Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Curse Of Michael Jordan

The basketball gods are playing a cruel trick on Michael Jordan. They are punishing him as an owner for all the success he experienced as a player. The six championships, the MVP trophies, the slam dunk titles, the Dream Team, his status as the most recognizable athlete on the planet, and the best basketball player of all time come with a price. The latest installment is the Anthony Davis fiasco.

After suffering through the worst season in the history of the NBA the Charlotte Bobcats had a 1 in 4 chance of landing the top pick in the draft. The class of 2012 has some depth, but only one true game changer. Anthony Davis can take a franchise from a sub par group of misfits into a perennial playoff team. The other players in the draft might get you ten more wins.

As the draft lottery unfolded the basketball gods decided to torture Jordan by giving the 3rd pick to the Washington Wizards. With a 50/50 chance of landing "The Savior" Michale had to feel good about himself. Instead the gods sent Davis to Katrinaland and left Jordan with the number two pick.

If history is any indication of what is to come Michael Jordan will find a way to screw this up. His previous lottery selections include Kwame Brown, Adam Morrison, and Kemba Walker. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is considered by most experts to be the logical choice, but the 6'7 small forward is not guaranteed to have a significant impact on the Bobcats. It would not surprise me if the skills he displayed at Kentucky didn't translate at the next level.

Right now Michael Jordan is like Clark Kent when he gave up his super powers for Lois Lane. He is helpless to defend himself from the onslaught from outside forces. He's getting his ass kicked in the real world and he doesn't know how to respond. One pick could have changed his fortunes, but the basketball gods wouldn't allow it. Sorry Mike. The universe is regaining its balance.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Weekend Observations

I hope you all had an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend. You can never have enough beer and hot dogs, but let us not forget the meaning and the symbolism behind the holiday. Support our troops! As the NBA championship approaches it's clear who the participants will be. The San Antonio Spurs have no weaknesses and the Oklahoma City Thunder have no answers. In game one of the Western Conference finals OKC blew a golden opportunity to steal a game on the Spurs homecourt. Derek Fisher played out of his mind and Kevin Durant did what he was supposed to do, but Russell Westbrook and James Harden were nowhere to be found. If they don't show up soon this series will be over in 5 games.

The Boston Celtics are an old and tired bunch. Ray Allen can barely run and Paul Pierce can't be expected to score 40 points a night. Had it not been for an impressive 2nd quarter performance Boston might have been blown out by 30 in game one of the Eastern Conference finals. Lebron is ready to be a made guy and the Celtics won't stand in his way. It will be the Heat vs. the Spurs for the Larry O'Brien trophy. Here are some observations over the weekend.

I can't decide if Nick Fairley is the re-incarnation of JaMarcus Russell or Pac Man Jones. Either way he's used up all of his nine lives and without a serious intervention he'll be out of the league in two years.

The Seattle Mariners have lost 5 straight games and have the 2nd worst record in the American League. Patience is wearing thin. It's time for manager Eric Wedge to put his real estate agent on speed dial.

Boxer Paul Williams is the latest example of why athletes and motorcycles don't mix. Following a crash in Marietta, GA over the weekend doctors aren't sure if Williams will ever walk again much less step into the ring and resume his career. 4 wheels please.

Dario Franchitti won his 3rd Indianapolis 5oo and dedicated the victory to the late Dan Wheldon. It's always nice to see a champion pay homage to a fallen comrade.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Do Female Sports Reporters Get Smashed?

For the purposes of this blog the term smashed refers to having sexual relations.

I got an interesting text from a friend last night about ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols. It read, "Do you think Rachel Nichols gets smashed after games?" I thought about it for a few seconds and responded with a definitive yes. I don't know Rachel Nichols personally and haven't heard anything on the rumor wire, but her interaction with players seems shall we say overly friendly. Without discrediting her professionalism or journalistic integrity I wouldn't be surprised to find out my suspicions were true. Does this make Rachel Nichols a bad person?

Personally I don't have a problem with it. Consenting adults should be able to see whoever they want. The extra curricular activities of players and reporters is of no concern to me unless there is a conflict of interest. So long as they remain neutral and unbiased in their commentary it really shouldn't matter. Athletes have shown us over the years that their sexual appetite knows no bounds and nothing is off limits. If you're a willing participant they will oblige.

