Stan Van Gundy’s game 3 post-game press conference was priceless. Watch it here.
Reporter: Stan, the foul that Dwight fouled out on and a couple other call on LeBron…they don’t even look like fouls sometimes. Can you comment on that?
Stan: Nope. But you can. You write a column. And see, the league won’t fine you $25,000 or whatever. So…so you write it. That’s what I love – you guys see it, but you don’t want to write it. But you want me to comment on it so now I’m a whiner and I get fined. You saw it, write what you saw.
In the NBA, you can be fined for complaining about a call if you are a coach, even when you are unquestionably right. The press can write whatever they want, but they rarely write stories critical of LeBullshit. Consequentially, LeBron James has become a monster and the last two minutes of every close playoff game (arguably the only part of a basketball game worth watching) are a usually a joke. Thanks, ESPNbavid $tern. Even the defensive player of the year (carrying 5 fouls in a pivotal playoff game) doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt on a decisive defensive play when he goes up against LeBron. When you guard LeBron, you are simply “the guy who is about to foul LeBron.”
You know the situation has gotten completely out of control when Bill Simmons, one of the most eager and enthusiastic of all LeBron fellaters, capable of writing super-romanticized bullshit like this:
In Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, with one second to play and his Cavaliers trailing by two, a 6-foot-9, 275-pound local kid from Akron bullied toward the basket like a tight end. His goal was to jump as high as he could, extend his hands 2 feet over the 10-foot rim, then catch a lob from 50 feet away that had to be perfectly thrown. When his path was cut off, he recalibrated his mission almost as a navigation system reroutes a car, darted away from the basket toward the top of the key, caught a pass coming from his left, turned toward the rim, took a split second to center his body, bounced off the balls of his feet, extended in the air, then arched a 24-foot shot over the extended fingers of a 6-foot-10 opponent from Turkey. Even as he released the shot, he was falling backward, so his momentum carried him toward the other basket. Somehow, the shot rattled home. And that’s when LeBron James turned around, sought out his teammates and joyously hopped into their arms.
This was one of the bigger moments in recent NBA history: The time when our latest hope for “The Next Jordan” actually did something MJ would have done. Like so many other die-hards, I spent the next 24 hours rehashing the moment through phone calls and e-mails and texts.
…can force himself to admit this:
[Jordan was the best and worst thing to happen to the NBA because he created] a generation of one-on-one players who careen toward the basket in big moments, create some form of contact and hope officials will bail them out. With four seconds to play in Game 4 and his team trailing by 2, LeBron put his head down, dribbled as fast as he could and prayed Michael Pietrus would either bump him or trip him. If you watch the clip, he’s moving so fast that it would have been humanly impossible for him to make a shot. That wasn’t his goal. He wanted a call. And he got one. Their feet got tangled, LeBron lurched forward, and the refs bailed him out.
Both of these quotes came from the same article. This is what drives me crazy about Bill Simmons. He clearly and obviously sees what is happening to the NBA. His knows the history of the game in a way that very few dorks are capable. He can even recall a particular foul Bill Laimbeer committed against some guy from the Clippers in the 2nd quarter of a regular season game 20 years ago and what kind of doritos he was eating at the time. He has correctly identified the problem with the modern game (see above) and even offers a few reasonable solutions to this problem. But then he turns around and produces piles and piles of his own hero-worship bullshit (with some of the most comically overwrought sportswriting ever), the root cause of the problem he has just identified. Wow. Whether he realizes it or not, he is actively contributing to the demise of his beloved NBA, nudging it further and further away from his own ideal vision of the game. I just don’t get it.
Sports journalists are the only people able to freely criticize the bullshit without getting fined. They are the only people with an audience large enough and an influence great enough to force some kind of change in the bullshit. Yet, these very same journalists rely on this hero-worship bullshit to pay their bills, thanks to the atmosphere fostered by Nike and Sportscenter. Looks like we’re stuck.
So, Stan, this is why jerk reporters won’t write the obvious fucking columns they need to be writing. And they probably never will.