The NBA finals are about to start and yes there is lots of Lakers vs Celtics talk to be found. But there is also CNN and Larry King hyping up the interview with King James. The interview is going to be on Friday night so it is not running against the NBA Finals. However it has been clear throughout these playoffs that 2010 talk is in direct competition with the Playoffs. If you can't wait for Friday and what James had to say you can read it all now on the CNN Website.
The domination of the Lakers and Celtics in terms of Finals appearances and championships is well documented. This is the big match-up for a lot of folks and people were clearly cheering for this match-up. I have always said for me personally, I find it boring in comparison to my childhood memories of Bird vs Magic. Kobe vs the Big 3 is not ever going to match that for me. It isn't matching Russell vs Chamberlain either. But I think for what it is worth the Lakers will take this series in 5 maybe 6 games. I have picked against the Celtics the entire playoffs so why change now. Kobe Bryant was embarrassed in losing to the Celtics two years ago and has a long memory.I also think the addition of Ron Artest will prove to pay off in this series. Paul Pierce will have a hard time dealing with Ron defending him. The guys from the Basketball Jones had a fantastic breakdown of the series today on The Score.com.
However this 2010 stuff will not go away and the fact James chooses now to talk to Larry King is not an accident. He could have waited till after the finals and it would have been just as big. However the one thing that seems clear is the people that make up this free agent class crave attention. That includes Toronto's Chris Bosh. This group is trying to make it all about them. Let me make this clear that no one is bigger than the game itself. I don't care if you are Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh or the rest of the B list like Joe Johnson and Amare Stoudemire. This game has a long history and has had many great legends in it. The story should always be about "The Game" first and the off-season rumour mill second. The NBA Finals even thought as I said personally are kind of a bore for me, should be the focus of attention.
I do not just blame these players for this. I blame the people like ESPN that have build this into the monster that it has become. Now CNN is covering this like it is a major news story? Well maybe it is just a simple ratings grab. Which reminds me, how did that Larry King and Snoop Dogg interview do? Now King is a legit sports fan but he clearly seems to have went from serious interviews to pop culture nonsense. Will Wolf Blitzer be covering this meeting between all the NBA Free Agents in the Situation Room? Even Obama weighed in on the possibility of James coming to his favourite team the Chicago Bulls. Lebron James said in the interview with King he wishes it was July 1st already. He is not the only one. He also has claimed that Cleveland has an advantage in his decision of where to sign. James may not have a safe way to leave Cleveland without being the most hated guy in town. But now he has clearly made it that people's grand kids will boo him, if he decides to leave. He also has put a huge amount of pressure on Cavs management to close the deal.
David Stern will be happy to hear that James has Cleveland on the top of his list. However I can not imagine he is very happy about all this 2010 madness that has taken away from the playoffs. People say that I am wrong and that any talk of the NBA is good for the league. I maintain if your Championship is not the top story then something is wrong. Kobe, Rondo, K.G, Ron Artest and all the rest should be getting talked about. Not James, Bosh. Wade and Johnson. There will be more than enough time to over analyze that once the finals are done. In fact ESPN has been doing that for the better part of 2 years. So much for Jalen Rose and his guarantee that Bosh and James will be Knicks. It is a shame there is not a money back guarantee on all these alleged stories and rumours. But instead ESPN is using this kind of thing to stuff their pockets.
This whole free agent mess has got to the point that it for me is having a negative impact on my enjoyment of the game. It is time to remember what this sport is suppose to be about. The team that holds up the trophy at the end of the season. Everything else is second to that. It isn't about fantasy teams or dream trades that will never happen. I understand they add to the enjoyment for some folks. I am not saying it is not fine in it's proper place. However, what I am saying is that we need to understand what is most important. Kobe Bryant likely won't care if he gets another ring, that is all he is concerned about. If James, Bosh and others want to know why they don't have a ring that is your answer. It is in part their success as individuals that lead them to choose a new home. But the fact they search for the best chance to win is kind of a joke. You win by making the idea of winning a championship your only focus. It has to be the only thing. So no matter how the 2010 free agency ends up, it still has to be about being focused on winning a championship not just talking about winning a championship. Talk is cheap. Well in the case of the Free Agents of 2010 maybe it isn't.