Let us not forget ESPN is probably the most unprofessional work environment on the planet. Employees sleep with interns (Steve Phillips), fondle co-workers (Harold Reynolds), get suspended for harassment and stalking (Mike Tirico), and send inappropriate pictures of their genitalia (Sean Salisbury). Anything goes in Bristol so long as you don't get caught.

I'm sure men and women have differing opinions about my hypothesis. Women probably think I'm objectifying women and sound like a chauvinist pig. Men probably think Rachel's not the only one. To be clear this is not sexist attack on female reporters, merely an observation. I'm pretty perceptive about these things and usually don't second guess my 6th sense. If I can see the vibe Rachel Nichols gives off the players are definitely feeling it. What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Kobe Bryant Is Just LikeTupac

I had almost forgotten how many Kobe Bryant haters there are out there until the Los Angeles Lakers inexplicably lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday. Minutes after the loss I received several discouraging phone calls, sarcastic e-mails, and down right rude text messages. I've rubbed the greatness of Kobe in the face of countless sports fans over the years and I know payback is a bitch, but did any of these people even watch the game?

Kobe Bryant went out like a "G". He put the Lakers on his back and carried them as far as they could go shooting fade away jumpers, monstrous jams, and clutch 3 pointers. He left it all on the court. He emptied the chamber. He rode it till the wheels fell off. In short his efforts were heroic and the stuff legends are made of. Is it his fault the Lakers front office has surrounded him with sub par talent? Here's a list of his pathetic supporting cast.

Andrew Bynum: A complete head case and the walking definition of a schizophrenic.

Metta World Peace: A loose cannon that could self implode at any given second.

Pau Gasol: Casper the friendly ghost in clutch situations.

Ramon Sessions: A pretty boy who was completely overwhelmed by the moment.

Matt Barnes: Could care less if his team wins or loses so long as people tune in to watch him on Basketball Wives.

Steve Blake: ??????????

Mike Brown: Could not look more goofy if he went to Disneyland and put on a Goofy costume. Easily out coached.

Jim Buss: A real life version of the Chris Farley character in Tommy Boy. His dad gave him the keys to the Bentley and he's driving it off road Johnny Knoxville style.

Kobe Bryant is in the same position that Tupac was. It's just Kobe against the world when he's on the court. Still his fire, passion, and desire won't let him go out without a fight. Even when he's under maned facing insurmountable odds he's still a threat. No one can question his heart and courage. Kobe and Tupac. Two soldiers that represent to the last breath.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Weekend Observations

The Miami Heat are now officially America's team. Like the Dallas Cowboys in the early 90's and Laker Nation in the early 2000's(The Shaq and Kobe edition) every detail surrounding the team is newsworthy and every game is life and death. If the Heat lose Pat Riley is trading D Wade to Brooklyn, Orlando, or Dallas. If the Heat win fans are deciding what to wear to the championship parade. If Lebron misses a 4th quarter shot he's a heartless scrub that can't deliver when it counts. When he goes off for 40, 18, and 9 he's the greatest player since Michael Jordan. I wouldn't be surprised if Chris Bosh's MRI was broadcast live in Dade County. The Miami Heat are sports melodrama at its finest. You love them or you hate them. There is no in between. As you guys know all too well I always take the talent so guess what side I'm on? Here are some observations over the weekend.

Kevin Durant added cold blooded assassin to his resume on Saturday with a game winning 3 pointer to beat the Lakers. The pain and heartache grows with every accomplishment. Watching this guy is like watching your mother get pistol whipped over Skype.

Once again Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic on clay to win the Italian Open. It appears he has the advantage on this surface. Sometimes minor adjustments make a world of difference.

Just when I was about to bury horse racing for good I'll Have Another makes things interesting with a win at the Preakness. No horse has won the triple crown since Affirmed in 1978. Now I have to watch the Belmont to see if history will be made.

If the Seattle Mariners played in the National league they might make the playoffs. The Mariners continued their dominance in interleague play with a sweep of the Colorado Rockies over the weekend. They should petition MLB to move to the NL West.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Are The Angels Upset With Torii Hunter?

For most parents it is instinctive to put your child's needs before all other things. Their safety and well being is the driving force that dictates how someone will respond in a certain situation. Athletes are no different. Earlier this week Los Angeles Angels outfielder Torii Hunter took an indefinite leave of absence from the team to handle some legal issues surrounding his son. Hunter reportedly informed the Angels organization that he is a father first and a baseball player second.

