Monday Morning Sports Rant: March 7, 2011

Maximchats with sports blogger Drew Magary of Deadspin and Kissing Suzy Kolber about this weekend’s athletic hits and misses.

Maximchats with sports blogger Drew Magary of Deadspin and Kissing Suzy Kolberabout this weekend’s athletic hits and misses.


MF: Drew, why are the Heat so terrible?

bigdaddydrew: Because karma is a BITCH.

bigdaddydrew: But it’s funny. They brought this on themselves. You take a team like the Lakers. If they lose four in a row, it’s a big deal. Fans get concerned. But when the Heat lose four in a row, it’s an existential crisis.
They brought this pressure on themselves to be a super team, and they were supposed to have it all worked out by now.
So when they lose four in a row, it becomes a much bigger issue than a regular good team losing four in a row.
The internal scrutiny becomes a lot more intense. There’s no sense of levelheadedness.
Good teams that struggle usually say to themselves, “We’re confident enough to sort this out.” But that isn’t what’s going on with the Heat. They’re just standing around like idiots being like DURRRR WHAT’S GOING ON?!!!
By the way, the Lakers DID lose four in a row at the beginning of the year.

MF: Yeah, it’s crazy! It’s a completely disproportionate response. At least according to every cliché about how elite athletes—nay, men!—are supposed to respond in this situation.
The morose press conferences? The crying?

bigdaddydrew: Exactly. It’s the media’ job to overreact
Not the team’s.
When the team is reacting like the media, something is fucked.
Why are you crying over a regular season losing streak?

MF: And their coach—who is that guy, btw?—noting the crying, as if that proves something. You know Phil Jackson wouldn’t come out to a press conference like, “They’re cryin’ in there, folks!”

bigdaddydrew: I know.
You think Kobe was crying when the Lakers lost four straight?
He probably just went up to Andrew Bynum and punched him in the face.
Good teams keep a level head.

MF: And y’know, I like Wade. And he’s the elder statesman. Or should be. But to sit at a press conference and whine about how “Oh, the world is happy now because we’re losing, WAH!” is just…If my 12-year-old son (I don’t have a 12-year-old son, but if I did) said something like that after a game I’d be like, Listen junior. You need to suck it up. Maybe the world does want to see you fail. Who cares. Do better.
*Tiger mom!*

bigdaddydrew: Precisely. Why do they give a shit if the world is rooting against them?

MF: Yeah. Shouldn’t that fire them up, again by the laws of sports clichés?

bigdaddydrew: Good teams do that whole “we hate the world” thing
I think they’re screwed in the head because they see themselves as media entities as well as players.
So their media perception affects their confidence as players, which is bizarre.

MF: It really comes across as a maturity issue more than anything to me. They’re behaving like children.

bigdaddydrew: What’s weird is that LeBron was so tone deaf to fans during the whole “Decision” process, and now the team is somehow all too aware of the public sentiment.
You didn’t seem to care before. Why do you care now?
You didn’t care when the Cavs fans booed you in your return. So who cares if America is happy you’re losing?

MF: How much of this do you think amounts to a coaching issue?
Is there anyone who could fail so miserably with that much talent?

bigdaddydrew: Well, no one seems to respect Erik Spolestra at all.
He’s practically an afterthought.
Everyone thinks he’s either a puppet or just incompetent. And given how sensitive these guys are to the media, I’m sure they’ve bought into that as well.
But could Pat Riley get these guys to listen? Shit, I guess. I don’t know. This team is so bizarre.
It’s like asking to coach the Globetrotters, only the Globetrotters are unaware that the game isn’t rigged this time.

MF: Meanwhile. The Knicks can’t beat Cleveland. No amount of Melo can change the hold Cleveland has on the Knicks hearts. They’re like that bad ex-girlfriend who comes back into the picture every few months, pretending to be all sad about stuff and then just karate-kicking the Knicks in the balls.

bigdaddydrew: Yeah, but like I said: This year doesn’t matter for them.
That’s a team for the post-lockout era

MF: Speaking of lockouts: Your thoughts on the NFL situation?

bigdaddydrew: I think no one knows anything, so you may as well hide under your desk and pray the bomb doesn’t drop.

MF: Everyone keeps talking about the “war of public opinion,” but I’m Joe Public, and I feel like neither side has tried to win me over.

bigdaddydrew: I disagree.
I’m all for the players.

MF: Oh me too, but not because I feel they’ve really sold me. I just think in general, the owners are billionaires, and they want more money, and that makes them jerks. And wanting to go to an 18-game season but not wanting to pay extra for players’ health care is…insane.

bigdaddydrew: I don’t think the players are all that concerned with “selling” their case right now
That’s one of the things I talk about with Craggs over at Deadspin.
People seem to think that agents and union heads should care what the public thinks, but really, it doesn’t matter to them at all.
All that matters to them is getting the most lucrative deal for their clients

MF: True. And that’s as it should be.
DeMaurice Smith wears some fly hats to those negotiations, I’ll say that.

bigdaddydrew: “All the players came… from far and wide…”