I’m tired of the new chorus of Lebron apologists. Idiots like Jeff Van Gundy are saying they don’t understand why people root against him. Jackass Rick Reilly saying that Lebron is “somebody you want your kids to have as their hero.” Now Mike Wise is chiming in.
I won’t bother listing all the obvious reasons, partly because Pat McManamon sums it up perfectly in this column.
But there’s one thing that none of the apologists mention – arrogance. People hate arrogant punks, particularly those who can’t back it up. Lebron pranced around with his new teammates, preened at a rally in the most shallow city in America and then proclaimed he would win a string of championships. Then he wilted in the most epic collapse by a great athlete anyone can remember.
The new apologists are basically arguing that we should all love him because he hasn’t been arrested, he doesn’t beat his wife girlfriend or hasn’t abandoned his kids. Wow, talk about setting the bar low.
Like Tiger Woods, Lebron James makes millions with his carefully crafted image. His playful attitude may be sincere, but Lebron always cared more about his “global icon” status than anything else. Are we supposed to worship arrogance and self-promotion?
We can blame his age or those around him, but many fans hate Tiger and Lebron because their carefully crafted images turned out to be a fraud.
Nobody with a brain ever doubted his talent, so if he ever finds a way to play consistently under pressure he’ll probably win his championships (unless the great Kevin Durant stops him). That might help redeem some of his past failures and lack of nerve on the basketball court, but he’ll have a long way to go to account for his off-the-court behavior.
I guess we can put a stop to those stories about whether Tiger can come back. Today’s win was vintage Tiger Woods, and now he has momentum heading into the US Open in a couple of weeks.
Dust off the Tiger Woods highlight reel and add another jaw-dropper, this one near the very top. From a downhill lie, to a green running away from him, and with a wall of water lurking if he went long, Tiger Woods hit a flop shot into the hole for birdie on the par-3 16th hole, one of the most amazing shots of his career, and went on to record his 73rd victory on Sunday.
The win at the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village ties Woods with tournament host Jack Nicklaus for second place on the career victories list, trailing only Sam Snead (82), and gives Woods a surge of adrenaline heading into the U.S. Open at Olympic Club, which begins in 11 days.
“That was one of the most incredible golf shots I think you’ll ever see played,” Nicklaus said on the CBS telecast of Woods’s chip-in. “It wasn’t just the pitch shot. It was where he had to land it, and what he had to do, and what the penalties were if he didn’t make it. Unbelievable.”
Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson dropped out of this invitational tournament after playing one lousy round. Things change quickly . . .
William Hill has Woods listed as the 4-1 favorite to win his fifth Masters title, with Rory McIlroy close behind at 5-1. Other bookies have similar odds, with Ladbrokes quoting the same numbers as William Hill. Paddy Power and Coral both have Woods as the 7-2 favorite with McIlroy next at 9-2.
If he puts like he did this past weekend, Tiger will probably be a force at Augusta. Perhaps we’ll see an incredible rivalry with Rory McIlroy after all.
No, we’re not saying you have to get huge and ripped like Tiger Woods! Plus, you won’t have the private trainers and other assistance he has at his disposal.
That said, many of us aren’t in the best shape after the holidays as we work through the winter blahs. If you didn’t take advantage of golf holiday packages, many of us plan an escape to a golf resort in warm weather or an iconic location at this time of year. But we often don’t realize how grueling all that golf can be. It’s not the same as weekend golf breaks that you take during the season when you’re at the top of your game.
You can make your trip so much more enjoyable, and also improve your scores, by making sure you get back in shape before you take off for your trip. Think about endurance and feeling strong on the back nine . . . or on your second round if you play 36 holes per day! All of those holiday meals will catch up to you, so you should be hitting the treadmill now. Also, we all know that the best golfers improve the distance of drives and other shots by getting stronger and more flexible. Sure, your technique and form are still critical, but strength is also important. You don’t want to look like an out-of-shape fool on your trip who keeps coming up short – right?
You won’t be battling Tiger on the tour in the Middle East or challenging China golf pros on the Asian tour, but you’ll be able to put in a good showing with your buddies during your golf getaway.
Do some research on some of the best golf exercises and get to work.
Miami Heat’s LeBron James. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL HEADSHOT)
SI recently published a fascinating profile of Walter Iooss Jr., who has spent over 50 years photographing athletes and swimsuit models. The man has led an incredible life, and he also happens to be a great storyteller.
In this article, Iooss recounts stories of his favorite athletes and models, like Micheal Jordan, Reggie Jackson, Paulina Porizkova and Christie Brinkley. Sports fans should read the whole article and you’ll get a real sense of the bravado and charisma of people like Reggie Jackson in his prime.
Iooss loves to tell stories of how he had to charm people like Tiger Woods. With Tiger, the swimsuit pictures got his attention right away, and Iooss could then get Tiger to do what was necessary to get the shot.
And then there were the difficult ones like Barry Bonds and the prima donnas like LeBron James. His story about LeBron is very telling:
I first photographed LeBron James in 2003, when he was a rookie in Cleveland. He was pretty raw as a teenager; he didn’t have any of the smoothed edges he has now. When I shot him six years later, in 2009, the difference was amazing. He walked in like a king that day, and he took over that room. And not only physically, although he was massive then. I’ve never seen an athlete look like that. He was muscular, charming, articulate, the prince of hoops. He couldn’t have been more of an ambassador for the game.
Times change, and sadly, LeBron became a villain to many after The Decision. I’ve seen a lot of entourages, but none like his. In July 2010 I got an assignment from Nike to shoot LeBron right after his TV special announcing his move to the Heat. We rented the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, where the Lakers and the Clippers used to play, and there were 53 people on my crew—including hair and makeup artists, production people, a stylist. I had $10,000 in Hollywood lighting. It was huge. When LeBron arrived, it was as if Nelson Mandela had come in. Six or seven blacked-out Escalades pulled up, a convoy. LeBron had bodyguards and his masseuse. His deejay was already there, blasting. This for a photo shoot that was going to last an hour, tops.
This is how crazy it was: I wasn’t even allowed to talk directly to LeBron. There was a liaison, someone from Amar’e Stoudemire’s family. I would say to him, “O.K., have LeBron drive right,” and then he’d turn to LeBron and say, “LeBron, go right.”
LeBron had guards in the portals on the mezzanine level, talking into their hands. Really, what was going to happen? And then at the end of the shoot they all got in the Escalades. My God, I’ve been around Michael Jordan, but with him nothing even came close to this. Unimaginable.
It was obvious that this clown had a problem when he and those around him started referring to him as King James, but this episode demonstrates just how out of control LeBron’s ego had become.
One year later, LeBron is now a punch line after his embarrassing performance in the NBA Finals. He’s gone onto ESPN to discuss how he should have done things differently when he left Cleveland last year and how he made the mistake of embracing the role of the villain. He’s going back to having fun. We’ll see about that. But more than anything he needs to get rid of the obscene entourage, and I don’t see that happening.