Monday, March 24, 2014

7 comments Skip Bayless Likes LeBron Now Because He's Angry or Something But Does His Reason Really Matter?

Skip Bayless likes LeBron now that he is angry. I'm not going down the cheap "Skip is slightly racist because he wants to reinforce the 'angry black man' stereotype" discussion rabbit hole, even though I sort of did by just stating I wasn't going down that rabbit hole. Anyway, Skip likes LeBron though not really, and Skip still sucks at writing and life in general. He's a troll and me no like him. Who knew all it took for Skip to like LeBron was for LeBron to "play angry," which must be shorthand for "Oh shit, he won two NBA titles and now I'm looking like an asshole for bashing him so I have to think of a bullshit reason why I've changed my mind about LeBron."

This no doubt has come as a discombobulating shock to LeBron lovers who watch "First Take" in part to see just how much I will "hate" on their four-time MVP and two-time champion.

One thing I've always respected about Skip Bayless is his ability to make absolutely everything about him. This article is about Skip's reaction to LeBron playing angry as compared to Skip's previous reaction about LeBron prior to playing angry. Essentially, this article is about Skip Bayless and the news he is able to make with the stupid-ass, insane comments he has made in the past about LeBron James while being a master troll. This passes for journalism in 2014 and I'm sorry about it.

But I am finally starting to love the LeBron I'm seeing late in his 11th NBA season.

And it isn't a coincidence that LeBron has won two NBA titles while still being the best player in the NBA. Skip has waited a while and now is slowly having to move back from his extreme positions regarding LeBron James.

Man bites dog. Pig flies. Bayless loves LeBron.

I hope in the future sportswriters will find a way to write a column without making the subject of that column all about themselves. Or news organizations could just insist their sportswriters and talking heads don't become the news they are supposed to being writing about. Either way, Skip Bayless loves himself some Skip Bayless and is excited to insert himself into any story. 

That is, I'm applauding this new guy who's finally doing what I've exhorted him to since he all but announced he was the Next Jordan coming out of high school. LeBron James has consistently played angry over the past month.

LeBron is finally taking Skip's advice. It's all about Skip. I bet LeBron James wishes Skip Bayless would take the advice that LeBron secretly has for him, to shut the hell up forever and get bent.

I love Angry LeBron.

No, Skip likes two-time NBA Champion and best player in the NBA LeBron James.

No, this isn't some desperate attempt to grab the back bumper of LeBron's overcrowded bandwagon.

The fact Skip mentions five paragraphs into this column this isn't some desperate attempt to grab the back bumper of LeBron's overcrowded wagon tells me this column is exactly what this is. Skip doth protest too much.

I've watched nearly every game he has played as a pro and merely react to what I see. In late January, I saw (and heard) something new.

I very much doubt that Skip Bayless has watched every game LeBron has played as a pro. Also, if Skip did watch every game LeBron played then he certainly would have more respect for LeBron's skill level and wouldn't fall back on cheap trolling devices to criticize James.

I began saying on air that, obviously,

Obviously, because Skip has been proven absolutely wrong in his criticisms of LeBron James on repeated occasions, so he has to immediately try to jump on LeBron's bandwagon the first chance he gets so that people may forget just how wrong Skip was about LeBron. Oh, and notice how Skip still manages to make this column about him and his reaction to LeBron James.

LeBron was getting sick and tired of hearing not only that Kevin Durant had run away with the MVP but that Durant had dethroned King James as the NBA's premier player.

This sentence is absolutely swimming with Skip's bullshit and assumptions that LeBron James gives a flying fuck what two hack, attention-whore talking heads think about him.

1. This sentence assumes LeBron gives a shit about the MVP. Maybe he does, but I am not sure it's safe to assume he cares enough to believe talking heads mentioning Durant will win the MVP caused James to step up his game.

2. This sentence assumes that James gives a shit or even pays attention to what the talking heads on ESPN criticize him for.

3. Who again was making this comment that Durant had run away with the MVP? Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless. This sentence is just another way of showing Skip's fascination with his opinion affecting athletes so drastically it causes them to change their behavior. Athletes think you are an irrelevant troll, Skip. I would bet your opinion means shit to them.

My debate partner Stephen A. Smith had all but declared the MVP race over, saying Durant would have to fall on his face to lose it.

And of course, because Stephen A. Smith sets the tone for all media commentary and isn't at all simply some asshole spewing opinions in a public forum, this statement was a fact.

That's when LeBron started taking uncharacteristic shots at Durant -- shots that said, "Hey, world, remember me?" He also began making an absurdly high percentage of shots in games, especially in fourth quarters.

He magically acquired "the clutch gene." This isn't something Skip made up, not at all.

