Monday, June 8, 2009

sports update

So I have a fan. She checks my blog daily – every night. The fact that my Number One fan is my wife doesn’t take away from my excitement over having a fan – if anything it adds to it. I love her, very, very much. If only she didn’t skip over my sports-related posts, because those are my favorite to write.

So, at the risk of alienating my number one fan, I have to report on some recent developments in sports.

Roger Federer won the French Open, beating the guy who beat Nadal (making Fed’s win possible). Fed has now tied Sampras’ major record. In my opinion, Fed is the best of all time, to this point. There has been none better. That doesn’t mean Nadal won’t catch up; barring injury, Nadal very well might eclipse Federer’s accomplishments. But the fact that Federer is just now beginning to break the important records when Nadal has proven he’s clearly more talented should not take away from Fed’s accomplishments at the highlight of his career. Fed has been exciting to watch for a long time, and will be for the very near future.

Tiger Woods won a tournament, I think. Here’s the thing – I’m getting into golf. To this point, I’ve had no real problem with golf, beyond the fact that money appears to be the largest determinant in the quality of a poker player’s game. One thing I’ve never been able to deny is the fact that golf remains the only real “sport” that a person can play competitively well into old age. Thus – it was only a matter of time that I got involved. My putting game is decent, and my mid-range game is solid as long as someone tells me which club I should be using. I’m currently working on my drive. I wish my friend Danielle could go to the driving range with me and tell me diplomatically and constructively exactly what is wrong with my shot. I’d pay her money. If only she read my blog. Anyway – the point is that my respect for Tiger Woods knows no bounds. Keep in mind – Michael Jordan is my favorite professional athlete of all time, precisely because he DOMINATED his sport while he was playing. Tiger Woods is dominating his sport; there can be no doubt. And remember what I said about golf players playing competitively well into old age? Yeah – Tiger Woods is the best there ever will be at golf. Period. And we get to watch him NOW. Henceforth – no self-righteous attacks on the sport of golf from me.

LA Lakers win game two in OT. My Number One fan hates Kobe Bryant, and thus the Lakers. Because Kobe Bryant is one of the closest approximations of Michael Jordan in the last decade, combined with the fact that Jack Nicholson , a front row seat staple of all home games in LA, is such a fascinating part of televised games, I’m a Laker’s fan. I think a Laker’s win sans Shaq is important for Kobe’s legacy, so I support a Laker’s win, if for no other reason. I won’t belabor the point, but suffice it to say – Go Lakers!

Brett Favre had shoulder surgery. There’s no reason for him to have surgery unless he hopes to play football this year; he would let his shoulder heal naturally if he wanted to remain retired. He would only have committed to shoulder surgery and the resulting physical therapy if he had a very specific plan to QB for an NFL team. He’s going to play for the Vikings. Now, I’m a Washington Redskins fan. But precisely because I love Farve’s style over the last, I dunno, two decades, my second favorite team is the Packers. I was with him when he was traded to the Jets, and though my proxy allegiance didn’t transfer to the Jets, I still remained a Favre fan. But this is too much. I’m trying VERY hard NOT to offend my Number One fan by making a sexist remark, but real men aren’t this indecisive. That said, Favre playing for the Vikings makes things VERY interesting for me. Why? Because if this actually happens, and I’d say it’s about 50/50 at this point, Favre officially moves to the dark side of the force. For Green Bay fans, for many NFL fans, and MAYBE for me. There’s no reason for him to go to Minnesota specifically unless he’s specifically aiming to claim revenge on decisions made by the front office and coaching staff of the Packers last year. He’ll be Hollywood Hulk Hogan (I apologize for the wrestling reference, since I know nobody who understands this reference – but the reference is too applicable to ignore.) Evil Favre is compelling to me, and for that reason I choose to hope he returns. Because if he does, I’ll have to choose whether to root for or against him, and in so doing, open myself up for the first time to the possibility to rooting for the villain.