In an era of me first athletes it's refreshing to hear a player step up and give support to his family when they need him regardless of his personal circumstances. So many times we hear about fathers (especially African American) being absent from their children's lives and maintaining strained relationships that leave emotional and psychological scars. Torii Hunter is an example of a man handling his responsibilities by making sure his son is okay before concentrating on himself. The question isn't whether Hunter is doing the right thing,the question is how do the Angels respond?

In the real world bereavement and personal issues are a part of life. Some companies have policies in place that account for these situations financially while others simply give time off but offer no monetary compensation. In the sports world players rarely miss extended periods of time for personal reasons. Games missed and the money involved provide incentive to return to action from any tragedy as quickly as possible.

Torii Hunter makes $18,500,000 a year and is an integral part of the Angels success. He is a leader in the clubhouse and popular with his teammates which makes the situation even more delicate. Should the Angels pay him in his absence? Do they demand he comes back to the team in a certain amount of time. Do they harbor animosity if he's gone too long? No one knows for sure what the Angels organization is thinking, but I'm sure they're not happy outside forces are affecting the performance of their investment. Hopefully they tread lightly, but you never know with these things. Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Jimmy Johnson: The Greatest Football Coach Of All Time

This year Miami Hurricane and Dallas Cowboy coach Jimmy Johnson will be inducted into the college football hall of fame and if you ask me it's long overdue. Some of you may know him for his commentary on FOX NFL Sunday, his brief stint on Surivor, or his shamelss endorsement of the Extenze product, but make no smitake aboutr it Jimmy Johnson is the most influential coach of the last 25 years.

First and foremost he is the architect of a program that embodied his confident, arrogant, trash talking personality. He fostered a culture built on speed, athleticism, and intimidation. During his tenure at thde UNiversity of Miami (affectionatelty referred to as "The U" in ESPN's 30 for 30 documentary) Johnson won a national championship and flooded the pros with names like Michael Irvin, Vinny Testaverde, Russell Maryland, Brian Blades, Jerome Brown, and Cortez Kennedy. Their impact on the NFL is undeniable and the tradition of recruiting boastful, self expressive, supremely talented players at The U has carried on for two decades.

In addition, Jimmy Johnson is the architect of the Dallas Cowboys of the early 90's. Johnson stocked the Cowboy roster with former Hurricane players and won back to back Super Bowls. Had it not been for a clash of egos with owner Jerry Jones it's safe to say Johnson would have picked up two more Lombarid trophies easy. Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, and Troy Aikman were unstoppable.

Jimmy Johnson is one of two coaches to win a national championship in college and a Super Bowl in the pros. The other coach on this prestigious list (Barry Switzer) won his Super Bowl with the team Jimmy assembled so I don't give him too much credit. Jimmy Johnson was a pioneer and a maverick who's ability to assess and cultivate talent can't be overstated. I'll leave you with a few of my favorite Johnson quotes.

On recruiting at Miami: You don't come to Miami to be the best player in school history, you come to Miami to be the best player that's ever played your position.

On his life's philosophy: I have two priorities. Number one is football. Number two is raising my sons.

On coaching: Treat a person as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat him as he could be, and he will become what he should be.

Congrats on the Hall Jimmy. It is well deserved.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Josh Hamilton Is on Steroids

Josh Hamilton is a man on fire. The Texas Rangers slugger is batting .400 with 18 home runs and 44 RBI. He is currently on pace to hit 86 home runs and 210 RBI's for the season. It's not even June and Hamilton has practically put the MVP race out of reach. The Rangers have the 2nd best record in baseball due in large part to their all world center fielder. Some would even argue Josh Hamilton is the best player in baseball. Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

If you're a cynic like me that has listened to countless confessions, testimonials, and court cases you're thinking Josh Hamilton is on steroids. When a player starts putting up video game like numbers a red flag instantly goes up because we've seen this before. Every time we try to give a baseball player the benefit of the doubt we get smacked in the face with a harsh dose of reality. The sad and honest truth is baseball players are human, not heroes. They face immense pressure to perform on the field and the better they play the more money they make. Wouldn't you take an extra pill or a shot of something if you could earn hundreds of millions of dollars?