And yes, I have long doubted whether LeBron has what I call the "clutch gene" -- the ability to consistently cope with late-game pressure -- because he so often has given me embarrassing proof. The flameout against Orlando in the 2009 playoffs … the bizarre meltdown against Boston in the 2010 playoffs … the fourth-quarter freeze-ups against Dallas in the 2011 Finals, which prompted me to call LeBron "the mentally weakest superstar we've ever seen."

Not the mentally weakest superstar "I" have ever seen, but no, the mentally weakest superstar "we've" ever seen. Skip Bayless believes he speaks for the sports world. Not that he has a massive ego or anything.

Stephen A. Smith did not argue.

Stephen A. Smith is a mental midget whose only positive attributes include yelling into the camera and existing on Earth as a human so I'm sure somebody somewhere loves him due to this. Other than that, I don't care if Stephen A. Smith argued. If Skip Bayless is a master troll, Stephen A. Smith is the troll's apprentice. Neither person can I take seriously as an authority on anything other than their ability to insert themselves into a sports-related narrative.

Michael Jordan, who played like a cold-blooded killer, would've never reacted under pressure the way LeBron did in those playoff series -- or down the stretch in Game 6 of last year's Finals, when LeBron "went Dallas" again.

I remember when Michael Jordan didn't have any NBA titles. I was very young at the time, but I remember this vividly. Jordan wasn't seen as a team leader, not someone who made his teammates better and was considered too selfish to lead a team to an NBA title. Funny how this narrative changes as the years progress. The Bulls hired Phil Jackson and Jordan's supporting cast matured around him, the next thing you know the selfish player is seen as a cold-blooded killer who is a winner.

With 8 seconds left, LeBron missed what appeared to be the defining 3 -- the game-saver to force overtime -- but it bounded right to Chris Bosh, who flipped it beautifully to Ray Allen backing across the corner 3-point line and …

Sort of like how John Paxson hit the game-winning 3-point shot in the 1993 NBA Finals?

Ray Allen saved LeBron's legacy. 

Kobe and Shaq partly made each other's legacy, Michael Jordan didn't win six NBA titles all by himself, Hakeem Olajuwon had help from Kenny Smith in winning two NBA titles, and there are other instances of superstars needing contributions from supporting players to win an NBA title.

Instead, in Game 7, with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich repeatedly motioning for Kawhi Leonard to back off LeBron and dare him to shoot from the perimeter, LeBron made Pop pay by hitting 5 of 10 3s and scoring 37 points. Heat Repeat! Under the circumstances, I thought that was LeBron's greatest game.

Ray Allen saved LeBron's legacy, except for the fact when he had a chance to secure his legacy in Game 7 of the NBA Finals LeBron scored 37 points. This game is what made Skip Bayless hop on the LeBron bandwagon, because this was obviously the first time LeBron had ever succeeded in playing well in the playoffs.

LeBron James started sounding threatened by a Durant with zero MVPs and zero rings -- by a Durant he was able to take advantage of in the 2012 Finals because LeBron was in such a comfort zone against a buddy he had trained with and played so much one-on-one against in offseasons.

So LeBron didn't earn this NBA title because he was playing against a friend of his who he knew so well and trained with? After all, the NBA Finals consist of only a series of seven one-on-one games between Kevin Durant and LeBron James and James has the advantage because he knows all of Durant's moves. Apparently Durant was in no such comfort zone playing against a buddy he had trained with in the offseason. These training sessions only benefited LeBron.

Lately, LeBron hasn't sounded as if he wants to remain buddies with KD. (TNT's David Aldridge recently reported Durant is now closer to Carmelo Anthony than to LeBron.)

Oh my God, are you serious? I heard that Kevin is closer to Carmelo because Russell Westbrook has started hanging out with Carmelo too and you know Durant does whatever Russell does since he's a little jealous of both Carmelo and Russell. It's so obvious when you see Russell and Carmelo together that Kevin is just so angry and confused because he feels like Russell was his best friend first. Tyson Chandler said one time during the Olympics the whole team was eating dinner together and Russell and Carmelo ate together at a table while LeBron sat beside Kevin, but THE ENTIRE DINNER Kevin was looking over at the table where Carmelo and Russell were sitting. You KNOW he wanted to be a part of the conversation and it really made LeBron mad because he was talking about some serious stuff to Kevin, but Kevin was just ignoring him like the Carmelo-obsessed person he is. LeBron even said something to Dwyane Wade and Dwyane was all like, "Kevin has been that way since I've known him. It's why LeBron and I are such good friends, because there's no jealously there." Either way, I think LeBron and Kevin aren't going to be friends anymore and there is going to be such drama from the fallout. I mean, they are both really good friends with Steph Curry, but how are they going to hang out if Kevin and LeBron can't be in the same room together? Oh, the drama.

LeBron has sounded more like the challenger!