In poker news – the Tiger Woods of poker (a name he hates), Phil Ivey won a WSOP bracelet this week. He won just under 100 K in the event. He also won somewhere between 1 and 3 million dollars in sidebets that he would win a bracelet in this year’s WSOP. Go Ivey. I love his style, precisely because it so reminds me of Tiger Woods’ style. If Ivey actually DOES resent his moniker, he’s a very silly rich man. As I write this, by the way, Negreanu (my favorite player) is heads up in a Limit Hold-Em tournament for his (6th?) bracelet. There’s actually an important point here. Poker players (and other obvious business institutions) have been lobbying for years now to legalizing online poker. Their argument is that poker, specifically derivatives of Texas Hold-Em, is a game of skill, not luck. This appears to be the developing center of debate. I’m not sure why – I could probably write a book exploring the implications of this debate, alone. Regardless, Ivey’s and Negreanu’s recent accomplishments appear to support the argument that poker is more a game of skill than luck. While I would disagree with the premise and conclusion of this statement, I am still happy. For one, Negreanu and Ivey are undoubtedly good at what they do. People who choose to put money against them deserve what they get. And if you have caught the theme of this post – I respect talent. Talent should be rewarded. Talent should not be legislated against.

Of course – nothing is as simple as it should be.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

the man card

It’s funny how many of my blog ideas come directly from conversations with Justin. Today, to relieve some brain overload, I decided to swipe his phone. I had no real plans for his phone, but as soon as I opened it, I realized a plan would not be necessary. The phone displayed a picture of a cat.

Of course, as mandated by the code, I immediately demanded his man card. Then I had to explain what a man card was, which in itself is arguably grounds for demanding someone’s man card, but I decided to let this go. I explained that a man card is basically a man’s license to be a man. In retrospect, I should have said that a man card is a man’s birth certificate to manhood. If it is determined by another man that a man card had been issued too early, such as when a man has pictures of cats on his phone display, then the man card must be revoked.

Of course, an asinine argument ensued. Very fun. Now, before you ask me why a man isn’t allowed to have a cat on his cell phone, I need you to ask yourself a few simple questions. 1) Are you a woman? 2) Are you Justin? 3) Are you taking this post way too seriously? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then there’s a very good chance you’re not qualified to answer the age old question – In what circumstances is it appropriate to demand a person’s man card? Let’s explore this.

A man asks, “How long is a quarter in basketball?” This is really nowhere close enough to warrant suspension of a man card. Some of the manliest men don’t like sports, and some sports fans just don’t prefer basketball. I will say that a non-sports fan coupled with another seemingly innocent indicator, such as crying during E.T., is a fairly conclusive sign that a man card needs revoking.

A man stops and asks directions after having been lost for less than half an hour or 20 miles. I’m not proud of this, but man card revoked.

A man goes to the doctor after being sick for less than three days. Well – it depends. Does he have kids? If so, he might just be trying to avoid spreading illness. Also – does the guy just have a runny nose, or is he bleeding from the eyes. Generally speaking, if the man looks like a zombie at the doctor’s office, let him keep his man card. Also – run.

A man is in the passenger seat navigating and a woman driving has to point out to him that he’s holding the map upside down. Man card revoked.

A man wears a band-aid. Once again, it depends. If he has daughters, he’s allowed to wear band-aids, but only if A) the daughter puts it on, and B) it’s either pink, princess, or Dora the Explorer. In all other cases, man card revoked. If this seems a biased response – then give me your man card.

Spiders scare a man. Nah – he’s good. But if his reaction to spiders is to jump on his tiptoes, back away, squeal, and/or cry, get his man card. And slap him around a bit.

I implied before that neither sports knowledge nor sports appreciation is required to maintain possession of a man card. But if he ever walks into a room where an NFL game is on and he turns the channel to anything else but another NFL game, he loses his man card. And throw food at him.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

some of my favorite movies

My diatribe on Abram’s Trek movie prompted me to rewatch another one of his recent products – Cloverfield. I was hoping Em would make it through the whole movie, but I’d forgotten about the creepy, miniature creatures, as well as the Alien-homage chest exits. What a cool movie.

A movie doesn’t need much to impress me. I’m an easy sell. The more inspiring speeches a leader gives his soldiers, the more I like the movie. Thus, Braveheart has been my favorite movie since the late 80s. Anytime a character experiences a FUNDAMENTAL change for the positive, the more I like the movie. Thus, American History X, especially with its cinematography, has been on my top five since it came out.

I dig world destruction movies – especially when established landmarks are destroyed. Independence Day was a ton of fun, for the same reasons Cloverfield was fun. These two movies show us how our world would change if our worst nightmares came true, if sometimes unrealistically so. They are imaginative, and they are scary. I cannot wait for 2012 (the movie). It's gonna be awesome.

