recap. They never had to come up with story ideas. When you make stupid statements like “you never played the game,” you need to shut the fuck up. Why? Because people should only strive to make compelling arguments, and well, you never played that game.