This has nothing to do with his basketball ability and shouldn't change how you view or judge him as a basketball player!

After guarding all five positions in L.A. against the Clippers, LeBron told reporters: "That's why I deserve to be defensive player of the year." Huh? What happened to the humble good-guy LeBron we see in the phone commercials?

The same thing that happened to Michael Jordan who played the humble, joking basketball player in the Nike commercials and the sarcastic guy in the Hanes commercials. A commercial is an advertisement and basketball is a job. If Skip doesn't understand this, it says more about him than it says about LeBron James.

Then came an even less-humble response to NBA TV that he, LeBron James, will one day belong on pro basketball's Mount Rushmore alongside MJ, Magic and Bird. Wait, over Kareem, Bill Russell and (LeBron's fourth choice for now) Oscar Robertson? Sounded like LeBron was still saying, "Remember me?"

LeBron topped (or bottomed) off his vocal MVP campaign by saying Durant won't feel any pressure to win a championship "until I retire."

Two things:

1. Notice that Skip only likes LeBron once he becomes an egotistical maniac (Sort of like Skip Bayless) who openly seems to care about his legacy as opposed to allowing his achievements to define his legacy.

2. Skip has changed his mind about LeBron James for reasons that have very little to do with his performance on the court. Does this mean Skip's trolling comments about LeBron being mentally weak and all the other stupid shit he has said through the years were based on LeBron's attitude and not his performance? If so, that's typical Skip, but also very unreasonable and petty...which is why it's typical Skip.

But what you had to love was the way LeBron began backing up his surprising words with stunning deeds.

This is as opposed to when LeBron won 4 MVP's and 2 NBA titles and somehow these aren't stunning deeds. I guess those are ordinary achievements? And oh yeah, LeBron isn't 30 years old yet.

But what you had to love was the way LeBron began backing up his surprising words with stunning deeds. Durant's explosion while Russell Westbrook was out -- especially the 112-95 number KD & Co. did on LeBron's team in Miami on Jan. 29 -- helped create a new monster, Angry LeBron.

At Phoenix three weeks ago, it appeared he was provoked only by Durant's shadow. Without Dwyane Wade, LeBron played possessed in the fourth quarter, scoring 14, refusing to lose.

I'm not sure if Skip is mentioning that LeBron was playing without Wade as a compliment or insult to LeBron that he played possessed only when Wade wasn't on the court. I'll just assume it's an insult. I love how Skip is pretending like these games without Wade are the first time LeBron has even taken over a game or played possessed. I seem to recall a playoff game against Detroit a few years ago where LeBron scored 25 points in a row.

A night later at Golden State, still without Wade, LeBron faced his old phobia: down two with the clock running out.

This really isn't a phobia that LeBron has. Skip consistently makes things like this up to fit his narrative and assertions concerning LeBron James.

How many times have I criticized him for opting not to do what he does better than any human: attack the basket!

It's all about you, Skip! All about you! Bask in your glory.

But of course, driving the ball greatly increases the risk of getting fouled and having to stand alone with no time left and having to make two free throws to force overtime. Under pressure, LeBron can be a shaky free throw shooter.

Oh yeah, where are the statistics to back this assertion up? Or is this just anecdotal evidence Skips spits out based on how he wants to further his own personal narrative for LeBron? Skip may be right or he may be wrong, but he's just spouting off an opinion that may not be supported by facts. You can see why ESPN loves Skip so much. Why have an informed opinion when an uninformed opinion works just as well to draw viewers? It's not about accuracy or whether the talking head is talking truthfully, it's about making a splash and creating entertainment.

I remain astonished that, through almost 11 NBA seasons, King James has made only one regular-season walk-off shot, at Golden State in 2009.

Phenomenal. And really, the only way to properly judge an NBA player is based on how many "walk-off shots" he has hit in regular season games. So LeBron James, you may have a new attitude that Skip likes, but you are still a shitty basketball player and only Skip Bayless is able to recognize this using a cherry-picked statistic that is meaningless as it pertains to your overall ability to play basketball or lead your team to a championship.

This time in Oakland, LeBron should've driven on Andre Iguodala but once more chose to take the step-back 3.

Nothing but net.

LeBron shot that shot with such conviction -- such will-not-be-denied anger -- I couldn't criticize his shot selection on the next morning's show.

Well it is about you, as always. I also enjoy how Skip doesn't focus at all on the process, but only focuses on the results. Just a brilliant way to analyze LeBron James and his decisions. It's a smart decision if it works, a dumb decision if it doesn't work. Skip criticizes LeBron for not taking it to the hole, but then LeBron doesn't take it to the hole and Skip likes the decision because it worked. This type of analysis based on the result of an action, as opposed to evaluating LeBron's decision in and of itself is very much what is wrong with Skip Bayless and why he is so terrible. He consistently criticizes the decisions that LeBron makes to take jump shots, but only if these jump shots don't work. Skip has to be consistent with his criticism. If he doesn't like LeBron's shot selection, consistently do so, and don't claim you like the shot selection only when it works.