Sometimes writers/directors will knock a concept out of the park, and other times they completely fail. Shyamalan’s 2002 Signs looked very promising, even well into the film. And then you find out these far-advanced alien beings have an extremely unfortunate Achilles heel – they are allergic to water. As in, alien beings sweeping the planet are allergic to the most common molecule on Earth. No – conventional warfare won’t work, but that’s okay – we’ve got super-soakers. Another flop: Oliver Stone’s 2004 Alexander was unwatchable. When your hero has basically no redeemable qualities, you’ve lost my interest, whether or not the real Alexander was just as appalling.

Which brings me, naturally, to Adam Sandler. Ten years ago I enjoyed most of his films. Ten years ago I was an idiot. He couldn’t help but make his characters as unrealistic as possible, just as he couldn’t resist including at least one fellow Saturday Night Live comrade to fulfill some gross humor element to the movie. As a general rule, Rob Shneider should not be cast in anything over 3 minutes long.

He made two movies, though, that I really enjoyed. The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates. Perhaps not coincidentally, Drew Barrymore starred opposite Sandler in both. Their chemistry is almost unequalled in Hollywood, IMO. And the movies were funny, honest, and something Sandler and Barrymore both do very well – hopeful.

And then Sandler made a movie that is the first to seriously threaten Braveheart at the top of my list. Reign Over Me did everything right and nothing wrong. It didn’t overindulge on the tragedy of September 11, and the director/writers went out of their way to not overdo scenes of Sandler’s grief. This movie was as much about Don Cheadle’s character attempting to reconnect with Sandler’s character as anything else. I watched MANY post-9/11 movies and documentaries, and while I don’t think you can put this movie in that category, none of them brought me as much peace as did Reign Over Me. This is one of the decade’s best movies, hands down.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

2009 world series of poker

We’re about to enter a big void in watchable television, at least for my tastes. All the television shows are pretty much finished for the season, and NBA playoffs are winding down. Football doesn’t start for another few months, and baseball was boring before we found out the most interesting players were cheating. The French Open is somewhat compelling, but usually not until semi-finals.

This year, however, there is something worth watching. ESPN and will be splitting rights to 24 final tables, streaming them live on the web. Keep in mind that a final table can go all day, depending on the blind structure. That’s a lot of television, even for a poker junkie.

Of course, many of these games will be unwatchable. WSOP hosts some loopy poker tournaments that I barely understand, and that don’t translate well to television. And when you consider that live, streaming video precludes the standard use of “pocket cams” (the camera on or below the table showing viewers each players’ two cards), the nuances of games like stud and high/low are completely lost to most casual and poker fan viewers.

That said, I’m really looking forward to it. We don’t often get the opportunity to watch professional and semi-professional poker players play their game without the advantage of seeing their cards. I feel like NOT knowing what people have will help me work on my tells-reading skillz, or lack thereof.

I just hope some recognizable faces make some of these final tables. My all around favorite poker player is Daniel Negreanu, and I know I’m one of many who would say the same. His ability to read a person’s cards and his situation is uncanny, and somewhat eerie. You can’t go wrong with Phil Hellmuth – he’s an excellent player when he’s not acting out for the camera, and when he is acting out – even better.

So if you’re interested in poker – the first final table is June 2 on ESPN360, No Limit Hold ‘Em.

Monday, May 25, 2009

where no man has gone before

A couple years ago, I heard Paramount was selling all of their Star Trek memorabilia, props, equipment, everything. After disappointing reviews/profits for Nemesis, they were pulling the plug on the franchise. I wasn’t too bummed about that. I don’t know if I would call myself a trekkie; The Original Series was goofy, Deep Space Nine was elevator music, and Voyager was short-lived and smarmy. Enterprise, the prequel series with the leaper of Quantum Leap cast as Captain, was gritty and fun. I could sense they were, at least at first, trying to make the brand more mainstream. The series slowly died though, probably because they realized they had no audience. Star Trek fans were annoyed that the main plot wasn’t going forward anymore and perhaps resented the so-called acquiescence to mainstream. Either way, I didn’t care. Nothing touched The Next Generation, and I wasn’t really interested in further attempts to shake as much money from this brand as possible.

