Thursday, June 16, 2011

TWIOT: Comrade Bill Plaschke Is Baffled Why You Hate the Heat

Bill Plaschke: The Worst
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There once was a site called Fire Joe Morgan. It was this site that took the idiotic things that sports journalists said or wrote and lampooned them. While the site was named for Morgan, whose bad commentary on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball was LEGENDARY for its suck, they skewered other bad journalists as well. How they'd do it is by reposting an article and then replying to it line by line. It really is a sight to behold. Kissing Suzy Kolber still holds that style of lampooning up every Monday, as Drew Magary (and if he's not available, someone else in their talented cadre of writers, usually Mike Tunison or friend of TWB Josh Zerkle) rips apart Peter King. King isn't the only terrible journalist out there, just the worst when it comes to football. There are other sports that have bad writers, and today, we visit the hall of the NBA and Bill Plaschke.

For those who don't know who Plaschke is, he appears on Around the Horn quite frequently, and he is, beyond any shadow of a doubt, the worst panelist they've ever had. Worse than Michael Holley. Worse than TJ Simers. Worse than even Jay Mariotti. What makes him bad? Well, he's the definition of a bleeding-heart sophist who likes taking people to task for things that really are normal. This past week, he called people who hated the Miami Heat to the carpet, meaning he called everyone who wasn't a front-runner or who was a fan of the Heat traditionally out. Now, I call him out.

Imagine a basketball team whose three biggest stars have sacrificed money and ego to assemble on one team for the sole intent of winning a championship.

Ah yes, three men who gave up the chance to make $20 million a year to make merely $14 million a year! These men are true paragons of thrift for the greater good!

Two of those stars' craving for a title was such that they left homes they loved and fans who loved them.

Things Bill Plaschke applauds:

1. Disloyalty

The third star made an equally difficult move by stepping aside and welcoming them.

Imagine this collection of players then playing an entire season under a national microscope unmatched in the history of team sports. Every itch is documented, every scratch is scrutinized, every star is questioned about every public act, every day is another chance for them to embarrass or enrage.

Kinda like politicians, right? Ten bucks says that Plaschke is also on the front line calling for Anthony Weiner to resign his position.

But imagine they don't. They endure the media's perfect storm with uncommon dignity and grace.

Yep, graceful.

They don't publicly criticize others.

Wow Billy, they sure don't. They just rip each other on the court in front of the cameras so the entire basketball-watching public can see just how non-critical they are.

They don't publicly fight among themselves.

Yeah, I don't think he was watching the same Finals that everyone else was.

Off the court, they are a model of restraint. On the court, they are an example of unselfish determination, three guys trying to figure out a way to meld their three incredible talents for the good of this team.

There should be a footnote here. I'll write it for him:

1 – Copied with permission from an interoffice memo at ESPN.

Imagine this collection of stifled egos and textbook teammates growing together for nine months until they are within two victories of an NBA title.

And imagine all of America cheering against them.

A highly successful team being cheered against? ALERT THE PRESSES THIS IS NEWS! This is a fun game. Let's imagine other highly improbable scenarios as well:

"Imagine getting a burrito supreme, a cheesy gordita crunch, two soft tacos and a large soft drink and only paying five bucks for it.

And imagine all of America eating it like manna from the heavens, causing a diabetes epidemic."

"Imagine a man with a foreign sounding name with an even more inflammatory middle name and him winning the office of the Presidency.

And imagine all of the Republican Party questioning whether he was born here."

"Imagine a woman with 36 DD breasts, an hourglass figure and her being a football fan and loving to give oral.

And imagine every male in America wanting to get with this woman."

I could do this for hours.

This is the Miami Heat, and you hate the Heat, and I can't figure out why.

I know, I mean, look at how beloved the Yankees, Lakers, Cowboys, Microsoft, WalMart and Nickelback are.

Miami plays host to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night in Game 6 of one of the greatest NBA Finals that I have witnessed, the games filled with a passion that is equaled only by this paradox.

The Heat has been built around many of the values that many fans admire not only in their sports, but also in their lives, yet seemingly everyone is texting and chanting, "Go Mavs." Have you met anybody outside of Miami who is cheering for the Heat? I haven't, and it makes no sense.