The one thing Josh Hamilton has going in his defense is that he's not your average player. Hamilton won the MVP in 2010 and has led the Rangers to the World Series in consecutive years. His battle with substance abuse has been well chronicled and his path to the majors was long and arduous. Perhaps Josh sees his baseball career as a blessing and won't do anything to jeopardize it.

Then again he is in the last year of his contract and the market for someone with his skill set is 24 to 30 million dollars. Even if money isn't important to you those kind of numbers will catch your attention. By all accounts Josh Hamilton seems like a genuine guy and I have no proof to the contrary, but I'd rather be proven wrong after the fact as opposed to gullible from the start. If it seems too good to be true it usually is.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Weekend Observations

Metta World Peace redeemed himself by helping the Los Angeles Lakers defeat the Denver Nuggets 96-87 in a must win game 7 at the Staples Center on Saturday. Since his 7 game suspension made the series much closer than it should have have been in the first place it was only fitting that World Peace chipped in with 15 points and 5 rebounds. Mike Brown should send him a bouquet of flowers for saving his job. Nobody gets out coached by George Karl in the playoffs and lives to tell about it. Andrew Bynum also gets the scapegoat tag removed from his jacket. His comments prior to game 5 almost got him traded to Orlando. Now the Lakers face OKC and I for one am not 100% convinced the Thunder won't crack under the pressure. In addition, the Black Mamba knows a thing or two about playoff basketball. Here are some weekend observations.

It was back to the future this weekend as Roger Federer and Serena Williams both won titles at the Madrid Masters. This will help their confidence going into the French Open, but the draw isn't very forgiving on either side. These two former champions will have to be at their best if they want to win another Grand Slam title. Stay tuned.

Josh Hamilton is batting .402 with 18 home runs and 44 RBI and it isn't even June. The Rangers slugger is on pace to hit 86 homers and 210 RBI's for the season. An interesting start to the season wouldn't you say? More on this tomorrow.

Pete Carroll has announced that rookie Russell Wilson will compete for the Seahawks starting QB job along with Matt Flynn and Tavaris Jackson. Training camp hasn't opened and there's already cause for excitement and intrigue. You gotta love the mad scientist!

Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving is the 2012 NBA rookie of the year. Hopefully this softens the blow of Miami Heat forward Lebron James winning the 2012 NBA most valuable player award. If not, at least the Cavs are in the lotto with a chance to come up with another gem. It's important to take the small victories when you can.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Jim Brown And The Modern Day Athlete

Jim Brown is considered by many to be the greatest football player that ever lived. During his illustrious nine year career Brown won enough awards and accolades to fill a small size U-Haul truck. At the age of 29 and still in his prime Jim Brown walked away from the NFL and never looked back. To this very day he will tell you he has no regrets about his decision and encourages other players to follow his example. Should the modern day athlete take his advice?

Absolutely not. Jim Brown was a revolutionary and a civil rights activist that lobbied for social change. Most of his actions were selfless and he used his wealth, status, influence, and fame to bring awareness to causes that needed a voice. Today's athlete is selfish and egotistical. Most of them are more concerned with strip clubs, autograph signings, and reality shows. It doesn't serve their best interest to be controversial or take a stance on polarizing topics.

In addition, the money these athletes make is astronomical in comparison to when Jim Brown played. In 1965 most people didn't even have color television much less Facebook, Twitter, text messages, and Nike endorsements. Asking a young man to walk away from hundreds of millions of dollars to be an ambassador for social justice is unrealistic and somewhat irresponsible. It's a different era and the moral compass of the country has changed dramatically since the 60's.

I respect Jim Brown immensely for taking a stance and fighting for what he believes in, but in 2012 money talks. You leave the faucet on for as long as you can while trying not to ruffle too many feathers. Athletes have to strike while the iron is hot and make the most of their small window of opportunity. Social change is far more rewarding and beneficial to the world as a whole, but in 2012 athletes just want to pop bottles and hang out with a Kardashian. Sorry Jim. You are the last of a dying breed. I wish there were more people that share your position.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

CP3 Is The MVP

A few weeks ago a good friend of mine proclaimed that Chris Paul was the best point guard in the NBA. At the time I scoffed at the idea. I argued Paul doesn't have the quickness of Derrick Rose, the athleticism of Russell Westbrook, or a jumper like Steve Nash. After watching the first round of the playoffs it appears I'm about to take a big spoonful of humble pie.