Technically, it wasn't a buzzer-beater -- .1 of a second remained. But on air, I gave it to him.

Oh, how fucking kind of you to "give" this buzzer-beater to LeBron. Obviously the shot would have had more meaning had LeBron allowed .1 of a second to leave the clock before shooting, because after all, it's not about winning the game or making the shot, but whether this was a buzzer-beater or not. That's how LeBron should be defined.

The following game in Dallas -- back at the scene of his Finals "crime" -- LeBron said the Mavs still trash-talked him in the fourth quarter, just as they did in 2011, telling him he couldn't shoot. Can you imagine MJ ever being told he couldn't shoot in the fourth quarter?

Yes, I can imagine this. I'm sure it happened at some point.

The Mavs were up 3 with 7:47 left. LeBron responded to the trash talk by trashing the Mavs. He went MJ. He scored eight straight. Game over. He wound up with 42 points on 16-of-23.

Next came the rematch with Durant in Oklahoma City. It was over in about five minutes. Angry LeBron scored the Heat's first 12 points while KD could manage only two turnovers.

LeBron's nose was broken in the fourth quarter, forcing him to miss a game, then wear a mask. But did that slow his onslaught? Nope.

Monday night, without Wade, LeBron James scored 61 against Charlotte's fifth-ranked defense, thanks mostly to making his first eight 3s. It felt like the Masked Man had caught and passed the "Runaway MVP."

I love how Skip ignores the rest of LeBron's career and only focuses on three games that made him change his mind about LeBron. Because you know, three games means more than an entire career with four MVP's and two NBA titles. God, I can't stand Skip Bayless. He's everything wrong with sports journalism.

Will Durant continue to infuriate and inspire LeBron over the final 20-odd games? Or has LeBron learned how to push his own MJ button?

Does it matter? No, it doesn't. Only Skip Bayless gets so lost in his own personal narrative that's been created for LeBron James he can't realize that he isn't setting the narrative for the rest of the sports-loving world concerning LeBron.

The man has been a joy to watch the past month.

Yes, I just wrote that.

It is about you, Skip. It's all about you and what you have to say about LeBron James. Sadly, Skip is so lost in his own ego that he can't realize the bullshit he pushes about LeBron isn't being listened to. He's just a sad little man who doesn't realize how irrelevant and what a laughingstock he truly is. 


JBsptfn said...

I remember when MJ was seen as selfish. Because of that, they came close to trading him to the Clippers in 88, the year before Jackson arrived.

Krause was going to get two first-rounders for him, and he wanted to draft Mitch Richmond and Rik Smits with those picks.

However, Jerry Reinsdorf nixed the deal, and the rest was history.

As for Bayless, you have to love him. Him and Simmons are the best ever (LOL). They are a perfect fit for the Entertainment Sports Propaganda Network.

Bengoodfella said...

JB, that is true. Jordan was seen as a guy who didn't make his teammates better, didn't pass and only wanted to score points. All of a sudden he got a better coach and better teammates and he learned to "trust" them more. That's the narrative. It's a lot easier to trust Horace Grant, Bill Cartwright and Scottie Pippen than it is to trust Brad Sellers, Rory Sparrow and Dave Corzine.

That Bulls team grew around him, but he was seen as selfish. Of course Skip doesn't talk about this because it doesn't fit the narrative he wants to spin 25 years later.

JBsptfn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JBsptfn said...

I think Jackson had a way with getting you to trust and buy into his program that other coaches didn't have.

That's why I don't think that the Bulls would have won anything without him, MJ or no MJ.

Also, the 2000-02 Flukers don't sniff the title without him. Look at them in 1998 and 99. They had more talent around Shaq and Kobe, and couldn't even get to the Finals.

Although, in 00-02, they got lucky. The Blazers gave it to them in 00, and then imploded. I think that whoever won it that year between Portland and LA was going to repeat, and that's what happened.

Then, in 02, you had Sacramento choke, with some help from the zebras.

Bengoodfella said...

JB, I feel Jackson is in large part responsible for those championships because he got MJ to buy into the Triangle offense and really got the best out of those role players.

But see, Skip doesn't remember it that way. He remembers MJ as a winner who made everyone around him better, when that's not always the truth.

The '02 choke by the King is one of the big reasons I think the officiating scandal where those guys fixed games didn't just stop with Donaghy.

JBsptfn said...

NBA Refs: Crossing the line

Some ex-officials talk about how officials became more and more chummy with the players over the years.

Bengoodfella said...

JB, what could go wrong with that? Officials being chummy with players, there's NO WAY anything could go unseemly in that situation.