I love how Plaschke spent three paragraphs now just saying how rooting against the Heat makes absolutely no sense, like he's somehow new to the human race or something. Forget Rocky or Hoosiers. Forget real life examples like the 1980 Olympic Hockey team or the Jets in Super Bowl III. Read the Bible. I'm not saying this as some evangelical Christian; no, I'm saying this because the oldest underdog story is right in there. David and Goliath. Do you think that would have been as effective a parable if Goliath won, or if David was the overwhelming favorite in the battle?

The Mavericks are the team with a player, Jason Terry, who prances down the court imitating a jet after he scores a basket.

Holy shit, that sounds awesome. He sounds like he's really having fun out there.

Yet it is the Heat players who are considered arrogant.

I don't know, I think the arrogance scale pegs with "having a party promising multiple Championships", while it might go a quarter of the way tops (if that) with Terry's gesticulation. But that's just me.

The Mavericks are the team with the owner who sits behind the bench and attempts to bully the officials. Yet it is the Heat which is considered evil.

Ah yes, the old "fight imagined sanctimony with REAL sanctimony" cliché at work. I think anyone who wants to call someone evil for playing a game should be shot. But let's work on his level here. If I were Mark Cuban, and I had to live through the 2006 Finals where my team had 52 fewer free throw attempts and five games out of six at the FT disadvantage against the same franchise, I'd be pretty vocal to the refs as well.

The Mavericks have a guard, Jason Kidd, who pleaded guilty to a domestic-abuse charge after assaulting his wife. They have another guard, DeShawn Stevenson, whose career has been marked by legal issues. Yet the Heat players are considered bad guys?

Things Bill Plaschke Applauds:

1 – Disloyalty
2 – Unforgiveness

America thinks the Heat was unfairly built, but how many Americans have left their longtime jobs to take a chance with a hot company filled with all-star workers?

Depends, are they taking a pay cut to go there? If the answer is "yes", then my guess is not many would do the same without the benefit of advancing one's career. I mean, there's no real parallel to winning a sports Championship in the real world. Your company's #1, woo-hoo, great. But the team being #1 isn't going to matter to Joe Lunchpail if he's not making enough money to raise his family. So, in closing…

Things Bill Plaschke Applauds:

1 – Disloyalty
2 – Unforgiveness
3 – Communism

America thinks the Heat has been constructed to defy the notion of fair competition, but since when is it unfair or anticompetitive to do everything within the rules to win?

In truth, this isn't a terrible point. Blind squirrel, nut, what have you. And if the only thing in play here was LeBron James and Chris Bosh taking less money to go win a title, then that's where I'd have the problem with the sports fans at large here, a group that almost seemingly hates the fact that athletes make millions of dollars to play a kids game.

However, that isn't the only thing in play here. I'd say The Decision and the night club party where again, they promised MULITPLE titles are more reasons why people are so against the idea of the Heat winning the title ever, whether it was their failed attempt this year or in any other year following. And really, a lot of people aren't really challenging the fairness of it. I mean, there are people out there who want to see the best athletes of our generation clash with each other, not team up to create some villainous, SPECTRE-type organization. It might not be fair from a generational scope to poo-poo this whole thing because it's "not something Jordan would do", but at the same time, LeBron compares himself to Jordan ALL THE FUCKING TIME. It's more than fair to throw those comparisons back at him.

Then there's the whole thing with their destination of choice being Miami (or as Against Me! sang, "FUCKING MIAMI") that doesn't set well. I mean yeah, if you could choose Miami over Cleveland or even Chicago from a personal standpoint, you do it, but there's the feeling that no one cares about anything on South Beach, let alone basketball. So yeah, there are not just the notions of fairness or anticompetition in play here.

Even though he hails from Germany, the Mavericks star Nowitzki is viewed as an all-American player. Humble, deferential, shaggy hair, floppy walk — he's Jimmy Chitwood with an accent.

Even thought he hails from middle America, the Heat star James is viewed as a foreigner. Dark stare, hulking frame, intimidating swagger — he's Ivan Drago with a headband.

Things Bill Plaschke Applauds:

1 – Disloyalty
2 – Unforgiveness
3 – Communism
4 – Xenophobia

Nowitzki is the only one of these two players who has publicly ripped a teammate during these Finals — remember when he called out Terry for not being clutch?

Was it a dick move? Probably. But then again, LeBron's the one who was getting ripped. I think he's comparing the two wrong players, since the Heat's alpha male is clearly Wade here.

yet James is considered the loudmouth.

