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What I Learned From The 2011 NBA Finals

So the Mavericks won. All is right in this world, as the super-team came away with nothing, just like 28 other teams. All of those on Team AntiHeat are parading the streets in celebration. Players like Dirk, and Jason Kidd now have the ring they so rightly deserve, after stellar performances in the years before. This quite possibly was the most entertaining, well-balanced Finals I have watched as a basketball fan. The games were close, down to the wire, and just plain exciting to watch, something that’s been missing in years before in my opinion. But, despite the pre-season celebration, “The Decision”, crygate, and Dirk’s sickness, the Mavs still did it, and won it for America (and by America I mean everywhere except Miami).

Now, I’m not one to nitpick, but there were a few things that irked me after Game 6 that made me want to write about them, and they have to do with Lebron James. First, I am no Lebron hater. The man is a superior talent who proves it every night. But, some things he did during these finals really sent me over the edge. I’ve stuck up for Lebron before, saying people need to let it go and get off his back, but no more. After the clock struck 0.0, Dwayne Wade went and shook hands with the Mavs players and staff. What did Lebron do? he made a straight B-Line to the locker room, exactly what he did after losing to Orlando with Cleveland. This annoys me. It’s one thing to be competitive, but to be such a sore loser is an all time low. I understand it’s a big stage and losing hurts, but give credit where credit is due and congratulate the other team on the victory they earned, whether you like it or not. I don’t mind the arrogance on the court because it adds a type of swagger about Lebron, but when you pull a stunt like, especially to players like Jason Kidd, who has been a class act his whole career, that’s uncalled for and ridiculous.

The second thing that made me facepalm also happened after the game. Lebron and Wade did what they usually do and entered the press conference together, which is fine. When asked how he felt about the people rooting against him tonight, Lebron stated, AND I QUOTE,”At the end of the day, all of the people that were rooting for me to fail, tomorrow they’ll have to wake up and have the same life that [they had] before they woke up today. They got the same personal problems they had today and I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things I want to do.” Now, basically, in general terms, Lebron is saying that tomorrow morning we all have to go work our boring jobs and he can wake up and do nothing, except maybe buy 6 ferraris to drive down in South Beach. This is arrogant, and annoying. I’m not sure why that annoyed me so much, but when he comes out and basically says “I don’t care I’m richer than my haters anyway”, that’s pretty much where I draw the line.

I was rooting for the Mavericks since the Magic were ousted, so I’m happy. I was pretty much Anyone but the Heat at this point. But Lebron James has made it almost impossible for me to like him, or root for him anymore. He’s a selfish, arrogant person and until he learns to grow up, I hope he wins nothing.

Which City Would You Choose?

In the time you spend watching sports, you get to thinking about many different things. This is all the same for me, especially during halftimes and downtimes in the game. During the NBA Finals I got to thinking, if I was a professional athlete and had the choice of playing for any city I wanted, which would I choose? Then I thought about different cities and the pros and cons of each one, in which I was able to narrow it down to my top 3.

My first choice was New York, naturally. In my opinion, New York is the pinnacle of the sports world (along with Los Angeles). The media capital of the world. If you’re a superstar in New York, you’re a superstar everywhere else. The fans will love you and the entire city will love you. Plus, you’ll get the most attention nationally because New York teams are generally talked about the most. Although, the media publicity of New York is a reason why it might be bad. If you do something wrong, it is immediately shared, and people WILL know about it. If you mess up on the field/court, people WILL boo, and you will hear it from the fans. To me, New York is for those with a steel heart. If you can put up with the constant media attention, the fans who cant turn on you in an instant, and the bright city lights, then I say go for it.

My second choice was Philadelphia. Now, some people HATE Philly because of their fans, but I find it invigorating. As an athlete, it must be nice knowing that you will be playing in front of fans who will be attentive and loud the entire game. Philly fans are some of the most passionate fans out there, and as an athlete that should want you to be good to them. Philly is also a media capital, although not as big as New York. You play well in Philly, people will know about it, and the fans there will stick behind you during ANY time, because they are that passionate. Passionate fans is an athletes paradise, knowing he or she will be playing for fans who bleed their teams colors.

My last choice is an interesting one, but I chose Cleveland. The whole Lebron fiasco made me fall in LOVE with Cleveland. These fans are true to their city, and rightfully so being their teams havent won anything in past 800 years. But, how cool would it be to go in and win that championship for the city. You’d be loved, a god amongst men in the eyes of those people. Lebron was on God status when in Cleveland, and he was the biggest thing in that city. Going into a city that will love you that much is something that may be hard to pass up, even if you wont win anything in your career. The only problem with Cleveland, DON’T BETRAY THEM! These fans can change too, just look at the man in South Beach’s situation.

Now, this may be up for debate, and I understand that. But, if I were to put these choices in order it would probably go New York, Cleveland, then Philly. I’m a hometown kind of man. You could play for countless of fans who will love you dearly, but nothing compares to playing in front of your family. So, you tell me, if you were a professional athlete with the choice to play ANYWHERE you wanted, where would it be and why?

Eric LeGrand: Hometown Hero

Eric LeGrand is a Junior defensive tackle for the Rutgers University football team. On the team since 2008, Eric has enjoyed successes on and off the football field. Labeled “one of the most popular players”, Eric has grown into somewhat of a fan favorite inside the Rutgers community. So naturally, when Eric lay motionless on the field for almost seven minutes in the game against Army on October 16th, the entire community stopped and put their hearts with the young athlete.
An Avenel native, and Colonia High School alumni, Eric grew to become of the most known football players in the county. His 6 foot 2 inch, 200-pound frame was hard to miss among other high school athletes. When words of Eric’s success were passed, many people were jumping for joy, but not Eric, who stayed humble and maintained a work ethic that never changed. His high school career was full of successes, which included a scholarship to Rutgers, and visit during a school day by then head coach of Notre Dame Charlie Weis, and rankings nationally as the 14th best recruit out of New Jersey in 2008. Eric grew into one of the most popular athletes in Colonia High school, partly because of his on the field success but mostly because of his off the field humbleness, and down to earth attitude.
When entering Rutgers in 2008, Eric hadn’t really found a position. He was moved from linebacker, to fullback, and also defensive tackle, which he eventually stayed. This season he was going to split time at tackle with Senior Charlie Noonan, and most likely get the start during his senior season. When Eric’s injury had occurred, naturally the nation’s hearts had sunk, and the outpouring of support flooded in. People wishing him well came from all over the place, whether it was from his hometown, different parts of New Jersey, other Universities in college football, and people all over the world on ESPN.com. The support for Eric has been immense, which is fitting for a kid whose heart is as big as the field he plays on.
Supporters can do many things to help Eric’s cause. The Rutgers University campus is selling wristbands with all proceeds going to a foundation in Eric’s name. T-shirts have also been circulating as well. Big Shots Sports Bar in Woodbridge is hosting a fundraiser for Eric on November 27th. Facebook groups have been created to let supporters leave their thoughts and hopes. Also, the Rutgers athletic website is letting supporters leave get-well wishes for Eric.
When an athlete gets taken out of a game, his team will try anything to rally behind him and win. When an athlete gets knocked out of the sport he loves, a campus, a state, a nation, and the world is ready to step up and show their support. Eric LeGrand is a special player on the field, and a special person off the field. The support for him is only fitting for the type of human being he is, and hopefully Eric can fight for a speedy recovery, just as he fights through the offensive line for a sack.

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