But apparently there was more money to shake. Paramount hadn’t completely scrapped Star Trek. They just hired an alleged non-fan of Star Trek, Lost director J.J. Abrams, to head the project. I was lukewarm about the prospect, and later became frigid when I heard 1) “Don’t worry guys, this one isn’t for the trekkies – it’s for normal people who just want to watch a space adventure,” 2) that it was going to be another prequel.

I generally dislike prequels. I’m annoyed by the word prequel. I mean, “pre” means "before," and “sequel” implies “after." When did this word first come into existence? I’d really like to know. Thank God for Google.

Answer: according to, the term first appeared in a 1958 article by Anthony Boucher in a Sci-Fi magazine, and the first prequel was probably The Godfather II. Mr. Boucher – you’re on my list. That’s all I’m gonna say.

I didn’t like the first Kirk series, why did Paramount think I’d be interested in a new iteration. My problem with the whole “we’re going to mainstream this for all you regular people” concept isn’t so much that I felt disenfranchised as a trekkie or that I was being classified as a geek because I didn’t hate the recent movies Paramount has put out (okay, okay…it hurt), but more so that I didn’t understand what the qualities exactly made the series mainstream. What elusive “coolness” was I being deprived because Paramount had misguidedly catered to my nerdy whims?
Apparently mainstream doesn’t mean what I thought it meant. I saw Star Trek last night, and it was a good movie. But there was no coolness factor that was missing in previous movies. What made this movie different from previous movies of this brand was that it wasn’t catering to audience that was familiar with a particular set of characters, storylines, and actors/actresses.

I’d love to draw comparisons between this movie and previous movies just to show how similar this movie was to previous inundations, but I might save that for later blog. I don’t want to give spoilers away. But I will make a couple notes (SPOILER ALERT):

1) The “red matter” seemed to be Abrams F.U. to conventional Sci.Fi. geekdom. No scientific explanation was provided for why this substance was so ueber. Maybe there’s some old Star Trek episode or a movie subplot I’m forgetting that mentioned this substance, but I doubt it. Either way, I don’t get it. Star Trek is infamous for science that is either unexplained or understood as absurd. What's different?
2) Star Wars image number 1: Sulu as a Jedi Knight. That whole scene was ridiculous.
3) Biggest lost opportunity: Earlier in this same section of the movie, Kirk, Sulu, and random crazy guy are skydiving to a platform in the planet’s atmosphere, and crazy guy goes crazy and decides not to pull his shoot until it’s too late. This scene felt weird to me – I feel like we’re supposed to know who this guy is from the real Star Trek series. Either way – this guy should have been a younger Khan, who was Kirk’s most famous nemesis. Imagine it - Kirk and Khan aren’t bitter enemies yet, and Khan falls to his death. Kirk sees it happening, and screams, “Khaaaaaaaaaaan!!!” That would have been hilarious. Of course, nobody reading this probably has any idea why this would be funny. Which kind of proves my earlier point. When Paramount says mainstream, they mean that there’s no inside jokes/storylines that the mainstream would find confusing and alienating. Which doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the movie as a trekkie. I’m a geek, but I can still be cool.
4) Star Wars image number 2: Scotty is basically Han Solo, and he has an assistant who is this weird combination of Chewbacca and an Ewok. The alien helper looks like an Ewok, but is also Solo’s /Scotty’s punching bag.
5) “To go where no man has gone before” certainly seems to be an ironic mission, in this case.

The movie gets a B+, but the marketing and general smugness of Abrams and Paramount gets a C-. Please don’t be mad at me Abrams. Lost is still awesome. (Except for that season finale – have you lost your bloody mind!?)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

yuppie crowd surfing

Last weekend, my brother-in-law, his wife, Em, and I went to a chili cookoff concert at RFK. I’d been to exactly one show in my life, a Purple Door Christian concert in Pennsylvania. POD was just breaking out at the time, so as most testosterone-driven youth, I was more than happy to experience some Christian fellowship in the form of excessively violent mosh pits. It was fun.

I didn’t really know what to expect at the cookoff. Bands included Niki Barr Band, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Puddle of Mudd, Papa Roach, Shinedown, Third Eye Blind, and The Offspring. I’d heard of the last five, heard songs of the last four, and enjoyed the last two. I didn’t know how well Third Eye Blind would resonate as a live, outdoor show, but I knew The Offspring would be amazing.