Considering that was the first time Nowitzki has really said anything to a teammate, and James has spent the entire year talking about taking his talents to South Beach, asking Nike consumers what he should do, calling out haters and what not, I'd say this one's a no-brainer to figure out.

Neither player has won a championship, yet even though James has risked his reputation to be here, everyone thinks Nowitzki deserves it more.

Given that the common train of thought was that Nowitzki was robbed of a title five years ago (whether that's true or not is irrelevant here since we're talking perception), I don't see how this is all that much a leap to make.

Are there racial elements here? It would be naive to think otherwise. In some narrow corners I'm sure Nowitzki is considered a great white hope while James represents the heart of darkness. But James and, by association, the Heat are disliked for other reasons far more complex than color.

Ah yes, it wouldn't be Plaschke without playing the race card. He quickly hedges, but this is a trademark of his. If anything is remotely posed as black vs. white, BAM, race card. Let's ignore the fact that Kidd, Stevenson, Terry and Shawn Marion are all black (or at least part-black), and make it Nowitzki vs. James. Convenience!

For one, there's history. Many have decided to dislike LeBron James since The Decision, and it's hard to argue with them. I thought James' nationally televised announcement last summer that he was dumping Cleveland for Miami was perhaps the most narcissistic bit of athletic behavior ever, and I ripped him for it.

Translation: "It's okay when I rip a guy, but when you unwashed slobs do it? IT'S UNACCEPTABLE."

But as time has passed, I've realized that James was an immature 25-year-old who was taking advice from other immature 25-year-olds. Wouldn't we hate for our lives to be forever stained by one of the many stupid things we all did in our mid-twenties?

I forgot that forever meant for the rest of the season. Talk about time compression. Oh, and as Michael Vick has proven, no one ever gets redeemed in sports, ever… oh wait.

While James is hated initially for The Decision, the rest of the Heat players were hated initially for what happened next, that smoky nightclub of a pep rally last summer to celebrate the union of James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. They claimed they would win multiple championships. They partied as if they had already won.

It was disgusting, but it was just marketing, and it was reminiscent of a certain giddiness that enveloped the assembling of another combination all-star plate in the summer of 2003. I'm guessing most of those who fear the Heat were fascinated with the Lakers when Karl Malone and Gary Payton joined Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. With the exception of a little summer stupidity, what's the difference?

The difference was Kobe and Shaq didn't celebrate like they won the title at a nightclub their signings. Well, that and comparing Gary Payton and Karl Malone at the end of their careers to James and Bosh in their primes is fucking asinine.

Those are the sorts of questions that should be asked Sunday night when the Mavericks take a three-games-to-two lead into Miami. If the Mavericks win, here's guessing that America, instead of focusing on the celebrating Nowitzki, will instead be searching to examine the face of the mourning James, the body language of the angry Wade, the confusion on the flighty Bosh.

Well, the Mavs did win (YAY!), and I can say that most of the attention was on Dallas, their players, their owner and their celebration. Anything else was brought on by the Heat, justifying their status as whiny babies. Seriously, and I know this is after the fact of the article being written, but did you hear what LeBron said afterwards?
At the end of the day, all the people that was rooting for me to fail have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They got the same personal problems that they had today. I’m gonna continue to live the way I wanna live and continue to do the things that I wanna do with me and my family and be happy with that. They get a few days, or a few months, or whatever the case may be on being happy about not only myself but the Miami Heat not accomplishing they goal, but they gotta get back to the real world at some point.
Holy shit, those are some sour-ass grapes. If people want to dump on the Heat, specifically LeBron James, after that quote? Then they have more than a right to do so. Fuck man. Fuck. That. Man.

America will believe the Heat deserved this defeat, quickly and joyfully casting shame upon it for acting so truly … American?

Things Bill Plaschke Applauds:

1 – Disloyalty
2 – Unforgiveness
3 – Communism
4 – Xenophobia
5 – Misplaced jingoism

Seriously, it's not American to take less money so that your parent company can get plaudits. But then again, asking Bill Plaschke not to miss the point is like asking Eric Bischoff not to make Impact about him and his legal problems. Not. Gonna. Happen.

Remember you can contact TH and ask him questions about wrestling, life or anything else. Please refer to this post for contact information. He always takes questions!

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