Bill Simmons looks back at the Miami Heat’s 27-game winning streak, how it slipped away, and LeBron, in particular:
Once it became clear that Chicago wasn’t fading and a sense of desperation started setting in for Miami, that led to my second-favorite moment of the night: LeBron saying Screw this, I’m guarding Hinrich and hounding the aging Chicago point guard everywhere, unwilling to allow that streak to slip away without doing everything possible to save it. In turn, that led to my favorite moment — LeBron allowing Hinrich to keep driving past him so he could block the ensuing layup. And he did it twice!!! I’ve been watching basketball forever … I have NEVER seen that before, not even from Jordan. To be fair, I never saw Russell (maybe he tried that trick, too), but please, tell me the next time I’m going to watch a basketball player so supernaturally confident in his own inhuman athletic ability that he intentionally allows an opponent to attempt layups that he can block.
This is obviously a bit old, but I finally got around to reading it on the plane today. It’s brilliant.
Simmons is a die-hard Celtics fan. Hates the Lakers with a passion. But he rightly calls bullshit on what went down. The best parts:
Once word leaked of the deal, rival owners started rebelling almost immediately. What was the point of that lockout, and all the talk of competitive balance, if the Lakers were allowed to immediately acquire Chris Paul? Dan Gilbert sent a scathing e-mail to a few of the other owners that, of course, was leaked on the Internet last night.
The best part of the letter: “This trade should go to a vote of the 29 owners of the Hornets.”
(Translation: “Let’s cut Demps’ balls off, throw the last few weeks of negotiating out the window and go back on our word. Also, I’m thinking of starting a support group for small-market owners who overpaid for their teams, don’t have the balls to sell and would rather whine, bitch and bully about their lot in NBA life. I’m going to call it O.A.: Overpayers Anonymous.”)
Just know that I’m a die-hard Celtics fan and die-hard Lakers hater … and even I am appalled. I hope Chris Paul sues. I hope the Rockets sue. I hope the Lakers sue. I hope Dell Demps resigns and makes a sex tape with a stripper wearing a David Stern Halloween mask. Whatever happens, the season has been irrevocably tainted — we just watched FIVE teams have their seasons screwed up by this debacle.
The league has moved on. The teams have moved on. But what went down remains total bullshit.
First articles are now live on Grantland, Bill Simmons’ new site under ESPN (which, thankfully, looks nothing like espn.com).
Here is Simmons’ welcome post.
As a big fan of Bill Simmons, I’m excited for his new site (in association with ESPN): Grantland.
With Simmons as editor-in-chief, Grantland.com is scheduled to launch in June with a mix of original columns, long-form features, blog posts, and podcasts. The name of the site honors the legacy of Grantland Rice, the legendary sportswriter who helped elevate sports into American culture during the early 20th Century.
Chuck Klosterman, Malcolm Gladwell, Dave Eggers and many others are on board. Awesome.