Not only is Chris Paul the best point guard in the league he is the NBA's most valuable player. For years I've thought the best player in the league and the most valuable player are the same thing. This is not true. Lebron James is the best all around player, but he doesn't excel in all facets of the game. The talent is there just not the intangibles. Chris provides leadership, delegates responsibility, and sets the tempo for the entire team.

In addition his presence is critical in the development of Blake "The Barbarian" Griffin. Blake's skill set is still very raw and limited. Without someone orchestrating the fast break and putting him in a position to succeed he would not be as successful. Blake needs Chris Paul like Karl Malone needed John Stockton, Shawn Kemp needed Gary Payton, and Amare Stoudemire needed Steve Nash.

Chris Paul is an anomaly. He is a true point guard in an era where that concept really doesn't exist. In today's NBA the motto is shoot first and ask questions later. Floor generals are a dying breed because better stats equate to more money and SportsCenter highlights make you more popular. Chris Paul runs the team, hits clutch jumpers when necessary, and does whatever the team needs when they need it. He won't go to the championship like Lebron, but that shouldn't diminish his amazing season. He's succeeded where many others have failed.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Weekend Observations

For the 2nd consecutive year the defending NBA champs have been swept out of the playoffs before the conference finals. The Dallas Mavericks had done to them what they did to the Lakers a season ago. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook (The modern day EPMD) wrecked and destroyed any chances of a championship repeat from the very beginning. The Mavs never recovered from losing two close games in OKC and even the heart of a champion wasn't enough to avoid the broom. Whether it was complacency, the loss of Tyson Chandler, old age, or the Lammy Kardashian fiasco the Mavs clearly have some work to do if they want to return to championship form. Here are some observations over the weekend.

The NBA lockout is responsible for the rash of injuries suffered in the 2012 playoffs. Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Iman Shumpert, Baron Davis, and Josh Smith are all victims of a compressed NBA schedule. Thankfully we won't have to go through this for at least five more years.

Terrell Suggs, the NFL's defensive player of the year in 2011 suffered a tear to his Achilles tendon. The timetable for his return is uncertain, but he vows to be back on the field this season. Speaking from experience (I've ruptured both of my Achilles tendons) I highly doubt that, but I applaud his positive spirit. It also helps that the NFL uses the same doctors that put Steve Austin back together so anything's possible.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. has no equals in the ring. After gutting out a hard fought 12 rounds with Miguel Cotto I'm convinced more than ever Manny Pacquiao has no chance to beat Floyd. Of course we'll never see the megafight because of greed, politics, and fear.

I'll Have Another won the Kentucky Derby on Saturday and no one really cares. The sport of kings is on life support and unless we see the 2nd coming of Secretariat horse racing will be all but extinct within 5 years.

Quote of the weekend: Upon hearing Felix Hernandez pitched a one hitter on Saturday a good friend of mine promptly asked the question, "Yeah, but did we win?" Not a lot of confidence in the Mariners right now.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The 206 influence On The NBA

As I watch the 2012 NBA playoffs the Puget Sound region is representing in a positive fashion. I won't say they're all star players, but their contributions on the court are significant. 25 percent of the teams in the playoffs and 30 percent of the league has a player from my neck of the woods. Here is the prestigious list of ballers.

Avery Bradley in Boston. Although technically he's from Tacoma he makes the list. Avery has done a stellar job in the playoffs filling in for a suspended Rajon Rondo and his stock is on the rise. Keep your eye on this kid.

Spencer Hawes in Philadelphia. Spencer is not always the most consistent player, but he has nice touch for a big man and can stretch the court hitting the 3 ball. If Philly has a shot at beating the Bulls he'll have to play his part.

Marvin Williams in Atlanta. Although technically he's from Bremerton her makes the list. Marvin is a tremendous wing defender with a decent jump shot. The former #2 pick in the draft has shown flashes of brilliance, but we need to see those flashes more often. His defense on Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are critical if Atlanta wants to advance in the playoffs.

Jason Terry in Dallas. One of the few players from the 206 with a championship ring. The former 6th man of the year gets it done night in and night out. Too bad Lamar Odom let the Mavericks down. They're about to be gone fishing.

Jon Brockman in Milwaukee. Jon should see more playing time with the trade of Andrew Bogut. He's not a big contributor, but you need these kind of guys on your roster who are hard working with a positive attitude.

