Everyone does it, this used to include me.
Up until this season, I was just like every other sports fan. No matter what you could do as a star in the NBA I felt the need to compare what you did or who you were to someone of the past. For my generation it is always “Kobe already did it”, or “Kobe wouldn’t have let that happen”. For those older than me the first person used is always Michael Jordan followed by Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Julius Erving, Charles Barkley and so many others. We see it all the time on TV where the analyst has to compare players of the past to the stars of the league now and you always see that for some reason the stars of today can never get to the level of past superstars.
We need to stop that.
Yesterday Kevin Durant received his first NBA MVP trophy after a season in which he averaged 32.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 5.5 assist per game. It was a long time coming for Durant, who has been widely regarded as one of the top players in the world and known as the best scorer in the NBA. He doesn’t necessarily have the marquee nickname like how LeBron James has “King James” and Kobe Bryant has “The Black Mamba”. When when we tried to give him one earlier in the season and he jokingly tried to give himself one with “The Servant”, it never stuck and everyone simply went back to calling him “KD”. He doesn’t have the nickname, but he doesn’t need it. He’s a top 3 player in the league, now a league MVP, and yet it seems no matter what the world will not be ready to appreciate Kevin Durant or in fact, any other uprising young superstar in the NBA.
It’s time for a change (I owe you one Barack).
When watching the press conference for KD the one thing that truly blew my mind is the fact that what we’ve been witnessing has been going seven years strong. I immediately went on YouTube and watched the highlights of his rookie season and was fascinated. It feels like Durant has only been in the league five years.
As a Los Angeles Lakers fan, my first true glimpse of KD did not come until the 2010 playoffs when the Lakers and Thunder squared off in the first round. The series went six games, but I remember it not being easy considering the series clinching game was won on a put back by Pau Gasol. After that season the Thunder kept getting better every year, similar to what we’ve witnessed with the Indiana Pacers over the past three years.
During the NBA lockout when players weren’t at meetings they were playing charity all-star games. During the summer of 2011 Durant showed up to New York City and put on a 66-point performance at the Annual EBC Rucker classic in Harlem. Rucker Park is the symbolic sanctuary of street basketball. Anyone who is anyone has attended the Rucker whether they were a spectator or a player like Durant was. Later on in 2012 Durant made the United States Olympics men’s national basketball team. In the Olympics Durant averaged 19.5 points per game and capped it off with a 30 point, 9 rebound performance in the gold medal game against Spain. After his Olympic performance his stock shot up higher and eventually cultivated to having us where are today.
When I saw that Kevin Durant was in his 7th season it made me wonder how long other players have actually been in the league, including this season:
LeBron James: 11
Dwayne Wade: 11
Carmelo Anthony: 11
Chris Bosh: 11
Dwight Howard: 10
Chris Paul: 9
LaMarcus Aldridge: 8
Russell Westbrook: 6
Derrick Rose: 5
Stephen Curry: 5
Blake Griffin: 4
Paul George: 4
Kyrie Irving: 3
It is a very sample sized list, but at the same time it is meant to be the focus of this piece. As a Lakers fan I have been blessed to watch the greatness of Kobe Bryant for over the past decade, but while watching these playoffs and seeing how much fun it has been it didn’t even cross my mind that there was no Kobe for me to tune into for a Western conference game. For the most part of the season there has been no Kobe at all, and it might have made me a better overall basketball fan. Regardless of how the season panned out, I still watched the Lakers play (Swaggy P you’re the best), but at the same time I watched other teams and appreciated what I was tuning into.
Say what you want, but no one appreciated how truly great LeBron James was until about 2 years ago. For eight seasons, all you ever heard about LeBron was that he would never be like Michael Jordan no matter what he did. When he wasn’t being compared to MJ, he was being compared to Kobe. Here’s what I don’t understand. Everyone in the world knows what Michael Jordan did, and what Kobe has done, so is there really a need for the “He can never be Jordan or Kobe” sentence to be sputtering out every time a player in today’s NBA does accomplish something? Take talking to adults for instance. The first thing they say is that the players today could never play in the league back during their childhood and how the league is supremely soft. It is never a compliment from these people, only criticism over harebrained situations that can never happen, such as “LeBron would never have been able to dunk on Patrick Ewing”.
At the end of the day there is a reason the past is the past. It’s a time frame that has happened and will never come back. There are players whom in the future will have their idols be players not named Michael Jordan, and for those kids the first thing you should not say is “kid you know nothing about basketball”. Instead understand that there is a new generation of stars in the league that the kids have that they can look up to. For those of us who are in the midst of watching these great players, lets enjoy what we are watching without saying “Man Jordan would have made that shot Mr. Durant”. Instead lets just appreciate what we have in front of us because soon they’ll retire and appreciating something once it’s gone is never the same as during the situation, especially when they will never be back.
Six years is how long I’ve been a loyal member of Facebook. When I first signed on it made me feel like the coolest kid ever. I knew about it because of my older brother, but at the time it was only for college kids so the simple wonder of what it was like made me want to join. Myspace will forever be Myspace, there is nothing Facebook can do to ever make the feel the way I felt when G-Unit was my profile song, and I had the newest Stone Cold Steve Austin wallpaper (Before I became Mr. Cool and made it Cosign Squad), But I needed something new and there was Facebook ready to open its glorious social arms to me.