We got there in time to watch Papa Roach. Ugh. The songs were great, the show was awful. The lead singer, who I assume is Papa, has zero stage presence. Unless you count his innate ability to fit some tense of the f bomb into every sentence at least once. Look, I understand that some bands find the f bomb inspiring. If that words for you, hey, to each his or her own. But the Offspring’s lead vocal, Dexter Holland (according to Wikipedia – look, sorry I have no memory for names, so I appreciate good music not good musicians) somehow had amazing stage presence and I can’t remember him dropping the bomb the entire time. Of course, my bell was wrung at that time, so maybe I missed it.

I was stuck in lines during the Shinedown show, but they seemed okay. My bro-in-law and I resolved to approach the stage during the Third Eye Blind Show. In the midst of the crowd, we saw everything from shoes, hats, beach balls, and glasses thrown in the air. Call me na├»ve, but I wasn’t expecting the frontal nudity. Suffice it to say that there wasn’t any “Take It Off” chants at Purple Door. I just kept my eyes on the stage, I swear.

Third Eye Blind ended up being amazing, at least what I saw of it. Shortly into the set, Ben and I realized that we had somehow found ourselves standing beside a group of sadists who took extreme pleasure at lifting unwilling or barely-willing suckers and sending them crowd-surfing to the stage. One of these guys mistook a statement I made to my brother-in-law and "asked" me if wanted to surf. Of course I couldn’t say no. I didn't have time to. Besides, I mean, I’m a guy. And our women with us – I couldn’t dishonor Emily by not surfing.

I almost made it to the front. See – in my one brief experience, I learned there is no art to sober crowd surfing. If you’re drunk, I imagine surfing is a chaotic jumble of memories where you spend the rest of the evening trying to find your friends so you can tell them how fun it was. If you’re sober, you’re just trying to survive. Keep in mind, you have no control when you’re crowd surfing. Why any woman would want to participate, I have no clue. Perhaps the same sadists that launched me launched all the women. The best you can hope for as a crowd surfer is pointing to where you want to go. If you see a mosh pit, point to the right or left as fast and intensely as you can. Pray nobody drops you like they did me.

I hit a pocket of really strong dudes, who launched me into the air into a pocket of incoherent women, who dropped me seven feet onto my back. I couldn’t get up right away. I couldn’t really get off the couch too well the next day.

I have many stories about the show, but as a summary, the show was a ton of fun, and I can’t wait to do it again. We barely avoided a cancellation due to lightening before and during both Third Eye Blind and Offspring. The rain just made everyone slippery, but we were all pretty slippery, anyway. Both these shows were awesome – a great mixture of old and new songs. More importantly, I gotta say that I was proud to be a member of that audience. Mosh pits were very fun, but as soon as ANYONE fell, everyone stopped and helped the person up. I personally saw no inappropriate behavior during the surfing. People were very mature. I can’t say the same about the Purple Door show, ironically a Christian show. People were trying to knock each other out. Not so here. People just wanted to have fun, and for the most part everyone was as considerate as I could have hoped for. Kudos D.C.

Some sidenotes: One look at the 20-person deep lines at the rows of porta-potties convinced me that chili-tasting wasn't the best idea. Also, while I lost my hat during the show, I gained a really awesome pair of sunglasses. People were throwing everything, and the longer the show, the stranger the items. At one point, I saw a wooden spoon go one way, and a full length dress go another. When a pair of sunglasses hit me in the head, I was like, sweet - free sunglasses. Later that night I figured out why I was getting a lot of weird looks from people after I put the glasses on. They had fake gemstones on the side. Why do chicks get all the best accessories?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

long live the king

I didn’t grow up a huge fan of the NBA. Raised not far from D.C., my siblings and I found more to root for in the Washington Redskins than the Washington Bullets. It wasn’t until after I started playing basketball on a team, and I'd developed an appreciation for the complexity of offensive and defensive schemes, that I started paying attention to NBA playoffs. And of course, the playoffs are the only part of an NBA season that really matter. We generally know which teams deserve a playoff spot by the All Star break, and going by the number of home team losses this post season, seeding doesn’t appear to be that important a motivation for successful teams in the last quarter of the season.

