Sunday, May 13, 2012

By the time you read this, FireJay will be five years old

It's true.  We've been clogging up the internet tubes for a full five years.  That first day of the blog's existence produced several gems.  And hey, in terms of the subject matter we most frequently bitch about, look how much has changed!  Check some of those early posts if you're feeling super bored today. Those were lean times.  It's hard to believe, but I was an even worse writer then than I am now.  At least my life is way better! Back then I was a low level employee at a big company in a depressing city.  Now I'm a midlevel employee at a different big company in the same depressing city.  Let that be a lesson to you, future sports bloggers: your dreams can and will come true.  (Peter King addendum to previous sentence: Maybe.)

5. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen

You already know my thoughts on Boston's title chances.

/grinds teeth

The Celtics are still just as likely to win the Stanley Cup as they are to win the NBA title.  But I'm still annoyed.

My friend Grande called it first back in February: Even then, before Boston's improbable resurgence, it made the most sense for Boston and Chicago to battle in the 2012 playoffs 

In February, your buttclog of a friend "called it" because "it made the most sense."  Holy shit.  We've found someone with an even looser grasp than Bill on the mechanics of the world of sports.

in one of those classic, "Once upon a time, you were the teacher and I was the pupil, only now, the pupil is all growns up!" 

Star Wars reference + Swingers reference = HOLLYWOOD GOLD

series that would feature tons of highlights from their unforgettable 2009 clash 

As Bill calls it, "[the Celtics'] finals" that year.  No really, after winning that one, they had no reason to keep trying.  At that point they had successfully defended their 2008 title.  You're welcome, Orlando. 

that spawned not one but two columns from me (and served as Derrick Rose's unofficial breakout party, 

Rose's breakout came 14 months earlier during March Madness 2008, but don't expect Bill to miss out on an opportunity to try to convince you that he's a step ahead of the game when it comes to identifying great basketball players everyone already knew were great.

as well as Joe Dumars's break-out-the-wallet-to-overpay-Ben-Gordon party).

It sounds silly, but sometimes things are just destined to happen … 

It sounds like ridiculous bullshit.

and that's why I can't take Atlanta seriously. The Celtics are meant to play Chicago in Round 2. 

I wish it had happened (with a healthy Rose).  How delightful it would have been to see the Celtics get bounced in 5 and have Bill talk about how the Atlanta series was their finals in 2012.

You have the Chicago ties with KG and Doc; you have the Boston ties with Thibodeau and Scalabrine. You have the fantastically underrated Rose-Rondo rivalry (which started in 2009 and blossomed at the USA Basketball tryouts), as well as Avery Bradley (my favorite Celtic in eons) ready to lock Rose down and put himself on the map. You have Noah and Garnett doing their whole passive-aggressive, fake tough-guy agitation routines. You have a really good Pierce-Deng chess match, as well as Chicago killer Ray Allen lurking. You have the seeds for an epic Stiemsma-Asik battle. You have Doc and Thibodeau … and let there be no mistake, Doc would love nothing more than outwitting Thibs in a playoff series and putting the whole "You've never been the same without Thibs" narrative to rest once and for all. It's going to be an absolute classic. You know, assuming both teams get there. I think they will, and I think it's meant to be.

You have a bunch of stuff that's interesting, because these are two of the 16 best teams on the planet and they have interesting players and coaches.  THE STARS AND MOONS ARE ALIGNING.

Speaking of destiny … the odds of a Lakers-Celtics Finals are 50-to-1. 

You know, gambling on that is a great hedge against the insufferable coverage that series would get.  "Wow, I can't go to any sports websites or watch Sportscenter for 2 weeks, but at least I just made $1000."

Just throwing it out there. (Waiting.) Why are you laughing?

Because an episode of The Three Stooges is on in the background as I type this?

4. Chris Paul

I already made the case for his runner-up MVP season here and here, as well as the case that Paul shifts gears like the driver of a Formula 1 car depending on the game, the quarter or even the moment … and under that analogy, you'd think he's saving a little extra something for the playoffs, a little like how Dom Toretto always saves that one last nitrous oxide blast for the biggest moment. Just one problem: I hate the Memphis matchup for him. They can contain Paul with Tony Allen and Mike Conley (a quality defender); as we learned all season, the Clippers' crunch-time offense is basically, "Go ahead, Chris, do something." Again, Memphis is constructed to shut down teams like that. So either Paul clicks that nitrous blast, goes to another level and cements his status as "the best pure point guard ever," or the Clippers are going down … hard. I'm betting on the latter.

Making today's game 7 result very unsurprising.

(Important note: None of this will matter next season, when the Clips are contending as Vinny Del Negro works the weekday midnight shift with a demoted Shaq on NBA TV.)


3. Kobe Bryant
2. Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich
1. LeBron James

Lumping the last three together because, from a legacy standpoint, they have the most at stake. 

Already went over this a couple posts ago.  It would be true to say that all have a lot to gain.  But Kobe and Duncan/Popovich have very little to lose, meaning they have nothing at stake.  Saying what he just said is like saying "Tom Brady has more at stake in 2012 than any other FOOTBALL player."

If the Lakers win the title, "Kobe vs. Jordan" becomes a legitimate conversation to the chagrin of everyone who believes Jordan was the greatest basketball player who ever lived who ever lived and that we're never seeing another MJ. You know I'm in that camp, but at some point, the sheer girth of Kobe's résumé is going to outlive every reverential Jordan story. 

Such a concerted attempt to minimize Kobe's accomplishments.  The best part about his resume is apparently its "girth," which is an obvious attempt to damn with faint praise.  If I weren't of the opinion that Kobe is a Grade A jizzbag, I'd put more of an effort into refuting this. 