It started off with a bang, poking girls you had crushes on, when you got a new girlfriend you had to make it that you were in a relationship, it was the little things that you couldn’t do on Myspace that made us love Facebook. You will find those who make the claim they never loved Facebook, but people also say they don’t love sweet potato pie which is to say there is a such thing as a person who is in complete denial.
Facebook now is not what it used to be. I see it more as for just another social media website. I think it just happens as you get older, you don’t do things that you did when you were a reckless teen trying to make sure you had a date for when everyone wanted to go to alpine after the football game. Now I see it as the website where my relatives tag me in things I have no reason to be tagged in. Facebook is still very useful to store images, keep in contact with distance friends, and then theres the lovely 2 am dramatic post about how your life sucks ever since breaking bad ended, and the “why is everyone hating on me and caring about what I do? ITS MY LIFE HATERS” post that we have all grown to love and adore.
I log onto to Facebook everyday. For no particular reason I just feel like it has to be on my tabs while I’m on the computer. Today when I clicked on Facebook it let me know that I could see my 2013 year in review. “Review? I barley post anything on this site anymore” I thought to myself until I clicked on my review and noticed it was postings from Instagram and a few statuses that I came up with over the course of the entire year. Later on Google released an advertisement showcasing their own personal review of the highlights of this past year, and it got me thinking, what are my favorite moments of 2013? In this particular situation what are my favorite sports moments of 2013. This took longer than I expected, it seemed as though every time I had a set list another moment popped into my so I decided to make a top seven list. On the 7th day of January I made a post about my seven favorite sports moments of 2013.
And incase you were wondering. Seven is my favorite number.
(This List is no particular order).
1. Miami Heat Harlem Shake
At the beginning of the year one of the most popular songs out was Harlem Shake by Bauer. The song actually does not have an official music video, but a fan decided to make one with himself and his college friends. The video starts with a group of people in the room with either one person dancing solo while everyone else pretends to ignore him/her or a group of individuals dance, once the actual be drops everyone channels their inner kid and goes berserk with obscene moves that only their mother could love. The video struck gold and became an internet phenomenon. Hundreds of thousands of amateur videos to the song were uploaded to youtube, heck even the job I was working at the time thought of making our own version. One day I checked my twitter feed to LeBron James post a youtube link and behold the magic that was. Ray Allen dancing? D-Wade as the Kanye West mascot? This was way to priceless and still is.
2. Kobe Dunks on Brooklyn Nets.
Anything Kobe does amazes me. Along with being a sad and loyal New York Knicks fan, I also happen to be a Los Angeles Lakers fan. During the inaugural season of The Brooklyn Nets Kobe decided to show us all that even at old age you can still get up on guys when needed. Its safe to say Brooklyn got the memo.
3. LeBron James Dunks on Jason Terry but Jim Ross Makes it Even Sweeter.
Oh nostalgia how you make love the internet more than I already do. As a kid I was always glued to the television screen to watch wrestling. Everything about it was cooler than anything else on the entire planet so when this 1998 Hell in The Cell match between The Undertaker and Mankind went down the young me was excited. Two minutes later life changed.
Fifteen years later Nostalgia proved its loyalty. During a game between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat LeBron James caught an alley-oop and destroyed Celtics guard Jason Terry, Later on a genius unknown took the commentary from announcer Jim Ross and added it to when James dunked on Terry. I fell in love on sight
4. Mariano Rivera’s Last Game at Yankee Stadium
A little known fact about me. New Yorker born and raised. Red Sox fan. There are not many like me in this great city, but here I am. Nonetheless I know to appreciate greatness no matter the uniform you wear, and I couldn’t help but watch and slightly tear during Mariano Rivera’s last game at Yankee Stadium. The fact that he is retiring doesn’t seem right but the fitting was perfect with teammates Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte coming to take him out. He cried man, the sandman cried.
5. Johnny Football
Johnny Manziel is THE MAN. OvO Johnny came from out of no where in 2012 to being the man by seasons end and picking the Heisman trophy as a FRESHMAN. After a summer in which all he did was party and drink like the rest of us college kids love to do, he became public enemy number one to some. Johnny couldn’t wait to play and shut the world up and he did. This is not really a favorite moment, but more of me stating Johnny Football is my favorite athlete of 2013.
6. Boston Red Sox Win the 2013 World Series
Your favorite baseball team wins the World Series. Is an explanation needed?
7. Auburn Game Winning Field Goal Return to Beat Alabama
It’s a field goal return for a touchdown to beat the number one ranked team in country that just so happens to be your arch rival in the biggest game of the season (and to many of auburn the only game that matters). Moments like these are why sports rules and everything else drools.
And there it is. SEVEN. I could do ten if I wanted, heck i could do more, but seven is perfect. 2014 lets see what you have up your sleeve.
Oh and thanks a lot Facebook.