bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: The Miami Heat are the kings of drama

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The NBA playoffs started a few weeks ago, and the second round is more than half over. There has been plenty of drama, and much of it has recently been focused on the Miami Heat, as expected. Once the Heat assembled its current roster before the 2010-2011 season, adding LeBron James and Chris Bosh to a team that already had Dwyane Wade, the expectations for this bunch went through the roof. They are currently being severely tested by the Indiana Pacers, a team that was given little chance coming into the series. The drama of the games themselves is great, but most of the theatrics have been off the court.  I have little patience for any of it, honestly.

After the Pacers won a thriller to take game two and steal home court advantage, the team had a very brief celebration on the court before Indiana forward David West herded his teammates to the locker room. I guess he didn’t do it quickly enough, though, as Dwyane Wade mouthed off about it in a post-game interview, suggesting that the Pacers must not have expected to win. Considering the scope of the so-called “celebration,” Wade came off as a sore loser, which is exactly what he was at that point. If you don’t like seeing the other team celebrate, beat them.

Game three was a runaway win for Indiana, as the Heat were really never in it after the first quarter. Lance Stephenson, a guard for the Pacers, made news by making a choking gesture after a missed free-throw by LeBron James. It was certainly not a very sportsmanlike move, but it was nothing all that shocking. Stephenson even apologized the next day, saying that he never should have done what he did.  Miami forward Juwan Howard took exception anyway, however, and confronted Stephenson before game four. The two had to be separated. Everything about this particular story is irritating, really. Neither of these guys has been playing much at all in this series, so we should not need to talk about them. The part that grabbed me about it, though was this: who knew Juwan Howard was still in the league?  Isn’t he about 700 years old by now?

Finally, after falling behind by 10 points early in the third quarter on Sunday, the Heat roared back to win game four and even the series at two games apiece. LeBron James had an epic game, with 40 points, 18 rebounds, and 9 assists. Unfortunately, following the game, my Twitter feed came alive with comment after comment to the effect of “where are all the LeBron haters now??” This is such a tired argument. I will freely acknowledge James’ skill as a basketball player. My dislike of him has nothing to do with his ability. Yes, I have heard the refrain of “he’ll never win a championship” numerous times, but the people defending LeBron are missing the point. I, and many others like me, dislike him almost entirely because of “The Decision,” the television special from July of 2010, during which he announced that he would be “taking his talents to South Beach” and signing with the Heat. The towering arrogance it took to put on that dog-and-pony show was enough to put me in that “hater” camp forever.

I am rooting for the Pacers to take the series. I still expect the Heat to move on to the next round, and they showed in game four that they still have it in them. If nothing else, I hope we can manage to finish the matchup with a minimum of additional histrionics.

Bad sports, continued:

2) Philadelphia Eagles tackle Jason Peters suffered a huge setback in his recovery from Achilles surgery this week, as he managed to tear the Achilles again during a fall. A device he had been using to allow him to walk apparently malfunctioned, causing the fall.

3) Brett Lawrie, a third basemen for the Toronto Blue Jays, lost his mind after being called out on strikes by umpire Bill Miller on Tuesday in a game against the Tampa Bay Rays. The player spiked his helmet to the ground in anger as he walked back toward Miller. Unfortunately for him, the helmet bounced and actually hit the umpire. Lawrie was ejected from the game and was subsequently suspended for four games by Major League Baseball.

4) Jonathan Vilma, the linebacker for the New Orleans Saints who was recently suspend for the entire upcoming season for his role in the bounty scandal that rocked the football world this offseason, has sued NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for defamation. Vilma continues to deny any involvement in the scandal, and says that Goodell has permanently damaged his reputation.

5) This was weird and scary. Tampa Bay Rays second basemen Will Rhymes was hit in the arm by a pitch from Franklin Morales of the Boston Red Sox in the eighth inning on Wednesday. As he headed toward first base, Rhymes collapsed and fainted into the arms of coach George Hendrick. Reports are that it was adrenaline that caused the issue, and there appears to be no significant injury.

6) In the midst of the NCAA Softball playoffs, the University of Florida suspended three of its players for the remainder of the season for an undisclosed reason. Despite this, the Gators managed to win on Saturday and move on in the playoffs.

Good sports:

1) NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird added another huge accomplishment to his incredible resume. After winning the league Most Valuable Player award three times and winning Coach of the Year once, Bird, now President of the Indiana Pacers, has now won the league’s Executive of the Year award. Amazing.

2) Rhein Gibson, an Australian golfer, shot a 55 at the River Oaks Golf Club in Oklahoma last week, tying a world record set by Homero Blancas in 1962.

3) Last week, I took New York Giants defensive end Osi Umneyiora to task for his repeated attemptts to essentially use “girl” as a derisive term. Sarah Spain, an anchor for ESPN Chicago, had the same idea and lambasted the football player. To his credit, Umenyiora issued a thoughtful apology, indicating that he understood why his comments were wrong.

4) Surprise Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another showed Saturday that maybe his victory in the Derby should not have been so much of a surprise, as he won the Preakness in dramatic fashion. He will now move on to the Belmont Stakes, attempting to become the first Triple Crown winner in over 30 years.

Bad sports, good sports appears every Monday

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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