With a sixth ring, Kobe only has to break the scoring record and become the owner of an NBA team that disgraces itself by finishing 5-77 to truly threaten Jordan's throne.

Don't forget the awkward underwear ads with Kevin Bacon!

As for Duncan and Popovich, they have a chance to win titles 13 seasons apart — something that's never even come close to happening in the NBA. Riley and Magic-Kareem won titles six seasons apart. Auerbach and Russell won titles nine seasons apart. But 13??? Will we ever see that again? 

I'm not counting them out or anything, but given the way they've bounced out of the playoffs the past three years (zero second round games won, bounced in the first round as the West's top seed last year) it stands to reason that their title gap is going to remain at eight years.  Who knows, maybe the fact that the season was shorter (although also more concentrated) than a normal season will play into their hand or something.

And also, a fifth Spurs title would propel them into the "Greatest Runs Ever" discussion along with Russell's Celtics (13 years, 11 titles), MJ's Bulls (eight years, six titles), Mikan's Minneapolis teams (six years, five titles) and Kahn's Timberwolves (just kidding). 


Throw in Duncan's legacy, Parker's Hall of Fame candidacy, Ginobili's Hall of Fame candidacy and the thought of Stephen Jackson, Matt Bonner, Boris Diaw and Boris Diaw's boobs hugging at midcourt in the single strangest basketball moment of all time 

Some lofty hyperbole there.  Ricky Davis shooting at his own basket to get another rebound for his triple double is not giving up that top spot anytime soon.

and, other than that, there's nothing at stake here.
And by the way, the Spurs should win the title — 


they have the deepest team, multiple crunch-time scorers, killer outside shooting, some much-needed swagger (thanks to Captain Jack's emotional return), the best coach and the best identity (at this point, they know EXACTLY what they are). Maybe if Ginobili weren't playing hurt and they hadn't run into the Z-Bo Chainsaw, it would have been them instead of Dallas last year. 

That's laughable.  Ginobili was a little banged up, so they lost to an 8 seed that lost in the next round to a team that then lost to the Mavericks in 5 in the conference finals.  THEY WERE SO CLOSE!  

Regardless, they have one really good crack at history here. Will they do it? I felt so unsure of my pick that I didn't even have the heart to stick it in the column — I relegated it to the footnotes.

He picked the Spurs, meaning you should withdraw all the money from your 401(k) and put half on OKC and half on Miami.

And then, there's LeBron James … who's about two weeks away from joining the following group (presented in alphabetical order).

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Larry Bird
Wilt Chamberlain
Magic Johnson
Michael Jordan
Moses Malone
Bill Russell

That's the complete list of everyone who won three or more NBA MVP trophies. 

I watched Stern give him the trophy today, it was really funny because he tried to name everyone on that list but gave up after Magic, Bird, and Malone.  Dude needed a teleprompter.

You know what else? In my 700-page monolith of an NBA book, 

Please don't call your own book a monolith.  You're unlikeable enough as things are.

I ranked those guys, minus Moses, as the six best players of all time. (I had Moses at no. 12.) They won a combined 33 titles between them. LeBron, as you know, has none. So yeah, he can keep giving those Sports Illustrated interviews and talking about how he finally gets it and all that crap, but really, he's halfway through one of the most confusing athletic careers we've ever witnessed. How can someone leave such a memorable, indelible, remarkable regular-season basketball legacy while simultaneously leaving us so unsure of his postseason prowess? 

Because until last year, his best teammates (by year, starting with 2003-2004) were Zydrunas Ilguaskas,  Ilgauskas again, Ilgauskas again or maybe Larry Hughes (GAH!), Hughes again or maybe Drew Gooden, one of those three guys, Mo Williams, and Williams again or 33 year old Antwan Jamison.  Put any of those top 6 guys on those Cavs teams in the 21st century version of the NBA, and you don't need to be a fucking Nobel Laureate to figure out how LBJ couldn't win a title.  His performance in 2007, when he singlehandedly carried the Cavs to the Finals, doesn't get enough recognition.  None of those Cavs teams had any business going past the 2nd round, even with the best player on the planet.  I dislike James as much as the next guy and agree that rings are important and all, but I'm not going to crucify him for failing to bring home a title with the teammates he was giving in Cleveland.  If he doesn't win one in the next four years in Miami?  Yeah, I'll crucify him for that.  Literally.

Now that's intriguing.

Not as intriguing as the possibility that the Spurs' unremarkable role players might celebrate winning a championship together!


Chris W said...

You had the perfect opportunity to namecheck Trailer Park Boys and you blew it.

Knock knock

Who's there?

Larry's a third-rate mattress salesman who hopes to study law one day but never will because he's a cheeseburger eating LOSER

CHart said...

This article was bad enough that it earned a triple decker sandwich of posts. (Please bring back the bad food metaphor label)

pnoles said...

Clicked archives link. Read many, many old posts. Laughed and smiled. Oh the joys of memories past.....

This means only one thing.



Alex said...

The image of TPB playing street hockey in the park will forever be a part of my memory. Even if I were to get Alzeimer's.

God bless Bubbles.

cs said...

What a long journey, and yet Bill Simmons' influence only grows...

pnoles said...

Well......Mariotti got fired and thrown in jail, too.

So there's that.

Chris W said...

Alex gets the honorary Steve French award

Alex said...

Now that's an award I can proudly display in the office. The piece of paper showing I have a Bachelor's degree is useless anyway.

Jacob said...

why couldnt Lebron win a title when he was given a top 5 shooting guard, nay, a top five PLAYER of all time in Mo Williams?