I recognized this pretty early on, so I became mainly a fan of the NBA playoffs, where a seven game series between titan teams could read as an epic with many intricate storylines. Instead of Hector vs. Achilles, it was Magic vs. Bird, icon vs. icon. And from the 1990-91 season to the 1997-98 season, generally the block of years I spent watching basketball (until fairly recently), there was only one team, one player, that really mattered. Michael Jordan. Until recently, the undisputed, best all-around basketball player in history. Because of him, the Chicago Bulls won six championships in that time, Jordan capturing the Finals MVP title each time. There was none better, and there was never going to be anyone better.

Not that we didn’t look. Every time a new, talented player seemed to show promise, he always seemed to fall short in comparison. He wouldn’t have the numbers, he wouldn’t have the fortitude in clutch situations, he wouldn’t have the fierce competitiveness…whatever the shortfall, he just couldn’t be like Mike. It was impossible.

Only two players really come to mind who have arguably come close, and they both played on a team that happened to employ Michael Jordan’s former coach, Hall-of-Famer Chicago Bulls coach, Phil Jackson. The L.A. Lakers had their own three -year dynasty, though Chicago of course had two of them. And they did so with Shaq and Kobe. I don’t mind when people draw comparisons between Shaq and MJ; you can’t deny that Shaq changed the game in his own right. But they played different positions, with different strengths. Shaq was bigger than everyone else, but MJ was BETTER than everyone else, and that’s a significant difference. And Shaq’s numbers still didn’t come close to Jordan’s. I think there’s much more of a valid comparison between Kobe and MJ. Both are noticeably better than most anyone you put against them, but are clutch, both are extreme competitors. But the three years that the Lakers won the championship, it was Shaq, not Kobe, who won the Finals MVP. And Kobe hasn’t won a title without Shaq since he had him shipped out of L.A. I like Kobe - at least, I like WATCHING Kobe - but I don’t think he’s going to have another shot at that Finals MVP this year, or really ever again.

Because we finally found him. Maybe not the next Michael Jordan. Maybe BETTER than the last Michael Jordan.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have exactly ONE thing going for them, at least for the next two years. LeBron James. They had the best record in the NBA, they played the best on both sides of the floor, and they would be nowhere near the playoffs without King James. They lost exactly two games at home all year, one of which was a game that no longer mattered at the end of the season, and they swept the first two rounds of the playoffs. Their first game in the third round, a home game, was nothing short of shocking. They lost in the final seconds to the Orlando Magic, a team with a seemingly under-qualified coach, who had been down 2-3 against a Garnett-less Boston Celtics team the previous round, before winning the last two games to meet the Cavs. After the loss, James was met with criticism at his passing the ball away in the final seconds of the game. “Why didn’t he take the potential game-winning shot?” “Michael Jordan would have taken that shot.” “There’s no way Jordan passes that ball in that situation, even if he had three people on him.” Maybe that’s true, but passing the ball when you’re double-teamed to a wide-open, high-percentage shooter is the right move. And they lost because of it.

No worries, though. There was absolutely no chance Cleveland wouldn’t wipe the floor with Orlando in retribution two nights later, another home game. Sure enough, Cleveland was up 23 points early on Orlando last night. So imagine my surprise to see the teams tied with about 5 minutes left when I checked back on the game last night. At the time, I told one of my buddies that I could feel a potential Jordan-like moment coming. No way was LeBron not the one taking The Shot tonight. The same thing happened last year in the playoffs. LeBron was criticized for spreading the ball around late in a game the Cavs ended up losing, and you couldn’t pry the ball away from him the next game.

Alas, it didn’t seem to matter. Orlando went up two points with one second left. One second in an NBA game is no time at all. You can work with three seconds, maybe two seconds, but one second just isn’t enough time to turn to the basket, get your feet set, and jump higher than the two guys in your face who both know the ball is going to you. Everyone in the stadium knows the ball is going to you. There’s no chance. Michael Jordan might have been able to do it, but MJ was one of a kind.

LeBron James needed only .5 seconds to get that ball in the air. A picture shows a couple fingers still on the ball with the clock in the background still at .6 seconds. As the ball reached its apex, James was already shuffling into the backcourt. He knew. He knew because he’d seen Jordan do this countless times. He knew because he dreamed of this moment his entire adolescence. He was going to be like Mike.

Three points in one second won the game for Cleveland that night. A game that shouldn’t have even been close, granted. Who knows, Orlando might even take this series. But that doesn’t change the fact that for me, King James finally earned the comparisons made between himself and MJ. I’m looking forward to the next decade.