Nate Robinson in Golden State. A high energy player with a streaky jump shot. If Nate gets hot it could change the outcome of a game. Even though he's 5'7 he makes his physical presence felt.

Luke Ridnour in Minnesota. Although technically from Bellingham he makes the list. You know exactly what you're getting with this journeyman point guard. Not too flashy, but always consistent and fundamentally sound.

Jamal Crawford in Portland. Another former 6th man of the year that provides veteran leadership and versatility. Given the right opportunity Jamal can step in and carry a team in spurts.

Isaiah Thomas in Sacramento. As the last player chosen Isaiah is the steal of the 2011 NBA draft. When given the opportunity to start at point guard he showed poise and an ability to effectively run the team. Jimmer Fredette is now an afterthought.

Terrence Williams in Sacramento. Terrence has bounced around a lot his first few years, but he may have found a home with the Kings. He's made the most of his increased playing time and still has time to reach his full potential.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bounty Programs Are Here To Stay

Given the severity of the punishments levied in the bounty scandal the New Orleans Saints are considered a rogue organization by the NFL.  The league set out to make an example of the Saints by fining them millions of dollars, taking away draft picks, and suspending coaches, players, and general managers.  The commissioner is sending a clear message to the rest of the teams that bounty programs will not be tolerated.  Will his actions change the culture of the NFL?

Absolutely not.  Has anyone noticed we haven't seen a single player speak out against the Saints?  Jeremy Shockey even offered to take a lie detector test when he was accused of being the snitch that started the investigation.  There are former players who coach right now that participated in a bounty program.  Kurt Warner and Bret Favre said they harbor no ill will against the the Saints.  The football fraternity understands that this is part of the game and bounty programs will continue in secrecy.

Football people will tell the media what they want to hear, but behind closed doors everyone knows the Saints will not be the last organization to carry out a bounty program.  The program is not intended to entice players to break legs or ruin some one's career.  It is intended to motivate players to make big plays.  That will always be something players, coaches, and organizations want to see.  You don't give players enough credit if you think they would intentionally jeopardize a lucrative and rewarding job for some locker room chump change.  The bounty money wouldn't even cover the fine for an illegal hit.
The bounty isn't for breaking the rules.

The New Orleans Saints were punished for their arrogance and the public's perception.  The Saints had been warned several times and Roger Goodell doesn't like it when his omnipotent power and ultimate authority are questioned.  In addition, the NFL wants to show the fans it is taking steps to make the game safer so that the idea of an 18 game season is more realistic.  We'll never see another bounty scandal, but that doesn't mean bounties have gone away.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sharing The Ball Is Overrated

Amare Stoudemire hurt his hand last night after punching a fire extinguisher in frustration following the New York Knicks loss to the Miami Heat.  There has been speculation he was frustrated about the amount of shots he's getting in the series.  Amare is a prideful man who thinks the more opportunity he gets to contribute on the court the greater his team's chances are of winning the game.  In the playoffs that simply isn't the case.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, NBA championships are won by superstars that display individual greatness taking over games when it matters the most.  The NBA championship is not won with depth, sharing the ball, or superior coaching.  The championship is won by unstoppable players. 

In the 2012 NBA playoffs there are four teams that struggle with this dynamic.  The Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, and Oklahoma City Thunder all have two players who think they should be "The Man."  Allow me to put an end to the controversy with quick and concise clarification.

Los Angeles:  Andrew Bynum needs to get a few more touches, but he also needs to understand this is still Kobe Bryant's team.  Bynum should defer to the guy with 5 championships who just happens to be the best closer in the game.  If he doesn't embrace this simple truth the Lakers have no shot.

New York:  Carmelo Anthony is the best pure scorer on the planet and Amare Stoudemire is a shell of his former self.  If Carmelo doesn't have the ball in his hands A LOT the Knicks have no chance of winning.  Amare should defer to Carmelo.

Miami.  D Wade should be the closer and Lebron should be the facilitator.  Lebron has accepted his role so long as the Heat win a championship.  He might be the MVP of the league, but in playoff basketball he must defer.

OKC:  Russell Westbrook should defer to Kevin Durant.  I don't think Westbrook truly believes that which is why they have difficulty against elite teams.  If this power struggle continues the Thunder will not win a championship.